Wow, has it really been two week since I last wrote? Yikes, sorry y'all:(
I wish that I could say that my absence was entirely because I was off living life like a normal person (ya know, without a mask...or track marks from draws and infusions) but that would be a big fat lie.
The last two week have been filled with deep lows and soaring highs. I'll give a brief blow-by-blow and then elaborate in my next post.
So, yeah, had a bad reaction to IVIG (yuck) and then promptly came down with my very own cold, baby's first cold, no? Turns out that when you have a very weak immune system, the common cold sucks extra hard. BUT! My inner hippy read somewhere that if I cut out refined sugars and caffeine, that my body could heal a little faster (**note: I am not a medical professional, please don't listen to anything I suggest, I'm just a little nuts**). Damned if that didn't work! (oh, and the sleeping for 18 hours a day probably helped me along too, who has the luxury of time to be able to do that? Yeah, NO ONE).
Anyway, it seems that I willed myself well in time for my very first harmonium lesson with my friend and teacher Justicia and the astonishingly talented Victoria Ladd (more on THAT new endeavor in another post). It was glorious. Road that good energy to dinner for my dearest Maggie for her birthday. A good time was had by all until the dinner came back to haunt me for the next 24 hours. Seems that sensitivity to germs extends to food as well...hard lesson learned. YUCK. The good thing about food poisoning though, is that it generally passes rather quickly, which this did. So, Maggie and I went on a 6 mile hike on Sunday. I wasn't kidding when I said highs and lows, eh?
What did I learn from this? Well, I learned that I need to find my balance. It is not hastening my healing by going from extreme to extreme. Yes, working out is good, but is most beneficial when the body is well, not healing from a traumatic illness the day before. Then more strain is put on the body and you're bound for disaster. A stubborn nature has benefited my in the past, but now is not the time. This body needs to be coddled, something I still have not gotten the hang of. I felt the acute effects of that drastic swing in yoga on Tuesday (yes, was still smarting in my hips on Tuesday) and spent a good amount of class meditating on how it isn't respectful of me to treat this body, that has carried me through so much, in such a way. The name of the game is listening intently to myself and my signals and giving permission to rest. This body is truly a blessed vehicle, that has received the ultimate gift, I must treat it with respect and tune in more carefully. Matter over mind, sometimes is correct.
So, rest I did. That is until, and no, seriously, I swear to you this happened, I began throwing up everything I put in my body. BODY SAYS NO! Yeah, awesome, right? Thursday morning I gave myself my weekly neupogen shot, just to keep my numbers stable, and within three hours I was violently ill. And I type the work violently in the most firm way. I haven't been ill like that since chemo. That sobbing kind of ill that just simple scares and exhausts you. This continued all day Thursday, no meds, no water, no gatorade, no crackers, NOTHING would stay in my tummy. I was severely dehydrated and terrified. After emptying myself (sorry, trying not to be so gross) for the sixth time, I paged my doctor, who assured my that it was not the neupogen (thank god, NOT something I wish to look forward to every week) but rather a virus, which basically scared the fucking bananas out of me. She said if I became ill one more time, I needed to be in the ER as soon as possible. Righto. If not in the ER tonight than certainly in infusion the next day for fluids and anti-emetics.
So, I curled up on the couch (it's close to our bathroom with no risk of taking (another) tumble down the steps from our bedroom) and prayed to all things holy that I wouldn't toss my cookies again. Thanks all things holy, I didn't. P drove me up to PENN first thing in the morning, me looking like quite a sight in my darn PJs and rumpled frizz stuffed into a cat hair covered bandanna, and got my bag o'fluids and bag o'zofran all the while blissfully snoozing in their OH SO COMFORTABLE infusion beds. While I can't say that I felt like a million bucks after that, I did not feel like I was going to vomit up my ribcage any longer. I was so dehydrated that the nurse had significant trouble finding a vein and I ended up all bruised. Also, I was given strict orders NOT to eat ANYTHING other than crackers and drink nothing but slightly watered down Gatorade and flat soda. NO WATER until at least Saturday. BTW, did you know that when you have a stomach bug, water is the worst thing you can drink- it's so thin that you are sure to yack it up, making you more dehydrated. Fun fact. Wish I never needed to know that. The eight pound (not kidding) weight loss scared me. My muscles hurt from the electrolyte imbalance. This was just all sorts of bad.
The other thing is, and I sort of mentioned this, 'organic' nausea and vomiting (like your run-of-the-mill stomach virus feels very different from the 'chemical' nausea and vomiting, like chemo. With chemo and medication induced nausea and vomiting, you can kind of power through. You know what its from, it has a very distinct reactionary feeling and maybe just one dose of an enti-emetic will do the trick. When the nausea is organic, from a bug, it's wily. Anti-emetics may or may not help, it;s constant with out any way to predict vomiting. My doctor said that to try to get me through this, I need zofran and ativan (whoo-hoooo sleepy Laura time) on a very strict schedule. If you miss that window, you're gonna yam. And yam I did. It's so gross, I know, I'm sorry, but after a weird 3 am spell early this morning, I feel ehhhhhh fine. Still can't eat much, but I can hold down my pills and a liquid and some ::ahem:: cookies. When I had chemo nausea, I could eat as long as the anti-emetics were working, and they pumped those into me constantly to try to keep me from getting ill. I rainbow yawned anyway (which was like having toxic waste come out of my body, so weird) but nothing like a virus. I"ll be honst and say I've not had a stomach virus since I was a child so I have no memory, really, of what these things are like without that nasty compromised immune system. Sooooooo, there's my paragraph on vomit.
While it really sucks to have spent the bulk of the last two weeks really sick, at least I know that my body is able to heal me. That I was not hospitalized, that my white cells are a'workin'. The hubs? Totally traumatized for life after the cats also started puking ON the toilet. Monkey see, monkey do? They've been standing guard with me in the restroom when I get ill, guess it happened enough they gave it a go themselves. Not the example I would like to set for those little nuts. My dear, sweet P, such a good sport about the cat puke cleanup just so I could go in and puke too. That's love kids.
To those that have sent e-mails or phone calls or texts that I may not have responded to, I am profoundly sorry. Please know that I was not ignoring you, I just couldn't lift my head but to puke:(
Anyway, I have some amazing news to share, which I suppose I may as well share here than wait for another post (plus, don't you just hate that?):
Wanna know what??
I got a preliminary acceptance this week to go with www.firstdescents.org to Colorado at the end of this May to learn how to rock climb on a damn mountain with a group of other patients and survivors! How cool is that?! This application has been hanging in the balance for...uh....a long time (I was still in TX when I started it) and I NEVER expected to be accepted, but I'll be damned if they didn't accept me! My final go-ahead will come just before I leave to be positive that I will be safe. My medical team has already given me the go-ahead, I just havfta stay fit and healthy for the next 8 weeks and I'm off! This program is amazing and I am so honored to be part of it:) I encourage you to check out their website and blog to learn a little more about what they do and who they are. They are inspirational.
Much love to my friends here and those reading. It's amazing to see how many of you come from the far reaches of the world to check in. Much love to all of you, always gratitude to you for sharing in this gruesome journey with me and many prayers to any who are fighting their own fight.
Much Much LOVE.