French Word(s) of the Day:juste nos quatre (juice-st no cat-rah)- just us four
Sam leads a tour through through Claude Monet’s home in Giverny. We were in luck; the week we were in France was one of the last weeks that the garden was open. It closed shortly after our visit for the winter.
I’ve discussed how much I love Monet. Sam is also aware of this fact. The last time I’d been at Giverny, there had been people all over the place and on all the bridges. I was a little worried they were going to collapse. I’d told him how sad I wasn’t that I hadn’t been able to take people-less pictures.
Sam’s tour gets in before the gardens open to the public. He led his group to the house for their special tour (with another guide) and then snuck us into the gardens. The four of us got to be there without anyone else for several minutes, and Sam said, “Happy birthday, Meghan!”
Happy birthday, indeed!
As today is my actual birthday, I think it’s the perfect time to share all my beautiful photos.
French Word of the Day:Montmartre (mon-mar-truh)- the area of Paris with Sacre Coeur, Amelie and large amounts of sex shops
As you probably know, I went to Paris as a “you made it through chemo!” thing. I get the same amount of joy from going there that a child gets from going to Disney World. (Coincidentally, I also feel this way about Disney. See posts 1, 2 and 3. I found even more than that, but this entry is not about Disney.)
Joining me on my adventures were my twin sister Caitlin and my friend Grace.
When I started chemo, I set a picture of myself in Monmartre as the background on my phone. It was to remind myself of what was to come. When I finally got to Paris, I had Caitlin take a picture of me in the exact same spot. It was a bit windier this time, and it looks as though someone has since taken a piece of the lamppost off:
Grace is the person who introduced me to French films (namely Amelie), and we’ve been planning our trip together ever since.
Grace and I in the cafe featured in one of our favorite films. I don’t want to discuss what my hair is doing.
Montmartre is one of my favorite areas in Paris. I’ve been there many times. We met up with our friend Sam, who gives tours there regularly. It was like he was hanging out with friends only he had to work at the same time. And we didn’t pay him. So really, not a great time for Sam. He was a good sport, though!
It rained off and on, but it was still much warmer than Chicago!
Many of these photos were stolen from Caitlin. She was by far the most avid photographer of the day! (As evidenced by the fact that she took about 2,000 more photos than I did and that her phone usually died by the middle of the day.)
French Word(s) of the Day: la même chose (lah mehme shows)- the same thing
I appreciate everyone who told me that my improved health was much more exciting than Paris. I respectfully disagree, but I appreciated the sentiment all the same.
In a sweeping new development, my new medicine was making me sick to my stomach. (I know, none of my medicines EVER make me sick.) They changed it to another medicine that is supposed to be the same thing, but with a different name and a different formula. To me, this means that it’s not the same drug, but I’m not a doctor. Maybe the word “same” works differently in medical school than it does in the dictionary.
I still got sick from this medicine. That stayed the same.
A month after I began the new medication, I took blood tests. The doctor called me on January 1st to let me know that my liver levels were now abnormal, to which I replied, “Well, Happy New Year to you, too!”
I pointed out that my liver was fine before this new medication and recommended that they switch me back over to the other medication. “Oh no, we’re just going to lower your dose by a little bit and see how that works. You should stay away from alcohol and Tylenol for over a month, at least.”
Um, what? Didn’t we just go through this?! I think my adult life will be spent not being allowed to indulge in alcohol. I should have taken better advantage of my teen years!
I’m going to call this now: my liver levels will still be abnormal in a month and the doctor is going to change it back to the other medication. Mainly because- I don’t know- they’re not the same thing.
She got me too late for New Year’s Eve, though! I got to drink! I may have overindulged a little, but my liver is currently still functioning.
I hope you all indulged for New Year’s too, because we all made it through 2013 🙂
I actually made friends on New Year’s, so take THAT doctor who called a day too late to stop my alcohol consumption.
I promise that 2014 will be the year that I post my Paris pictures. Or maybe I’ll just drag this thing out for a few years. Paris 2013 coming to you in November of 2017!
French Word of the Day:disparu (diss-par-ew)- gone, disappeared
For those of you who think the title should be “Wherefore art thou” like the line from Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, you’re incorrect. Wherefore means why. It’s a common misconception that I’m breaking you all of now. Juliet isn’t calling out to Romeo, she’s asking the universe why he’s a Montague, son of her foresworn enemy.
And now, we speak French.
I have no idea where time has gone. I was leaving for Paris, and then all of the sudden it was the week before Thanksgiving. I still haven’t put up 8 million posts detailing every millisecond of my trip!
It was quite the trip. I plan on stretching out blogging about it on here from now until Christmas. (At my current rate of posting, that equals about one entry.)
I took so many pictures that my phone has been yelling at me. “Yo Meghan, when you gonna take these things off? You don’t have any more space in the cloud.”
Why do clouds run out of space? I thought it was impossible to fill them.
But Paris comes later. To tide you over:
I went to my doctor today, and she let me know that my kidney/ lupus levels are pretty much in the normal person range. I’m pretty excited. For today, that will trump Paris.
French Word of the Day:rémission (ray-miss-ee-own)- remission
The test results for the chemotherapy and in, and they are looking fabulous! I would have been just a touch angry if the doctor had come back and said, “Well, that whole 6 months of chemo thing was a bust.” Luckily, her words were, “Your levels are almost to normal! (Except for some abnormalities due to your disease.)”
Please note that this does not mean I’m cured. I’ve had to specify that a lot. I think every time I speak to someone about it I confuse people. To save myself some time, I’m going to write the conversation I’ve been having with everyone.
Person: Oh my God, your results are good! So you’re completely cured!!!! Me: Um, not quite. It’s under control. But not fully. My kidneys are no longer being destroyed. Person: So you’re not better? Do you have to go on chemo again? Me: No, I’m better! Person: But you just said you weren’t. Me: I’m better than before. My body is no longer attacking itself. Person: So you’re cured!! Me: You can’t cure lupus. It only goes into remission. Person: So you’re in remission! Me: Not yet. I’m going to be taking a special medicine for at least the next 2 or three years to control everything. Person: But I thought you were better? I’m so confused. Me: Tell me about it. I’ve been confused for the last 8 years.
In celebration (and because my hair has grown back in the last two months), I got a haircut. Check it:
French Word(s) of the Day:jamais encore (jah-may on-core)- never again
That chemo thing I’ve been doing is finally done. Most of you probably know this because I’ve been posting it on every social media outlet available to me.
My mom and Alyssa came over to my apartment afterwards. Alyssa wrapped me in a huge “Congratulations!” banner, which went very well with the Disney Princess tiara and balloon she brought. I looked appropriately festive.
They all warned me that the last chemo session would be the worst because it’s cumulative, and they were right. Rocio asked me if I was going to work the next day, and I said, “I’ve been up for 20 minutes and I’ve already thrown up twice, so probably not.”
I spent the rest of weekend lying very still on the couch finishing the second season of Scandal (which lives up to its name). Christine, being a proper best friend, came over to hang out with me for a little bit and helped reintegrate me to the world of solid foods.
But things have begun to go back to normal. My friends all took me out last night for a post chemo shot (of alcohol… no more medicine, please). It was a night of merriment and I finally got to dance without feeling sick.
What’s up next? I’ll start another medicine shortly for maintenance, and I fully plan on going into remission directly afterwards. (Pretty much the second after I start it.)