Last Lupron

French Word of the Day: aïe (eye)- ow

I’ve gotten my final menopause shot!  I’m in the home stretch here.

My back’s been in pain from it for about the past hour and a half.  Whoever said “complaining never helps” is WRONG, because I’ve been lying on the couch saying, “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow” without stop, and I’m feeling much better now.  (It’s also possible my Tylenol finally kicked in, but that’s a minor detail.)

After my rough chemo session, I did develop two bruises on my arms.

Check out these bad boys.
Check out these bad boys.

I’ve spent most of my week figuring out how to both cover my arms completely and dress for the warm weather.  They’re opposing goals, and the warm weather has been winning.

Other than the bruise and the vomiting, I have been getting better.  It’s a slower process this time, but I still managed to have pancakes on Sunday.  I mean, they were whole wheat, vegan and healthy, but I put syrup on them.  That counts.

I will start writing more soon, but my computer’s acting up.  It keeps turning off and then insisting that’s it’s December 31st, 2000 when it finally turns back on.  This is probably indicative of some kind of expense malfunction.  Or possibly my computer is a time machine…

Cinco de Chemo

French Word of the Day: cinq (sank)- five (I realize I’ve written it in Spanish everywhere else.)

Well folks, we’ve reached numero cinco.  My veins weren’t cooperating, so I got stuck twice.

You can kind of see the bruise in this photo:

Relaxin' in my chair
Relaxin’ in my chair

I was trying to get a decent photo for the blog while sitting by myself.  I tried to only take pictures when no one was looking, which turned out to be difficult in a room full of people.  I’m sure it’s not everyday the nurses get to see a patient taking selfies while receiving an IV.

This chemo was the least fun.  (To be fair, no chemo session is “fun.”  They’re rated on a scale from “blah” to “Ughhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.”)  I passed out on the coach when I got home. My mom- being the fabulous woman she is- did my laundry while I was sleeping.

This morning, I woke up several times to get sick.  I decided my fellow commuters might not appreciate me throwing up on them, and stayed home from work.

5,000 saltines later, I’m feeling better.

Only one more to session to go!

Automated Customer Service

French Word(s) of the Day: le service client (luh serh-vees clee-ont)- customer service

I recently got a promotion at work.  (This is why I haven’t updated in a month.)  I now work for the travel department, and I love it.  It’s busy, it’s crazy, everyone’s insane, but it’s great.  Travel is the best!

Well, sometimes travel is the best.  My latest chemo experience spilled over into my work and personal life.  I was supposed to go to my brother’s graduation, but there was a problem with chemo scheduling.  They had to give me my chemo the day before his graduation.  As a result, I had to cancel my flight and miss it.

Luckily, Brendan thinks graduation ceremonies are tedious and overrated (and he didn’t attend mine), so I’ve been forgiven.

Now that I’ve had to cancel my flight, I’m trying to get a refund. This is proving to be a very difficult experience.  I have a theory that the airline purposefully tries to sabotage all refund requests so that they never have to refund anything.

Long story short, I had to call customer service today… an AUTOMATED customer service number.  (My favorite online comic did a comic that accurately describes the horrific automated customer service experience.) My conversion with the customer service robot went like this:

Robot: Hello.  What would you like to do today?

Me: Real Person!  Person!

Robot:  I’m sorry; I don’t understand.  You can check a flight… [twelve more options]… or refunds. [None of the options are “speak to a live person.”]

Me: Refund.

Robot: I’m sorry; I didn’t hear you.  Please repeat that.

Me: REFUND

Robot: You would like to go to refunds?

Me: YES.

Robot: I’m sorry; I didn’t hear you.

Me: YES YES YES YES YES YES

Robot: You options are: check the status or make a new request.

Me: Check status

Robot: You can check the status online.  Go to our website. Can I help you with anything else?

Me: AGENT

Man: I’m sorry; I think you want to speak to an agent.

Me: YES

Man: I can’t connect you to an agent until I know more information.  [Repeats menu.]

It took the robot 5 more minutes to connect me to customer service.  I was then put on hold for 10 minutes.

Man: Hello!  Thank you for using our airline.  How can I help you today?

Me: I’m trying to get the refunds to work, and the site doesn’t recognize my refund number.

Man: Oh… umm… you need to talk to refunds.

Me: Yes, thank you.  I’m aware.  HOW DO I GET TO THEM?

Man: You get to them through us, actually!

Me: Great.  Can you transfer me?

Man: No, they only work until 4 pm from Monday- Friday.

Me: ….

Man: And you have to call us back.  We are the only way to reach them.

Me: There’s not a direct line or an email or something?!

Man: No, but if you’d like, there’s a feedback portion on our website!

You know I’m going to the feedback portion of their website.  I’ve got a LOT of feed to back.

The good thing is that I get to call them back and go through it all again sometime during my work hours tomorrow.

I drew this while I was on hold:

Angry Meghan

Sidenote: My Aunt Kathy went to my chemo session with me because my Mom was at Brendan’s graduation, and we had a lovely time!  She brought me pain au chocolat because she knows the way to a girl’s heart.

San Francisco

French Word of the Day: bavard (bah-vard)- talkative

As I go through the treatments, they become less and less invasive in my life.  I’ve become more aware of my trigger foods, so I haven’t been getting as sick.  I slept more than usual after my last treatment.  I got 10 hours of sleep one night- something I hadn’t done since college.  (College was my nap Renaissance.)

Work needed me to fly to a conference in San Francisco on Wednesday.  My doctor had cleared me for air travel.  Her only comment was: “If there’s someone next to you who’s sick, you need to move.”  I didn’t point out that a plane is an enclosed space with recycled air circulating around.

Germ Plane

My seatmate wasn’t sick, but she talked so much that I think I would have preferred a sick person.  She sat next to me and said, “I don’t like to read or watch movies on planes,” which is exactly what every traveler wants to hear.  She did, however, like to complain about how long the plane was taking and inquired every five seconds what time it was.  I pretended to be asleep, but she just reached around me and started flirting with the guy next to me.

Luckily, I only had to sit next to her for 4 and a half hours.

The conference itself went very well.  I got to go out for an hour or two at the end of the day to walk around.  I went to Pier One (not the store) and got a fabulous seafood dinner.  There is no photographic evidence of my meal because I didn’t take pictures of it.  I’ve begun eating my meals instead of just taking pictures of them and placing them on Instagram. (Just like you’re not friends in real life until you’re friends on Facebook, you haven’t had a meal unless it’s been placed on Instagram.) I’m still in the test phase of this new food policy.  I don’t know how I feel about it.

I did take some pictures of the pier with my ever-dependable phone.

The sunset ruins what would have been a fantastic view of the light-up sign.  (That silly sunset, always ruining pictures.)
The sunset ruins what would have been a fantastic view of the light-up sign. (That silly sunset, always ruining pictures.)
This is NOT the Golden Gate bridge.  It's the less popular sister, the Bay Bridge.
This is NOT the Golden Gate bridge. It’s the less popular sister, the Bay Bridge.
Fun fact: The trolley cars go until midnight. Other fun fact: I was asleep well before that time.
Fun fact: The trolley cars go until midnight.
Other fun fact: I was asleep well before that time.

My seatmate on the flight home didn’t speak to me at all, so it was a much better experience.

The conference went really well, so I might get the chance to see more of San Francisco next year!  I was a bit worried the treatments would put everything at a complete standstill for 6 months, but that has proven to be false.  (In a good way.)

3 (Not to be confused with the Britney Spears song)

French Word of the Day: troisième (twa- see-em)- third

Shirts with three-quarter length sleeves are the clothing item to wear while getting treatments.  (I know you all worry the most about fashion when you’re getting sick.)  More of your arm is revealed for any needle action, and yet you can still stay somewhat warm.  Hospitals are generally 3 degrees below freezing at all times.  They keep it cold so that you’re too busy shivering to realize your food looks like this.

Luckily, I own almost exclusively three-quarter length shirts.  My wardrobe is getting a workout, and I plan to wear a different shirt to every session.

Check out the three-quarter length action.
Check out the three-quarter length action.

Today’s session has been going well- much better than last time.  I have my parents hanging out with me again.  They’ve been calling me Wonder Woman because of my red band, and have expressed their pride at my ability to type this all one-handed.

And with that, I’m off to use my superhero powers to convince the nurses to unhook me.

Ain’t No Party Like a Lupus Party

French Word of the Day: musique (mew- seek)- music

Yesterday was the kick off party for the Lupus Foundation of America, Illinois Chapter’s 2013 walks.   (There will be 5, but I’m only forcing you all to go to the Chicago one.  And by forcing, I mean using my Jedi mind tricks.)

I feel like all my photos should come with an "I never studied photography" warning.
I feel like all my photos should come with an “I never studied photography and this was taken with my camera phone” warning.

Due to Mother Nature’s determination to make the Chicagoland area America’s newest underwater attraction, the fête wasn’t as heavily attended as they were hoping.  (Side note: I hope everyone’s homes are okay!)  But there were still plenty of people there despite the rain, such as these attractive ladies:

Rocio and Katherine were lured by the free pool tables.
Rocio and Katherine workin’ the free pool tables.
My beautiful sister also showed her support and her shmancy watch.
My beautiful sister also showed her support and her shmancy watch. For those of you worried about all the cups around her, they contain non alcoholic beverages.  Probably.

Rocio sent out an email to our coworkers, and several of them gave us donations even though they couldn’t come.  It was lovely to have their support, as well!

I know, I know.  I emailed none of you.  I fail.  I’ll make it up to you by inundating you with reminders about the lupus walk. 12 a day everyday until September 29th- that sounds appropriate, right?

Enjoy the lupus love, but what you should really take from this photo is that Alyssa and my no-chip manicures still look FABULOUS a week and half after getting them.
Enjoy the lupus love, but what you should really take from this photo is that Alyssa and my no-chip manicures still look FABULOUS a week and half after getting them.

More Committee

French Word(s) of the Day: faire des progrès (fair day pro-gray)- to make progress

There has been another walk committee meeting.  They’re all women after my own heart- almost everyone brought food.  They also made plans for bringing more food next time.

I promise that food was not the only thing we discussed.  Although food takes up 75% of my thoughts, it only took up about 1% of our committee time.  Clearly, I’m not the one who runs the meetings or this percentage would be higher.  “Yes, I like what you’re saying about the runners, but did I hear you say you know how to make the best apple cobbler?  I think we’ll need to test that next meeting.”

I continue to be impressed by how on top of things everyone is.  It’s the opposite of those awful school projects where only one person (usually me) did all the work.  People do what they’ll say they will, and then they do EXTRA things on top of that. I’m really not used to other people I’m working with being responsible.  (Other than the people at my job.  But even then, only my direct team.  Not anyone else’s.)  I keep thinking there’s going to be a catch.

We’ve gotten a solid head start from last year.  The race route has been chosen!  (Again, I will not be running.  I have a theory that you should only run if you’re being chased or have to go to the bathroom.)

The person on the other side of this wall has a reason to run.
The person at the other end of the stone tunnel has a reason to run.

With all these fabulous ladies hard at work, I’m pretty positive this year will be the best yet.

We’ve been considering some new ideas for spreading the word about the walk, and there’s a chance we might need some volunteers.  I’ll keep you all posted!

Danse, Danse, Danse, Danse

French Word of the Day: danse (dawns)- dance

Entertainment is a beautiful form of escapism, and music is one of my favorites.  I’m a big fan of things that are happy and bubbly (I know I hide it well under a dark and depressing exterior), so it comes as no surprise that one of my favorite artists, Mika, sings pop songs.

Many people haven’t heard of Mika, but he’s a fabulous British man who (like me) lived in Paris and speaks fluent French.  I went to one of his first concerts in Chicago, and it was more like a carnival than a concert (in the best way possible).  They handed out lollipops, threw balloons into the audience, and came out on stage dressed in animal costumes.  Basically, he acts exactly like I would if I’d ever made it big as a singer.  Except at my concerts there would be an enormous spray of glitter from the ceiling at the very end.  And possibly a rainbow.

Record labels and concert venue managers would LOVE me.

So you can enjoy Mika’s talent, I’m posting a few songs.  This one has a few swears, but I’m hoping you’ll forgive me when you hear it:

And because we always need more French in our lives:

I’m not the only one who loves Mika.  His live show in Chicago was so popular that it sold out in presales, and tickets never made it to the general public.

My dad is also a Mika fan, and he was unwilling to accept that there weren’t any tickets available.  He began his quest for tickets during my last chemo session and sent out a few emails.  The venue manager took pity on his illness-ridden daughter (moi) and gave us guest passes.  (I’ve probably just spilled some great, unknown secret of the music world.  Oops.)

Mika Lincoln Hall

Our fellow concert goers used the occasion to express their creativity through their clothing.  One of the girls in front of us was wearing a glitter top hat.  I completely supported her because other than Halloween, Mardi Gras, your birthday, New Year’s Eve, and Saturday mornings at my apartment, there are only so many places you can wear a glitter top hat.

Mika’s show began with the most eclectic mix of songs I’ve ever heard- from the Beach Boys to Jay-Z to the Spice Girls to the Little Mermaid, he made sure everyone was represented.

Mika singingMika singing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I realize these are all very blurry.  My phone camera keeps everything in perfect focus until the moment I snap the picture.  I think it’s playing games with me.  I continue to blame the phone; there’s no way it’s user error.

Mika holds the lightbulb tragically

Those fairy lights are going to play a major role in my next apartment.  I will also grab them dramatically while I’m singing, because nothing makes you a better singer than grabbing onto a fairy light.  (It’s the electricity and the pain from being burned.)

Mika, fairy lights, and his gay back up people

Mika, my musical soulmate, I will go to your next concert in Chicago, so please return to me.

Trypanophobia

French Word(s) of the Day: une aiguille (ooon A-gwee-ah)- needle

This recovery time has been far less eventful than last time, thank God.  With the exception of the elephants, I haven’t had too many symptoms other than fatigue.  Although, my mother and sister can attest to this, a shot of espresso will get me going for a short while.

Side note: I quite frequently mispronounce words.  I will forever pronounce “espresso” as “expresso.”  Am I alone in this?  I see the “s”, I know it’s there; I’m just choosing to ignore it.

But back to that whole lupus thing (she wrote casually as if it was no big deal), I did still have to stop by the lab yesterday.  I have to get my blood drawn twice for every chemo session.  Once 3-5 days before treatment to make sure I’m healthy enough to receive it and once 10-12 days after to see if it’s working.

Every time I mention this, someone says, “Ew, I hate needles” as if this fear is completely unusual and unique to them.  I have yet to meet someone who says, “Oooo!  Needles!  I love getting stuck.  You know what’s even better?  When they miss and have to stick you more than once!  It’s like Christmas and Easter had a love child.”

Fun fact I learned while looking up the word of the day: there is a word for fear of needles (trypanophobia), but not one for love of needles.  I suppose you could say trypanophilia, but that’s not a word recognized by the dictionary… Probably because no one has ever needed to use it.

This fish is paralyzed by his fear of needles.
This fish is paralyzed by his fear of needles.

You really do get used to them after awhile.  You don’t like them, but they no longer cause the dread they used to.

I’ve been going to the lab so much that they know me there.  They’ve started sharing lab gossip with me.  That’s right- I’ve made it to the elusive inner circle.  You know you’re jealous.

 

EDIT:  I’ve gotten a lot of questions about where I’ve been getting all the animal photos.  I live a few blocks from the zoo, and it’s one of my favorite places on the planet.  I have about 50 billion photos stock piled from my visits, so you should expect to see even more animals in the future (and possibly some more Paint ones).  All photos are mine unless otherwise stated.