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.

Les Éléphants

French Word(s) of the Day: les éléphants (lays el-eh-fawn)- elephants

The second chemo session hit me a little harder than the first.  I had a headache before it had finished, so I’d already guessed this might be the case.

I woke up the next night feeling like an elephant was sitting on my chest.  While elephants are my favorite animal, I’d much prefer it if a much smaller animal was sitting on me… like a bunny.

Don't tread on me!
Don’t tread on me!

It turned out to be intense heartburn, and I’ve been banned from eating chocolate and spicy foods around chemo time and had my medicine increased.  (I’m allergic to some forms of heartburn medication because I’m allergic to everything- including myself- so my doctor had a hard time figuring out what to do about it.)

That’s right- chocolate.  OH THE INHUMANITY!  Take my arm, my leg, my hair, but not my ability to eat chocolate!!!

Don’t worry, everyone.  It’s only for about 3 days after chemo.  I’ve already had some chocolate since then.  Actually, I’ve had a lot of chocolate.  And cake.  And chocolate cake.

I could tell I looked bad at work on Thursday because everyone kept asking me if I was okay.  Having elephants on your chest is serious business.  My boss asked me if I wanted to leave for the day, but if there’s anything more stubborn than an elephant, it’s someone with an elephant on their chest.

For everyone who’s worried I’m pushing myself too hard, I managed just fine.  It was an easy day and I went home and rested directly afterwards.

Thursday was my only truly bad day.  I’ve been a bit tired, but everything’s been manageable.  I think I’ve figured out all my food triggers.  (My food triggers: anything that tastes good.) It’s very scientific, being sick.  Lots of trial and error and experiments over here.  I’m considering getting a lab coat to wear around the house with “It’s always lupus” written in purple script where the doctor’s name typically goes.

Everyone has just been so supportive throughout everything.  I do read everyone’s comments and I appreciate them.  Among other things, my aunt got me ginger beers for work, my lovely godmother made me my own meal at a party on Sunday, and my parents and Alyssa came over to help me clean.  I haven’t really had the energy to tidy up, and it’s been LOVELY to have a clean, put-together room.  (I have room to dance around in my purple tutu!)  My family and friends are one fabulous bunch, let me tell you.

Gros bisous!

Le Deuxième

French Word of the Day: deuxième (dooze-E-em) second

Well folks, treatment number two has arrived!  Both my parents have joined me again.  My mom brought cookies for all the nurses in the infusion lab (for bribery to get the best chair, I assume.  She’s a tricksy one, that Siobhan).  The nurses loved the cookies and have been extremely nice (well-played, mom, well-played).

To be fair, they were nice last time too.

I have been warned several times that the effects are accumulative, so I’ll get at least as sick if not sicker this time- but also assured that sometimes people don’t have any issues at all.  (“It’s probably going to SUCK, but it could also be okay.  Who knows, right?”)  Gotta love how forthright the medical community is.  I’m going to be the first person who gets less sick each time.  By the sixth time, the chemo won’t even enter my body- it’ll just go straight through.

My partner in chemo crime.
My partner in chemo crime.

Well, I’d love to stay and chat, but we’re busy watching TV shows about polygamy.  (HBO’s Big Love anyone?  I think we’ve confused everyone else in the room with our running commentary.  “Wait, he’s getting ANOTHER wife?”  “Oh, she’s so gonna kill him.”)

C’est ici!

French Word(s) of the Day: C’est ici! (say ee-see)- it’s here!

Well everyone, it’s chemo time.  Based on the messages and words of comfort I’ve gotten from everyone, you’re all way more freaked out about this than I am.  I appreciate the concern.  I’m doing splendidly.  I think I’m making people nervous with how calm I am.

I’m typing this while getting my IV.  I’ve got 6 hours to kill.

I knew everything was going to be okay when the nurse said, “You can eat and drink as much as you want whenever you want.”

They have a “Be respectful of those around you” policy, which is code for “no guitars.”  I don’t think I’ll get to fulfill my dream of starting a jam session in the infusion lab.  I’m not supposed to bend my arm during the infusion, so guitar playing isn’t an option.  There’s a little monitor that beeps every time your arm is bent too much.  Apparently my arm is constantly bending, because I’ve set that thing off about 3,000 times today.

My mom and dad both kept me company (they’re such troopers, those two!) and got to watch me as I attempted to eat lunch without moving my arm.  As I’m well known for my incredible coordination, this went well.  My shirt thought everything was delicious.

I’ve been reading all day, and it’s been glorious.  I’ve already finished a book during my time here.  I realize you’re not supposed to call time spent getting chemo glorious, but I’m an English major who doesn’t have time to read anymore.  It takes me weeks to finish a single book.  This is like being in a library… a ugly library where they stick you with needles and take your blood pressure every hour.

I had my dad take photos so that you’d all have photographic evidence that I’m not falling apart at the seams.

I may have forced him retake this photo several times, but he only rolled his eyes once because he loves me.
I may have forced him retake this photo several times, but he only rolled his eyes once because he loves me.
I had to tell off the photographer for his bad jokes.
I had to tell off the photographer for his bad jokes.

I shouldn’t get too sick, but I’ll post over the weekend so that you know I’m okay.  I have a very full schedule of hanging out and doing nothing planned.

Drop ‘Em

French Word of the Day: la fesse (la fess)- buttocks

I’m sure you’re all looking at the word of the day and thinking, “Meghan, what?!”  You now understand how I felt when the nurse came into my exam room with a long needle and said, “Drop your pants.”

I responded the only way I knew how.  “I don’t think we’ve known each other long enough to take our relationship to that level.”

My face when the nurse came in.
My face when the nurse came in.

That’s right; today was menopause shot day.  It actually wasn’t that bad, so I think I’m finally becoming immune to needles.

The doctor who came in was really excited about my lupus.  He kept asking me questions about my past and sharing studies about lupus that the hospital had published.  At one point, he called it all “fascinating,” which is just how you want to hear your medical history described by a medical professional.

I won’t start to see the effects until a few weeks from now, but I will be able to drink properly on my birthday.  Three cheers for alcohol!  (I haven’t been able to drink more than a glass or two since September 2011.)

This is my 100th post.  I’m glad I was able to make it all about a deep and meaningful word.

Week One

French Word(s) of the Day: plus tard (plew tard)- later

Thanks for the kind words, everyone!  This blog is intended to keep everyone curious informed.  If anyone asks how I’m doing, please feel free to send them this link.  They’ll probably say, “Can’t you just summarize?  Reading all that sounds like a lot of work.” But it exists!

The first week of strong medication is officially complete.  It wasn’t the complete and total success they were hoping for.  I spent the first four days getting sick every single night, so they took me off the CellCept for a bit.  (How excited are you all to currently have that image in your heads?!  I hope you’re not reading this while eating.)

They’re not sure if I caught a bug or if it was the medication, but we’re going a more gradual route for right now.

Don’t worry everyone; I’ve had my flu shot!  No more hospital visits for Meghan.  The last time was enough for the next few years, I should think.

I’m incredibly stubborn, so I’m refusing to let my medications take over my life as much as they’re trying to.  I’ve started a diet and exercise regimen to counteract their effects.  As it’s the start of the year, I’m pretty sure everyone in the office just thinks I’ve just made really intense New Year’s Resolutions.

The diet will be discussed at a later date in case there are any fellow Prednisone users out there interested.  (Spell check wants to change “Prednisone” to “prisoner.”  I think that’s a fairly accurate change.)

I’ve been feeling much better these last few days, and I’ve been pretty active.  I even made it to Pilates class yesterday and the gym today!  Even though it’s not on the diet, I did have some cake this weekend.  It’s never a bust week when there’s cake involved.

m&r's cake