Another year

School’s started once again, and I’m proud to say I’m finally back full time, and busy as ever. Apparently life doesn’t stop for cancer, which isn’t really fair. Most of my friends… all of my friends… have graduated. I made a few new friends in Geology, and it’s nice to hang out with them between classes. Unfortunately, I’m at school on Tuesday and Thursdays from 8 am to 9 pm, with a few hours break in the middle of that mess. I’ve actually got to be at school by 7:45 this morning, and it’s 2 am now. I just can’t sleep (which is weird). I was hoping to get 8 hours of sleep tonight, but that’s not going to happen, obviously. I guess teaching at 8 am is going to force me to go to mineralogy every morning.

I also joined the kendo club on campus. There are 7 other new members, which is great! A girl named Devynn is usually paired with me, since we’re the same height. It’s easiest to spar with someone your own size. The work outs exhaust me, but it’s a good kind of exhaustion! I’m really enjoying myself so far.

On the cancer front, I still have maintenance chemo, and there’s no cancer so far. I’ve gained most of my weight back, which I hate the most. Of course, I was supposed to. I just didn’t want to. It’s not fair 😦

I’ll try to keep this updated more as the quarter goes on!

Grrrrr

I’ve had two rounds of chemo now, since I had my relapse a month and a half ago (I’m on two days on, then 15-18 days off – it’s a weird schedule, actually… a bit different than the first time). I feel like shit, I’m nervously waiting for my hair to abandon my head, and I’m still trying to be a full time student and teacher at the same time.  It’s really, really hard.  Just this week, when I was in the chemo dungeon at the hospital (I call it the chemo dungeon, even if it is a nice room, because it feels like torture), I tried to get some homework done. One of the nurses came by to see how I was doing, and she commented on what class it was for.

“It’s Mineralogy, a class where I have to learn over 100 minerals by sight and chemical name, much like o-chem.”
“Oh, Honey, you won’t get through that class this year. You have cancer to worry about.”
“Fucking watch me, then!”

Yeah, I did say the f-word.  Usually I’m so nice to the nurses, especially since they’re super awesome. But, I’ve had mood swings, I’m still stuck in a weird limbo between being a functioning woman and menopausal at 25, and HORRIBLE hot flashes where I want to throw myself into the freezers at Safeway. I hate it when people tell me I can’t do something. It really, really pisses me off. Just the other night, I had a nightmare where people wouldn’t believe me when I said aliens were slowly taking over the world and brainwashing people (yeah, I have weird nightmares, okay?). And, believe me when I say it wasn’t the aliens that frightened me, oh no. It was the fact that people thought I was stupid. I’ve always had that fear, especially since I know I’m a weird person, and I say weird things (constantly). But… I’m smart, okay? Geeze. I’m a friggin card-carrying member of Mensa! I solve logic puzzles for fun! I mean, wtf is wrong with me? *shrugs* Ok, I got a bit off-topic.

I hate me my cancer. That’s what I was getting at. It makes me feel weak and separated from my friends. I don’t even see my sister all that often, or even hear from her, because we’ve both been sick lately. We’ve just not been able to connect. (She had her gallbladder removed a few weeks back, and even if the doctors insist on that being a week recovery, it’s not. They’re liars.) Couple that with our busy schedules… it’s amazing that I see her even once a month, even though we live in the same, small town.

The only people I see on a regular basis are my students, a few acquaintances in my classes, and my roommate. He takes care of me – my Caregiver, even though he hates the term – and insists “just anyone” would do what he does…even if we both know that’s not true.

Bleh, I feel gross. It’s a quarter after three in the morning, and I’ve yet to sleep tonight, even though I’m physically and mentally exhausted. My chemo keeps me awake, but I’m not allowed to take sleeping pills (something about thinning my blood… I dunno, I have a tendency to ignore my onc because I think he’s a dumbass and I frankly just don’t care). At least I don’t have crap to do on fridays, save for a geology lab from 4-5 pm, and my office hours from 5-6 (very poorly chosen, but hey, what can I do? I got the short straw.)

I DO want to say that I appreciate the Twisters on Twitter. They’re my little online family. I’ve never met any of them, but I can tell them anything, and they support me 120%. We’re all cancer survivors, and in 140 characters, spread love, hope, and wellness to each other. My town is too small to have a cancer support group for people my age, but with Twitter, I have access to hundreds of ‘survivors’, and it is better than any support group I can think of. So, *muah* to the Twisterhood! I love you all!

And with that, I’m either going to go to sleep, or play Scribblenauts on my DSi. Nighty night!

Operation: Livestrong a total success

I forgot to post on how my day of filming went. It was pretty awesome.  I was tired – I had maybe 2 hours of sleep the night before – but in good spirits. The film crew, which consisted of the cameraman, Wilson, the director/sound guy, Mat, and the two Livestrong representatives, Laura and Devon.  Laura and Devon were super fun to hang out with while interviews were being conducted with my friends.  The three of us stood off to the side and gossiped, and I gave them a swift tour of the “Betty Crocker classroom” at OSU.  It’s a classroom with a kitchen on a stage, complete with 1950’s accouterments.

People both in my physics class and at Post-Fragua were not thrilled that a camera crew was tagging along with me.  They asked, “Gah, Kristin, why didn’t you tell us so we could look nice?”  And I responded, “Well, we’re supposed to look like normal. Now, it wouldn’t be normal if the guys all wore ties and collared shirts, now would it?”  Livestrong, last week, sent a box with gifts for the Newman Center people, so I’m going to give those out at PF next time I go.  They filmed me walking a lot.  I remember them asking me to walk past the camera, ignoring them, and then stopping right afterwards.  Then, they’d film me walking to a certain point, where I’d stop, they’d walk past me, and the process would start all over again.  I had to have pretend conversations with my friends, unmiced, and then miced, staged conversations about how cancer feels, or how my friends and family helped.

The most awkward part of the entire situation was the hour-long interview with me sitting in Sue’s office at the Newman Center.  They asked me all sorts of questions, like, “What were you diagnosed with?” “How did chemo affect your schoolwork?” “What suggestions do you have for newly diagnosed college students?”  To be honest, those probably weren’t even the questions they asked.  Well, damn, I don’t know.  Now that I think about it, I answered some of those questions in ways I wouldn’t have answered now that I’ve had time to think about it.  They want pictures from treatment, when I had no hair and looked like crap, but I have very few pictures from that time, simply because I didn’t think I looked very pretty.

I’m glad the entire situation is over with, but I enjoyed the time I had with Mat, Wilson, Devon, and Laura.  I sort of wish I got a second day with all of them!  I did take a few short movies with my video camera while I was at McMenamins, and if I get them uploaded, I’ll post the links eventually.

Blissful Respite

When said like that, blissful respite could mean a day at the coast, the spa, or even a day away from school.  For me, blissful respite is a day away from the friggin heat.  Yay, Oregon is now around 60 degrees, and it rained.  How I missed you, rain.  You have quenched the thirst of my poor, poor plants, especially my hydrangeas, which look pathetic.  Thank you, rain.  And now my house isn’t 100 degrees, and I don’t have to leave the windows open and fans on, which means my eyes won’t water.  Glorious rain!

On another note, cancer is neither blissful or glorious.  I have Hemorrhagic Colitis, thanks to the chemo.  So, for us normal people, that means I’m bleeding from my colon, and it’s quite uncomfortable.  I’ve been pulled off of all oral medications, and he’s going to delay my chemo a few days to make sure I’m okay by next week.  We’ll see. 😛  This is just another setback in a long list of setbacks.  I’m not excited about that at all, but whatever.

Another note, I’m watching Chelsea play Manchester United in the Champions League final right now, live from Moscow.  It’s actually being played over two days, having started at 23:45 local time (11:45 here), and Man U is already up 1-0.  I’m disappointed in Chelsea, because they’re playing timidly, and aren’t playing like they should be.  Frankly, they don’t deserve to win right now, which just breaks my heart.  They worked SO HARD to get here, and had that amazing match against Liverpool.  But, it’s a totally different team today, and I’m wondering why.  Granted, Man U is getting away with a lot of stuff that they shouldn’t be, and Makelele got a yellow card for no reason except that the red felt he had to prove himself and say, “Hey, I’m not going to let you get away with murder like you usually do.”  What a cunt.  So I’m pulling my imaginary hair out.  Actually, I put my wig on because I was wearing a dress earlier… I got a dress from Nordstrom, and had to try it on… it’s quite sexy (but that’s besides the point), so yeah, I never took my hair off.  Yay hair.  It makes me feel pretty.

I’m going to go watch Chelsea (most likely) not win, but I’m hoping they will!!!

Oregon State – Fight Fight Fight!

The battle for [American] football supremacy is a long-belaboured tradition in Oregon.  The Civil War – the ‘battle’ so to speak of north vs. south, or rather Oregon State (the north, non-commies) vs. Oregon (southern, dirty commie bastards).  Don’t let my opinions get in the way of your appreciation of an inferior university (Oregon, not Oregon State).  No matter!  This weekend was the 111th Civil War game – the 7th oldest meeting in the country.  (Another example would be the Big Game of Stanford vs. Cal… my family are Cardinals, so of course we root for Stanford… and they won [which was a fluke – like England losing to Croatia.]).

Okay, so we won.  This is a very, very big deal.  Not only were they a ranked team (17th when we started… unranked when we finished), but it was at Autzen Stadium, and not at Reser (our home turf).  No away team has won in 20 years or so (don’t quote me on that), so it was exciting.  We were tied in the final minutes, and went into first OT.  Still no score, I believe.  Then we went into second OT, and they got a field goal (for 3 pts).  We scored a touchdown, and the extra point.  OMFG Ashley and I went ballistic!! We were yelling and pumping our arms in the air and high-fiving.  2nd best feeling in the world to OSU winning the College World Series (twice).

We were robbed of a touchdown in the middle of the game, but I’ll let that slide since we won.  But, if the retarded call was made by the SAME retarded ref from a few weeks ago when we butchered the huskies, I’m going to have some anger issues.  A flaming baggy of doggy doo may end up on the Pac-10’s porch.