Monday, February 27, 2012

Hair today Gone Tomorrow!!!!

SO I am completely procrastinating since the movers are coming tomorrow and I have a few more things to pack, but whatever, I just got my laptop back after 2 days of not having it
(thanks Ken for fixing it!) and I had an URGE to just write today- and instead of talking about chemo,  dr. appts and medications, I wanted to talk about something super personal:

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my hair. I know you are all sick of me bitching about it and I know it will grow back (it better freakin' grow back or I will have a panic attack) 
BUT much like good, old skool  80's rap albums- it has been in heavy rotation on my mind.
 It's just that:


my natural hair, last summer.....

I miss being able to just throw it up with a clip and not worrying if the sides of my fake wig are showing...I miss being able to dye my hair darker if I felt like it, I miss having colored extensions...I miss the wind blowing in my hair and me not having to worry if my hair will blow away or if it will come off when I take my hat off. I miss being able to wear cute bows and headbands and sunglasses without it getting tangled. I miss the simple joys of having a haircut and a trim. I miss when I used to work out and if I was sweaty I could just tie my hair up and cool I have to take it off due to the UNBEARABLE hot flashes. I miss the weight of my hair. I miss being able to wash my hair and shampoo it with all the fancy girly smelling shampoos I've bought over the years. I miss the sound of a hairdryer. I miss being able to flat iron or curl my hair. I miss the leave in conditioners. And not to be creepy, but I also miss the smell of my hair. 

I envy other girls who have their natural hair while I have little stubs barely growing at the moment. 

This picture is from the last time I visited NY and the last time I had extensions because the next day when I came back to Boston, I got the phone call that I had breast cancer.

a mess, but still was my own

I don't think people understand how much of a bitch wearing a wig is. Sure, it's fun to change up your look and to try new things I otherwise would have never tried, but it's different wearing one with your real hair tucked in as opposed to having to wear one to cover your bald's hot and uncomfortable throughout the day and it gets heavy.  You also can't wash it like normal hair- since most of the time wigs are synthetic you have to use a special shampoo and wash it in a bowl or basin...which can be kinda creepy - you are hunched over the tub dipping and dunking the hair up and down and then you have to hang it to dry..there have been MANY a time when I've left my wigs around the apt and then I scare myself because they are creepy by themselves LOL....

Most of you are used to seeing me look like this lately:

my long dark black hair...

my more natural looking wig from dana-farber...

my crazy blonde one I never wear...

or my original very first wig from Lisa <3

I know you are sick of seeing all crazy pictures I take all the time of myself but these are all my little mirages to kinda hide from the truth a few hours a day. Everyone needs an escape from the truth sometimes and the wigs for me have given me a little bit of confidence back. I'm still a little girl at heart playing dress up with all my makeup and jewelry and that's just part of who I am and what I do. AND NO FUCKING CANCER WILL EVER TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME. EVER.

But because I have been so vocal about my own condition and have received so much wonderful feedback and awesomeness from everyone, I am willing to put aside my own insecurities and bullshit and show you how I look without any of my wigs. I'm sorry I know I still have makeup on, but I didn't want to look like a COMPLETE mess so let me have my turquoise eyeliner :)

Here I am, basic and just ME.

I hope I haven't scared anyone....LOL. I was told I have a good shaped head so at least that is a plus LOL. 

Anyhow, there you have it...I'm expecting Kojak jokes :) 

The important thing is: to always be yourself and to have fun and humor when you are going through some trifling bullshit. It's what gets me through the day. And to surround yourself with people that genuinely care about your well being. ( all my wonderful friends and family that have been very patient with me....That's all that matters. OH and good food too :) and unsweetened iced teas :)

Again, thank you for Vogue Wigs for helping me get through all of this with some fun and some humor... They really are a great company and have helped many women...

And again, if  this post of my bald head motivated you to donate to the Breast Cancer walk I am doing in July:please click :)

Do I feel a breeze in here? HAHAHH :)

Again, thanks for all the support! <3

Thursday, February 23, 2012

MRI/ Hearts/Benadryl Grossness/Donating

Sorry folks I know I haven't written since the beginning of the month. I have been super busy and overwhelmed with packing and moving into my new place:

new living room- this is not even half my crap- trust me!

I am moving from my beloved city side mission hill mecca (hehe pun since we did have a mecca living with us before) from having my roommate Emily to Allston minus the roommate and Vicky:( It will be a big change but I think it will be good for me in the long run...but TRUST me this was not something I wanted to do in between chemo treatments and other crap. It was kind of all of a sudden...but shit happens and life must go on so what can you do? I have been consumed with buying home goods and getting my very own furniture for the first time ever. All the stuff in my old apartment was Emily's so shopping for a brand new couch was both fun and annoying. Furniture stores are so weird and overwhelming...

Anyhow, moving on the cancer bullshit I know you all have been waiting for: the past 2 weeks consists of some interesting appointments...I had another MRI done which was OK. It was on a Saturday morning and it was eerily quiet and creepy at the hospital. The two nurses I had were super sweet and gossiped over the "toddlers and tiaras" show and told me they loved all my jewelry and tattoos...( I tend to get this from every nurse..LOL) ..if i didn't mention this before- I have really weak and weird veins where whenever someone draws blood from either one of my arms- they can never find my vein. I don't know if I'm a freakin' vampire or what- but it literally takes them 4 tries and by the end of it both my arms are always bruised. It's painful when they DIG the needle into my skin. Another fun fact about me is that I can't look when they draw blood and it goes into the little tubes. I literally get sick by even glancing at it, so imagine my neck spasms when I had to keep looking at both directions. 
The funny thing is one of the nurses was looking and trying to essentially hold my hand while the other nurse was trying to poke the needle into my left arm. The other nurse saw my lotus blossom tattoo on my wrist and she literally touched it and told me how cool it was and at that moment they found my vein! I knew the lotus blossom was my flower based on this ridiculous superstition I have about symbolism and things that help me get through shit. 
And I know I posted this pic on my fb before, but since the nurses thought I was a hot jewelry queen, they nicknamed me "glam girl" and wrapped a hot pink bandage on my bruise:

new spring line of jen bandages coming soon to stores :)

This hot pink bandage made climbing into a narrow bed and squishing my boobs in two cut outs while laying face down without moving for 20 minutes more bearable. So far so good.

The next uncomfortable appointment was on Valentine's Day. Yes, I got an echocardiogram on the day of disgusting love and hearts. Totally ironic I know. If you don't know what it is- it's basically a sonogram/ultrasound of your heart. The whole thing only lasted about 15 minutes but the tech I had was such a cold human being that it felt like I was there for hours. She had zero personality and was rough and hard. I went in and she told me to get in a johnny...then she awkwardly asked me why I needed this done...AS IF SHE DIDN'T know because these appts are all by referral by my I just said my rehearsed answer "well I have breast cancer and they needed to know how the baseline of my heart because I start the next round of chemo"...all she said was "uh-huh"...she then fake acted like she cared and asked me how I found out- and I had to go through the whole crap about getting laid off and going to the Dr's to use up my insurance and blah blah blah...she replied to it with a "mm hmm" then she was like "I hope you are collecting from the state" WTF? Thanks for all your sensitivity. She then told me to face the wall while she smeared that disgusting gel all over my chest and then proceeded to PRESS the FUCKING thing on my ribcage and chest SO hard I was wincing. Awkward. When it was all done she told me not to get up or the gel would get all over my hair and she threw me some towels to "clean up"..WTF I felt like I was a hooker. LOL Anyhow, when she finally left, I snuck a pic of my sonagram because she was stupid enough to leave it up:

don't get excited I'm not knocked up

So that was on to the grand finale....NEW CHEMO.
So I have been nervous about starting up my new chemo for the past couple of weeks because I am terrified of the new side effects and the nausea with all the moving and packing. In fact I was so scared of the recovery time that I picked up my key to the new place as early as I could to give myself extra time in case it would affect me badly. Normally I go to my parents and it takes me a week to recover but I was told this chemo has less of the nausea but again it affects everyone differently so I wanted to take caution.  
First off I had it yesterday and It was scheduled for 9am. This means at 9am I first get weighed and all my stats are done...I'd like to point out that both nurses were ooohing and ahhhing over my colorful jewelry again...and I wore the one necklace that I always get compliments on- my white swallow bird of the nurses asked me if it was a dove, and I explained that no, it was a swallow, and that sailors used them as a sign to get back home again when they are travelling far away....(sailor's valentines are one of the most coolest things btw) the other nurse winked at me and said "see we notice things like that" LOL..see, WOMEN just get jewelry. Men don't ever appreciate those things ...HAH.
When that is all done,  I see my oncologist and the nurse practitioner for the results of the MRI and ECHO then they draw blood, I wait and THEN I sign the release form for the new treatment and wait for the blood test results. When it's all clear you get all the presents in one chemo didn't start til 11am. I was running soo late. I set my alarm to 7:30 am since I am walking distance to the hospital and I literally woke up at 8:30 am and just sat there and didn't move for about 10 min. I told myself I needed to get my shit together and get ready, but no. I took my time logging onto pandora, finding the appropriate music channel and slowly going through my hamper for my jeans LOL. I didn't leave the apt to close to 8:55am and I BOOKED it through every short cut and side street I knew. I got there at like 9:10 am, so PROPS to me! LOL. 
My oncologist, Dr. Wulfe is pretty awesome. I think she is German, but she always comes in in a hurry- in the middle of conversations with my nurse practitioner Laura-  flips her hair and always carries this tan leather shoulder bag from the 80's. She gets right to the point and tells me that the TUMOR is getting smaller, and that all the MRI's and ECHO look great and then she just says - "just lift your shirt up so I can feel it" HAHHAAH. She then says "she is pleased with the treatments" and asked if I thought about the surgery yet. I told her not really and she told me I was really quiet. I just said I was tired and wanted the day to be over. She smiled and told me i could call her anytime to bitch LOL.

Anyhow, I was by myself as usual. My mom has the whole week off and she offered to come drop me off but it was early and I didn't want to hassle her since I live right down the street. I also told her if I was OK, I would walk home or if I didn't I would just cab it home. Both Steph and Vicky also offered to come meet me to walk me home or take a cab if need be, but I just played it by ear. 
Now comes the fun part. I got my usual nurse Paula and I love her. She is so accommodating and she explains everything as she is doing it and she actually is the type of person that should be a nurse. I imagine her to be an awesome grandma spoiling her grand kids with amazing candies and pies LOL..anyhow my new drugs were now Taxol and Herceptin. My nurse pract. told me that some side effects might be tingling in my hands and feet and my nails might change color...blah. Paula told me that the Herceptin might give me physical chills and to avoid any interaction she was going to give me some Benadryl to relax me and make me sleepy. Now I thought this Benadryl would be pill or liquid form by mouth, but it was INJECTED into me via IV in my port!!!!
The MINUTE she did this, she was like "you will start to feel sleepy" and I literally got drowsy and my eyes were closing...I could FEEL the liquid soaking through my bloodstream and then it HIT me. I felt like I was going to throw up. I started getting really numb in my feet and couldn't move. Not to be completely gross but I could feel vertigo and you know when your mouth waters and it's a sign you are about to blow some chunks? Well it was happening. I didn't know what to do I was paralyzed and freaking out because I couldn't move and I was attached to the IV and I wouldn't make it to the bathroom. By some great miracle my machine beeped and a random nurse came in to fix it... She asked me how I was and I said "I feel like I'm going to throw up" She immediately grabbed me a bowl thing and it was by me in bed and she closed the curtains. I felt a little better that at least if I threw up no one would be looking. ON TOP of all that the physical chills were starting. They gave me a warm blanket and let me tell you it didn't do ANYTHING. I was shivering and have never felt so miserable in my life. Between the nausea and the body change I felt like my body was shutting down. And I was freaking out cause no one was there with me to console me and calm me down. Paula came in and looked mournfully at me. She saw the bowl and told me she would get me my dissolvable anti-nausea med. I took it and hoped for the best. 
I never did throw up. I give my body supppppper props for going through all this shit and never throwing up. The feeling lasted about 20 minutes and it was even more disgusting then the first round of chemo- at least with that the nausea usually sets in slowly and I can control it with meds but this was an onslaught all at once. OMG so sickening and gross. i really don't know if I can go through that 11 more times! ( I have to 12 of these sessions once every week before surgery) ..Paula came back in awhile and told me the next time we could do the Benadryl by mouth instead. Thank GOD.
And of course, moms always know when shit goes down and she had called me earlier but I was knocked out so I called her back half an hr before my treatment would be done and she asked if I wanted her to pick me up. At that point I was so drowsy and disorientated and I needed to get some bottles of water for the apt anyhow and I def. had no desire to walk and lug that crap home, so I quickly caved in and said sure. I stumbled to my mom's car still feeling gross, but she took me out to lunch in my hood and escorted me to walgreens where I could buy not only water but two huge bags of peanut butter m+ms (my new fave) and almond m+ms :)
When I got home to my apt, I sat around for an hour and promptly passed out for a few hours. I am delighted to say that i am not really even nauseous from this chemo at all. I've been eating regularly and its been fine so far but I am worried about how I will feel the next round since I will be moved by that time and will have to drive back here on my own. Guess we will find out. 
OK....I am almost done:
Last but not least:

I know you guys are sick of all my FB postings about this and I don't want to nag and I hate asking people for favors but Me and Vicky are doing the Susan Komen 3 day walk for Breast Cancer in July and we would really appreciate if people would help us out and donate. I am hoping that my surgery will be over by then because I was actually advised not to do it by my surgeon, but how many times do people say no in your life and you push yourself anyways? And this is something that I am really looking forward in doing and think it would make me feel stronger and better and more myself again. And I get to wear hot pink and look fabulous so why not? The 3 day walk is 60 miles in total, and we both have to raise $2300 in order to even DO the walk. We will be putting on some benefits and some money raising ideas in the next couple of months ( maybe a silent auction/raffle, etc) so we will try to give back as much as we can. If you have already donated (which a few people already have) THANK YOU SOOOO much, it made me so happy!! So far I've raised $285, (EDIT- as of this post $405!- THANK YOU!! ) so I am very happy about that. 

If you are interested in donating here is my personal page:

Once you click on it it will be my page where you can donate directly to me. If you want to donate to Vicky as well, you can click on our team name "Pippi's Longstockings" and then you can click on Vicky's name. If you want to participate and join in the walk with us you can do it on that page as well! The more the merrier!!!! :) They have a deal going on now if you enter the code "save25" it takes $25 off the registration fee which is a big help!
Hope you can join or donate! It would mean a whole bunch to us!

Next time I will do a bigger blog on this as it gets closer to the date but I wanted to start on it now!

Again, thanks everyone for your continuing love and support and friendship...I'm almost there :)
xoxoxxoox Jen or Mizz Pip :) <3

Friday, February 3, 2012

No Man's Land

I know I have been super behind in all my posts but I have been in a sort of whirlwind carefree denial about things lately. I seem to be stuck on random memories. My mind keeps wandering back to over this past summer before all of this shit happened. When I had ALL my hair that I constantly complained about and kept blowing in my face- rewind to where I lounged on the rooftop of my apt, basking in the haze of the hot, humid city sun- hearing the train and kids yelling and sipping unlimited iced teas, laughing over stupid shit with Vicky and not really worrying much about what was going to happen the next day or the day after that. I worked out every day and I felt my body get stronger and I was following a regiment and was proud of it.  I was finally happy with where I was going - body wise and it was a lot of work but it was worth it. 


Now a days, the air is colder and I'm wrapped up in like 10 layers of hoodies and my new found obsession with hats and I can feel my body just kinda getting a little bit weaker and it depresses me a little. I haven't really worked out actively for about 2 months now- I mean don't get me wrong, I'm still active and eat healthy and take little walks when I can etc, but I def. feel a shift in my body- Kinda like its saying: "UUUHHH what are you doing to me now? I hate you, stop torturing me!!" I just haven't been motivated to physically do it. And I don't even know why. Everyone tells me to "take it easy" and you don't need to worry so much about it, but to me i obsess about it because it's something I can easily control. Weight wise I am still the same which perplexes me. I have counted a handful of times where people- who I haven't really seen in awhile and don't know about the cancer, take one look at me and say "wow, you lost a lot of weight" some ways its satisfying that someone notices but at the same time it's like well, fucked up because I have the fucking cancer!!!!! I almost want to scream "It's because my appetite is all fucked up and my stomach is constantly in pain and it's hard for me to enjoy a lot of good food anymore- so I eat less".  i don't know. I know I am being completely ridiculous but I am neurotic so this is the shit that goes on in my head. Weight is all irrelevant I know since it comes with the territory but I'm really not in the mood to gain any weight since I worked my ass to get it off.  And I can't buy anymore new jeans since I am unemployed LOL.

I don't want to bore everyone with all the details of the last 2 chemo sessions but CHEMO III was okay. Not much more I can say about it.  I was still a bit nauseous before/after and my new nurse Paula was pretty great and paced me with all the meds so when I got home the last time, I pretty much took zofran/ativan morning noon and night to not deal with the nausea and just ate what I wanted. I def felt like I overate at times but like my mother says "at least you have your appetite." So I kinda just went with the flow and enjoyed what I could eat.

CHEMO IV which I just had this past Monday was a really tough one for me. Tough in the fact that it was my last chemo session for this horrible nauseating cycle. This does not mean I'm off the hook just yet folks- it just means the worst part of the chemo is over. i dreaded this day for weeks and weeks. In fact the week before, I had my little bday outing because my Dr gave me an extra week to re-coop from the last chemo and it was the one week in this whole ordeal when I felt myself again. i felt normal and I wasn't sick for once. I didn't have to take any pills and I ran my normal errands like I always did.  I was giggly and happy and excited to go out for once because I haven't gone out with my friends to a club in weeks....I was excited to get all dolled up and just do something fun and not think about all this shit over and over again. I felt whole again during that week- almost felt like all of this was just a blur and it was just a really bad horrible dream. Of course when I put on my strapless dress on and got ready alone upstairs in my apt, I saw in the mirror that my port was sticking out on my chest a little, and I could see my scar from the surgery and my wig was a little crooked, and I still hated wearing pantyhose- BUT it was okay... I was going to be normal and have fun that night. GODDAMN IT!

*As a side note- a lot of my old high school friends came out and a few people I didn't even expect to come out actually came out and hung out and I wanted to say thank u to everyone that did- it was def a fun night and it touched me that so many of you came out to represent- even in the cold and snow :) only after a lil fb evite...I'm still sorry the venue wasn't the greatest and the DJ sucked but I was still glad I saw all of you :)

Anyhow, AGAIN I digress....this last chemo I was jumpy and just eager for it to be over. My mind was really not in the greatest place. I'm actually moving next month to another apt and I'm actually pretty sad about it...I love the roof and my room and the sunlight and all the fun memories I had in the past year at this place (and of course living with my friends Vicky and Emily) and I was dealing with finding other people to live there and thinking about packing all my shit up and surrendering my lil haven just gives me anxiety. My dad was with me for most of the morning but of course right before the chemo starts, he always takes off a little early....this is not because he wants to or he is being un-supportive or any of that shit- because my dad has been pretty great and sensitive with this bullshit. He gets me all the junk food I want and cooks me little gourmet steaks at like 10pm and buys me random stuffed animals because he thinks I am eternally 10 in his eyes....LOL... I think it's just hard for him to watch them pump all these chemicals into his little girl so he keeps himself occupied by going shopping then coming back to pick me up LOL.  I know it's hard for him and he tries to tell me things like "hey, you actually don't look bad bald" and gives me that cheer up kiddo nudge :)

I don't know. This time around I was just mentally not there and on top of that my stomach was in knots and is actually STILL hurting me now and it's Friday night. They actually ran out of chairs so I got a bed this time but it was not re-assuring since it gave me flashbacks of last month when I was in the hospital for a week: Sitting there alone, I almost broke into tears for no reason. I just looked around and there were so many other people there- both young and old and it made me choke up that we all had to go thru this fucked up journey and somehow try to remain positive through it. My nurse Paula kinda saw that I was a lil upset so she kept reassuring me and said "you will never have to deal with this cycle again- so congrats!!" ....I still felt like shit though and super emotional.  The next day -I dragged myself out of bed- (groggy, nauseous, depressed and all)  to get my final neulasta shot with Paula. 
 It was over in less than a minute along with a swig of dissolvable zofran in my mouth. Back to bed I went. 

what a sterile view :)
Thanks Steph for my light reading :)

not feeling so hot

Also, the mere thought of the word "chemo" makes me want to physically throw up all week.        (And thank god I still haven't on that note) I can't even look at red drinks or HI-C or fruit punch or anything that makes me remotely think of the medication because it literally turns my stomach.  I also have eaten less this week because of this word association I am playing in my mind.  I know it's just all in my head and I should be happy that this cycle is over but I'm really not. I just feel doom and dread and the next cycle is really going to KILL me if not send me over the edge. My DR. has informed me that I will have to do the next cycle of chemo 12 times. Once a week.  ONCE a FREAKIN WEEK for 12 FUCKING TIMES.  AND I have to speak to a surgeon, get a new MRI and an echo-cardiogram in the next week. Needless to say I am a walking bag of nerves and a wreck. But I am trying to just stay focused and be positive and not freak out. Maybe it's time for another pretty dress to  buy to distract me. At least I won that $100 gift card from so I can at least entertain you all with new videos/pictures and ridiculous posts :)


ALSO in case you missed my crazy post on FB as a thank u for all the support/bday wishes:

NEXT BLOG: SUSAN KOMEN 3 DAY WALK and how you can help me!

Thank you for reading, caring and bitching along with me <3