The Sonia Show

Writer. Mocker. Beer drinker. Old movie watcher. Mother. Goober.


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Five Guys, Sunday brunch and a zoo

Yeah, so, it’s been almost two weeks since I last blogged. My apologies.

Here’s the update: I completed the final round of AC, so I’m going to be all about the taxol for 12 weekly doses starting June 5. Jealous? I sure hope not.

This final round wasn’t an easier. I do chemo on Friday, and usually by Monday I am able to taper off some of the anti-nausea meds. By Tuesday, I’m down to just taking the occasional zofran.

This time around, I had that queasy feeling well into Wednesday, and that’s with acupuncture on Monday and Wednesday. On Wednesday, we took the acupuncture to the next level. In the past, the needles have been in my feet and calves, but due to the lingering queasy feeling, he put needles in my hands, too. That meant for 25 minutes I really had to just lie there. No screwing around on my phone. No reading some lame fashion magazine. It’s relaxing, but we do the acupuncture in the infusion center, which is the same area I receive chemo. I can hear talking and machines beeping. It reminds me chemo, and thinking about chemo makes me feel queasy. It’s hard to tune it all out. I wish it was more of a spa-like setting. Of course, I wish everything was a spa-like setting. The world would be a better place.

Other than that lingering queasiness that is now gone, this round has been uneventful, and we like uneventful. Mighty, mighty good man David is traveling for work this week, so I’m glad that I’m feeling relatively normal.

OK, enough chemo talk … We had a nice three-day weekend. On Saturday, we went to Concord to see the family. We hardly ever try to eat in restaurants with The Kid anymore, because it’s just too unpredictable. The Kid might sit down and eat, or he might wander around the restaurant, and one of us (usually David) will end up walking around the restaurant and then scarfing down cold food. This time around we had a successful lunch at Five Guys in Concord. Calvin loved it there, and we were all able to sit down and eat like normal human beings. It was pretty cool.

Lunch time.

Lunch time.

Whenever we try to bring Calvin to a restaurant in San Francisco, I feel like we get dirty looks.

“Oh great. They brought their kid.” [sigh]

It makes me feel like a dick. One of the good things about the burbs, they expect you to bring a kid, so it ain’t no thang. Calvin did really awesome and sat at the table and ate his lunch. But at one point he got out of the chair, and basically did a downward-facing dog next to the table for no reason. People didn’t even notice. There was music playing, too, so a few times The Kid got up and started dancing. Once again, people seemed totally fine with that. Of course, Calvin is a pretty good dancer, so obviously people would be cool with it.

On Sunday, we had brunch at our new friends’ house. They live just up the hill from us in a really cool place. They live in a grownup house with nice things. We’re renters with a “Star Wars” poster on the wall. HA!

Brunching buddies.

Brunching buddies.

We met our new friends, Lucy and Richard, through Calvin. Our kid and their son Albert met at preschool, and they are best buddies. Lucy and Richard were kind enough to invite us over for Sunday brunch, and we were nice enough to trash their lovely home for four hours. Aww new friendship! Next time, they can trash our place. It’s only fair.

On Monday, we went to the zoo, because that’s pretty much what we do every weekend now.

“Oh, you again.” – all the animals.

As usual, we followed Calvin’s lead throughout the zoo and did whatever he wanted. He spent some time chasing seagulls in the playground. He also discovered that the men’s restroom has a fan, and that’s pretty exciting. We stopped by the carousel. Calvin likes to look at it, but he never wants to get on it. This time, he actually stood in line and said he wanted to try it, but he chickened out. He’s getting closer to actually getting on it, though. #progress

Soon.

Soon.

We had a great time at the zoo, and I think Calvin wore himself out – just a little bit.


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You give me fever, too

Yeah, so, tomorrow is chemo day, so I’m getting that overall sense dread that I always get the day before. It sucks.

I’m pleased that this will be the last of the AC part of the ACT. I have been told repeatedly that the T is easier to deal with, so … good times, I guess? I have 12 weekly doses of taxol, so I hope that’s true. The AC certainly hasn’t been awesome. Along with nausea (which I’ve been able to manage pretty well with the meds and acupuncture), hair loss, and the constant battle between constipation and diarrhea, one of the side effects I’ve been struggling the most with is the low white blood cell count.

Even though I give myself shots to boost my white blood cell count, I’m still battling germs, because I’m so afraid I’m going to end up in the hospital again. I actually limit my time out and about because I’m so paranoid. To me, everything is a germ factory … including my kid.

Calvin got a cough and a fever. Obviously, I wanted to comfort him and mother him, but I had to keep my distance. Mighty, mighty good man David snuggled with him in his bed, and I lingered outside the door. “Are you guys OK in there?” “We’re fine. Try to stay away,” David replied.

I didn’t do very well at staying away. Or, I should say Calvin didn’t do very well at staying away from me. As soon as David wasn’t looking, Calvin would be all over me and sticking his face in my face and breathing all over me. I knew I was doomed, and I was right. A cough and a fever is an interesting choice for a Mother’s Day gift. I would prefer flowers.

I infected you! Ha ha!

I infected you! Ha ha!

On Friday, I developed a nasty cough and a fever of 100.5. I’m not supposed to call Kaiser unless it hits 101. So, all day my fever sat at 100.5, taunting me. I started to worry that the fever would climb in the middle night. I didn’t want to wake up David and the kid, and make David drive me to the ER. I really didn’t want to take a cab and go to the hospital alone, either. Finally, I broke down and called in the early evening, and the doctor said that 100.5 was close enough to 101, so I should come into the ER.

My sister Michelle drove all the way from Concord to take me. She’s good people. We spent the evening chatting it up in the ER while they took my blood, gave me an IV to hydrate me, and I tried to mentally prepare myself for another hospital stay. Of course, once I got to the ER, the fever went away. Fevers are such dicks. My blood work showed that my white blood count was fine. I was so relieved when they sent me home.

The fever came back the next day, but it sat at 100.5 again all day long. I went to bed early, and the fever broke at some point in the middle of the night, because I woke up soaking wet from sweat. The fever is gone, but the cough remains. I’ve laid low all week in the hopes I can get rid of the cough before tomorrow. Dealing with chemo nausea with a cough doesn’t sound awesome to me.

Before I got the cough and fever, I tried to pretend I was a normal person and went to the movies. It’s the first time I’ve seen a movie in the theater since THE SECOND “Hobbit” movie. That’s right. The girl who used to see all the movies hadn’t seen a movie in the theater in more than a year. Oh, the humanity.

So, what movie finally got me into an actual movie theater? Good buddy Kate scored tickets to a special screening on Amy Schumer’s “Trainwreck.” It doesn’t open in theaters until July, so it’s OK to be jealous. Immediately after seeing it, I posted my review on Twitter.

trainwreck-review

I stand by that review. I laughed out loud a lot. I highly recommend it. I do not think you will be disappointed.

I really miss going to the movie theater to see movies. I played my chemo card and convinced Kate to wait and watch “Pitch Perfect 2″ with me. It opens tomorrow, but obviously I won’t be able to go to the theater for maybe more than a week or so. Yes, yes. Go ahead and laugh. I really liked “Pitch Perfect,” and I want to see “Pitch Perfect 2.” I’m not made of stone, people.

 


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Threenager

Yeah, so, having a 3-year-old means you always need to be prepared.

Even for a short car ride, I need a toy truck, a cup of water and a cracker. If for some reason I forget one of those things, that will be the time that he asks for one of those things. When I say I don’t have it, then there will be a tears, because he’s 3.

Three year olds are like bitchy teenagers or entitled, demanding celebrities with a pre-show rider that includes a dressing room filled with exactly 17 vanilla candles, a yellow bowl of blue M&Ms and four peacock feathers hanging from the ceiling or they will refuse to go on stage.

The other day I picked Calvin up from preschool. He climbed into his car seat, and he was happy as can be when I strapped him in. He had a toy truck and his graham cracker. I got into the front seat to head home, when he asked for “water, please.” He actually said please. True story.

“Oh, I’m sorry, honey. I forgot your water. I’ll get you a cup of water as soon as we get home, I promise,” I said.

Then the tears started. Ugh.

“I understand you. I understand you want water,” I told him. “I’m sorry, honey. It will be just a few minutes.”

Then a toy truck hit me in the hand. I turned around to look at him.

“Sorry, truck,” he said.

Rude.

Threenagers, am I right, folks?

Mighty, mighty good man David thinks by saying “Sorry, truck” Calvin is actually saying, “Sorry about the truck,” and he’s apologizing to me. I, however, am not so sure. I think he was saying sorry to the truck.

You will meet my demands or else.

You will meet my demands or else.

 

 


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I feel like a winner

Yeah, so, I have a lot of random stories today to let’s just get right to it.

I did not win the MLB Honorary Bat Girl Contest. I know, right? WTF?! I thought I had a great shot at winning. I had a lot of people voting for me, and I think my essay was pretty good – if I don’t say so myself. (You can see all the winners here.)

I want to give a huge shout-out to everyone who voted for me and shared my story on all the social media channels. I was absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. I think the MLB made a huge mistake not choosing me. I would have looked amazing out on the field in my orange wig. Of course, I’m planning to enter every year until I win, so better luck next year, right?

Let’s talk about something else. My good  buddy Jess knitted me an amazing hat that I can’t stop wearing.

orangekithat

It’s important to look stylish while receiving acupuncture.

You are probably going to see a lot of photos of me in this hat. I really love it. I have a wig that doesn’t look so great on top, so I’ve been wearing it with hats, and this hat is perfect. Also, it’s the best color: Orange.

Speaking of wigs, I have been missing my red-red hair, so I ordered this cheapy red wine-colored wig on Amazon. It was created for people into cosplay. I’m not sure what character people are dressing up as when they wear this wig, but it looks A LOT like my old hair.

redwinewig

This is not an old photo of my old hair. This is a wig.

My old hair with Darth Vader, because why not?

My old hair with Darth Vader, because why not?

The wig and my old hair are pretty similar, right? I won’t lie. I got a little teary when I put it on, because for the first time in months I looked like me again. My other wigs are very cute, but they don’t look like me. This silly, cheap wig looks like me. Of course, it really looks like a wig, so I’m not sure I’m confident enough to wear it in public. It might be more of an around-the-house wig? But maybe my old hair looked like a wig, too? I think all my wigs look like wigs, but of course they would look like wigs to me. Mighty, mighty good man David insists they do not look like wigs, and I trust his opinion.

Oh, hey, I guess summer is coming, because the pool is open at my sister’s condo complex. Calvin got to do a little swimming this weekend. He is so happy when he’s in the pool.

lilswimmer

And he’s starting to get really brave. We are going to have to watch him every single second he is near a pool. He is tall enough that he can walk around in the shallow end easily. His head is well above the water line, but he has put his head underwater a few times. He will jump off the edge into someone’s arms, and he’s starting to feel confident enough to slide into the water from the edge, which I caught on video.

He’s going to be swimming in no time. He’s really not a baby anymore. He’s not even a toddler. He’s a little boy. Sigh.


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How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Needles

Yeah, so, round three of AC is complete. This means I’ve got one more round of AC, and then I move into weekly doses of taxol. Wheee!

Weekly doses of a chemo drug sounds terrible, but multiple doctors have told me that the T in ACT is easier to handle than the AC, so I’m strangely looking forward to it. I’m just ready for all of it to be over, but I need to be patient. I’ve got an entire summer of T to deal with.

So, to help me deal with the nausea, the nurses at Kaiser finally talked me into trying acupuncture. Even though acupuncture is free through Kaiser, I was being resistant. I had a ton of excuses.

  • “Ugh. I’m tired of getting poked with needles.”
  • “I don’t want to haul my ass to Kaiser when I don’t have to.”
  • “It’s just one more thing to deal with, and I don’t want to deal with it.”
  • “This ‘Law & Order’ marathon isn’t going to watch itself.”

The anti-nausea drugs have been working. The days following chemotherapy have been vomit-free, but there is still a queasiness in my stomach that doesn’t really go away. I was talking to a nurse about it, and she talked me into trying it. And by “talked me into” I mean, she kinda bullied me into it, and then just signed me up.

I was pretty nervous about it. No one wants to get poked with needles. I guess I had nervous written all over my face, because when I walked in the acupuncturist immediately put me at ease. He told me I wouldn’t even feel the needles, and he was right.

Needles!

Needles!

Look at all those needles! I didn’t feel them at all. He put them in, and I just chilled out in a recliner for 25 minutes. It was very relaxing. It’s kinda like when you paint your nails and it forces you to sit still while it dries – except instead of wet nails you have needles sticking out of your skin.

When he removed them he asked me how I felt, and – damn – if the queasiness wasn’t gone. I know that some folks don’t think acupuncture works, and maybe it’s all psychological, but it totally worked, you guys. I’m in. I’m signed up for another round on Monday, and I think I’m going to keep going through the 12 weeks of taxol.

What do you guys think? Acupuncture: Weird or not weird?

 

 

 


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Orange is the new red

Yeah, so, the day before my next round of chemo is usually a pretty anxious day for me. I start to fret about how it will go, how bad the nausea will be, etc.

Luckily for me, good buddy Kate decided to distract me. Since my white blood counts are up the day before chemo, there is no reason why I can’t go out and about. She took the day off from work and got us tickets to the San Francisco Giants vs. Dodgers game. It was a day game, so I didn’t have to worry about getting cold, or staying out late. In fact, the weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was out, but it wasn’t too hot. Good thing, because I was wearing my fabulous orange wig.

Orange wig alert!

Orange wig alert!

Let me tell you something, if you want attention at a Giants game, wear an orange wig. I was very surprised by the amount of attention I got in this wig. And one point Kate said, “It’s like walking around with someone famous.” Everyone looks at you. Most of the attention was good attention. I got a lot of “I love your wig.” I got a few “Is that your real hair?” To which I replied, “You know it is.” A security guard said my orange wig went up to 11, and I heard more than a few older men whisper to their wives, “You should get a wig like that.”

It was a lot of attention. More than I’m used to, that’s for sure. If I was a single lady, I would buy tickets to the Giants’ Single Night and rock this wig. Of course, I think the gentleman suitors would be disappointed to discover what’s under the wig, but oh well.

Of course with all the good attention came some questionable attention. We were sitting in the bleachers, and around the 9th inning, the man behind me decided that his beer-courage had kicked in and he could talk to me. “I wish I could meet a girl with orange hair,” he shouted behind me.

I turned around a politely smiled. “I’m sure there are plenty of women here with orange hair today. Good luck,” I said.

The guy took this as some sort of hint that I wanted a back rub. Umm, no.

“No, thank you. No touching,” I said.

Then he reached out and stroked my wig.

“No touching, please,” I said.

“Don’t worry. I won’t snatch your wig off your head,” he replied.

“You better not. You should not,” I replied.

Kate asked me if I wanted to move, but I felt like he was done. If he is embarrassed that he got rejected by the girl in the orange wig, he could move. I can’t imagine how awful that man would have felt if he had pulled that wig off my head. I’m not some cute little blonde under this orange wig. I’m a chemo patient. You definitely don’t get into heaven snatching a wig off of a chemo patients head.

So anyway, we stayed in our seats for the entire game that went extra innings, and it was a big win! The Giants swept the Dodgers, and all was right with the world.

Big thanks to Kate for the tickets to the game, the delicious Ghirardelli sundae (because I can’t have beer right now – sigh) and the Lyft home (to save me from a crowded Bart train). I’m so lucky to have such awesome friends.

 


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I like to watch

Yeah, so, since I’m all about chemo right now and not working, I’ve got some time on my hands.

Instead of using my time wisely such as cleaning the house, researching a cure for cancer or writing my memoirs, I’m watching movies and TV shows. Here’s a few of the things I’ve watched lately, because I’m sure you are aching to know.

North By Northwest” – A surprisingly fun Alfred Hitchcock movie with Cary Grant being very Cary Granty. Also, Eva Marie Saint is hubba hubba, hot stuff.

North-By-Northwest-Gif-Image-north-by-northwest-31644733-500-272

In The Heat Of The Night” – The 1967 movie starring Sidney Poitier and Rod Steiger, not the TV show starring Archie Bunker. Really great movie. I’m surprised I hadn’t seen it before.

Bloodline” – It’s one of those Netflix originals. A family drama/mystery that really sucks you in from the first episode because Netflix is all about TV shows that encourage binge watching. I’m more about binge eating than binge watching, but it’s got a great cast, including Kyle Chandler and Sissy Spacek. The truth is I’ll watch just about anything starring Kyle Chandler, because he was Coach Taylor on “Friday Night Lights,” and I think he’s kinda dreamy.

kyle

I’m also watching “Game of Thrones,” because unlike constant downer “The Walking Dead,” “Game of Thrones” can be depressing but at least it’s not boring. Mighty, mighty good man David and I are watching “Mad Men,” but we are currently two episodes behind, even though the show just started and only three episodes have aired. I guess I’ve been too busy watching the San Francisco Giants not be very good at baseball to watch “Mad Men.” I’m sure we will catch up this week.

I have chemo round #3 on Friday, which means The Kid is going to be staying with my mom this weekend. I’ll be taking all the anti-nausea meds and sleeping. I might be awake long enough to watch a movie or two. We own, but still have not watched, “X-Men: Days of Future Past.” We also have “Boyhood” via Netflix, just sitting on the shelf begging to be watched.

Last chemo time around I was able to stay awake long enough to watch “Captain America: Winter Solider,” which was really entertaining. I really loved the first one, and I was not disappointed by this sequel. Good stuff. We also watch “Guardian of the Galaxy,” which I also really enjoyed because I’m a human being, and I think pretty much all human beings and some animals love “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Minor spoiler alert coming! I could have done without the opening scene in which the hero’s mom is obviously dying of cancer. The scene made me cry, and I sobbed to David, “I thought this was a comedy.”

The next night we watched “Song of the Sea,” a beautifully animated movie from Ireland, which also featured in an opening scene with a dying mom. At that pointed I begged David to stop picking movies with dead moms. In fact, I’m starting to think movies should have a warning label on the DVD cover: This film contains foul language, sexual situations and a dying mom.

dyingmoms


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Play dates and date nights

Yeah, so, even though I’m mostly a boring chemo patient these days, sometimes I leave the house.

On Saturday night, good buddy Kate came over and hung out with Calvin for a few hours, so mighty, mighty good man David and I could go out to a fancy French dinner.

We're dressed up. Wheee!

We’re dressed up. Wheee!

We went to ChouChou in West Portal. It was a wonderful restaurant; very cozy with delicious food. Much like Le P’tit Laurent in Glen Park, it reminded me a lot of the restaurants we ate in during our honeymoon in Paris.

On Sunday we met up with one of Calvin’s preschool school buddies, Albert (and his lovely parents), at the playground on Sunday. You never know if you will like the parents of the kid your kid wants to be friends with. Maybe they will be super serious and they don’t laugh at your jokes, etc. Luckily, Albert’s parents are really cool people.

I’m feeling a little anxious about meeting new people right now. I don’t feel 100% most of the time, and I’m wearing a wig, which makes me feel like I’m wearing a disguise. I might as well show up wearing this:

nose

When I’m meeting someone new, I feel like they are not seeing the real me, because I’m wearing hair that I bought online. Of course, this is a ridiculous feeling. I’m still me with or without my hair. I felt very comfortable around Albert’s parents. They are clearly good people. And it was really great to watch the boys play together. They are buddies. It’s cute.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

seesaw-calvin

In the past, Calvin would watch other kids from afar, but he wasn’t confident enough to approach them and play with them. But as his communication improves he is starting to interact more with kids. It’s really exciting to see. It just warms my heart, because Calvin is such a fun kid, and now other kids are seeing what I see. All of Calvin’s hard work with the behavioral specialists is starting to pay off. I’m so very, very proud of him.

Fascinating blog post, right? My life is a roller coaster ride of play dates and date nights. It’s OK to be jealous. Maybe next time I’ll write about all TV shows and movies I’m watching and all the online shopping I’m doing.


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The pros and cons of chemo

Yeah, so, lately I’ve been having to say no to things that I want to say yes to, and I hate that shit.

Since 7 to 10 days out from chemo is when my white blood cells are their lowest, and I’m not aching to spend more time in the hospital, I’m having to decline invitations to events that I would love to attend.

For example, this weekend I had to say no to a friend’s wedding. Sadly, a wedding is the type of event in which sick people will attend no matter what. I couldn’t go and risk exposure to even something as silly as a cold. It was a super bummer. Mighty, mighty good man David went without me on Saturday, and I was probably the most depressed I had been in a while. I love weddings. I was planning to spend the evening feeling really sorry for myself, but luckily, I have awesome friends. Good buddy Kate came over. We ordered Chinese food and made fun of watched “Step Up,” which is a pretty fine way to spend a Saturday evening if you ask me. Big thanks to Kate for hanging out. She’s good people.

Today, someone offered me tickets to the San Francisco Giants Opening Day game. Pre-chemo Sonia would have replied, “Oh hell yeah!” But Chemo Sonia had to be responsible and decline. I’m still in the hot zone, and that ballpark would be filled with “Outbreak” monkeys. I will be watching the game from the safety of my couch. Obviously.

The traditional SF Giants Opening Day Selfie.

The traditional SF Giants Opening Day Selfie.

This reminds me: There are still a few days left to vote for me for the San Francisco Giants’ Honorary Bat Girl contest. Please, please, please vote for me! It’s easy. Just click here, pick the San Francisco Giants, and there’s a photo of me and Calvin on page 4. Then you vote for me. I really want to stand on that field in my orange wig. Thank you for your votes!

So anyway, since I’m generally a “always look on the bright side of life” person. I’ve been working on a list of chemotherapy positives.

  • Saying no to events I really want to attend sucks, BUT, now I can get out of attending pretty much any event I don’t feel like going to. Chemo is a great excuse to skip any event from baptisms to your friend’s poetry reading.
  • It only takes me a few minutes to get ready to go anywhere now. Brush my teeth, put on lipstick, slip on wig: I’m ready.
  • When I had hair, I used a flat iron every day. My hair was not that naturally straight and shiny. Sorry if I fooled you. Anyway, every day I did the same little dance when left the house. I would get halfway down the stairs and think, “Did I leave the straighter on?” Then I would go back upstairs, go into the house, upset the dog and check the straighter – only to discover every time that I had, in fact, turned it off. Well, thanks to having no hair to straighten, I’m no longer doing this paranoid dance every day. The flat iron is gathering dust in a drawer.
  • I don’t have to shave my armpits or legs anymore. I’m like one of those creepy hairless cats now.
  • I haven’t lost my eyelashes or eyebrows yet. *knocks on wood* *immediately loses eyelashes and eyebrows*
  • My skin is really soft. I don’t know what’s up with that.
  • Of course, the biggest positive is the chemotherapy is killing any cancer cells that thought they could run and hide in my body.

 


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Ugh, needles

Yeah, so, having to give yourself an injection is kinda weird.

Just in case you don’t remember, after this round of chemo I was ordered to give myself Neupogen shots for five days, which will help me create more white blood cells. Last time around, my white blood cells were as low as the box office receipts for “Mordecai” (hey-oh!), and I spent a few days in the hospital. While in the hospital, I had my first-ever panic attack. That sucked. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep that from happening again … including sticking myself with a needle.

In order to make it happen every day, I had to give myself a scheduled time: 10 a.m. At 10 a.m. I have to stick myself with a needle, whether I like it or not. At 9:30 a.m. I took a Claritin, because apparently Claritin (yes, the allergy medicine) can help prevent the bone aches that comes with giving yourself a shot to create more white blood cells. Drugs are amazing, right?

themoreyouknow

No one wants to stick themselves with needles. Tip of the hat to all you intravenous drug users. I don’t know how you do it. As mighty, mighty good man David pointed out to me, “It’s a testament to how great the heroin high must be, because people willing stick themselves with needles to get it. And they ruin their veins and find other places to stick needles like between their toes.”

Ewww.

I will never be a intravenous drug user, because I really hated sticking myself with a needle. I wouldn’t dare ask David to do it for me. Apparently, I’m totally fine with David changing my mastectomy bandages, seeing me go bald, emptying my drains and watching me push out a kid, but grabbing some of my belly fat and stabbing it with a needle is where I draw the line. After everything we’ve been through, I don’t want him to touch my belly fat. I’m so vain. I probably think this blog post is about me.

Anyway, I made it through the five days of injections. Hopefully I can keep my white blood cell counts up and avoid a hospital stay this time around. That would be awesome.

 

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