25 Again

So its somehow been more than a month since I last posted! I had a pretty long break (about six weeks) between chemo and radiation. I could feel myself becoming more and more energetic and feeling like a normal 25-year-old again. Some of the things I was able to partake in during the break in treatment were:

1) Shaving with a normal razor!

I’d been using a special razor to shave my legs since chemo puts you at a high risk for infection, failure to clot properly, etc. Despite the fact I was losing hair everywhere else, my knees were starting to look like twin cacti and it was driving. me. crazy. Luckily, I’m back to using the faithful Venus razor. Unfortunately, I now have several spots I can’t shave due to a ridiculous rash brought on by chemo, but alas, at least the knees are under control now.

2) Eating!

Not only do I feel like eating more since I’m not feeling nauseous, but I’m also able to eat a larger variety of food! As I’m sure you remember from my early chemo entries, I wasn’t allow to eat fresh or raw foods and I had to sacrifice some of my favorite foods. After I got the green light from my doc to eat fresh foods again, the first place Rene and I went to was Taco Bell.

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Totally sexy, I know 😉

Taco Bell also happens to sponsor the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, we made sure to donate while we were there.

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We also had a sushi dinner with a few proud Team Laura representative the Friday after. It was probably the most satisfying meal of my life.

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3) Drinking and being social

Although there wasn’t really a rule against drinking during chemo, it wasn’t something I often felt like doing. I also figured with the large amounts of drugs in my system, it was probably wise to stay away from it. So with the exception of a rare glass of wine, I pretty much abstained from alcohol throughout chemo. Luckily the end of chemo coincided with the beginning of football season, so we’ve enjoyed throwing a few back at the LSU & SEC Alumni- Austin events.

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Rene, me, and my sister Theresa at the SEC Picnic in August

My friend Britni invited me to an Austin Beerworks brewery tour last week and I was actually able to go and partake in the festivities!

One of the silos at the Austin Beerworks Brewery.

Some other fancy beer making aperati.

4) Travel!

Although I still haven’t planned any huge trips (and won’t be able to for awhile), I’m more able to travel on the weekends. Rene and I went to Big Bend for Labor Day and had an amazing time. I have to say, traveling west from Austin is so much more relaxing than traveling east, south and north. When I travel in the other three directions in Texas, I feel like I constantly run into traffic and/or people try to kill me in their Texas-sized trucks. Traveling west toward Big Bend, we had zero traffic issues and once we hit I-10 we could legally go 80 MPH, which was pretty awesome too. We camped while we were in the park and got to see some pretty amazing sites.

the open road to Big Bend

Old farm equipment from when ranchers bravely settled in Big Bend about a century ago.

“The Window” rock formation at sunset.

Enjoying a smooch.

Our surprisingly comfortable but tight sleeping quarters in the tent cot. I definitely recommend sleeping off the ground as we saw many a gigantic bug, including a tarantula at our campsite.

The Rio Grande at Santa Elena Canyon. Mexico is in the background.

In other travels, we also won last minute tickets to the LSU vs. Idaho game a few weeks back through Gameday for Heroes. This is a great organization that receives and organizes donations form ticket holders and universities, and then distributes them to military service members and veterans. If you happen to have tickets you don’t plan to use, definitely consider making a donation to this organization. It came at a perfect time because I was in a total funk that week and feeling very homesick. I had to cancel a planned Memorial Day weekend trip to Louisiana because of cancer junk and then a Labor Day weekend trip because of Hurricane Gustav, so my toes were just itching to be back on Louisiana soil. It was sadly only for a weekend since both Rene & I had work the Friday & Saturday before, so we only spent about 36 hours total in Louisiana, but it was well worth the trip.

Cosmically, two Louisiana National Guard units were honored during half-time at the game for their response to Hurricane Gustav. Because of this, many of Rene’s ROTC buddies were also in Baton Rouge for the game, including Rene’s good friend, former roommate and best man, Jean-Claude. Sadly my phone was on the fritz, so this is the only pic we got of him while we were there!

I also met Kelsey for the first time while I was there. We somehow avoided meeting one another in college despite having the same major, graduating the same year, and having 45 or so mutual friends on Facebook. We happened to get cancer around the same time and became friends and supporters via the internet. You can follow Kelsey’s progress in the fight against ovarian cancer at Oh my Poisoned Apple.

Cancer friends and survivors.

 

That’s about all I have time for right now, but in a few days (I promise) I will give y’all a thorough update about what life is like during radiation.

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