Tuesday, October 15, 2013

True Story

There I am, minding my own business, when WHAM - nasty germ 0157 comes strolling into my gut.  Of course, we had no idea what it was until about a week after the symptoms began, but we knew enough to head the ER.  Twice.

Rough timeline:
Sunday: Woke in the wee hours of the morning with some belly cramps.  Could not fall back to sleep.
Monday: Belly hurt all day long, doctors think it is viral, or possibly a side effect from a medication.  Tell me to carry on.
Tuesday: Bad belly business (I am leaving out the details for your own stomach's sake).
Wednesday: Finally call the dr, she brings me in around 1 pm.  Promptly sends me to the emergency room, possible appendicitis?  IV fluids and a few hours later, I go home.  I feel hungry so I eat a banana, some diluted apple juice, and a few tiny pretzel sticks.  WRONG. WRONG. BAD MOVE. WRONG WRONG WRONG.  The night is long and the tummy is sad.
Thursday: Judah goes to school and I return to the ER, where they admit me to the observation floor.  We wait for lab results.  Possibly infectious colitis?  Dilaudid gives me a few precious hours of sleep.
Friday: The pain begins to subside (thank heavens) and I get moved (thank heavens) up to the 6th floor, where the bed is comfy and the halls are quiet.  I sleep 6 hours (only woken once by the dang IV machine).  Aaah.
Saturday:  IV fluids are disconnected.  I tell my doctor I must leave soon because I had been planning an anniversary party for my parents that is scheduled for the next day.  They begin to give me starches in addition to the clear liquids to ensure I can handle solid food.  3 pm surprise! Discharge papers have been handed to me.  Go home.  SHOWER!  Aaaah.
Sunday: Attend party.  All goes well (though I was a bit clammy), though I'm sure I overdid it.  Late that night I discover a voicemail from my doctor.  She calls me at 11 pm to tell me the last cultures came back E. Coli 0157.  Ew.

In between all of those bits and pieces, of course there was Judah.  He was definitely thrown by my need to stay in the hospital.  One afternoon he confided in me that he had woken up at 3:30 am, crying because he dreamed I was home but I wasn't.  Oy.

All I kept thinking was how grateful I am that he was so much younger when I had chemo.  He barely remembers and while he showed signs of separation anxiety, he had no clue quite how serious the situation was.  Still, kind of a traumatizing week for us.  Quite glad to be home and slowly recovering.

I have decided to hire some professional cleaners with their professional cleaning supplies (bleach approved!).  E. Coli is nothing to mess around with.  I want nary a speck, not a microbe left in my house, lest any of my loved ones travel down last week's path.

Be happy to send my trash wrapped in a ribbon to those tea party politicians down on Capitol Hill.


Monday, October 7, 2013

for the win

Typically you know that I love to support LLS, mainly through their annual Light the Night campaign.  In the past 3 years, we have walked proudly with our team and our balloons.  This year, due to some scheduling issues, we cannot participate.

I still feel the need to give back to the cancer community at large and volunteer doing something helpful.  When LLS contacted me about being an honorary captain (again) at the HEADstrong Foundation's Nick Colleluori Classic (Lacrosse Tournament), I was game.  HEADstrong is a foundation started by Nick Colleluori, a lacrosse player at Hofstra, who passed away in 2006 from Non-Hodgkins.  His passion was lacrosse and he came up with the idea to help raise blood cancer awareness and to aid families affected by the disease.  To date, HEADstrong has raised over $4 million towards their mission and their events continue to grow in success each year.

Where do I come in?  The job is to meet the team, tell your story, and help them put a face to blood cancer.  This year, Dan and Judah came along with me to cheer the team I was matched with, VMI. (Those of you who know me are aware I am not the athletic type.  So this is pretty much as close as I'm ever gonna get.)

1 2 3 GO VMI

The guys were great - we sat on the bench to watch the game, got to hear them cheer for each other (perfect for Judah as he works through issues of sportsmanship playing soccer), and see them WIN!

But the most special part for me was discovering that prior to playing their second game, every player on the team had registered on our National Bone Marrow Registry.  They were the only team to make such a commitment that day and I can only hope that the other teams followed their lead.
guess who wants a lacrosse stick for hanukkah?

After the game, the team invited us back to their tent, where plenty of parents were waiting to congratulate and feed them (the love and pride was obvious).  The coaches and captains presented us with a jersey signed by the team, hats just like the ones the coaches wore, and a special commemorative coin given out to the lacrosse players who go on to serve in one of the 4 divisions of the military.

the team

coaches and captains (and us)
All in all, a very valuable and memorable experience.  Cancer has definitely taken us to places we never thought we'd go.  Some days have been very dark, but this was a bright spot for sure.

Thank you VMI Lacrosse Team!  Wishing you a great season.