"You Are So Positive"
Nov 20 | Written By Alexandrea Blue
Hi! My name is Alex! If you're new to my journey head over to the "My Story" tab and I can fill you in about my diagnosis, how I found out the next steps, and the long treatment plan I have in place. The reason I chose the cover image is that this is the exact day and time that I found out I had cancer on the phone with my dad that was 2 hours away explaining to him what was going on while my mom was in tears...
I never really thought that I would ever be writing a blog let alone writing about having cancer especially at 19. I was a little scared to even start this blog because I thought people would think that they needed to feel bad for me or feel sorry for me but I am making this blog to share my journey and to share what it's like to have cancer and to help anyone out there that is going through something similar. I have always wanted to inspire others and I hope this does. They say that your life can change in an instant and you never think it will happen to you. I have told myself "this is just a dream" about a hundred times since being diagnosed because I am still in shock. So, let's talk about how the first month has been going! I knew that having cancer was going to be hard but I didn't know it was going to be THIS hard. My life has completely changed...forever. These past couple of weeks have been rough especially being on steroids for 30 days. Probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do. The steroids made me so hungry all of the time, I would be up at all hours of the night just eating! It is normal being on steroids but it was so weird to see me eat so much. I ate a whole container of bean dip lol! I never eat bean dip! You just get the weirdest cravings! My face also changed a lot and I started to look like a chipmunk and my cheeks got super huge! I have always been active whether I was cheering, cycling on the Peloton, diving, running track, or playing basketball so it was very hard for me to see myself change so much from the medications. My oncologist did mention that the induction phase of treatment is the worst, and they were right! October was a pretty hard month for not only me but my family as well. Getting used to a new lifestyle so quickly can be tough. Induction lasts about a month and now I am on the next phase which is called "consolidation (intensification)" by the name you probably can guess that this phase is the most aggressive and lasts for a few months rather than a month. What I can tell you now is that even though I won't be able to celebrate the holidays with my family and friends this year I am just blessed to be alive, getting treatment, and on the road to getting better. In my next blog, I will explain more in detail how this month is going and the chemotherapy side effects! It's not bad all of the time, I do have my good days but it seems like when I have my good days my body says nope! and I get sick.
Most cancer patients seem to lose their hair in the induction phase but luckily I didn't! It is different for everyone but this was the first thing I thought about even when first getting diagnosed. Because how could you not think about it?! knew that I would eventually lose my hair we just didn't know when but I wanted to be prepared! Fortunately, I still have my hair but it is so hard to see it start to fall out. I have so many bald spots all around my head and my hair falls out like it's nothing! My hair also feels so weird! Chemo does some weird things to your body let me tell you!!! My hair does NOT feel the same. Super weird feeling! I have been pulling it out here and there non-stop (which is so bad) but it just comes right out! I am ready for it to come out now that it's just falling out. -- I am planning on just wearing scarves and I will have one wig for when I can go out again! I just keep remembering that hair grows back!
In my induction phase, I learned a lot about chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is the worst and it is literal poison. The first time I went into the infusion room I didn't even think I was there. I was in so much shock and I was so nervous. I started with a PICC line in my arm which is a line that goes all the way to my heart and that is what I got my chemo through. Usually, patients get a port (which I have now) PICC lines are a pain and it takes 30 min for me to "prep" for my shower because I had to wrap my arm 24/7 I am very glad that is over with. They put chemo through my port now and depending on the certain chemo it will take about a few hours but I will usually be at the hospital all day on my infusion days! If you have an infusion every day for one week you will then choose to get accessed and de-accessed from your port. I usually chose to be de-accessed every day because it is easier to shower. After I am finished I am usually sick for days after infusion. This is why it has been so rough the past few weeks and you develop symptoms from it. I know some people are probably curious about what some of my symptoms are so I am gonna share! I have vomited (ew), I become very weak to where I couldn't even walk or stand, shaking, painful headaches, nausea, constipation, neuropathy, honestly, you name it! I have had it. The numbness in my fingertips has been annoying and weird! I didn't even know what neuropathy was until I had it! The Induction was rough but went well. I was sick for most of it. I would get this treatment every Thursday. First, I would go to blood draw, then up speak with my oncology team, and then to infusion. Thank goodness for pre-meds!!!! Saved my life. Then I would get chemotherapy done and usually leave around 1-3 ish depending on the chemotherapy. I usually felt super sick when I got home and just took a lot of time to rest and adjust. I cherish every day before treatment because I know that I will be sick all weekend. One of the worst symptoms is probably losing my taste! Everything tasted so weird and different. Especially salsa! Lol random. I hate salsa now! And water tends to taste chalky! This month is where it all starts to get real and I get aggressive treatment to fight this nasty cancer! - I am currently in the consolidation phase.
The last thing I wanted to touch base on in this blog is the saying "you are so positive." I have gotten this a lot ever since I have gotten diagnosed. It means so much to me that everyone around me says that I am so positive, so strong, and so faithful. Then people ask "how could you be positive you have cancer!" I honestly think about this saying a lot. I am not sure how to ever answer this question because I don't even know why myself. It all happened so fast that you kind of just goes with the flow. Everything happened in a blink of an eye that I didn't have the chance to not be strong, I didn't have the chance to not be positive, or not be faithful. I always thought of it as God wouldn't put me through something that I can't handle and I am a firm believer. And no, I am not upset with God. God knows what He is doing and I know that when all of this is over, SOMETHING good will come out of this. I'm not sure what it is now but I can feel it's something great. I want to share this blog and my fight publicly not for anyone to feel sympathetic or sad for me but to see what it is like fighting cancer and that I am strong, you're strong, and you could fight whatever battle you're going through too. I am super surprised I remembered all of this as it can be hard to think these days. In my next blog, I will go further into what this month will look like!