Thursday, October 9, 2014

Movin from Memphis

Today I am particularly grateful, and that's because two years ago from today I moved home from Memphis. I am thankful that I have been home and around this long, it seems crazy that about 110 weeks ago, I thought I would only make it MAYBE 40 weeks. The time has gone by really fast and really slow, but what matters most is that the perpetual terrifying fear of dying- I no longer have. I also have been very blessed to have so many people- most of who I don't even know, pray for me.
I'm also really lucky because some of the best people I have ever talked to and am good friends with now, I have met through my blog. The expectation for this blog in the beginning was to keep all of my family and friends updated while I was going through treatment in Memphis, and I've been so blessed to have been prayed for in so many states, countries, and religions because of it.

Oh, and guess who got their port out! This girl! My doctors told me I don't need it anymore (when in April they told me I had to stop chemo but had to keep the port to be on hospice). It's crazy that I'm still alive because I had a nurse admit to me in June that in May she didn't think that I would make it a week from my April visit. So so so very blessed.

I've been thinking lately how fast time is going by. While I was in Memphis, time was still, and each minute felt like a 1/2 hour. I was miserable and depressed (dexamethasone, remember?) But I made it through! This year since August 9th, I hardly remember too much happening, I've been so busy, and time has gone by so fast, and I am so thankful for that because while I was in Memphis, I thought time would never be the same again.
I don't have too much else to say, besides thank you for the emails/comments that I still get frequently. I love to hear peoples story, where they're from and what led them to my blog, it fascinates me.

I can do hard things!


Even my bald spot where the dr. shaved putting my shunt in is growing fast!
 Me getting my port out! I'm a great patient!

Monday, August 11, 2014

2 year cancerversary

Last Saturday I celebrated my 2 year cancerversary! I can't believe it's been two years since I started this journey, and I've learned so much from it. I was thinking about it yesterday and came to the conclusion that:


I've learned so much, but especially how to appreciate things. I really believe what I wrote above. I also believe that it's important to appreciate things, even when you aren't particularly comfortable. I keep thinking about when (eventually) I die. I do believe in an afterlife. But I keep wondering (because "they" say it's so amazing), what it is in heaven. Is everything really more beautiful and incredible, or is our capability to appreciate more beautiful and incredible? Those are the things I like to wonder about when we go to heaven, instead of all the other things. That's the reason when anybody has asked me if I'm scared through this whole experience, my answer is "no". Why worry about the things we don't have to?

Anyways, I am so appreciative of all the support I've gotten through this whole thing. I am so thankful that I am so healthy right now. And I'm especially grateful that this trial has opened my eyes to see beauty in everything. (Well almost everything, I'll probably always hate hiking, but the mountains are beautiful).

I can do hard things!


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Learning to Live

Today is July 20th and it also marks one more day in my calendar of life, and in 20 short days it will be the 9th of August, which also marks my 2 year cancerversary.  Almost two years I was given nine months to live, and I am so incredibly grateful that I'm still here.
So I had my regular appointment back in April (when I wasn't doing very well), and every appointment since has been so good. Every appointment since has been very interesting because not only have I learned that back at my April appointment they were going to put me on hospice, but that they didn't expect me to live for one week. Didn't know I was doing so horribly, did ya?
Really the only reason that I'm still alive is because (what I believe at least), is my faith in God, and the alternative treatment I have been doing since January.
I feel like the luckiest girl alive. I have been so blessed. I literally have 0 symptoms still, and the next MRI that was supposed to be done at the beginning of this month, is now "up to me" if I even want to do one.
Even one of my Dr.'s who was very skeptical about the whole thing, and let's face it, probably very forlorn, has been acting very hopeful lately. She even said at one of my last appointments, "well I do believe in miracles."
Even one of my Memphis Dr.'s was on the phone with my mom and bluntly told her, "Diane, she has a stage 4 brain stem glioma," as if to change her optimism into realism.
Honestly if I had to do it all over again with the knowledge that I have now, I wouldn't do any of this western medicine nonsense. I am definitely not against any of it, and if I wouldn't have had that back surgery I'd be dead, but besides that it never did me any good.
I was on 4 different types of chemotherapy and not one of them worked. (Understanding that every cancer is different but DIPG is an incurable, inoperable and altogether really crappy).  I did three different rounds of radiation (that only shrunk it for a while, making it grow back with a vengeance). I've had three different surgeries, and the worst of it all: was on high doses of dexamethasone for (what felt like forever), but was just over 2 months.

What I did gain from all of this was:
An appreciation for people with cancer, and other serious health problems.
An appreciation for people who have depression or mental issues.
An appreciation for people in the field of health and medicine.
An appreciation that everybody has a life with a purpose.
An understanding that life isn't only rainbows.
A higher pain tolerance.
A better attitude.
A happiness to bloom where I am planted.
A realization that psychologists and psychiatrists aren't a bad thing.
A broadening of my perspective of the world.

So I guess if I had to take it all back, I wouldn't because I'd be giving up too much, but I wouldn't spend so much time wondering and wishing for something that I didn't know was in God's plan for me.

I helped a stranger with something this week and she told me "You have an incredible brain."
At first I thought to myself "little does she know." But then I realized that everybody, cancer or not, has an incredible brain.
Because of having brain cancer I've realized how wonderful the brain is and how much it does and controls. I think about it all the time. I think about how intricate it is, and how even the smartest people can't understand exactly how it works. And then it brings me to the other thought about the creation, (because obviously you think about those things when someone tells you that you have nine months to live), and I think about believing in a God and how unrealistic that can seem to some people. But when I think about the brain, the thought of having a God is all too believable to me.
What I don't understand is how something as complex as the brain could be explained by a massive collision. I do understand that was probably the creation of the earth, but I don't believe that seriously, with the intricacy of our brains, that there is no God.  I can't believe that because of the things I've been through and the experiences I have had.
I also realize that some people don't believe, and that other people believe in different things and different God's and even multiple God's. And even though I believe completely in my religion, I think that is wonderful. I think that believing in something is incredible. I love believing in something, (someone). I love believing in an idea that is so real to me, and that I've invested great amounts of faith in. I love and respect that other people believe in other things they have invested their faith into. I love having faith and believing in something that makes all of the bad things in my life A LOT less scary. I am grateful that I have such a loving God.

Anyways, I'm going to stop ranting and be done.
But there it is.
((I can do hard things) always implied).

I still have to have my port flushed once a month.
 But I like to do it by myself.
 Next to my Dr.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


I know I haven't posted in a while, and I guess it's because I haven't felt like it. But I realize there's a difference between not feeling like doing something and not feeling up to doing something. Since I've been feeling up to doing something lately, I need to be grateful and run with it, so here I go.

Everything is getting so much better. My life is starting to feel somewhat more normal, mainly because I'm not getting something foreign surgically lodged under my skin, throwing up, sleeping 20 hours daily, tingling up my fingers and on my tongue, or seeing 4 of something singular.

I'm enjoying all the fun pointless things I've gotten to do for the last few months because of my health. But now that things are looking up for me, it's time for me to try and start living normally! So I am starting a new job tomorrow and am looking forward to having some sort of a responsibility aside from 3+ Dr.'s appointments weekly.

I'm still on the same diet that I've been on since around January:
No preservatives
No msg
No gmo
No white/enriched flour
No red meat
No artificial colors/flavors
No sugar

The other day me and my mom were shopping when she picked one of my old favorite treats up and then put it back down, feeling bad that unlike her, I couldn't eat it. So Diane naturally apologized and I realized that life is sweeter than any treat that I could eat. I am so grateful that unlike my diagnosis, I continue to keep- not only living- but enjoying the life I live.

I keep a gratitude journal where every day I write one page of one thing I am grateful for and why. It has been what has helped me through this time that was starting to look scary before it began looking amazing.
It's so interesting to me that beforehand I have tried keeping a gratitude journal and writing a page full of things I am thankful for and have massively failed. But when I focus on something- just one thing- every day that I love and have a tremendous amount of gratitude for, I am not only able to keep the journal-ing consistent, day by day, but that I am beginning to believe what I have to live for and feel happier.

I have been through a lot of pain this year alone. In January and April I had surgeries that were putting foreign objects into my body, lots of chemo, some radiation, and a lot of hair loss, headaches, heartbreaks and nausea. I remember the January (port placement) surgery, when I first got home from the hospital I looked at myself in the mirror and remember feeling nauseated. Now I know a lot of people have bigger problems and that they're way more cut up than me- but that's besides the point. I saw what I claim is my third boob (the port in my chest), and just felt sick. I remember how red the scar above it was, wiggling it back and forth beneath my skin and the way the three bumps irritated my fingertips.
It was so creepy to me and I could hardly breathe when I saw the tube going up my chest and into my neck where it disappeard into a vein, and then into my heart.
Three months later I found myself in a hospital bed again getting another foreign object lodged in a man made hole of my skull/brain with a visible tube to where my port is, which then disappears into my stomach, releasing spinal fluid. Because all normal brains need help draining their spinal fluid-not.
This time came with some radiation, a head shaving and some bald spots, but supposedly relieving me from a harsher life end than to be expected normally. ((Even though bumping "the button" for too long could cause violent vomiting, severe headaches, and even cause a coma that can lead to death), and people wonder why I am irrational when they are close to, or even seem a threat to my head).

I have a hard time sharing my success to people that also have cancer, especially my same kind. I think it was because my friend Savannah (the one with leukemia from St. Jude) didn't tell me when she went into remission. And when I finally figured it out, I asked her why she didn't tell me about it, and she told me she didn't want to brag. (She's amazing). But at that point I realized that whenever I saw any success at all- even in the times I didn't care to see any- that there were many other who weren't seeing that same success and that I need to feel grateful, instead of throwing myself the usual pity party (which usually included peanut butter m&m's until I stopped eating sugar).

What I'm getting to is my success. I have experienced a lot. I have been extremely blessed and I am very happy that my life has not been ruined because I chose to look at one bad thing instead of looking at the million other-maybe smaller-things that were going good for me and that I have been blessed with.

I went on two runs this last week. It was only to the end of the street and around the church, but I went on two runs this week. RUNS! I haven't enjoyed exercise since diagnosis- to understate the matter. But I am starting to enjoy things that I used to love again! I may not be able to run a 59 second 400 meter or a 20 minute 5k anymore, but I can run, and I can see straight, and not limp, and I am grateful for that.

My new job is in a city about 20 minutes away from, so it's a good thing that my eyes have corrected so that I can safely commute.
My fingers are in amazing shape, and not only can I type this up quickly, but I can also play the piano accurately.
I got to go to the Manti Pageant yesterday and I didn't need to be wheeled in my wheel chair for 1 second of the entire thing because I have strength, and can walk straight.
My life has gotten so much better, I am more positive, I am healthier, I am kinder, I am more productive, and I am enjoying things that the cancer-free Rachel enjoys.

I am so grateful for all the prayers that have been offered in my behalf, and I'm so thankful that so many people believe in such an amazing, mysterious, and healing Father in Heaven and are helping to bless me through it.
I am grateful I have a religion (LDS), and a family from those who also believe either in my religion, or outside of it.
Thank you
I can do hard things

As always- some pictures.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Follow Up/Quick Update

Today I had my follow up appointment for the shunt surgery and they were very pleased with how I am doing! So basically when they went in to do the surgery, they drilled a hole through my skull, and ran a tube from my brain to my stomach. On my skull there is a button thing that pumps spinal fluid down the line. It works by having pressure built up by the spinal fluid. The alternative option to rid spinal fluid from the brain is to physically pump it by pushing it in and out of my skull. (I am not allowed to do it), but my doctor did it twice today and it freaked me out, even though I didn't feel anything.
Anyways, I feel great, I have tons of energy, and I've been happy! I have been working really hard on my online school and am having tons of fun cooking lots!
I even taught relief society this last week on the talk I Will Not Fail Thee Nor Forsake Thee by Thomas S Monson. I learned so much from preparing and teaching the lesson. I highly suggest reading it!

Even though I am not so sure that no more chemo is a good thing- I am incredibly grateful that I don't have to do that any more. My body is finally starting to get its energy back and feel strong again, and I love it! I am hoping to go to school next semester. I am going to keep doing my online school as well. I believe that knowledge is eternal, so no matter what happens to me, knowledge will be beneficial. Plus I love learning new things.

My hands aren't tingly anymore so I've been playing the piano lots! I am playing in my recital this weekend and love the fact that I can use my hands good again.My eyes are still doing well too.

Thank you for all your prayers, I truly believe that's why I'm still here, because to put it bluntly, I shouldn't be. I am almost to month 22 and I couldn't be loving this extra time I've been given, more.

So please continue to pray!
I can do hard things!
Two of my good friends married each other!

Memorial day was wonderful

Friday, May 9, 2014

21 months

Today marks 21 months since I was diagnosed with the rarest and deadliest kind of brain cancer.
It also marks 1 year past that 9 month expiration that they gave me. So it's kind of a huge deal! I had a Primary Children's appointment today and my doctors were all in shock with how well I am doing.

After my last visit, I don't think they were too sure they would see me again. My hands and mouth have ceased to be numb and tingly. I can swallow normally again. I can balance and walk normal. I can see clearly. And for my favorite.....{drumroll}....... I CRIED!
Granted my head was excruciating pain it literally put me in tears. But I cried! I was so excited, because for the first time in months I felt like I was able to release some negative emotions that have been boiling inside of me. I didn't even care that my head was hurting so bad because the drought is over!
{My head was in so much pain because on the way home from Disneyland we got rear ended and I hit my head really hard}.
I have a lot of fun plans coming up that I feel excited for, because I actually feel like myself again. I feel like I can actually enjoy doing things and talking to people.
Disneyland was so much fun. And so was the beach!

I'm just excited that I have lived for exactly 1 year passed when they thought I could make it. I have such support, so thank you, thank you, thank you!
I know that heaven is real. And so is my father that lives there.
I'm so happy that I am still around, some 12 months past expected.
I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Tomorrow is the Elevate 5k race for my family, along with 5 others struggling with cancer.
For any of you that are interested:
Elevate 5k race sign up
You can also see the video of me that they did about a month ago, and I look terrible compared to now. I don't blame my doctors for thinking that I wasn't doing too well!

On Good Things Utah set talking about the Elevate 5k.

Jordyn had a canvas of us made for my birthday and I love having it right above my bed! (Especially since she's in Havasupai! I miss her).

I had my brother use my scar and shave a cancer ribbon into my head!  

More Disneyland fun!

Getting my balance back comes with lots of fun.

 Driving home from Disneyland.

Fun with Friends.
Anyways, I'll probably have more to post real soon!
Thanks for reading and praying!
I can do hard things!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

End of an Era

Today marks a significant day in my calendar. Today I finished number 10/10 radiation treatments to my brain. Even though today-my brain not be exactly in the stage that it’s appreciated the most and definitely hasn’t cooperated the way I had wished- I have completed traditional treatments. Treatments consisting of:

 HUNDREDS of doses of chemotherapy (that daily oral stuff along with everything else really adds up),


67 doses of radiation:

30 to the head

27 to the back

10 to the head again

I have been on four kinds of chemotherapy (2 oral, 2 interveinous)

Crenolanib (clinical trial at st jude)

Temodar (2nd oral kind)

Avastin (used simultaneously with…)

Irinotecan (SATAN)

Remember my crazy days when each post was zittier than the last? (my computer keeps telling me that zittier isn’t a word, but if you have ever dealt with acne you know that it is and agree with me on the mutual argument that despite the red squiggly lines, zittier is in fact a word).

Back to my point (I’d like to blame my sporadic thoughts on the brain tumor, but that’s just a quality that came with the body- no refunds, no exchanges)! But that crazy time when I was on dexamethasone and all Hell broke loose. When I literally classified in the same category as those that thought the world was rapidly speeding to a crashing halt in 2012. (From different reasons aside zombies of course).

I have been thinking back on those days a lot this week, as those, along with these days are kind of  the alpha and omega of such a trying, but beautiful era.  I remember when I was on that dexamethasone, and “happy” pills- I was still incredibly unhappy. I told Diane “I want to be put into a medically induced coma, til radiation is all over,” and even asked my doctors (Dr. Tsui and Dr. Broniscer, remember)? If that would be a possibility (don’t judge).

I felt hell every day. Even worse, I felt as though that hell would be one to persist forever. And for a while I felt as if it had. And even now I sometimes feel like it has. Mostly when I’m sitting around thinking and feeling sorry for myself. But either way, there are times (minimal) when I feel that way, even now. But for the most part I am happy and grateful for my life. Even the cancer.

My Heavenly Father has helped me escape that hell. And even though I still have those cancerous cells, bigger than ever, and tangling themselves to the consideration of diffused, I have escaped the hell I previously have been in tat tries claiming permanent residency.

I’ve been pretty emotional thinking about how this era is coming to a halt as of recent. Because unlike when I was at St. Jude and wanted to be in a coma and come through the whole process asleep, I look back on it and think “wow”. It’d be a pretty disturbing thing to say that I don’t want it to end. But I’d be lying if I said I was happy that it’s over.

It’s probably far from over, I just see it that way because with the knowledge I have, I am finished with chemotherapy and radiation.

If you have cancer, you know what the 0-10 scale is. It classifies your pain level 0 is no pain and 10 is basically dying. They have you rate what kind of pain you're in, and depending on your level of discomfort, I'm guessing, they have a certain point where they like to medicate you or find some other sort of alleviation for it. I like to think I have a high tolerance for pain, but probably don’t, compared to others.

I kind of like using the same scale, but instead of using it for pain, I use it to internally determine my level of happiness.

I am working on some other non-traditional treatment but I have chosen to keep that separate from my blog.  But when I was talking to my radiation Dr. today he attributed the success that we’ve seen as of recent to the alternative treatment. Which excites me a by a large factor on that happiness scale. I’d rate that a 1, (10 is miserable).

 Remember how my fingers are kind of numb? And I had to kind of re learn how to use my hands together to play the piano? Well I've been working really hard and am playing Clair de Lune at a piano recital coming up! 

I’m grateful that God has found it beneficial to keep me around here for a while.

So my life is still happening. Even though I’m about 12 months overdue. I’m trying hard, and I’m going strong.

So to celebrate my finishing treatment, a few hours after I finished treatment #10,  I got in the car with Jordyn, Diane and 2 of my friends and drove to California! We are almost there, I am excited to go to Disneyland tomorrow!
Driving to California.

My scar on my stomach is healing so good, and so is the one on my head! The hair is growing back in so fast!

From the Book of Mormon when I was reading the other day – “ Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost but everything shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.
That entire verse excites me, but especially the part about hair. Not that I’m in any sort of hurry.
I can do hard things.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter/My Birthday

Today is my birthday!
This year it fell on the same day as Easter!
So I want to thank my Brother today, for making my life easier. For dying for me so that I can live again. For making cancer a little less scary. 

Recently I have got surgery, I had to get a shunt put in my brain . Oh and I started radiation again, so I guess you could say I've been pretty productive.
I have a pretty hard time feeling much of anything with the exception of symptoms from the cancer.

That's really all I have to say today.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

I Am Grateful

"You have 9 months to live" is pretty scary, especially when you pass that 9 month allotment and realize that as smart as your doctors may be, it will ALWAYS come down to God's will and you have to start planning for your life!
And for those of you who are wondering:
All my life I have wanted pretty consistent ideas for my future.
I wanted to be a Sports Medicine Physical Therapist, then I wanted to be a Neurologist. Then I got diagnosed with cancer and I don't want to do that at all anymore! I don't want to feel empathy for others in this situation, (as awful as that sounds). I never want to see ANYBODY experiencing what I have. So I've thought about it lots lately, and think I have decided to become: a motivational speaker. I love talking to people and I am comfortable with who I am and how I have handled my situation- people find it fascinating. So that is my current goal!

My church does this cool thing twice a year- where all of the head leaders of the church stand up and not only give us direction, but bear their strong and powerful testimonies. It's amazing. Very spiritual.
This year I had the opportunity to bear my testimony through song at that meeting. I sang in the choir and it was incredible. I will post pictures. And a link.

I have a story for you;
When Jordyn and I were little, we used to play on the swing set in the back yard a lot. One day, Jordyn was on the yellow swinging bar trapped by her own two hands. Needless to say, Diane got an amazing picture of her, wedgie and all.
(That story will resurface)

My favorite speaker in general conference (President Uchtdorf), talked about being grateful. I love and agree with his words completely.

They gave me 9 months to live, but guess what? I'm almost to 20. And like President Uchtdorf said, I may not be at peace with God's will, but I have learned to accept it. I know that whatever my Heavenly Father has in store for me, is the most effective way for me to learn and grow eternally.
I am not saying that I'm giving up! There will be a fight before I do that! But I am saying I am finally allowing myself to struggle.
And just like Jordyn-helpless and alone on the swing set, I feel alone too sometimes. And I have realized that just like it was her own hands trapping her from happiness, sometimes it metaphorically is my hands trapping myself. With God, I realize that my hands don't have to be white-knuckling the yellow bar. Because my God allows me to be grateful. He will always be the ground right underneath my feet to stabilize me. Just like the ground, only inches beneath Jordyn.

Moving on.

Right now my friend Jane and I are trying to start our very own clothing company called   Mindless.  We will donates some proceeds to the cureSearch foundation which donates 100% of proceeds to cancer families. It is mostly centered around the brain and I bet you can guess why!

We are doing an Easter egg hunt and are really excited to hopefully start going somewhere with it!
Contact me with any registration or donation questions!

I am going to have an MRI soon, but I haven't told anybody besides my family because the stress scares me! I don't want any questions about it! I have chosen to keep it a secret so as not to stress me out any more. I am more excited for this time though (as opposed to every other time), because I finally got them to sedate me so I'm not on my back on the hard table, stuck in a tube for 4 hours- AWAKE. Which is literally how long it takes.

I'm so grateful that even though what I am going through is hard and miserable, that I can find things to be happy about, to laugh over, and to appreciate.

I'll be updating real soon!
I can do hard things!
Oh and I died and cut my hair, have I mentioned that yet!?

A snapchat I received!

Look it's me!

Selfie in the Conference Center!

Congrats Miss Cassidy Mella

All aboard the Carson Express! (friend from St. Jude with brain tumor)

Me and my friend Mariane!

Me and my friend Charmaine! 

I am thankful for all of my friends and for my family and for my religion. I am grateful for my body and my knowledge. I am grateful that despite everything I have been through, I can feel grateful.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Blind Date

I was asked by a friend to go on a date this weekend with his cousin. He was told to treat me like a "normal" girl. He called me two or three times before the actual date and seemed really nice. He was asking me if I had a problem being out late, and kept reassuring me how late it would be. I told him no, suspicious that he's one of "those" people who finds me incapable. Over the phone he told me we were going to Chili's (Does Chili building ring a bell)? He came to pick me up, a little late, but close to on time. He was a gentleman and opened my door. (For the most part I would rather open my own door because I'm extremely capable of doing it by myself, but it's very "kind" and "classy" of him to do for me).

So off we went in his car where two others were in the back whose names I can't remember, but were very.. together. We finally (6 minutes later), arrived to Chili's. I have plenty of conversation up my sleeve, and I have some pretty interesting stories to tell-not cancer related. Like that time a year before I was diagnosed with cancer that I was spotlight searched for in a park by the police and almost hit by an angry driver that decided the grass was a fine place to drive. I'm just saying, I have some good stories, and I love hearing good stories.

We sat down for dinner, after I greeted the staff, who all know me as "BIG Rache the VIP girl who comes in a lot and was treated at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital" the charity they support. After mulling over the menu for a little while, and having my date repeatedly ask me if I would to do the 2 for 20$ deal with him we decided on what to eat. 

As often as he asked me to do the 2 for 20$ deal, he asked if I wanted an appetizer. After I repetitively told him no, (because I'm on a strict diet) I told him to get an appetizer, because I figured that's what he was after. So he ordered fried cheese, (mozzarella sticks) and they arrived shortly after. His friend sitting across from me kept letting his mozzarella stick dangle from his mouth and dangle low with a thick string of cheese in between, and sporadically he tried having a lady and the tramp moment with his girlfriend and the fried cheese (barf). Every once in a while I felt like I was in a real life caramel filled chocolate commercial with the way the cheese hung down from his mouth.

I was asking questions about him and his life, but between his secret language with his friends and inside jokes, I was feeling really lost. He was courteous though, and explained every inside joke to me, I assumed most of it was "had to be there for the moment" kind of material. Before the food came, I told my date who was sitting on the same side of the table as me, that I eat with my left hand and I would appreciate if he would trade me places at the table so I didn't elbow him all night. (I was feeling really trapped and just wanted to sit on the end, though I do eat with my left hand which makes for the perfect excuse). After I inquired about our seating arrangement, he replied with "Well, I'm left handed too." And the conversation was over.

Dinner was over, and because I know the staff at Chili's, they sometimes give me free food, so the appetizers came free!

We left the restaurant and went down to his apartment complex where his friend was throwing a black and white party. So I went with his friends girlfriend to her apartment to get changed into our formal black/white dresses. The boys came back to join us and my date was dressed in a black suit with white suspenders, a white bow tie and black sunglasses. I had to admit, he looked pretty awesome. So I said "you look awesome!" in the way you kind of fish for a compliment.

I don't usually fish for compliments, but he kept talking about how good he looked so I thought I may as well lean into it. We went upstairs to the party where they were serving lots of drinks and sherbet. We went and sat on the couch, him with his shirley temple, and me with my awkward-blind date grin. He kept offering me desserts and drinks, but I kept telling him no, because I don't eat any sugar. I apologized one of the times I said no because I said it really rash, and harsh. I didn't understand what about "I don't eat sugar" is hard to understand, and I was getting annoyed. But I am glad I took NOVA where they taught me to be strong, and just say no.

There was also red lights everywhere, so I asked my date what kind of a party he was taking me to, and he had no idea to what I was referring. After about ten minutes of sitting down, he got up and socialized. It was his ward boundaries so there were plenty of people for him to socialize with. It felt like a family reunion I was intruding, except nobody was fighting. It was opposite actually. There was a lot of happiness in the room, and I thought that some of the girls were reuniting with loved ones from the military. Heaven forbid they only see each other once a week at church.

Anyways, my date would come back and sit with me as if he was taking a shift at an old folks home. He would ask me all about my cancer which was cool that he cared and was so interested with it, but not necessarily good 1st date conversation. And certainly not conversation in which I was interested in having on a blind date. He sat with me every once in a while, and would leave me for about 15 minute intervals. I have no problem being alone. But I do have a problem with watching my date sit on other girls laps, flirt like crazy, and ask other girls out on dates right in front of me. No judgement, the kids on a hunt. I just wish I had the guts to tell him that hunting on dates wasn't one of his strong points. 

So I went back downstairs to the apartment we got ready in. I felt like I was in a movie sneaking out of the date/party. I figured if he was sitting on girls laps, he wouldn't mind me texting (I neverb EVER text on dates). So I did! I texted Jordyn my heroic twin and McLean my good friend, and told them what was happening. When he came to find me in the apartment I felt even more like I was in a movie. I was scared. But I went out to the living room where he routinely was flirting with one of the roomies. 

We went back to the party a little while later after he asked the girls roommate to come over to his apartment and watch Brooklyn -9-9 with him sometime. Once we got back to the party, I returned to the couch like an ashamed runaway dog that had heroically been retrieved. A few minutes later he surprised all of us with a dance performance he had put together. I use the term "all of us" in a singular way, seeing as this party was not one of the kind that you bring a date to, like I had been.
Between Jordyn and McLean telling me to leave and offering to pick me up, I finally took Jordyns' offer and left. I had her come pick me up because from what he said over the phone, it would be a long night full of at least four more hours of the same activity.

When Jordyn came to pick me up, I talked all muffled when I approached him sitting on the other side of the room. I said, /////family emergency////sick//////I need to go//////my ride's here///personal stuff//thank you for dinner//////. He walked me to the car which was very kind and said goodbye.

I've never been more relieved to be off a date in my life. (Well, besides once).

Before our date, he was told to treat me normally, and I came to the conclusion that if this is how normal is treated, maybe the cancer life isn't all too bad.

So another perk I have found with cancer, people you treat you different! Better!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

the pokes and the perks

So if you've ever had one of your comments removed, I apologize, but this is my space of hope and peace, and that's why I don't like anything negative on it (these comments RARELY happen), I am not perfect, and I understand that. I am trying to improve and be a better person and this is where I write about it, and I appreciate kind comments the most, so thanks to everybody that has nice things to say to me, it's easy to get caught up in the negative things, I would know cause I haven't always been a super positive.

I'm going to address a part of my cancer history that I didn't write down before, that I'm ready to talk about now.
When I was on Dexamethasone (the steroid I complain about so much) and originally moved to Memphis, I stopped acting like "Rachel", and although that's not a problem now, it was, very much a problem at the time. 
I stopped feeling, and I stopped looking for something to feel.

Every day I would lay on the radiation table I would play Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michelson because that's literally all I thought I was capable of, was to keep breathing.

I looked forward to my next blood draw just so I could feel something, even if it was just a poke. I stopped crying. I stopped caring.
I stopped basically everything that had previously made me happy. That stuff no longer made me feel the emotion of happiness. I didn't feel like I was even in the real world or alive, I felt like my head was the only place that might have life left in me.

Why am I bringing this up again? Because I'm kind of in the tear drought again. I feel like I physically can't cry. I've tried making myself, but it's useless. I'm just glad I can still feel emotions. Maybe it's a blessing I can't cry. I haven't been super happy lately. 
I brought this up because it's the first time that I have felt this way since that Memphis trip. But I'm not depressed like the first time. I've had so many people help me find things to be happy about.

Thank you to those of you who help me find the things in life to be happy about.

The other day, Jane and I decided to get a desk from savers. I am pretty sure we were "those" people who people think are hoarders living out of their car.

 Me and Dr. Engel. He's not "technically" my Dr. but he's a dr. in my clinic and I love him!

Getting chemo!

Guess who I was with tonight! Most of you should know who this is!!

I think I have a pen problem. My new desk only gives me an excuse to have a drawer full!

Hair is getting so long, and life is getting good.

Every once in a while I get a snapchat from my awesome brother Devin in the morning. I'm not particularly a morning person.

I can do hard things!

I am going to start being less dramatic on my blog next time. HAHA.