June 28, 2000|
It has been long awhile since I last wrote so I felt it necessary to write a QUICK letter about my current condition. Last time I was quite surprise how many people read all the way down the last letter. wow! I didn’t have enough prizes to mail out, so I had to forgo the whole prize deal. Impressive people, impressive people. 🙂
Anyway, I am back home in Youngstown, OH and have been here for the past month. The chemotherapy finished up a month ago during graduation and I was nonetheless happy to be done with it. The last week leading up to graduation was my roughest yet, as the drugs really took their toll physically. I spent most of senior week hanging out in the dorm playing guitar and writing my independent study. My last treatment was very very nice, though. I received from nurse Gerri a pair of HUP scrubs and freezy spray (in case I ever need to have an IV, I could bring it with me to the hospital). It was a great gift, and I wear my scrubs all the time.
Graduation went well, it ended up drizzling most of the weekend, but that did not dampen the occasion. The whole weekend was a blur, it went so fast. It ended up the award I won was the Albert E. Berg Scholarship, given to the Wharton students deemed academically deserving having been nominated by a faculty member. My advisor/professor I have been working with for the past year nominated me, so that was really nice treat. I also have basically finished up my independent study, all that remains is a clean up job on the paper and some more analysis for my own educational benefit. Some of the results were surprising, and if you want a final copy I will be happy to send you one when I finish. I have a feeling though I will be working on it for the next couple years looking for new and interesting findings to help in my education and preparing me for graduate school.
Healthwise, Dr. Alavi recommended I do four weeks of radiation on my chest to make sure that the cancer is totally cleared up. So, being back home, I have been going up to Cleveland to UniversityHospitals everyday for those treatments. The doctor at UH is amazing, I have just received first class care for my illness. He gave me a rundown on everything from day 1 of my disease with all the ct scans and everything. You could see how well the chemo worked, seeing the cancer “vanish” in the scans.
Radiation: Basically they stick me under this giant xray machine, and for thirty seconds on my back and front, zap me with radiation. I can’t feel it or anything, I just hear the whirring of the machine. The radiation therapists are nice, but not like HUP. I dont get much of a chance to talk trash to them like I did to gerri. I will work on getting a pair of scrubs from them though. That is my one goal before I get out.
It is about an hour and half drive to get up there for literally a minute of work, but they gotta do it. The drives have been nice though, as I have gotten some books on tape to listen to. WIth gas prices though, I had to sell one of my kidneys to pay for the trip:) just joking.
The radiation, I have found, though, is quite difficult, moreso than the chemo. Heck, chemo was a picnic in the park comparably speaking.:) With the radiation I lose my appetite quite frequently and have even ralphed a few times. doh! To further complicate the matter, because the radiation hits my esophogus, I get tremendously sore throats, not allowing me to typically eat anything solid. My diet consists of yogurt, protien shakes, friut and banana popsicles. mmmmm…banana popsicles, they are the best.:) To futher make matters worse, it really tires me out, so i am in the habit of taking naps after I get back from cleveland, like 3 hour naps. I am just that tired- it is crazy. Any exercising I used to has been eliminated as my body just can’t do it. Yes, I miss chemo.:)
Boy, do I have a new found respect for those cancer patients who I have met who do it for six months or for years. I am awestruck by their endurance and stamina. This really is a battle. I am glad to be doing it now though when I am young and strong. It is hard to sometimes see it as a blessing, especially hanging over the porcelain throne tasting that banana popsicle for the second time:) It is though. How many twenty-two year olds are allowed to build up their emotional, spiritual, and physically strength like I have? Some kids get to go to Europe when they graduate, others travel cross country, others get married. Me, I get a life lesson handed from God to teach me a whole lotta lessons about life- and I am only 22. I can’t wait to write my books and talk about this in my leadership seminars when I grow up. 🙂
So that is my story, two and a half more weeks left and then I am done. woohooo! I move to new york city july 15th and start my job the 24th. work will be a welcome relief. After an incredibly hard week after graduation, me and my two roommates from school found a place. The New York real estate market is beyond belief. We did find a nice place in a great safe neighborhood, close to everything we need (grocery store, subway, gym, J Crew, etc). I will send a later email with my new contact info.
That’s all here. Thanks for your calls, emails and prayers. I still need them, as I am learning. I think the worst is here now, but will be over soon- I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My hair is growing back, I can taste mountain dew again, and i can feel my fingers. The end is near, and a new chapter in art’s life is about to begin. So thanks for enduring another “quick” email. Don’t forget to say “I love you” to those love ones (like I always forget to do), keep up your spirits despite rough days, remember your Creator, and have your daily banana popsicle. 🙂