Yes! Trish still loves food, and I’m baaack.
It’s been way too long since I’ve posted anything to my blog. I’ve been taking my doctors advice and I’ve been resting (it sounds legit). Sort of. I mean, I guess I’ve been indulging myself in all of my hobbies. And I’ve been loving it! But I really miss writing this, and I’ve been throwing some ideas around in my head to see if I can take it in a new direction without changing it up too much. I mean, it’s my blog, I can do it however I want to, but I like the format, and I want to share some stories about my cancer journey from before I started the blog.
I haven’t had to travel to Stanford as often this year, and honestly, it’s such a relief. And since I have had fewer appointments there, I also haven’t been out and about in the bay area very much, so there’s been a serious lack of inspiration for my blog. So I’ve decided to expand my realm of watering holes to include all of California with some guest appearances by any other states or locations that I may have occasion to visit once this Corona lifts. And….for the cancer portion of the blog I’m going to be writing stories about my experiences of the past two and a half years, because a LOT has happened that I want to share with you.
I’m bringing my daughter to college here in downtown LA, and I figured now is a good time to start up the blog again. Because. Downtown LA. Wow! It’s beautiful, it’s intimidating, and there are a ton of restaurants. I love it here, and I hate it here. I’m staying at the O hotel on Flower street, the hotel was originally named The Orchid, and it’s been here in the heart of LA since 1925. That makes it almost 100 years old, thankfully they’ve done a little updating since then so we have regular plumbing and the all important wifi. It is quaint, and super cute, and it feels a little European.
But without a doubt, my favorite thing about this hotel is the little cafe downstairs (of course it is, I love food). It is so so cute! I love everything about it. The coffee is amazing and the pastries are to die for! I thought the raspberry cream cheese stuffed croissants were the best I’d ever tasted, until I tried the almond croissant. It was so delicious I ate the whole thing. I usually only eat half, but I ate the entire delicious, almond paste stuffed croissant. It was like a little slice of heaven. The coffee and espresso items on the menu are all pretty delicious too, I think I’ve tried them all during my short visit. From the plain cup of coffee to the cappuccino to the cafe au lait. It’s not just the coffee and pastries though, it’s the cozy ambiance. I took a lot of pictures of the little cafe, my least favorite picture is the one of the cheese case, but it’s also my favorite picture because of all the cheese. It’s just a picture of a refrigerator full of cheese, but it’s a refrigerator full of cheese! Brie, goat, gouda, feta, blue, something with cranberries in it. Pretty much all the cheese you can think of.
I just happen to be visiting during the once in a lifetime (I hope!) pandemic so the actual restaurant is closed, but thank the good Lord that the cafe/bar (yes, the wine is good too) is still open. I can’t wait to come back and see what the restaurant has to offer. I’ve seen samples of their charcuterie boards in the back of the cafe, behind the cheese case, and they look awesome!. I’m pretty sure I’ll be returning to Visalia about five pounds heavier.
The Cancer update/story
There isn’t really much to update, except that at the moment, I’m cancer free. Thank God for that HUGE BLESSING. I can’t say that enough. When your doctor tells you that you have stage 4 cancer you do a little gulp. And then you take a deep breath and ask the him if it’s treatable. He said it was, and that was all I needed to hear. If it’s treatable, let’s treat this thing so I can get rid of it and get back to my life. Well, it turns out it wasn’t a simple fix, but after 6 rounds of chemo, a little bit of spinal chemo, some experimental drugs and two bone marrow transplants, I’m all better.
The first round of chemo didn’t seem too bad to me. It was a treatment called CHOP; I have no idea what the C,H, or O stand for, but I do know that the P stands for Prednisone. I was on 100 mg for 5 days in a row, and that stuff gave me a crazy amount of energy and it spiked my metabolism. I needed a LOT of calories to keep my weight up. I’m not complaining. I like to eat, even when I’m a little nauseous (yes, I’m a weirdo), so I ate. A lot. But then….I started to feel sick… and I also tried to pretend like I was fine and that I didn’t have a 101 degree fever. I was definitely in denial about a possible reaction to the chemo, but I knew that something wasn’t quite right. I was very sort of breath, to say the least, and I was a little afraid to go to sleep. So I laid on the couch, and to get oxygen into my lungs I used an empty 1 liter water bottle to help myself breathe. Every time I inhaled, I would squeeze the bottle to help my lungs get oxygen. I had an appointment in Stanford planned, but I ended up in the local hospital with a severe case of pneumonia, and also I was placed in a medically induced coma for 5 days. The coma – of course I don’t really remember anything about being in a coma, but what I do remember is peoples heads and especially their eyes coming over my head and talking to me. I remember my sister I think, and my children, very vaguely like a dream I can’t quite hold onto. And I know when I woke up, I had no idea why I was in the hospital. I remember thinking: WHAT KIND OF ACCIDENT WAS I IN??? And why are both of my legs broken? (my legs weren’t broken, I just thought they were because they were in circulation braces) I had to ask the nurses what HAPPENED? It was such a weird feeling. I did know that I had cancer, I hadn’t forgotten that or anything, but it just didn’t occur to me that the cancer was the reason I was in the hospital.
When I woke up I was still intubated, which was hard because I couldn’t talk or ask questions. I had a very kind nurse named John who tried to help me spell out what I wanted to ask. All I wanted to know was when they were going to remove the stupid (life saving) tube from my throat, and I had overheard the doctor use the word extubate, so I was trying to spell out extubate by pointing to letters that John had written on a piece of paper. This was not going well, because for one thing, I was too tired to lift my hand up and point to letters, and for another, I tried to shorten the word by just starting with the letter x. Poor John couldn’t think of any words that started with an x. So we gave up and they removed the tube. Later, he came back and asked me what it was I was trying to spell out. Of course when I told him we laughed at the irony…
I was in the hospital for 11 days with that pneumonia; I had to relearn how to walk before they would let me out, and I got to go home with oxygen tanks. Two months before this hospital stay, I was still teaching spin. I now I had to relearn a basic thing like walking and I had to have oxygen? Ugh! Also, after laying around in a hospital bed for 11 days I had a blood clot in my leg. Lovely. Those things can kill you too, apparently. Not to mention the fact that I still had my hair, sort of. It had started to fall out from that first round of chemo, but not all of it. And so I had a receding hairline and a matted mess of a rats nest on my head. The nurses kept trying to talk me into combing it, but I flat refused that offer. I know exactly what my hair does when it doesn’t get combed for 11 days; there is just no way to get a comb through it at that point. It got shaved off the minute I got home from the hospital. I thought I would be more emotional about shaving it, but I really wasn’t. I just considered it to be a clean slate. Also, the plus side to having no hair is all the time you save after you shower. You don’t have to dry it, or style it. You just dry your head off and off you go. No bad hair days. 🙂
I made it out of that hospital because I had a LOT of people praying for me. Prayer warriors are super heroes. You know who you are, and I want to say thank you!! I’ll never stop saying thank you. Thank you.