Share. Connect. Love.


A site for friends keeping up with Melissa's cancer treatments

Latest journal entry

Cancer Roller-Coaster Update

Hi friends! Just wanted to send out an update so we can talk about other things besides cancer when I see you all face-to-face! (Because cancer has pretty much become my least favorite area of expertise!)

After a month filled with two surgeries and two recoveries I can say with complete certainty that surgery is not among my favorite things. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens - yes. Surgery - no. My body does not appreciate anesthesia! My funny anesthesiologist loved making jokes about how he was mixing my favorite cocktail, but let's just say whatever he gave me was not so awesome and brought on weeks of hangover. Glad to at least be past the surgery phase for now and to be off pain medicines!

Last week I was feeling better and excited for the chance to travel to Chicago for work. Unfortunately while I was there, I ended up in the ER (in the middle of a flu epidemic) due to a post-surgery infection. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, I can report that it helps to pull the cancer card. There, in a sea of sick people, the nurses took pity on me and my lack of immunity and allowed me to spend the three hour wait to get into the ER in the "safety search room." The RN who gave me this private paradise let me know that if anyone came in with a gun, I would need to quickly relocate myself because they would need the room back to do a safety search before admitting them. Fair enough. I wiped down the room with sani-wipes and pretended it was free co-working space.

Chicago taught me an important lesson. There are hospitals, and there are cancer hospitals. My hospital - a cancer hospital - is kind of like a resort compared to your normal ER. They have acupuncture and smoothies and a hotel and people sneak a look at your name tag to pretend they know you when they check you in, kinda like you're on Cheers. There's a free valet and limos will pick you up at the airport if you're coming from out of town. I've never waited more than 20 minutes to see a doctor.

Normal hospitals are not this way. Even when you pull the cancer card, you might still end up sleeping in an ER hallway all night while they wait for a room to open up. When you finally fall asleep, they'll wake you up to move you to the "quiet" part of the ER where everyone taking a break hangs out and talks very loudly. The "plastic surgeon consult" they call in will likely be a 25 year old resident who drew the short straw and really wants to do neurosurgery but is on a plastics rotation and hasn't slept in days. And when that resident falls asleep while examining you, you might wonder if you still have to pay full price for the visit - spoiler alert, you will. Instead of smoothies, you'll get food poison from hospital fruit (true story) and then the hospital chef will wake you up after 30-hours of no sleep to tell you that the hospital can't accomodate vegans but he'll put you down for vegetarian. And all this at the #1 rated hospital in Chicago... at least the nurses were great!

My multiple complications have caused my chemo to be pushed until whenever I finally heal. Still not sure when my chemo will start, but I did order a fabulous wig. It looks like my hair would look if I actually cared about my hair. Its so awesome I might just wear it even after my hair grows back. I'm all for low-maintenance. So when y'all see me sporting a wig, just pretend I always looked this good, ok? Thanks!

Stay in the know. Sign up to receive email notifications the moment new Journal entries are posted