Saturday, May 26, 2012

Chemo and a cold...

Well.. this week has been a bit of a down week. I went to treatment last Sunday evening. My mom and I made some homemade chicken and stuffing at the jubilee hospitality home. It is so great that we can make things like that when we are far from home. 
This week has been good. I have worked, and gathered things here and there to sell at our yard sale fundraiser for our spotlight youth theatre camp. I think that will be such a success. I have gotten great things so far (and so much stuff I wasnt expecting) and I am very grateful for those who have helped me out so much that way.
I got a bit of a cold this week. It hasn't been very fun dealing with that and the chemo. But besides the stuffy nose, watery eyes and congestion, things havent been too horrible for me. I really am seeming to handle everything quite well I have been told. And I personally think it is because of all the wonderful, loving people out there praying and looking out for me. Thank you so much to you all!
I think I will now go in a bit of a detail about how my whole "treatment Monday's" works... So before I got cancer I always thought when people got chemo treatments they had to like lay through a tunnel while special invisible rays shot them. (I think that is somewhat like radiation... but I dont know that) but chemo is far more different than that. So, for me, I get to the Huntsmen cancer center between about 9:30 and 10 am Monday morning. I say hi to Lacy the receptionist at the desk and wait for the nurses to call me back. Once Jamie calls back for me I go and find a nice soft recliner in the big chemo room in the back (they're super nice chairs) and Jamie comes over and sticks the dragonfly-looking needle into my port (located on my left side of my chest next to my shoulder.) She takes my "labs" where she takes my blood and tests it, and then I get taken to the dr's room and wait there for what seems like a looong time waiting for Dr. Haslem to see me. We mostly have to wait for the results of my blood tests to see where my white blood cells are at (which I am not exactly sure where they are but Dr. Haslem says that he feels good about mine). Finally when he gets in, Dr. Haslem and my mom and I usually just have a hoot of a time chatting it up. He is really such a funny guy. He is about 36 and pretty much all grey hair. very active looking and vibrant. I love seeing him. One of the greatest parts about it is he seems to not worry at all about rushing our appointments with him ever. He acts like you are his only patient when you are meeting with him (this coming from not only me but other patients of his I have talked with). But he also answers any and all questions that we have for him with the utmost confidence. He makes my mom and me feel really good about everything after we meet with him. Him and I seriously just pretty much joke around the whole time thought. Sometimes my mom has to keep us in line... I dont know how often one 20 year old girl could get away with [lightly] kicking their doctor in the shin... funny story! 
but anyways... (;
after I get back to my soft recliner, that is when the fun time starts. They do start my chemo which in total takes about an hour and a half to sit through. They hook me back up to an I.V. drip and we sit there. just sit. while it all drips in. While waiting, I sit and chat it up with all my other cancer patient friends. If you know me well you will know that I am the first person to start up the conversation with just about anyone. So talking with Steve, and Wanda, and Austra, and James and whoever else is around is not a problem at all. Of course I am usually the youngest of the bunch so I really appreciate and listen to what my new friends have to say. Each of their stories is amazing and being able to hear and experience each of those stories with them individually has pretty much made this cancer worth it to me.
So that pretty much wraps it up. After all of that, my mom and I are usually on the road headed back home. We get home around 5 or 6 pm normally and those monday evenings arent too hard for me. I am just pretty tired. The next day, tuesday, is usually pretty good too, it is wednesday and thursday that arent the best for me. I am usually the most tired that day and just not feeling too top notch. Nothing too drastic though. I still go to work and do any other sort of activity that I need to do. Friday and saturday I am almost back to normal except for some soreness in my joint and deep in my bones. but really I say that around some older people and they just say "well welcome to my life just about every day" haha! So I dont try to complain about that one too much. But usually by about now or Sunday I am almost back to normal. I am so grateful that I get one full week to be just about back to my usual old feeling well. I have really come to take advantage of feeling well on a good day. And to think that I get an entire week of feeling good is such a long time in my book. But at the same time it goes by fast. 

And as bitter as it is to know that on that second Sunday I have to travel down to Cedar City and do it all again, it is such a sweet feeling to know that I will have yet another one done and over with. 
So.. that is a day in the life of "treatment Samae" I guess you could call it. I was thinking of documenting these adventures via photo and putting some on here. I think I shall do that next time. 
Have a wonderful week. I know I will!! (: 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

I ¡Smile!

Okay so.. It has only been one day... and I dont know how long you're supposed to wait to blog, BUT I wanted to figure out how to insert a link because this song just makes me so happy! I stole it from a good friends facebook but It's called "I Smile" by Kirk Franklin. I don't know who that is really. But I'm sure he is the lead guy in the video. but just take a listen.. and I promise you won't be able to help but smile

! (: (: I hope you have a good day!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Let's be honest, life is wonderful!

Alright... well, this is the first time I've done anything like this. A blog that is. So I am not quite sure of its rules or cliche rituals or the strange options they give you to make it easier or cooler or anything of that sort. But I decided that it would probably be in everyone's best interest for me to make one so anyone who is interested can keep up with me. I have never been much of a writer so I would not expect my writing/editing skills or styles of writing to be anything too special. But I do feel that writing this would be pretty fun and I hope people will appreciate it.. I guess. (:
Okay. So... My name is Samae Smith. I am 20 years old. and I really am just a normal college girl will some interesting [slash] amazing experiences. I am very open and willing to talk about my cancer. I think it has gotten me into an awkward situation or two recently. but they turn out to be rather funny later. So I have Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It is a cancer of the lymph-nodes. I am stage 2 bulky. Which just means it is a tad bit larger than 1/3 of the area it is in. Speaking of, it is in my chest cavity. it is somehow behind my chest bone but in front of my lungs... who knows how that works but that's just what I've been told. It (and when I'm speaking of "it" I'm talking about the weird swollen lymph-nodes that seem to be cancerous)  is about 4 inches in diameter total. Okay done with the logistics. So how I found it was pretty interesting. 
So I got very sick about last October. Good and sick. I went to the doctor and he gave me some anti-biotic and I told him about a recent lump I had found on my lower neck just above my left collar bone. He just told me it was a swollen lymphnode and those occur when you're sick. Which I already knew so I believed that was all it was. So I got better, and things were good. Except that swollen lymphnode never went away. But I just avoided it. Thinking that it would eventually go away. 
But it didn't.
So this last March, during my spring break while I was home, my mom and I went to lunch with some good family friends. Now these family friends are very smart and very knowledgeable about.. well pretty much everything. It is amazing. So my mom suggested that I ask them about some dry skin on my arm. So I did. And in my sarcastic splendor I say, "Okay doctor, since you know everyting about everything, what is this??" and pointed to my neck. After looking at it, our friend got a very strong overwhelming feeling for me to go get that looked at. So we scheduled a doctors appointment for the next day to get an xray and ultrasound. 
That next day would be the day that changed my life forever. March 15th. The most good/bad/scary/enlightening/faithtrying day I have had thus far in my life. 
But since then, I have grown so much and I do have a large testimony of the atonement. Not only of its power to forgive sins, but how the Savior knows our trials and can truly take the sting away. Because comparing how I felt that day to how I feel today is like night and day. 
I am happy. I am faithful. and I am very confident in what I am doing and what is happening. I had the very wonderful opportunity this last year to audition for the young performing mission in Nauvoo. This is a service mission where hundreds of kids audition across the nation by sending in a video audition to Salt Lake. The executive directors then choose 20 boys and 20 girls to come back for a live audition at the Joseph Smith memorial building. (which was on the 9th of this last January for me) and then 10 boys and 10 girls are chosen to actually go to Nauvoo for the summer to sing and dance as pioneers. Walk the streets, perform in shows, and bear testimony of the spirit of Nauvoo and the church's truthfulness. A few months after being chosen for this opportunity is when I found out about my cancer. But I know the Lord has been preparing me to not go to Nauvoo this whole time. He really has. In a loving, caring way. And now I am really okay with it. The entire group left for Nauvoo on the 4th of may. I am still even okay. Depending on where I am next year, I think they are going to give me a chance to do it next year. 
So that was one of the hardest things to get over when I found out. that, and my hair. 

my hair... oh boy haha

Nauvoo and my hair were the hardest things to get over. Yes. as of now I am a bald woman. haha! The Lord has really humbled me because I have been very materialistic in my life when it came to my hair. I loved my hair. I almost felt like my hair was part of my identity. Ever since middle school I have always been known as the girl with long brown hair who can sing. Always. so to lose that has been a trying time. But I am honestly grateful for the opportunity now [Really!] because not only have I really been able to overcome that materialistic aspect of myself, but it has helped me to overcome other stupid problems I seemed to have with myself. Like the fact that I have larger ears.. not even a worry now. and if you knew me well before, you knew that I would NEVER show my ears to anyone! also, I would never buy those cute little sandle shoes that are super super cute in the summer time because, my foot is wide and would sometimes hang over the edge of the slender sole. But hey! now I have about 3 new pairs that I absolutely LOVE wearing. So.. in conclusion to that, if any of you might be going through a rough self image problem, just lose your hair or something!! And one might find those problems to be not so much a problem anymore. 
Alright so I'm about to wrap it up for today, but I will say that this week is an off week (which is a good thing) because I go to get treatments every other week and usually the first week isn't so good, but the second week is better. it is a better week. I have had 3 treatments now and on sunday my mom and I will be traveling down to Cedar City Utah for my 4th treatment. ( I go to cedar city huntsman cancer center because my mom and I decided that it would be the best thing for me seeing as I started down there and I will be finishing down there. And.. I really love my doctor down there, I just couldn't leave him) We will drive down Sunday night and come back Monday afteroon like usual. So I am sure I will post about more things then. 
But for now I just want everyone to know how genuinely happy I am. My life is so good. and this cancer has nothing on me. I know it is just a little bump in the road to my real destiny. but I do know this bump is going to make me swerve bigtime and put me in a better direction towards a better me for the future. (hey pretty good analogy). I also want everyone to know that I am NOT bedridden in the least. On the contrary, I am really actually quite busy every day of my life. I have a job currently at Vivint security systems. I work at the corporate offices. I am running a youth theatre camp this summer called Spotlight Youth Theatre. Where for 3 weeks we are going to be teaching youth from ages 5-teens to sing and dance to songs that they will perform for family and friends at the end (p.s. if any of you are interested for you or your children PLEASE let me know asap. You can check out our facebook page too AND I am also one of the head coordinators for my wards Youth Conference this year. That is going to be a great opportunity I think. So thank you so much everyone for your prayers and thoughts. I really have been blessed so much by all of you and by my Heavenly Father. You're all so wonderful and just know that I am pretty much happy as a clam! Well.. a bald clam! ((;