After reading through Monday’s post that I wrote while falling asleep in a chair, I realized it had some egregious typos and a final paragraph that stopped in mid-sentence. I went back to fix them, and so had my boyfriend. It’s good to have the love of great editor.  (Actually, it’s nice when places that work with “content” have actual editors, but that’s another argument for another day.)

But here’s some breaking news:  The doctors agree that I’m getting better!

That’s the good, long-term news. My counts are going to start going up, so I’m just starting my recovery. And this doesn’t necessarily mean I’ll be in remission. I’ll find that out in August. But I’ll be out of here probably in the coming weeks.

Right now, my throat still feels like it’s on fire and my tongue is swollen. The inside of my mouth is covered in blisters, and I can’t swallow. I had to take some Vitamin K, and I opted for the shot to avoid the pain of choking down three tiny pills. Just a few sips of water or tea send me into a choking or nausea fit.

But this is it. This is about the worst I should feel as things turn around.  It’s “The Final Countdown.” One of the instructors at the fitness bootcamp I attended would remind us of the Europe song as we suffered through the last seconds of plank. “Doo-DOO-DOO-DOO, Doo-DA-DOO-DOO-DOO. It’s the final countdown!”

Since Monday (well Saturday, really), I’ve been mostly asleep, because of my fatigue, morphine and occasional Ativan. (I prefer Compazine when I can get it.)

A side effect of the mucositis is thick, clear saliva. Because there’s often blood in my saliva, I often get little blood stains on my lips, so I look like a baby vampire, a wee Nosferatu. And the excess mucus makes me feel like an infant, able to blow spit bubbles and gurgle at people who try to talk to me. Yesterday, a nurse who came in to draw blood in the early morning said, “Hi, I remember you.”

Me, as I put on my glasses to see: Spit bubble. Happy noises. Nodding.

Once I could use my tissues, tiny spittoon and mouth vacuum taped to the side of by bed, I could try to pack all my greetings into a few seconds. This mouth vacuum is a tiny version of the dentist vacs and helps clear up my drool overflow. The first moments of waking, however, require a lot of gargling.

If you were looking into my room most of this week, you would have seen me carrying on happy conversations with myself and answering questions that had been posed to me. In one dream, I talked to my boyfriend about horse pregnancy, while in another, I helped the pope pick out a new watercolor for the Vatican. The latter’s a little far-fetched, especially when I don’t know much about impressionism; my own collection includes mainly anthropomorphic art (squirrels with martinis, crocodiles with bananas, etc.). Mostly, I’ll wake up as I’m saying something profound, like “OK,” or “I’m not sure.”

When my boyfriend visits, I’ll suddenly look at him and announce things like, “OK, but we’ll have to go by plane,” much to his amusement. I also know I’ve said things to the night nurses, who I’m sure hear a lot of morphine talk. I think I must look sometimes like I’m meditating.

Every time I hit the morphine button, I think of Kraftwerk’s “Pocket Calculator.”

My boyfriend’s parents came by today. Because of the no-travel rule, I haven’t seen them for almost a year-and-a-half. His mom’s cat quilt that she made has been receiving high praise throughout the hospital. Next time they visit, I’d like to join in on the NYC fun, but it was comforting to have them here.

Though I’ve turned a corner, I’m still not taking most visitors or people I don’t consider immediate family. I’m still too gooey for public consumption.

I texted my boyfriend the good news about being on upswing, since he was out and about. Perhaps one of the best things about today was telling my mom that I’m getting better. Almost every day, she’s been saying, “But you’re getting better, right?” or “Does this mean you’re getting better?” I mean, eventually, but I was just holding steady there for awhile, and that’s what they expected me to do. This wasn’t fast enough for my mom. (By the way, if you DO know my mom, don’t tell her about my blog. She doesn’t understand blogs, which she pronounces as blags.]

So I could finally pass along this news from the doctors: I’m getting better. She was so giddy that, at the end of a conversation she had with me about some vegetables she bought, my announcement that I need to go so I could pack didn’t even phase her. (I nodded off for a second and thought I needed to hitch a ride with a truck on a rainy interstate.) “No, nevermind,” I sighed. “I think I just need to get to sleep.”

And on that note, after falling asleep about a dozen times while writing this, good night!





  1. Cecilia says:

    Hi there
    I’m so happy things are going well!

  2. apainintheneck says:

    Thank you! I think I even may even to be able to walk outside in the halls soon! How are you doing? I’ll shoot you an email! :-)

  3. Cynthia Scherer says:

    This is the greatest news I’ve had…all year! I’m soooo happy, especially when I read that your mom is giddy with relief and excitement that you’re on the mend. Oh, and I nearly choked when, mid-sip of my wine, I read that your mom pronounces blogs, “blags”:-)! Fab little anecdote.

  4. Liz says:

    Seeing you made me very happy, and then hearing shortly after that you are getting better was the icing on the cake. YIPPEE!

  5. Renn says:

    Most excellent news! Keep up the good morphine-and-napping work. It’s obviously working!

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