It's a Mess: Chemopalooza - a five day festival

Ladies and gents, I have left you waiting for far too long. Please accept my apology, although I'm not actually sorry because I just did four rounds of chemo and a stem cell transplant, so I think I'm allowed to take a couple days off from blog writing.

First and foremost, I am alive! I have lots of blog posts to make about lots of different days. I'm just going to start from the beginning. Usually the beginning is a good place to start.

July 17 - A 7:30 am admittance because we've clearly established that doctors do not wake up at reasonable hours. This just means I get to start chemo earlier, yay. But you know what? The first two days of chemo really aren't bad. The worst part about it is being connected to the IV pole all day.

That's the thing about chemo -- it's a sneaky drug. I'd only ever done one day at a time of it, and it was never horrible. I mean, it wasn't awesome. I'm not sure I've ever heard anyone say omg I just cannot wait to start chemo #chemodiet!!!. But hey, if you ever meet anyone who has said that, please let me know.

(P.S. you do lose a lot of weight during chemo, mostly because everything tastes like metal, smells overwhelming, and comes right back up. Maybe try the keto diet instead? Their names sound similar.)

So here's how the day goes --

2:30pm I get pre meds. Who knew that you have to take medicines before you can take other medicines? I get an anti nausea drug (apparently it doesn't work well for me), a liver protectant, a bladder protectant, a kidney protectant, an anti fungal, antibiotics, IV fluids, and steroids. With all these protectants I'm getting, you'd almost think chemo is poison...

3:00pm It's chemo time baby! The nurses enter the room fully gowned up -- think black plague doctors. Okay maybe that's a little dramatic, but still -- you get the picture. The chemo pulses through my PICC line for two hours, and I pee every five minutes, but I look super cute doing it. I'm wearing my cute, pink bob. Isn't that fun? I get to just choose hair for any situation! A pink bob seems perfect for chemo.

5:00pm More pre meds -- Benadryl and Tylenol. This time it's for rATG. I don't really understand what it is, I just know that they create the medicine from rabbit antibodies. Call me Bugs Bunny. Have you ever had Benadryl through an IV? It's a game changer. They literally pump Benadryl straight into your bloodstream. For someone who has never had a drink in their life, this hits hard. I'm talking 8 shots deep (is that a lot? I have no concept of alcohol.) 30 seconds after the nurse gives it to me, I am slurring my words.

5:30pm The nurses return to give me the rATG. I just asked my dad what it does. In layman's terms -- it helps to suppress the immune system. This is good because remember, we're trying to kill my immune system. By the time the nurses come in, I am passed out. Bless the creators of Benadryl -- a true innovation.

7:30pm I wake up from my Benadryl induced coma.

9:00pm You guessed it -- more meds! Just more protectants and antis. My favorite nighttime medicine is the Ativan that is also pumped straight into my bloodstream. I probably shouldn't admit to loving this drug. If any future employers are reading's a joke 😅😬 (If you are not a future employer, this is not a joke. It sent me straight to euphoria. I mean hey, if I have to get chemo I can at least get ONE fun drug right?)

Throughout the night I am awoken several times for vitals, medicines, and blood drawing. You'd think they would let you get some sleep in the hospital because it's key to recovering, but I guess that's just not how things work here. I think hospital logic comes from a different planet, but hey, the people taking care of me went to school for like 200 years, so I'm gonna go with it.

Me in my super cute mask that I have to wear anytime I leave the room to walk the hallways. 

Oh wait, you thought this was my schedule for one day? Jokes on you, I do this for 5 days. Wait... I guess the joke is on me because by the 4th day I'm puking my guts out...every hour or anytime I move too quickly. #chemodiet!!! (My recommendation is to never go on the chemo diet.)

At this point, I'm really starting to feel like I played myself -- especially when I realize that I have ten days left. I'm like, "Just kidding everyone! Pack the bags, we're going home. I've seen enough! Who needs grit? I'm quitting!!!"

A lot of people tell me that I'm so strong, but I don't really have an option. I'm here, I'm in the hospital, I'm doing this treatment, and I'm surviving. I've learned that I can't control my situation, but I can control my response to my situation, so I try to smile. I smile for family, friends, acquaintances, strangers, and myself. It doesn't make my treatment less painful, but it does make it more bearable. It reminds me that I can do this, and I will do this.

I know I only post smiling pictures on my Instagram, but the first five days aren't all smiles, but they aren't all frowns either. There are moments of puking, crying and pouting, but there are also moments of laughing, smiling, and resting. I'm learning a lot about myself during my time in the hospital. I mean, I have a lot of time here -- like A LOT of time, I can't even express how much time. I wish I could say these first five days are the worst, but just wait until you hear about the other days. SPOILER ALERT: the main character triumphs and survives.


  1. Ivy, I have seen a lot of sick, suffering people. I mean a lot, like tens or thousands of sickies and I can tell you that you are strong very strong. You truly are an inspiration. Thank you for letting me be there with you. I would have done anything to trade places with you so would not have to endure the sickness I would not have been as strong as you have been.


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