Turning a final corner

Onco Girl has a party with some friends to celebrate the end of chemo after 14 rounds

September is Cancer Awareness Month and later this month, on Sept 25, I’m going to lead Team Onco Girl in the 2011 Four Seasons Parkway Run and Walk (I’ll walk, actually). I’m going try to go the distance with my new endo-prosthetic femur. (Did I get that right, Dr. Dormans?)

The whole reason for this blog is to help other children and families become aware of the treatment and facilities available here in Philadelphia (CHOP is the place to be) and to tell you about what it is really like going through my diagnosis, treatments, surgery, physical therapy and then trying to bounce back from all of this to be normal again.  I hope that my blog helps other families through this process.  The editors at The Philadelphia Inquirer said that I can keep writing my blog, so if you keep reading, I’ll keep writing.  I still have a ways to go with scans and physical therapy and I want to keep telling my story.

This past week, I finally finished chemotherapy.  When this all started, I was scared out of my mind and so were my parents.  At first, the chemo made me sick to my stomach until my doctors got the anti-nausea medication just right. I was also getting a steroid with my chemo treatments to help manage my nausea and keep my appetite up.  The steroids helped with the nausea but they made me really moody.  I decided that I would rather be a little nauseous than turn into what someone called “Kidzilla.” I asked my parents to talk to the doctors to see if they could stop the steroids -- and they did.  Even though I got a little woozy, I was a whole lot more pleasant to be around.

For my last round of chemo, my cousin and uncle from Michigan came to visit.  My friend AJ and his mom and brother and sister came by, and my friends from school came and we had a last chemo party during my last treatment.  We had cake, hats, decorations and we went down to The Voice in the lobby of CHOP to hang out in the studio and I got to sing Rolling In The Deep to the whole hospital.  We had a blast.

A few days after my last treatment, my blood counts got pretty low and I had to get platelets and whole blood.  This was pretty typical a few days after a round of chemo. And considering that I’ve had 14 rounds, I was pretty beat up.  After getting the platelets and whole blood, I felt great, went back to school, and even got in the pool with my swim team.

I’m feeling pretty blessed having the team at CHOP that worked on me for the last several months.  I feel good and when I look down, I still have two legs.  I have a lot to be thankful for.