Hair Week

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Welcome to Hair Week over here at Nora’s Cancer, Inc. Aminatou Sow refers to herself as the CEO of her own cancer, and with so many random things to manage, I’m calling myself that as well. It also makes me feel like I’m somehow in charge of the cancer, which is 100% not true–but an empowering lie to tell myself.

After a ton of interwebs research on the chemo hair loss process, the overwhelming consensus was that it’s best to cut your hair before it falls out. One author just cut hers to a long bob, and she describes a “rat sized” handful falling out in the shower. Fuck that. In addition to lots of other accounts, this was disgusting enough to fully convince me to get this hair gone on my own terms. Right now, it’s at full lion mane status, longer than it’s been in years. So I’m cutting it this week to give myself a few weeks to get over the shock of looking in the mirror and not seeing 10 inches of blonde. By Wednesday night, it will be super blonde and super short with a Michelle Williams/Twiggy inspired pixie cut.

There are lots of changes to come with chemo, and I feel like this is claiming control over the most visible one.  I know the actual moments of finding hair on my pillow will be upsetting,  but otherwise I’m not that distressed about not having it for a while. I’m going to have some fun chopping it off, and it’s just part of the whole cancer thing for me. So please don’t tell me that it’s okay and it’s going to grow back. I understand the process of hair growth, and I know it will grow back. But if you’re not forced to be bald for 6 months and then (also against your will) dealing with the outgrowth of newly curly hair for a year, I’m not terribly interested in your opinion. It sucks, but I’m okay. And I am one of the those annoying girls with straight hair who always wanted curly hair, so I’m excited to see what happens post-chemo.

Back to hair week: first on the agenda is a wig appointment this afternoon.

My cousin Rachel found a company that specializes in cancer wigs that submits for payment through insurance—they categorize it as a type of prosthetic, rather than calling it a wig. Who knew that was a thing?? As part of their process, I sent a few photos ahead of time, both of my current cut and my former long bob. That way they can pull wigs to match your color and style ahead of time. I’m excited for this more fun item on the cancer to-do list.

My unofficial big brother Andy Edwards (we refer to the Edwards as our #familynorelation) is in town today, so he’ll come, and my double threat close friend/hair stylist Lisa will join us too. I’m sure it will be kind of sad to talk about losing my hair, but mostly I want to have some fun with it. I’ll post tomorrow with a recap and some photos of us in wigs!

Week Four

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So I had my second infusion this Monday, which went fine? Nothing major. I’ve been fatigued off and on this week, with some joint and nerve pain, but no bad symptoms beyond that which is a relief. I’m kind of tired and fuzzy brained a lot, so it’s unpleasant but not scary. My mother-in-law was here for the infusion and will stay through tomorrow (Saturday), and she’s been amazing—keeping us fed and the apartment tidy, making sure the little studio for visitors is stocked and comfortable, and cuddling the little dog who is completely enamored with her. Among many things, I am incredibly grateful for Nico’s family! Here are some things that happened this week, in order of occurrence:

  • I started rewatching Veronica Mars—I’ve only seen two of the three seasons so I started back at the beginning. It’s awesome and all three seasons are on If you’ve never seen it and you liked Buffy the Vampire Slayer or other female-led shows that require suspended belief, I recommend.
  • Natalie Portman sits a little low on my chest and I need to wear fairly low cut shirts to make her accessible. Big ups to J. Crew for bringing back the built-in bra tank tops this year, since bras hit the port uncomfortably too. Although I wear stuff over the tank top, I walked out of the port draw with my sweater still off and my mother-in-law exclaimed “cleavage!” loudly and cracked up in the waiting room. Just normal, family jokes at the cancer center.
  • While waiting in line for the bathroom in the treatment area, an older woman in a wheelchair came out and was negotiating the door around her chair. Even though I had a tube in my port and the tall IV bag encumbering me, I asked if she needed help. She looked at me, laughed, and said “Honey we don’t need the blind leading the blind here.” For some reason I found this hilarious—it’s like she was saying, “you’re sick too, kid.” I laughed, made kind of a rag doll gesture, shook my IV pole (note: you’re probably not supposed to do that?) and replied—“you’re right! What am I going to do with this thing?” She opened the door unassisted and we both laughed, moving along to continue our treatments. I think someone pointing out that I’m sick would have been upsetting a couple of weeks ago, but now I’m finding random things like this hilarious and going about my annoying day.
  • Though I arrived after the actual event, I got to stop by the kickoff for my friend Gabe’s campaign for alderman in the 49th ward! I’m so proud of my friend and his wife Marissa, it was worth a little extra tiredness. Plus people get really excited when you show up for shit and you feel like a masked celebrity of some kind.
  • My nephews, sister, and dad are visiting now and my nephews have been insanely cute about everything. The older one diligently wore a medical mask around me even when I told him it’s okay as long as I wear one, and when we went outside he nervously asked “do you think I should wear it all the time, just to be safe?” We wanted them to get a visit in before I start chemo and I’m so happy to see them. Tonight we’re having pizza and watching Harry Potter under the new leopard print faux fur blanket they picked out for me. They are little kings of hygge! Tomorrow we’ll have dinner at my friend Ruth’s. She’s hosting Meg and the boys for four days in addition to her own two boys…in addition to being an immigration attorney? So you know, just a low-key simple life over there. I’ve also had two family friends fly in from Boston for 12 hours just to see me, one cousin stop by while here for work, and one friend who has spent more than a year caring for other people here, taking my walks with me. So much happening in everyone’s lives and all of my friends have still offered to fly in, send things, help my sister, whatever I need. Just constantly blown away by it!! Thank you to everyone.

Finally, here are photos of Fanny wearing some blog-branded swag—compliments of one of her (and my!) favorite people, my cousin Rachel.



Life Right Now

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First, a huge thank you to everyone that donated and tried to donate blood this past week!! Our friends, Nico’s awesome coworkers, friends of friends, and one of my family friends who was visiting for 12 hours and became a first-time donor all made me so happy. In addition to helping cancer patients, donating blood helps victims of gun violence in major ways—I’ve watched the nurses in the Cook County Trauma Unit (where I worked until I got diagnosed and banned from hospitals/germs/most things outside of my apartment) literally run with bags of blood to save someone’s life. It is important, and I know it’s not easy for everyone, so thank you!!! Also, my cancer hero Aminatou Sow commented on my Instagram and said supportive, lovely things and it pretty much made my life complete. She’s amazing and I love her.

General update: I’m feeling pretty good. I’m learning that that’s always a qualified statement for anyone dealing with an illness. Currently qualified by: I get tired the way a toddler does, my thigh has been numb for over a week (because I’ve been sleeping sitting up, it’s not a scary thing but it’s creepy), I’m both constantly hungry but still eerily losing weight (again, not a big deal and I know weight loss doesn’t sound like a bad thing but it’s weird), I lose the thread of conversations like your annoying drunk friend, and my port is irritating/painful at night. But besides these not-at-all dangerous and in the scheme of things minor caveats, I’m mostly myself. Most days my energy is decent and I’m happy to feel good, happy to have an appetite and grateful for the ability to go on my daily walks. Then once in a while, Gremlin Nora comes out, and I’m angry and bitchy to everyone. Nico learned about 5 years ago that just pretending I’m being reasonable when I’m not (within reason and only for very short periods) is a good way for these moods to pass more quickly, so that helps. Sorry to anyone I’ve snipped at lately.

School also started again last week. My final two classes (!!) are great, and include some of my favorite classmates, interesting and understanding professors, and one of my favorite-ever professors just across the hall with hugs and encouragement. Major wins all around. Fanny is still at home, usually laying on top of me, and my friends, family, and husband continue to be the best.

Here’s a little round-up of what I’m doing these days.

Final Four basketball. Sad about Loyola’s loss because I love an underdog, love Sister Jean (and chaplains generally if Carol is reading this), and I live here, but mostly excited for my husband’s alma mater. Big fan of Mo, and of Jordan Poole—he’s a weirdo who wears cat t-shirts and capris around campus. So I am here for that. And I think we can all agree that Nico needs a win, so don’t hate on us this time please!

Pretty much basic as hell TV picks so far. I am unashamed:

  • Attempted to rewatch Dawson’s Creek with my grad school bestie, just for fun. It does NOT hold up and led to frequent yells of “THIS IS WHY WE’RE ALL SCREWED UP” because: Dawson is manipulative and possessive but got praised as broody and emotionally honest; Pacey is FIFTEEN YEARS OLD and sleeping with a teacher and no one is calling it rape; the dialogue is ridiculous.
  • We gave up the Creek after 4-ish episodes and switched to My So-Called Life, which I’ve never watched but is a much better-written angsty teen drama.
  • Rewatching New Girl. Forgot how hilarious it is-highly recommend.
  • Gilmore Girls, just in general, always. Staying naturally on-brand.
  • On the movie front, nothing since Apollo 13. Not ready. Just kidding, have just been reading more and watching New Girl/basketball mostly so haven’t gotten around to any. Black Panther is top of the watch list.

This profile of Hope Hicks (she went to my husband’s high school, which I like to bring up frequently because I’m a jerk) is the look into this terrible human that I’ve been waiting for.

The Wedding Date. A lovely, quick read that I’ve already directed one smart-lady book group toward. A good break from some of the more depressing stuff I read for school and my own entertainment. Thanks to ohthatcarrie for the rec, as always.

Venus in Two Acts. An intense article for a lingering final paper due last quarter. I first read it in the waiting room for my initial “do I have cancer” CT scan at the beginning of all this, which is a crazy time to read something this devastatingly grisly about history, race, death, and loss of control..but the writing is beautiful and I’ve reread it twice.

Mating in Captivity.  This is for a current class–super interesting. I’ve always heard great things about Esther Perel, and she’s an engaging writer.

Little Fires Everywhere. For fun and not very far into it, but enjoying the set-up. Apparently the community-planning explanations are wildly inaccurate. That’s a disappointment, but I appreciate my dear friend H’s informative critiques.

Who Bit Beyoncé? Anything involving Tiffany Haddish and Chrissy Teigen using their platforms for long-running public jokes is an A+ read for me. But Love and Basketball forever, so let’s not hate on Sanaa Lathan.

Hospital masks whenever I’m in public! Going for that hot mysterious look—do I have a mouth? No one knows!

Pot roast. I have no idea how my mom makes it, but as soon as the doctor said I’ve been anemic for weeks, she went home and made one. Not helpful since I don’t have a link, but wanted to shoutout pot roast anyway.

Anything and everything chocolate. I’ve never really had a sweet tooth, but I now understand sugar cravings because (I think) the IVF hormones are still hangin’ in there. Or this is a cancer thing? We’ll see. It is serious—I basically have dessert three times a day (in addition to many vegetables and whole grains and organic things yada yada yada) and I’ve decided to just let that happen for a little while.

Sweet potato tacos. They sound kind of meh, but Nico doesn’t love sweet potatoes and even he liked these. Smitten Kitchen has definitely gotten less fussy in the last year or so, so if you quit it a while back I recommend revisiting. I’m adding the spiced sweet potatoes to our general diet of green vegetables+protein+chocolate.

Bleedin’ for Amina Blood Drive

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I have a request for all of you: give blood through my favorite podcast’s blood drives!

During my crazy diagnosis process, Aminatou Sow of Call Your Girlfriend was undergoing major surgery for endometrial cancer. Her Instagram stories kept me laughing and encouraged as I went through test after test—it made me feel less alone to watch someone I admire go through something terrifying and cancer-related as well.

Ann, the podcast’s cohost and Amina’s best friend, organized a series of blood drives in Amina’s honor around the country—Amina’s had countless transfusions, and this is their way of supporting peoples’ health on a larger scale. I haven’t needed a transfusion, but I am anemic these days, and come chemo it’s always a possibility.

Cancer comes with a million risks and worries, and blood availability shouldn’t be one. So I’m asking all of you to join this CYG effort! I’ve listed the dates and cities below and linked to the site to register, and you can also find ways to donate in your city in Amina’s name here (this is especially for all my STL-ians since there’s no drive there):

Austin: Saturday March 31st
Chicago: THIS Friday, March 30th (Let me know if you’re going and I’ll try to stop by!!)
DC: April 7th (already full at their location, but you can walk in or find others at the link!)
NYC: April 2nd (also full at this location, but you can still walk in or donate in her name elsewhere!)
Richmond: April 20th
Minneapolis: April 21st

And if you donate, please tell me about it! Text me, email me, post using the #bleedinforamina hashtag and tag me so I get a little lift!

More on Call Your Girlfriend: Each week, long-distance besties Ann (a journalist) and Amina (a tech businesswoman) talk about what’s happening in the world. Here’s how they describe themselves: “We’re highbrow and lowbrow, fiercely opinionated, and not afraid to realtalk each other about everything from menstrual cycles and body shaming to the Cheeto in Chief and workplace drama with devastating wit.” Clearly this is all my jam, and I can’t recommend this podcast enough.If you want to hear more on the cancer front (all of which resonated with my own) I recommend this episode, Believe Women’s Pain.

Apollo 13 is Not the Fun Tale You Remember

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Lesson from Day 2: I don’t recommend watching Apollo 13 while intense drugs are attacking the biggie tumor in your chest. If you haven’t watched it in years, you might only remember Tom Hanks being the dependable, comforting leader of a tense space mission that a blondie Ed Harris eventually saves. You get some Kevin Bacon as a rookie astronaut action, a lot of loving stares into space from Tom and his wife–all good things, right? The first hour or so is fun to watch; it’s all about the various space missions, how Apollo 13’s crew gets put together, inspirational footage of them getting all suited up. But once things go wrong, there is a huge, seemingly endless amount of time dedicated to the astronauts being sick and miserable. First they’re just cold, then they’re sweaty and cold, then they’re pretty sure that no one knows how to get them home and they’re coughing, cold, and terrified. Not the exciting, fun movie you remember? SAME.

As I watched them, I only became more aware of what was happening in my body. My chest pains always shift around at night depending on what I eat, how tired my body is, how I’m sitting, etc. And my doctor warned me that my body was going to feel even weirder with the immunotherapy. The drug is attacking my tumor hard and fast, causing a lot of “activity” (her words) in my chest. Just shit getting destroyed in my body, no big deal you guys! So last night I started to feel a pain in the far left side of my rib cage, which is where I felt pain the week before I found the mass. It had been a little while, but it wasn’t technically a new pain, which would be cause for concern. And then, as I watched the astronaut not played by Tom Hanks or Kevin Bacon pour with sweat and cry from lack of sleep as Tom Hanks hugged him, I started to feel a tiny pop in my side when I breathed all the way in. Almost like a little lid was coming off something in my ribs. I paused the movie, breathed a bunch, and started to worry.

So I called the 24 hour oncology line, which usually gets me a call back within 15 minutes (this deserves recognition of the incredible privilege of having oncologists to talk to 24/7. Thank you Northwestern). But of course, tonight I get the guy who doesn’t bother answering pages. When Dr. K is on call, I hear back in under 15 minutes like clockwork. Instead it took four calls and two hours to get this sleepy, Southern-accented bro Fellow to call me back. It was a long, exhausting two hours. We finished the movie, which features a bunch more scenes of the astronauts thinking they’re going to die.

By the time he called back, I’d already cycled through the familiar chain of forced-fake calm, fear that something was really wrong, distress that my life right now is mostly made up of wondering if something is wrong, and eventually to an exhausted, resigned, nothing-has-changed-in-two-hours decision that I probably don’t need to go to the hospital.

Finally, Bro Fellow called, and explained that while he has no idea what the pop is (helpful, comforting), there are red blood cells rushing to the tumor that cause inflammation and weird pain like what I’m experiencing. He assured me that the pop couldn’t be signaling a problem with my heart (also helpful, comforting words: “if something was wrong with your heart, you wouldn’t feel it”) or lungs, so unless something gets worse to just try and sleep. Which he had clearly been doing when he was supposed to be calling me. On the plus side, we’d finally hit 1 am when I could take more painkillers.

All this to say: when you’re sick, maybe don’t watch movies about people becoming sick and possibly dying. Maybe this would seem self-evident to many of you, but I was fooled by my love for Tom Hanks. So tonight, we’re watching Castaway instead. JUST KIDDING we’re watching Hidden Figures or more repeats of Grace and Frankie. Funny, smart lady stories only.

Day One is DONE

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Feels / Medical


Me before the first infusion!

Getting settled in back at home after about ten hours at the hospital. Right now I’m feeling a lot of things. Please excuse typos, am on an immunotherapy Benadryl/painkillers cocktail. Yum.

1. Sad I’m not with Nico. He almost never gets sick, but today woke up with some kind of stomach bug so he wasn’t with me at the hospital. Now he is sleeping at the little studio we are renting with our families for people to stay in when they visit. We said a quick, queasy “hey and how was your day” but then he had to leave and we are wiping the whole house down. Getting through this big milestone without him was strange. Maybe it’s a good reminder of how much I do want him at things. I’d gotten into a little bit of a habit of going to appointments alone because he’s missed so much work and school this month, and because it felt good to do things independently. But I wasn’t even alone today and I missed that cute, goofy weirdo, even though he is freaked out by blood, occasionally cries when I’m in pain, and asks questions of doctors when I’m trying to control everything like a little dictator. Maybe this was a nudge to be less of a little dictator? Nah, probs not.
2. Grateful for the tons of ways that people reached out today. I’m so sorry I haven’t replied to everyone but I’m going to try to throughout the week. I loved getting little encouragements throughout the day, especially when things took longer than we thought or I hit that last hour before I could take new pain meds! Also grateful that I have outpatient treatments because coming back home feels amazing. My mom is working on dinner right now like the little trooper of a woman that she is.
3. A manageable amount of pain from the port procedure—I now have my large biopsy scar on the left side of my neck and the two incisions from the port on my right (I look super hot) so there’s a lot of weird nerve pulling sensations plus the incision pains going on. My throat is really tight, which we worried was a sign of an allergic reaction to the Pembro, but we think it’s just a response to my body freaking out with all these drugs in them and the incisions. Still a little bit in watchful waiting mode. Let’s all hope for no anaphylactic shock tonight!
4. Even with all that, I feel much better than I thought I would after today. Doing something is better than waiting around, and now I know what an infusion will be like and, critically, where to get a burrito bowl in the hospital. I have yet to find the optimal combo of burrito bowl toppings, but today began my extensive field research on this topic.
5. Amazed by the science of all this. They took 6 or 7 vials of blood from my port, and watching it leave my body without feeling it was kind of gross, but also kind of awesome. I’m sure the oncologists who are pioneering the field of immunotherapy would be offended that THAT is my science takeaway today. But listen Oncology, we’ll talk when the horcrux in my chest shrinks. Until then, only phlebotomy gets my love.

Thank you again to everyone who reached out or is just following along. This shit is cray. And now to watch Apollo 13 with the mama because you know what would be worse than all this? Thinking I’m trapped in outer space in a broken spaceship.

Treatment Day 1: Natalie Portman

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They say you shouldn’t send things out while still on sedation drugs, but since this isn’t a work email we’ll just ignore that!

Just finished getting my port (named Natalie Portman by a friend). I was a little freaked about this procedure, despite it being the least invasive one this month. My tumor is in my chest, so anything in that region makes me a little nervous. Veins in general used to freak me out (probably because there are movies where a tiny bubble is injected into someone’s IV and they die-this is not how it works, which I know from asking at least 6 nurses during my stays). This fear was inconvenient for someone with a blood cancer and I’ve definitely adapted quickly, and really getting the port was no big deal.

As I was wheeled in the procedure room, Home by Edward Sharpe was playing. It’s a happy song for my sister and me, and the soundtrack of many parties with my Harvard St roommates in DC, so that was a good start. Then I got to pick the music for the procedure. I was basically high and singing to Beyoncé for an hour with only a vague idea that someone was cutting into me. And since I was never really asleep, there was no panic attack later, so wins all around.

Nico went home sick-I’m sure he is racked with guilt because that’s how he rolls, but we are fine here and he has to keep those germs off the chemo floor!

So my tiny mom is in charge of the wheelchair and her grouchy, basically drunk daughter, who definitely outweighs her and hasn’t eaten in a while. If you know me, you’ll know that hungry, tired, drunk Nora is basically the worst person you’ve ever met, so I’m trying to rein that nonsense in.

But we’re ok! We’ve got a couple of hours hanging at the hospital, then onto oncology for my infusion.

Adventures of a 33-year-old Cancer Veteran

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But You Look Great Welcome

I’m Nora Feely, and I was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma on March 1st, 2018. I’ve been telling the internet about it ever since–now in remission and figuring out my new normal. I am a writer, trained social worker (with a focus on trauma), and forever henchwoman for various social justice fights. Midwesterner at heart (STL & Chicago) and currently live on the East Coast with my husband and Fanny, our tiny, sassy dog.

Treatment Plan

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Hopefully most medical update posts won’t be this long, but I wanted to answer some of the questions people might have–skip to the bottom if you’re in a rush. For those of you just finding out about this whole cancer thing, I’ll do posts on how we got here soon.

On Thursday, I met with Dr. K, the Unicorn Oncologist, to make a final call on my treatment. After many blood tests and ten edgy days of waiting, I found out that I’m eligible for an immunotherapy clinical trial. I’ve decided to move forward with it, but here are the details of that decision.

I had two options: Six months of ABVD chemo, a combination that is very effective against HL but also very toxic. Or immunotherapy and then AVD chemo, which drops the most toxic drug from the cocktail. It’s still toxic, but the drug that would damage my lungs won’t be in there.

Quick and dirty explanation of the trial: Immunotherapy drugs are administered through infusions, like chemo. I’ll be on Pembrolizumab/Keytruda. This drug has been around for a while and has already been used for recurrences of HL. The trial is only testing how effective it is earlier on in combination with chemo, not its safety or efficacy with HL generally. Pembro tags cancer cells that lymphoma is particularly blind to, then puts your immune system into overdrive to attack those cells. The risk is that your immune system can also turn on your organs–the most common ones of concern are the pancreas and lungs, but also the thyroid. Since these reactions are detected only through symptoms, I wasn’t positive I wanted to do it. Organs getting attacked scares the hell out of me, and I’m not really trusting my body to much heavy lifting right now.

Dr.K didn’t push me toward one treatment or the other. She explained that since the tumor in my chest is classified as “bulky,” meaning it’s over 10 cm in size and covers more than 1/3 of my chest, it’s possible that chemo wouldn’t quite get it after one round. If it works as it should, the immunotherapy will significantly shrink the tumor first, and then chemo will have less to manage. I want to do everything I can to avoid the escalations beyond chemo (bone marrow transplants and radiation) so that was the final part of my decision.

Here’s the plan:

Monday, March 19th:
I get a port put in my chest in the morning (really ick about this) and start immunotherapy in the afternoon. My mom will be here, which is good since I seem to be the only person who has a strange opposite reaction to waking up from twilight sleep and I basically have a panic attack. Really fun for my nurses.

I’ll get an infusion every three weeks for three cycles, for a total of nine weeks. In what might be the only lucky timing in this cancer garbage, that gives me enough time to (almost/close enough) finish my last quarter of grad school.

Beyond the major side effects, I could have a range of fatigue, GI issues, fevers, swelling–pretty much lots of uncomfortable stuff. But I could also feel mostly okay, as some others in my small trial have felt so far. Earlier this week, I had an egg extraction for fertility preservation (more on this later- IVF is a lot, you guys). The hormones have made women feel a worse in the first round, but post-hormones they do better.

I thought I could pretty much live a normal life during these next 9 weeks, but it turns out that I still need to be pretty vigilant about germs the way I will for chemo: no travel, gym, grocery stores, crowded places, visitors who are sick, minimal contact with children, etc. But I can go to class, ideally wearing a mask. If I get a viral infection or anything that makes me spike a fever, it will mean a trip to the hospital.

May 21st: I start chemo, which will consist of two-week cycles for six months. And we can’t have our dog, Fanny, at our house. More on this later, but I think everyone knows someone who has done chemo and it’s not fun. My red and white blood cell count will essentially be zero, particularly without a third week of slight recovery between infusions, so I’ll need to extremely careful with germs (did I mention that we can’t have Fanny for six months?). I’ll basically be in our apartment as much as possible, and will be super tired and sick. All of the amazing cancer survivors I’ve talked to (seriously, this community is incredible) have said that once you figure out your routine, you learn how to get through it. But I can really only hear that from cancer survivors-from everyone else it’s kind of frustrating because I’m the one trapped on our couch for eight months, which is kind of my nightmare!

A Note on Responses:
So many people have been kind, generous, funny, and all around wonderful since this began. Thank you. Sometimes it feels like the only good thing to happen in a day is the influx of notes, cards, food, flowers, care packages, texts, and emails wishing us well. It makes an incredible difference-social support is real you guys! Please keep it coming, we need you. I can’t thank everyone enough, but promise to try and catch up on real, personalized thank you notes soon. But until then, thank you thank you thank you! Nico and I are deeply grateful for all of it. I’m sure there will be more posts of me gushing about the awesome things people have shared with us, because I really can’t get over it.

Also..if you have any stories of people who have been suddenly diagnosed with an illness, fought an illness for a long time, died from a sudden illness, or died suddenly at all, please don’t tell my husband, Nico. The strangest (and strangely common) response so far is how many people have started sharing terrible stories with Nico. I’m not talking about someone saying “hey, it was really hard when my dad was sick, I’m here for you.” That’s actually lovely. I’m talking random, unsolicited, detailed stories of tragedy from people he doesn’t know very well. It’s honestly a fascinating response, but I’d like to publicly ask that we all just say “Hey, I’m so sorry you have to go through this. How scary to have a wife with cancer. I’m thinking of you guys and would love to send you an organic but substantial Midwestern casserole/my family’s favorite comfort food.”

But even confusing responses are well-meaning. And we get that, so no matter what you say or do, thanks again for all the love.