Chemo Superhero

I don’t think I will ever grow accustomed to being a patient here.


Or the fact that my current doctor is no longer the friendly family doctor I had growing up, but an oncologist/hematologist. Say what?

After the first round of morning appointments yesterday, my mom and I had time to go out for lunch before I was due back to sit in the chemotherapy chair to have the poisons injected into me. I had to think very carefully about what I chose to ate, because I could be sick later and neverever want to eat it again.

Soup would be ideal in these situations. But Pho? Even better.


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I got a vegetable one with chicken added at Red Satay in Moncton. With the addition of rice noodles it’s like chicken noodle soup x100. It was the perfect pre-chemo lunch!


Then I went back to the chemo chair. If you’re curious as to what that experience is like, I wrote about it here. The only difference today is that my vein started burning on the last drug, which is administered through a bag drip. At first the nurses and I freaked out a little because burning can indicate that the poisons are leaking out of the vein into the arm and skin. NOT GOOD! But thanks to my good blood return, we determined it was still in the vein, and that maybe the bright red Vinblastine drug earlier caused it to seize up a little. Good ole’ Vinblastine, it takes my hair, turns my pee orange and cheeks bright red, and now apparently freezes up my veins. A little saline drip with the final drug made it more bearable, but still, ouch.

Last but not least was my chest x-ray! I’m old hat at this by now and have that back area of radiology and nuclear medicine memorized. I had to don a hospital robe for this one and as soon as I put it on, I decided they were no longer constrictive fabric prisons of the sick and dying. No, my hospital robe is now my superhero cape. In it, I can beat anything!!


I have yet to hear back on the x-ray, but for the rest of the day I imagined little superheroes in my body blasting the cancer into oblivion.

The first day after chemo isn’t so bad, but it’s days 2 and 3 afterward that really get me with nausea. So for now I’m back on the all-toast diet supplemented with fruit smoothies and veggie soups. I’ve officially gained back all the weight I lost in the hospital. Probably because I often have thoughts like “I have cancer, who gives a crap if I have extra piece of chocolate.” And really, I don’t give a crap. It makes me look healthier and not like I’m wasting away. With that said, my chemo regimen (ABVD) is actually known for causing patients to gain weight thanks to the steroids. Just another cruel joke that cancer patients not only get to be bald, but fat and bald too.

For today, I am doing absolutely nothing. Watching some mindless television…


Old episodes of Conan make me laugh like no other. Plus, no plot to follow.

And of course, cuddle up with the pets.


Cashew is not your typical cuddly cat, but for some reason is obsessed with sleeping on top and inside my bed. These days, she’s taken to nudging up against me in bed and sleeping there throughout the day or night.


Maybe she’ll be my superhero sidekick?

P.S. I just want to wish all my blogging friends a fun time at the Healthy Living Summit in Philadelphia this weekend! I had a ticket could go, but am currently not allowed to travel. I will be there in spirit and have full plans to make it next year once I am in good health! Hey, at least without me there, there will be more Blue Moons to choose from at Friday night’s cocktail party ;)


Posted on August 18, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 43 Comments.

  1. Susan, your positive spirit always shines through…you amaze me!

    And yes, have that extra piece, or five, of chocolate :)

  2. you are a superhero! you inspire so many of us every single day! :)

  3. i love the image of the super heroes killing the cancer in your blood :)

    I think animals really do know when we need extra love- Cashew just knows that you need a cuddly superhero sidekick. Can you draw? Maybe there’s a graphic novel there somewhere…

  4. You are an amazing person! I wish you a safe and speedy recovery.

  5. I think you are a Superhero. I’m serious.

  6. “I don’t think I will ever grow accustomed to being a patient here.” <– Good plan, that! :-)

    I'm giggling, because I am now seeing my favorite superhero – Superman – shrunk down to better vanquish the foe that is your cancer. :-)

  7. Cashew is totally trying out for the part of your superhero sidekick! Cashew is trying to help. Great post – for the subject matter…you know what I mean. I read every word and somehow you still manage to make us laugh. “I don’t give a crap.” was perfect! Eat chocolate, comfy soups, watch tv, any hour of the day or night. You really are a superhero you know. You sure are to me. It may sound odd, but in reading your posts (which I save), I thought, ‘if I ever get cancer (which is likely in my genes), I hope I can handle it 1/8 as well as Susan.” You are an inspiration on just being a human being! Yay, Cashew and Susan!!!

  8. Your posts are truely an inspiration, I wish you nothing but the best!

  9. Love the superhero picture! That is awesome. And now I want pho! Looks so good! your kitty is adorable, looks just like one of mine. Cuddles are the best.

  10. YUM that pho looks rockin’! Enjoy your days of relaxation and mindless T.V despite the nausea. :)

  11. We will miss you at HLS!

  12. definitely a superhero cape, for sure! :)

    PS: did the package get there yet? I’m hoping it’s there soon.

    • Yes!! I wanted to e-mail you when I blogged about them, but uh, I’m a little behind on that. Already have the next recipient chosen, just need to think of a great quote :) Thanks again for thinking of me!! xoxo

  13. You’re totally allowed all the chocolate your body can hold….i hear it has lots of antioxidants. ;)

    • Eek! I’m actually supposed to stay away from anti-oxidants because it interferes with my chemo!

      • stay away from anti-oxidants?…How ironic is that!

      • That IS weird…what’s the reasoning?

        • From what my uneducated brain can gather is that the chemo kills my red blood cells – the oxygen carrying cells. So “anti-oxidants” while helpful to those with regular cell counts, can be harmful to those with lower cell counts. It can cause anemia and other conditions.

          • I can see that actually! It’s weird when healthy things become unhealthy! Where I’ve been catching every infection around me for 2 years my doctor says to avoid Vitamin A because in some people it actually lowers immunity! Everything you read says you should eat tons of beta carotine for great health!

  14. Look, you will not get fat no matter how much chocolate you eat (chocolate is good for you anyhow! anti-oxidants!). The roid aren’t too bad. Its a lot of water retention most of the time.
    I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but I don’t think you should say to yourself “I have cancer, so I might as well…”. Its not an excuse to eat a lot of chocolate or do anything alll that differently. You should do whatever you want cause you want to do it, not cause you have cancer. You are you, cancer is cancer and its slowly but surly exiting you body. Cause you ARE a super hero, and they always win.

    • Haha, I never said it was a “good” reason to eat chocolate :P Whether it’s healthy or not, I can see myself making different decisions, even silly ones, until I’m deemed “cured.”

  15. Cashew looks like a much slimmed down version of my obese cat Buttercup. She is ridiculously snuggly too. I think she’s secretly a dog. She greets people at the door and follows me all over the house.

    The extra chocolate must be good for you because you look amazing! :) I’ve had a real struggle with overeating since going GF because I convince myself that if I find something delicious and GF I “deserve” it because I can’t eat most of my favorites.

  16. Ahhhhh Susan! The pic of you in your “cape” is beyond awesome. I would hang it in my house, LOL. Just because of the spirit it captures.

    Also, thanks to a marathon of Man v. Food last night (that I watched while I worked out ’cause I’m a masochist apparently) I’ve been craving Pho. I’ve never tried it but it looks amazing.

    Thanks for sharing!

  17. The superheros blasting away at the cancer is exactly what I tell my kids, I work in pediatric oncology, I’m definatly going to have to start telling them that the gowns are superhero capes :)

  18. Cashew is adorable! What a great recovery companion :D

    Conan is funny – much, much funnier than Leno.

  19. Andrew van Geest

    Hooray for mindless TV, it will get us through anything. I am inspired by your strength and courage every single day:)

    Best regards

  20. I think Cashew is the best superhero sidekick. Ever.

  21. susan, goodness you are strong and I am so freakin in love with you don’t give a crap attitude. It actually does make you healthier! And i have a feeling its going to kick cancers ASS!

  22. Cashew is adorable! She probably just knows (like the dogs) that you need a few extra snuggles right now… and if she happens to be an awesome super-hero sidekick who absorbs your cancer cells and then coughs them up in a hairball, that’s just icing on the cake.

    Also, tacking on to the post about book suggestions: as you like cookbooks you should check out ‘The Soul of a New Cuisine’ by Marcus Samuelsson. It’s about the foods of the different regions of Africa. The author travelled around Africa while researching it so it’s filled with personal stories and lots and lots of pretty pictures.

  23. For whatever it’s worth, you’re my superhero and we’ve never interacted. You astound me at how you are tackling cancer and your attitude is amazing!

    I love the cat! I myself have Stanley who is my sidekick and I am not positive, but sometimes I think they just KNOW when we need them.

  24. I love pho. I find it so comforting and healing. I think that was a perfect choice. Now I want to find some!

    I can’t even fathom what freezing up a vein feels like. OUCH! That does not sound fun at all.

    Cashew is so cute, strange how animals sense we need a little extra love, huh?

  25. learn something new everyday…maybe just milk or white chocolate then ;)

  26. Ouch, I’m sorry this round of chemo ended painfully! At least that one’s over, right? The cat is so sweet- they really can sense when people are sick and need cuddling. :) I hope the Pho sat well because it would be a shame to not want it again!

  27. Susan, you seem so positive and a little sassy when talking about the c-word. You have so much strength, it humbles me… I feel guilty for grumbling and ranting at my life’s minor hiccups … Thank you for showing me through example how to take things in stride, and day by day… Super Hero Susan! (I used to work with a boy who was deaf who spoke through sign, and he signed his “s” for Spencer over his chest like superman… Seems a little fitting for you too!)

  28. You are quite the superhero!!!

  29. I love your super supportive sidekick,Cashew, whose main superpower talent seems to be sleeping peacefully and sharing that “no worries” vibe. Everyone needs a Cashew in their life!

  30. I just wanted to pop in and say how much I’m enjoying your posts. They’re so inspirational and REAL! I’m thinking of you and sending good energy your way!

  31. Wow: “No, my hospital robe is now my superhero cape. In it, I can beat anything!!” What a strong and powerful thing to say. YES YOU CAN! :) Cute kitty btw.

  32. You are amazing, Susan! I’d love to get to meet you next year at HLS :)

  33. HUGS! It is amazing how much animals know. I love that pic of the cat next to you!

  34. Hey girl,

    I was on steroids (prednisone) with cyclophosphamide (mild chemo) for 6 months to treat a bad flare of Lupus and they warned me about the weight gain too. I got out of it without gaining anything, so I’m sure you’ll be fine!! :) It sucks to hear that kind of thing from the doctors though. It’s like, grrreat. :(


  35. You are looking good sister! Eat that chocolate, snuggle and watch tv….because shoot, if you can’t kick back when you have cancer, when will you ever!?

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