Alison’s Story

Site created on July 7, 2019

This is a place to keep up with what is going on in my journey, rally together, and even laugh about things, because life doesn’t always have to be so serious. Pull up a chair, grab a gravity blanket (my favorite), and relax. It’s all going to be okay.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Alison Amarnick

Hi everyone! Umm.. surprise? 

although this blog has been resting for a while, a lot has gone on in my life since the last blog post. Get comfy, pull out some snacks, and let’s catch up. Little side note: It’s late (almost midnight, but I can’t sleep), and I am a little out of practice with this. This post may be a little clunky, a lot of info, and not my usual upbeat kind of post you are used to reading. Please just stay with me. I promise I’ll get back in the swing of things. Thanks! 

Let’s take this back to September 2020, about a month before moving back to Florida. I had my LAST scan before me, my parents, and of course Ben (my dog brother if you are new here), drove back with all my things, to move back to my condo for good. Bum bum bum…. My scan came back showing some growth…. I had been in Philadelphia for a year and a half, living with my parents, saving up for my dream car, ITCHING to get back to real life.. and now this?????? Let’s just say I didn’t take the news well. Thankfully we kept our plans, and were able to still move me back to Florida. My Oncologist in Philly knew an AMAZING doctor at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, so like my dad says, everything ended up working out. After a bunch of tests, appointments, and consultations, I tried something called immunotherapy… long story short, my body laughed at that, and it didn’t work. Sigh, speed up to the present day, I am getting chemotherapy for the SECOND time. 

Chemo AGAIN????

Yup :(, but I now know what to expect. I’ll do whatever I have to do.

Did your hair come back different?

YES!!! It came back in ringlets! I always had pretty long hair, but wavy. I had to learn how to take care and style, legit curly hair. Now that it’s almost to my shoulders, it’s getting wavy straight again. 

Will your hair fall out again?
It causes hair thinning, but not actually falling out… it’s a different medicine. I am also doing a treatment called a cold cap. I look like a bumble bee or a pilot 😂. It has little ice pockets inside the cap, and a tube that connects to a machine, they wet my hair, and then turn the machine on. My brain then turns into a popsicle, my hair gets literal icicles, but it hopefully keeps the hair follicles from getting chemo. Cool huh?? (pun intended) 😁

How long do you have to do this?

Every Friday for three weeks, one week off, until I get a clean scan. 

Do you still feel like a house fell on you afterwards?

Here is where the answer is complicated… 
I have only had two sessions so far. I do know the symptoms will build, so this is my answer for now..
I get steroids with my infusion. That helps with throwing up, pain etc. They also give me a nausea pill that supposedly lasts three days (pretty powerful meds), so the steroids not only make me feel okay, I feel like I had 10 cups of coffee. I can’t stop talking, all I want to do is eat, and I am super emotional (more than usual). That’s Friday.

Saturday (the next day), I seem to start out okay, but as the day goes on, I start getting a little tired and brain foggy, aka chemo brain. 

Sunday is a MESS. I am in bed for most of the day, although I can do things around the house, I wouldn’t feel okay to drive. I have horrible chemo brain (a note on that too), and I just lay in bed watching any kind of show or movie that I don’t need to really concentrate on.

Monday, I am okay again, maybe a little tired in the morning, but by 12, I am myself again, like nothing happened.

*A note on chemo brain* 

How do I describe it? Imagine feeling like a stranger, an alien, in your own skin. You can’t make decisions, everything is overwhelming, you can’t think of peoples names, or what you were even saying in conversation. It is the most FRUSTRATING thing, but you have to stop, take a deep breath, know it will pass, and go with it.. 

*a note on steroids*

Steroids are SO important when it comes to Chemo. Without them I would not tolerate this as well. At the same time, steroids SUCK! When I have steroids in me, I don’t stop talking, all I want to do is eat, I feel big, I am stressed so easily, all I want to do is cry, and I can’t sleep. And yet, if it helps me in the long run… fine. I can handle it. 

last little part before ending this scroll of a post:

I was interviewed on one of my favorite podcasts!!!!!!! You may be here because this blog was mentioned. If so, HEY fellow Parks and Recreation fan! 

It all started when I wrote to the amazing Madi and Holly about how my dad and I watched both Parks and Rec, and The Office, while I went through Chemo (the first time) and Radiation. They invited me on for the “therapy segment”. I had just had my first chemo round the day before, but there was NOTHING keeping me from doing this. I cringe when I hear myself, but isn’t everyone their biggest critic? 

If anyone is interested, the podcast is called “Park Pals”. It’s a Parks and Recreation podcast, but there’s also therapy too! 

It’s getting late, and I have work tomorrow, but I have plenty more to say, so stay tuned! 

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