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21 August 2017 @ 04:56 pm
The evening of the day I wrote my last post, my uncle's mom suddenly died. My dad's mom died in the seventies, so she was a grandmother for me and I loved her. I couldn't go to the funeral because I'm still too weak. My aunt came back from Sicily, where she was supposed to spend a month, just in time, because I got worse. An oncologist visitied me at home and gave me drops for my left lung, and I'm trying to eat more. On wednesday Tati will come visit, and on friday I'll start a new chemo.

My hair is slowly growing back in funny soft tufts. It's cute to touch. Speaking of, Sakura spends all her time in bed with me, guarding my every movement.

It's been a very long month, can't wait for september!
Current Mood: blankblank
04 August 2017 @ 05:27 pm
News! The pet scan went well, and the visit too. They suspended the chemo, those pills, because the side effects were too hard on my body. It's the second day of it, and I already feel better. Plus no more barfing! Next week they'll decide if starting another cycle or doing something different. I'm hoping for something different, to be honest. Other than that, we're having a heatwave, and Sakura is suffering from it too. My aunt's house doesn't have air conditioning, so it's really hard to endure. She spends her days sleeping under the table where the tiles are cold.

Today I was alone all day, so I watched cartoons, played on my phone, and then watched my favourite tv programme ("Cook and Live" or "Il Mondo In Tavola" on Marcopolo) while eating tomatoes. I don't have an appetite back, but it still felt better than usual. I can't wait to feel hungry again!

Sidenote, I allways read all your posts, just find it hard to write. ^^"
Current Mood: goodgood
19 July 2017 @ 08:15 am

She just waltzed in this morning! She is perfectly fine, just a bit hungry. And pissed we blocked her way out. Girl, it's been four days, you can spend one inside.

Thank you thank you thank you for all the nice words in my last post, they helped a lot! You're the best!

17 July 2017 @ 06:09 pm
So I've got bad news. Two weeks after being here Sakura disappeared. She was in the garden, and then we couldn't find her anymore. It's been three days now, and my aunt thinks she's dead. We've posted pictures, we've asked everyone, we've walked the whole neighbourhood, she's just disappeared. My aunt thinks she's dead, my therapist thinks someone took her. I don't know what to think, especially because I started the fourth cycle of chemo and it hit me hard, so I have to focus on that. Next week I have the pet scan, then they'll decide how many more cycles I have to do. I hope not many, because those meds give a lot of side effects, even if I see the good effects too.

All in all, it's been a bad week. Let's hope the next one is better.
Current Mood: sadsad
02 July 2017 @ 07:25 pm

She arrived on tuesday, she already feels at home. Everyone loves her, even if she peed on the couch less than twelve hours in. :)

24 June 2017 @ 07:51 pm
The good news is, the chemo goes perfectly, so I just started the third month of it. I saw my oncologist and she was very happy with my progress but she also apologized for the side effects that can be a bit nauseating. Other than that, I spent 13 hours in a ER on saturday (had to go there by ambulance, which was super scary) because of a ferocious panic attack. Thank you, stupid body. They did all kinds of exams and then sent me home at 1 am. The day after that the friend of mine who keeps Sakura when I'm here sent me a video of Sakura purring. I started crying, my aunt hugged me and told me she was contacting my friend to bring Sakura here and we were all going to get used to a pet in the house. I almost lost it again! I'm officially a Piedmont citizen now!

So then Francesca ordered a bunch of stuff online, blankets and toys and most Simon's Cat branded, and my uncle put nests all over the balcony, all while telling the neighbours' cat the fun is over. That's because she loved walking inside our bedrooms through the windows and hiding under the beds. There's a new Queen in town, kitty!

I also have a new therapist while I'm here, I'm going to meet her next friday. Let's cross fingers! It was my therapist's idea, she says I need someone to talk to here too. I'm not saying she's wrong, it's just scary.

So that's it for me, Sakura is coming in three days! \o/
Current Mood: gratefulgrateful
Current Music: Francesca watching sports on her laptop
More news! First, the antidepressants I'm taking are working: they're meant to start showing the effects after a month, and this week, right on time, I started feeling looser and more relaxed. I finally found a therapist here (my therapist is all the way back in Venice) and I got an appointment for next week.
I met a new oncologist last week (well, new to me) and I love her. She explained every little side effect to me, gave me a new anti-nausea medicine, and then we even had a little conversation about Venice. The side effects are still very weak, and that new medicine is really helping with the nausea.
We have some land in the country, 15 minutes from our house, where my uncle grows vegetables and keeps seven chickens, with fresh air and deers walking by. Everyday I try to spend at least one hour there, sitting under the cherry tree while my uncle works. My aunt has started accompanying me, and she's really enjoying how relaxing it is. Although it can also be scary! The other day we were picking currant (so delicious) when she moved a plastic bottle that was standing on a old metal pole by the currant bushes. Problem was, the bottle cotained a wasp nest, and she only managed to scream at me to run away before she got bit. I got really scared and then washed the bite with water from my plastic bottle. Then my uncle arrived and got a bucket of ice-cold water from the well and after washing her arm in it she finally felt better. I splashed along enjoying how cold the water was. Then yesterday my cousin Marco came armed with anti-wasp poison and killed all three nests (yes, there were three of them).
What else? My sight is still weird, so I'm not reading much. I'm watching cartoons, listening to music, spending time with my aunt, helping Francesca with her graduation thesis. I'm trying to be calm and relaxed. And stay away from wasps. ^^
Current Mood: peacefulpeaceful
Current Music: here comes a thought - rebecca sugar
02 June 2017 @ 12:42 pm
A new month starts, with good news all around! Yesterday I had the first check-up after I started the new chemo, and it went brilliantly. The side effects are so bland I sometimes have a hard time differentiating them from normal stuff, and most of the time I don't have them at all. The doctor doing the check-up was the same one who, when I had brain metastasis and was in awful pain, told me on the phone that it was the flu, to take paracetamol and stop calling (without telling my oncologist I had called), and boy, my oncologist must have screamed at her a lot because of that, because she was extra sheepish. When she asked me on which day I had started radiotherapy, Francesca told her off for not remembering, since "she should know when Valentina had to be admitted into the ER". It was glorious. :D I'm really bad at telling people off, but thankfully Francesca, my aunt and Tati are great at it.

So today I started the second cycle, and as usual the only bad aspect of it is that the pills are really sour and I have to eat a small piece of chocolate afterwards. Woe is me. :D

In other news, I just bought the Steven Universe soundtrack and it is glorious!!! The audio quality is incredible, and it's really hard not to sing along, but I'm sitting right next to Francesca who's working on her thesis, so I must restrain myself.

And two days ago I got a care package from space_oddity_75 in the mail, full of things I love, it was amazing! There was a lot of squealing and impromptu dancing. :D
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: stronger than you - estelle
A lot of things happened these last few days! On the 12th I had a visit with my oncologist, who gave me a new chemo to do, and this time it's pills. I have to take them everyday until the next visit, June 1st, and if everything's going smoothly we'll do three cycles and then the pet scan and see if it's working like it should. Then they'll decide how many months it has to last. The first turn is always the nerve-wrecking one because it's the one where you learn how the side effects work on your specific body, and which days are the bad ones. We're all watching me like hawks. So far I only got a bit of one side effect, the irritated mouth. Except it was only the tip of my tongue, as if I had drunk hot tea and scalded it, and today it was already over. I took notes and then played Radiohead on my ukulele to celebrate. ^^

I've been walking a lot everyday to build my strength back. I say "a lot" by my standards, where walking uphill for ten minutes is huge progress, but hey, I couldn't even walk last month! These muscles are soft and useless. The other good news is, I've gained weight! I was 48 kilos when I had those two days of coma, and now I'm 56 and counting! My goal is 60, crossing fingers my body wants to cooperate. I even ate a McDonalds whole meal last week!

And next friday Francesca's boyfriend is coming to visit, I can't wait! We get along splendidly, and I really love the idea of a friend coming to visit! \o/
Current Mood: determineddetermined
Current Music: (nice dream) - radiohead
08 May 2017 @ 07:17 pm
Look, a proper entry from my pc and not from my cellphone! The eyesight is still funky, so sorry in advance for any weird spelling. They said it takes time to get better. Anyway, here's what I've been doing these last few days: walking in the sun with my cousin, I went to the pharmacy to buy a soap and a new cream, I did my first cortisol shot with a super sweet doctor who moved here from Africa 30 years ago (we live in a very small town in the mountains of Piedmont, believe me when I say we were not expecting a doctor who came from anywhere but Northern Italy). I'm eating a lot, and everything's so delicious and I missed my aunt's cooking so much. I'm re-wathing all Studio Ghibli films, and I even made my own breakfast yesterday! I was a bit worried to use the stove, with the eyesight and everything, but I did it and boy, it was even more delicious because I did it all by myself. ^^

So yep, these antidepressants are really working. I was a bit worried they'd make me sleepy, but so far they just make me feel at ease and... normal. Just myself.

And thank you thank you thank you for all your messages. I don't reply because of the eyesight that makes it really hard to write, but I read them all a hundred times and cherish every single one. I love you guys! ♥
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
06 May 2017 @ 07:40 am

Guys, I'm home. I had to stay a day longer for another exam, but yesterday afternoon I finally came home. I held it together up until the door, then started wailing, and gave a terrible scare to my aunt and uncle. It was happy tears but they didn't know it. After that Francesca organized all my meds, cut my hair that was falling out because of the radiotherapy, gave me a shower and then we all had dinner and went to sleep at a normal hour.
I'm also on antidepressants for three months. Boy do I need them. I sleep better but I'm still anxious all day. It's gonna take a while, and I do need the help.
More updates to follow. :*

03 May 2017 @ 05:44 am

Big news, they're sending me home on thursday afternoon (tomorrow!) right after the tenth and last session. Yesterday I met again with the radiologist and he was ecstatic at my progress, then I did a heart exam and the old ticker works great too. Tati came by and spent three days with me and that helped enormously with my mood. Next week I'm meeting with my oncologist and she'll update my meds. Tomorrow my cousin will come and collect me. She was worried I'd be offended because she wants to walk me out of here on a wheelchair, to be safe. I told her she can use a clown car as long as she gets me out of the hospital. ;) So, one session in a few hours, one session tomorrow and it's over. Almost there, my friends. Almost there.

29 April 2017 @ 06:34 am

7th session done, I met the other lady who does brain radiotherapy and we bonded. The food is always excellent and my roommate is adorable. They cut my cortisol intake to 4 mgs a day, which is great because I was starving all the time. A healthy appetite is great and all but it was getting ridicolous. Now it's another stupid long weekend, so I need to be patient again. My cousin came by yesterday and washed my hair, and that helped a lot. I feel light and my head smells great. I'm in no pain whatsover and I sleep like a log every night. Only bad thing that happened was that panic attack the other day, but it was caused by a specific person from outside the hospial who I've cut off from my life now, so even that it's over and done. Things are good.

27 April 2017 @ 04:04 pm

Wow, that's longer than I thought! Anyway today was the 6th session, the eyesight is still funky but they told me to keep being patient, and I'm eating a lot. Yesterday evening I got a panic attack but with the help of my roommate I felt better really quickly and slept like a log. Tomorrow it's the 7th session, then it's a long weekend, then the final 3. Patience patience patience.

22 April 2017 @ 12:02 pm

Three sessions done, seven to go. We skip the weekend, then it's monday, then stupid tuesday is a national holiday, then three more days and it's the weekend again. Good news is, I didn't have any side effects after the first one, so it's all smooth sailing from here. By the 5th session my sight should go back to normal, I really can't wait. Also the hospital food here is delicious, and that helps a lot with the mood. Small steps but I'm not giving up. And today my aunt will come by to help me take a shower, I can't wait!

19 April 2017 @ 04:46 pm

First radiotherapy session done. It was the worst one, they compared it to exposing your brain to direct sunlight, but quite frankly I was expecting way worse. I feel knackered but not bad. And starting tomorrow it shouldn't give me any bad side effects anymore, so we'll finally start on the feeling better process. It's ten sessions in total, but we skip the weekends. I'll be out of here in early May.
Thanks everyone for the comments and texts, they mean so much to me.

14 April 2017 @ 08:45 am

So here's why I've disappeared lately. As soon as I came back from London I started having terrible headackes, partial blindness in my right eye, the works. On monday I had my usual pet scan, and that's when I collapsed, got rushed to the ER, and four exams later they found methastasis in my brain. Because why not. So now I'm stuck in the hospital for at least a month. On tuesday we'll get the plan ready, and then it's a few weeks of radiotherapy.
Now, it's not the main illness, that's still in the breast, so it could be a lot worse. And at least I managed to see the concert in London first. Now I have to fight this too, and in a month I'll be back home! Plus my uncle promised me a trip to Genoa as soon as I feel better.

Last entry before departure: I got my tickets, I got my passport, I got my suitcase. Hope I didn't forget anything important. I got a make-up bag full of medicines because I get super anxious everytime I have to leave the country. I'll take pictures on my phone because that camera is way better than the actual camera I bought in 2012.

The last few days were spent taking long walks downtown to build up my stamina, marathoning all the X-Men movies (except for the ones Days of Future Past made irrelevant, because those two suck anyway), going to the cinema to watch Beauty and the Beast, which I loved. Today we're going to visit Tati's sister and her baby, and then I hope I'll be able to sleep, because I'm always anxious the night before I have to take a plane.

See you on the other side! \o/
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
Current Music: learning to fly - pink floyd
I've been back home in Venice for a couple of days. The weather is wonderful, as spring has finally arrived, and I feel at peace and relaxed. And yet I'm having problems sleeping, or to be more precise, I sleep just fine, but I wake up really early, even when there's no need to. It's like my brain suddenly needs fewer hours of sleep to recharge. I guess the sudden weather change is to blame, but it doesn't bother me, so we'll see how long it lasts.

Next week I'm leaving for London with Tati, where we'll meet up with my cousin, who's currently in Ireland with her boyfriend (who lives and works there). We'll stay there the weekend of Tati's birthday, for the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour concert, then we'll all come back here together, just in time for my next treatment. It was supposed to be on the day I had to take the plane, but my oncologist moved it to the following week so I could go see the concert. The plan now is to take a long walk every day until then so that my muscles and lungs can stand three days as a tourist. Obviously I'm going to be very careful, take frequent breaks, take cabs instead of the subway, to minimize the strain on my body. I'm equal parts excited and very nervous. And part of me still can't believe it's actually happening!

Speaking of, yesterday I went to the cinema by myself for the first time since the diagnosis. I've always loved going to the cinema alone, but ever since 2015 I've rarely left the house without a chaperone, for good reason. And even when I started coming back here on my own, I still preferred to keep my outings short, and always have the cellphone ready to call for help. So yeah, this was huge. I wore my cute red coat, took a commemorative picture, and then turned my phone off for two hours. And the movie I chose for this momentous occasion was Logan. Because I enjoy weaving metaphors in my life. :D

Joking about metaphors of rebirth aside, that movie was amazing. With the rating, and the Hurt trailer, I kinda had an idea of what it was going to be like, but holy shit. It was like Children of Men but it made me cry even more. I think I cried at least six separate times over the course of two hours, one of which was just because they used my favourite Johnny Cash song, The Man Comes Around. It was so good, and so well-acted, and so devastating. I've been watching X-Men movies since 2003, and I couldn't have asked for a better ending. They just peaked with this one, and anything after this would just be... less.

And now, I have to do laundry! I love how even the most mundane tasks take a whole different meaning now. ^^
Current Mood: peacefulpeaceful
Current Music: when the man comes around - johnny cash
I'm back in Piedmont for a week. Yesterday I went to the hospital for the usual therapy, although there was a bit of a mishap. They were supposed to do the usual blood tests, and leave the needle inside my arm for the drip later. The nurses thought I was only meant to do the blood tests, so they took the needle out, to which I reacted shouting "wait, I need that later, put it back!!". You can imagine their faces. They did not put the needle back in, in case you were wondering, and so I had to be poked again three hours later when they attached me to the drip. Oh well. Did my therapy, saw my oncologist, who made me promise I'll show her pictures of my trip to London next time. Yep, the trip is coming, I can't believe it!

While I was in Venice my cousin's professor wrote back with his corrections to our first draft of the thesis, and they were all cosmetic ones (commas, how to write notes, etc), but I was so nervous while reading them Tati had to make me sit down and drink a glass of water. I had forgotten how stressful it can be, to read a professor's corrections on a paper you wrote, and not knowing if it sucked until you get to the end. It's been ten years since I graduated, I am so not used to it anymore.

Anyway, I'm taking a week here to help my cousin with the rest of the thesis, especially the intro and the final chapter, and then I'm back in Venice so that we can fix those gas tubes with the plumbers. It's like jumping from 22-year-old me to 33-year-old me back and forth. So weird.

I've decided to do a re-watch of Person of Interest from the start, although with the thesis and all I'll only be able to do it in the evening. I miss that show. ♥
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Current Music: machine - regina spektor