Thursday, June 5, 2014

Relay for Life this weekend - and I'm walking!

"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." -John Lennon

Hello everybody! I know I owe you an update of how things have been going, but that is complicated and will take several posts.  Overall, I am doing well.  I have been feeling much better and almost like myself since I last wrote.  I returned to work full-time, which is mostly the reason I haven't had time to write, I crash when I get home!  I also have started to gain some energy, which also means I've been getting the "how can I help?" bug.  My company has an Employee's Community Fund where employees can contribute and a board chooses how the money gets distributed among local charities. When I first returned to work, I submitted a request for a grant for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's local chapter. At the time my brain was still pretty foggy so it was actually time consuming for me to write the letter of recommendation.  Well, last month I got to present LLS with a big check in the name of my Company's Employee Community Fund!  It felt awesome to be able to give back, and also to chat with one of the LLS employees and discuss volunteering opportunities.  I have grand plans of things I would like to do to raise money for LLS - but I keep getting sick and plans get delayed.

Which brings me to my other big news - months ago I was invited to walk the Survivor Lap at a local Relay for Life event.  For those that don't know, Relay for Life is a 24hr walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  At the time I signed up, I was hoping to at least be able to walk the Survivor lap but wasn't sure I could do much more.  Since then, I have been gaining energy and thought I could walk the 3.1 miles it takes for my company to consider it a wellness event and donate $100 in my name.  To fund-raise, I hosted an online jewelry party, and my friend and Silpada rep donated proceeds for the event to my Relay fundraising. I kept thinking when I had more time I would try to get a local restaurant or other business to do a fundraiser for us but I frankly have been getting wiped out at work.  However, I have been able to convince some friends and co-workers to join me in the walk, and I am very excited about that!

Well... Unfortunately, about 3 weeks ago I had to go to ER because my horrible sinus infections that I had been trying to ignore turned into a 101.8 fever - and with my port I can't afford to be ignoring infections.  While in the ER they discovered my white blood count was close to chemo-patient low, so I was admitted. I was in the hospital for 4 days, then got to go home. I think I went into work for 4 hours so that I didn't automatically go into medical leave, and a couple of days later I got on a plane to Puerto Rico so that I could witness my baby brother and my awesome sister in law get married!  Unfortunately the sinus headaches and ear ache returned even before we flew back home, so doctors put me on really strong antibiotics, have been monitoring my seemingly declining white blood counts, and I'm basically on fever watch again.  I started taking antibiotics on Tuesday and still don't feel great - although I do feel better.  I am very upset that I am feeling sick again, but my oncologist has been great at letting us know that he doesn't believe any of these symptoms to be a recurrence of my lymphoma, and my general doctor reminded me that people get sinus infections and ear infections and there's really not much I can do about it.  All this a long story to explain that while I'm very excited to participate on the Relay this weekend, I'm no longer sure I would be able to walk the 3.1miles I was hoping to walk.  I'm sure if you are reading this you probably think I should be taking it easy anyway, but I had been looking forward to pushing my achy body to reach that goal, to feel like my efforts made a difference.

Feeling sorry for myself I logged into the Relay for Life site and just found out that I am one of the top 10 individual fundraisers for the event! I'm sure that will change between now and Saturday, but I am really pumped for this event! I can't wait to hear some of the cancer survivors that have become my friends in this crazy journey speak, walk the survivors lap with children, men, and women who have (or are fighting hard to) beat this disease, to see my husband walk the caregiver's lap, and to meet up with friends.

Check out my page and why I'm walking! And please wish me good luck!
Joelle's Relay for Life Page


  1. Well girl I have been praying that you can walk what ever you can. I will be pushing you from Florence Jaja. I just put my little donation because my prayers and that is all I can do from far. Wish I could be there with you to walk and support you. You go and never stop!

  2. Hi!

    I stumbled on your blog about a month ago when I was looking up lymphoma. I was recently diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, and I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to put this blog together. When I was faced with the possibility of chemo reading about your experience helped me understand what it may be like.

    Luckily, my oncologist is opting for a watch and wait until it is absolutely necessary, so I have time to prepare myself a bit.

    Thanks again :)


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31 year old navigating life with husband and almost-2-years-old daughter :)