1. To go to and from radiation and chemo.
2. To go see a movie (which I have only done once.)
3. Food, (which I have also only done once, maybe twice.)
It's not that I have become a hermit, ok maybe a little, but I don't like feeling vulnerable in public. Its hard to hide discomfort, and even worse than trying to hide it, is feeling it. You feel like a burden on those around you. Knowing that at any moment, you may have to leave because you just can't handle feeling sick in public anymore. How fun for them. Sitting at a restaurant, with food smelling delicious, but knowing that you have to choose wisely, because when you're a cancer patient, you have to consider how it will feel coming back up just like you would how it would taste going down. Sometimes just the smell can trigger a wave of different symptoms. Chemo gives you a superhuman sense of smell. It's your body's way of overcompensating for the dulling of another sense, in this case taste. Orange hand sanitizer, will trigger the worst kind of panic attack for me. I get nauseous and dizzy. It was what they used at CHOP and the smell is so intense, that it actually could make me vomit from 2 stories down. Its not only the orange scent, there is another but I have yet to figure it out. I think its any scented version, I don't mind the regular but the scented twists my stomach into knots, and sends me into a tizzy.
So being stuck at home, could be worse. I have my sister who could actually be a stand up comedian. My mum, who is just funny, (we're usually laughing at her, but its with so much love.) Thank goodness for Netflix and friends who call and skype. My writing takes up a lot more time then one might think. Facebook, which anyone could waste hours on. But, in all reality, I miss the outside world. The normal me, the me from back home, was barely ever home. I came home to sleep, do laundry, shower and snuggle Dex. Its not as terrible when I'm feeling sucky because, my bed, is my cocoon. It makes me feel better by osmosis. But still, getting out of the house, with people who make me feel safe, is a blessing.
My mom travels for work. So on a flight from Phoenix to Philadelphia, a gentleman by the name of Don Smolenski had the misfortune of sitting next to my mother. Upon meeting him, he told me
"Usually on planes, I don't like to talk, I like quiet, to do some work, but your mother, well she was a pleasure to talk too."Its true, my mother could talk to a wall and make the conversation interesting, however if you're not a talker, you're about to become one. She's engaging and magnetic, its just one of the many great things about her. Nat and I joked
"oh this poor guy"but it turns out, he really didn't mind sitting next to her and chatting. So much so, that as one who usually keeps his job title under wraps that he ended up giving her his card because he would like to help facilitate a day out for me, my mum and sis. Don Smolenski, is the President of the Philadelphia Eagles.
So fast forward to the home opener for the Eagles. I. Am. Stoked. The morning of, I described our drive in as "Botox Emotions."
"Mom, I really am excited, I just don't feel well, I'm like one of those ladies who just got botox and are trying to smile, I want too, I just physically can't."It was true, I was so excited I had no words. I was however, not feeling well. There was no way I was not going to go. I LOVE my Eagles. They're the one team for a sport I can honestly say are my team. I have a few hockey teams, two baseball teams and nothing really for basketball. Football however: straight up Eagles. When I woke up that morning, my stomach was in knots. My throat hurt, I was nauseous, my back was aching, and I didn't have a clue what my G.I. system wanted to do. I knew it was going to be a long day, but so help me gawd I was going to soak in every second.
I had only ever been to one Eagles game before and needless to say it was an experience. We were in a private box with unlimited supply of booze. I will never drink a vodka cran again. I got to meet the lingerie football team, Bernard Hopkins (the boxer) and a ton of cool people. It was more of a social experience and I wanted to watch the game. I wanted to be in the stands, really experiencing the NFL for the first time. My mum was off mingling and I just sat, drank and watched the game. It was a blast, but dangerous, and I was ready to experience the NFL.
*October 2009- full blown extensions in the hair*
Don's assistant Liz, (who is a darling angel) set up everything for us. She was so young but so sweet.
"I had an internship here and just told them, I'm not leaving and now I work here and love it!"She coordinated with my mum and sent a parking pass. We had VIP parking which was a bonus. We didn't have time to tailgate because they had some surprises for me, but I wasn't disappointed in the slightest because I didn't have the energy to tailgate. I was not feeling well. We went to Will Call and got our tickets, and then we waited for Liz.
The NFL has these new rules about ladies and their purses. They have to be... the size of a small envelope. Its a joke. My sister and I managed to get by with ours, but my mom not so lucky. She dumped the contents of her purse into a large zip lock bag (because clear bags are allowed) and stashed her purse into a planter just outside the stadium. We we right on time, but didn't want to be late. Liz the doll that she is, ended up running back out a little bit later to rescue my mum's bag. Seriously- she was a doll, that's one of my moms favorite bags in life, but that also shows how cool my mom is. She didn't want me to miss out on anything and was willing to give up her prized Chanel crossbody. Thank you Liz!
When we got down to the field it was incredible. I couldn't believe how much smaller everything seemed. When you're in the stands and they are full of people, it seems huge, but when you're on the field looking up at empty stands, it seems so small. The field, smaller, it was crazy. There were TV crews setting up. Reporters doing interviews. Cheerleaders filming clips. There were players practicing all sorts of football stuff. Throwing, catching, pushing and jumping. (Yes I know I got very technical on that one.)
Some of the players seemed so tiny in person. Others seemed HUGE. Coach Chip Kelly walked by and is pint sized. Like I wanted to pick him up and put him in my pocket.
"Oh its nice to meet you but I wanted a pic with Deuce Staley."::Hand to forehead, shakes head, embarrassed for mother.:: He was huge at 6'8 but totally laughed it off. Both were very very nice. It was funny too, because the whole time I was standing next to Hank, I had to physically stop myself from saying, "Your wife is a total BABE!" (He's married to former playboy girlfriend Kendra Wilkenson.)
Being on the field for warmup was a blast. It was just an experience that you wouldn't normally get to experience. I wasn't upset in the slightest that I missed tailgating.
After I had met Don, and thanked him for the incredible day, he brought me over a black gift bag with the eagles emblem. When I looked in the bag, he had given my mum, my sister and I all an eagles hat. (It was funny because on the car ride there, I was wishing I had an eagles hat, because A. the sun would get annoying and b. I was too tired to blow dry my hair and it was still wet when we got to the field so I was stoked.) They had also given me a LeSean McCoy Jersey. For those who don't know he's number 25 and is a running back, and is kind of awesome! It was a green jersey too which was super sweet because my Vick one was white. Legit, they had no idea how cool this was to me. I'm so excited about my jersey. The fact that they went out of their way to do that for me, its all just so cool. Its another situation where because it meant so much to me, I just don't feel that words accurately portray how grateful I am. Feeling special when you've been feeling so rotten is a gift in itself and they went above and beyond. It just reiterates why I love the Eagles and their organization so much.
New hat and new jersey:
We then got the usual crab fries.... delish as usual. I only could eat about 5 but it was better than nothing. My sister started pounding the beer, and our seats were awesome. As we were sitting waiting for the game to start, my nausea got a little bit worse. I had barely made it through the warm up, but was not going to miss the game. Everything I ate, I was worried it was going to come right back up. I was exhausted already but it was almost go time, kick off was minutes away and I was ECSTATIC. For the home opener game it was great. They had a huge flag cover the whole field and a real Bald Eagle fly all over the stadium. It was very poetically American. There were fireworks and it was just really exciting. The game was on, and I was READY!
The first quarter did not exactly go in our favor. Our offense is on fire but our defense could not stop the force that was Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates. That man is a machine. I did not approve. I also felt like the refs made some seriously bad calls. I could go into this for a while, and in some serious detail but I would be going on for a bit. Whatever... its only game 2. We're 1-1. It could have been a blow out and it wasn't and we're getting our footing and soon we're going to FLY.
At half time we went in search of coke to calm my stomach. Something about fountain coke, I don't know. It works miracles. We ran into Matt Cord who is the radio dj for 93.3 WMMR in Philadelphia. He had given me a shout out earlier in the week and has invited me into the studio. He's friends with my mom back from her radio days and so it was nice to finally meet him.
After half time and a pretzel and sprite (they ran out of coke. I don't even know...) I FINALLY started to feel better. The sun had moved and our seats were in the shade. We looked like we had a chance to win the game and my stomach stopped fighting with me. I finally had some energy, although I knew it wouldn't last long. I took a perc, because my back was starting to act up and I was enjoying this whole feeling well thing for a few minutes. The thing I loved, is whenever we scored a touchdown, EVERYONE would jump up and start high fiving random strangers. It was so cool, and just added to the whole fan experience.
We did not win the game. However I had the best day. We got to the car and were off. It went by so quickly. As we were waiting in line on the street, in the sea of cars... there was a kid selling candy. My mom saw him at the car in front of us and was like
"OMG I want candy."My sister and I laughed it off as one of our OH mom moments. As we started to pull ahead, the kid selling the candy knocked on our window. We rolled it down and he said
"The car in front of you bought you two candies. Have a nice day!"They were twizzlers, good call car, well played. It was the most unphiladelphia like thing anyone had ever done for us. This guy had no idea who we were or what I was going through and he was just plain and simple: being nice. I was in shock. As I sat there in the car on the way home, it hit me. This had been the most out of character day for Philly ever. Everyone had been SO NICE! It almost felt like the city of brotherly love. People were polite, high-fiving each other in the stands. I didn't encounter a single rude person. I even had a kid ask me to help him while I was waiting in line for crab fries to hold his water and fries so he could put his wallet back into his pocket. I joked
"Eagles fan teamwork, I like it"to which he said, and it couldn't have been more perfectly timed
"It is the city of brotherly love!"It was just eerie, in the best way. Philly had sort of proved me wrong and I wasn't even mad. It made me realize, no matter what any one says, Hockey has the most violent rambunctious fans. With out a doubt. It restored my faith in humanity a little bit. Good people are still out there, and in Philly, who knew! I dozed the rest of the car ride home, completely sprawled out in the back seat. Today had completely depleted me of all energy.
We got home and mum made me some pasta. At this point, whatever I can eat, I'm eating. I had a small bowl and was passed out on the couch in no time. I managed to watch a little of the Manning Bowl (Both Manning brothers played each other NY Giants vs. Denver Broncos) and can I say how on fire Peyton is. C'mon Eli, how many interceptions did you throw? But I was out cold right after it ended. It was the best kind of day... Football, family time, good people surrounding me. I couldn't have asked for a better day if I planned it myself. Thank you to everyone who helped make it possible. Monday was back to work... radiation and chemo on Wednesday. Until Thursday, GO EAGLES, I'll be wearing my LeSean McCoy Jersey with bells on :)