Immunotherapy is over!


President Obama with Secret Service agents held babies, talked to the littles, and greeted people who gathered to see him at Island Snow Hawaii in Kailua.
President Obama with Secret Service agents held babies, talked to the littles, and greeted people who gathered to see him at Island Snow Hawaii in Kailua.

I administered my last injection on Friday, December 16, 2016. I was so happy about that, and about Sophie arriving that day for her winter break from Reed College. Then I was convinced by my journalist friends Treena and Suzanne to string with them for Thomson Reuters for President Obama’s Hawaii vacation for five days. I did it two years ago, and I really enjoyed myself while updating my editors on the President’s every move (we’re on base, he’s working out at the gym) (he’s having dinner at Vintage Cave) (he’s GOLFING).

In 2014, I captured this shaka and a Merry Christmas from President Obama.

But last year I was getting the daily immunotherapy treatments in the Kaiser Permanente chemo ward and wasn’t available. Plus, interferon makes people cranky and depressed. I wasn’t very good company. Despite that, my family has been so very supportive of my ordeal. Now that the year of treatment is over, I only have to go in for scans and follow-ups for the next few years. I hope I kicked that melanoma stage 3a away. My hair is mostly straight and fuzzy now, instead of curly. I hope my curls come back as I do not like this straight hair and bald spots. I also lost 40 pounds, that I don’t want back. I think I gained about eight back, but it was for a good cause, five days of Kalapawai Deli sandwiches and two dinners courtesy of the President’s communications folks.

I sure do miss her when she's gone, but she is flourishing at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.
I sure do miss her when she’s gone, but she is flourishing at Reed College in Portland, Oregon.

Tomorrow Sophie returns to Reed College. I am so happy to have her around. She and her sister get along like sisters, if you know what I mean. Fun, torture, teasing, laughing, all those things. It made me smile a lot to see how much they enjoyed each other. One thing I am especially pleased about is how comfortable she is at school. Reed is a small school. She lives in the dorm called Woodbridge, also known as the MadSci dorm because everyone who lives there is in the sciences. At Reed, girls and guys live in theme dorms (theater, math, language, outdoor life (inside), math, literature. Not  only do the students take classes together, but they can look to each other for advice and ideas while at home. A few days ago I told her with all her ukulele playing these past three weeks, that she made me think of a student we saw there when we were moving her in. He had long hair, wore mustard colored pants, and walked around playing the ukulele. She knows him and he’s a senior. Of course she does!

Today I started bicycle clinic with Boca Hawaii, another thing that I missed the entire 2016. I was on my bike for a couple of spin sessions a few months ago, but I was still on Interferon and I couldn’t keep going. Now I’m back. I’m not training for races or triathlons, I’m training because it gives me a great feeling. Eventually I get to know everyone, so socially, bike riding with Boca is a great joy to me. I will probably start swimming soon, too.

Yeah, it’s been awhile since I updated the blog, but with the immunotherapy and depression, I tend to lay very low. I wasn’t motivated and I was often down in the dumps. And I want my curly hair back.

Pineapple zip purses from a tea towel.
Pineapple zip purses from a tea towel.

One of the things I did last year was take sewing classes from Craftgirl808. Sewing relaxes me, even if I’m tearing something apart for the third time. I’m collecting vintage tea towels to turn into purses and bags.

A California tea towel turned into two zip purses with matching straps.
A California tea towel turned into two zip purses with matching straps.

They have a nice softness to them, and I line them with a Hawaiian print fabric to give them a little heft. If you got any that are faded and you’re tired of, pass them along? I think I should create labels before I get too deep into this new venture.

Thank you for reading!

Author: lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer is my new opponent. Writer, super sub teacher, triathlete, awesome cook, ocean girl with head-to-toe sun protection.

4 thoughts on “Immunotherapy is over!”

  1. Welcome back, Paula. Wishing you a year full of normal stuff like biking, swimming, and sewing purses.

  2. Glad you are getting to do the things you like to do. I know that deep pleasure a mom gets when she realizes that her daughter has found her place in collegiate life.

  3. You are so strong, Paula. Keep taking care of yourself with the things you like to do. And please keep writing when you can.

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