On The Flipside

Today was rough for me, but the thing is, there is always another side.

What I mean is, I slept late last night, but my parents slept even later, having had to drive to and from IAD (2-hour roundtrip) while I chilled on the couch and got ready for bed. Granted, I had been suffering from a headache and cried over not being able to go to the airport with Hsuan, but I felt better after taking a rest.

I also woke up at 6:20 a.m., but my dad woke up around 4 for work, and my mom sometime in between us. I felt tired, but my parents did the driving.

My headache returned as I started speaking with doctors at University of Maryland, but my parents were diligently seated with me, listening in vain to complicated medical terms while fighting exhaustion. I glanced over at my dad once to see him drifting off. It was his birthday today.

I started feeling nauseated, but my parents were spending yet another full day watching their daughter go through the motions of relaying full medical history and racking our brains for questions and trying to process the answers, if there were any.

On top of feeling like total shit, I acted like total shit to them. There is no reason other than I was a cranky bitch that’s using a headache, stress, and her period as excuses. They’re used to it, but it doesn’t make it any better.

It does amaze me how my body bounces back, however. When I feel good, I’m great.

We went to Burger King for lunch, because it sadly is one of the limited food options around the hospital. Dad had a Whopper (“Back when we were working at Panda, these were $0.99 cents. We would get these five times a month, and two of them each time!”); my mom had a fish burger; I ate off their fries. I had no appetite but noticed my mood was much better, at least momentarily.

Things seemed to be normal again as we waited an hour for our next appointment at Hopkins with the radiation oncologist. But as soon as the team came in and started discussion, my headache and nausea returned to full force. Swallowing water and sheer willpower were the only things that kept me from not vomiting in front of the team.

When relaying what happened to my sister, we joked that seeing doctors now makes me want to vomit. Something about the stress, maybe. It must be. After napping in the car ride home and then chatting with Hsuan as he had his layover in Hong Kong, I felt almost back to baseline. No headache or nausea. I had an organic Opal apple. I ate a Ferrero Rocher from the stack of oranges lying around as Lunar New Year décor. I was able to eat my mom’s salmon fried rice with corn and snow peas. I ate a Häagen-Daz ice cream bar, vowing that tomorrow would be the start of better eating and no more fries.

I am doing more research into berries and other dietary changes. The thing is, my diet has always been pretty decent. I have mostly steered away from fast food after childhood—that is, until cancer came because #lifeisshort. But I love salmon, Greek yogurt, matcha, fruits, veggies (Brussel sprouts and snow peas are my favorite), water (I haven’t had soda in ages), homemade organic smoothies—the list goes on.

So you can imagine that dietary advice has puzzled me, especially when you hear of perfectly healthy people who do everything in the Healthy Playbook and yet somehow get sick. But lately, desperate times call for desperate measures.

I’m grateful for the advice that people have given me on diets, and while I hadn’t taken them too seriously before, I am now.

I can’t say it will be a total restriction of everything “bad,” but I am definitely going to incorporate more of certain foods.

Anyway, happy birthday, Dad. Thanks for spending it with me and being my biggest supporter. ❤