Swedish Orange?

The past week has been a bit taxing on me so I didn’t write about my first day of chemo at Mass General like I intended to. The highlights are featured in the “day in the life of cancer” segment below. This will give you the gist of my day and treatment regimen:


After a 1 hour and 35 minute commute into Boston in rush hour traffic. A bit of Mass General rocket fuel is necessary to start your day.



Getting labeled! You are asked to spell and recite your name and birthdate, like, a lot. So for those of you trying to steal my identity, it will only result in you getting stabbed with needles and waiting for hours in a closet sized room.


Vitals are vital.


I have had my blood pressure taken every time I have seen a medical professional for the past (almost) 2 years. Every time I ask “so, is that good?” and sure as shit I never remember what numbers constitute good blood pressure.


This is what an accessed port looks like. Needle pops in, blood comes out, bada bing, bada boom.


I got a lovely surprise at 7am when homegirl told me she was coming to the hospital. This was also taken at the beginning of the day…not 5 hours later when we were still sitting in the same exam room ready to lose our minds.


After hours of waiting for pharmacy, the study drug arrived. My supply for the upcoming cycle.


2 gray opaque pills, 1 gray pill, and 1 swedish orange and gray pill in the morning. 2 grey opaque pills in the evening. Couldn’t the drug company come up with any other colors to differentiate? Like not one other color? They gave it their best effort with swedish orange…


Oh and I have to meticulously record my doses in his handy palm pilot twice a day. It yells at me if I don’t record when it wants me to.


The drug has been more tolerable than traditional chemo infusions but still a pain in the ass. How I feel has been pretty unpredictable. One day I’m normal, the next day I’m doubled over with a stomach ache, the next day my face has broken out with a monster rash that only an angsty 13 year old could relate to. OH and on Friday I fainted at the salon right in the hairdresser’s chair. 911 was called, taken out on a stretcher, taken to the ER for testing. (SIDENOTE: to answer the question an alarming amount of you have asked me- only 1 of the 5 EMT’s were attractive. Sorry to disappoint you ladies, but don’t worry, I’m fine.) Seriously, I really am okay. I had a CT scan of my head, a few blood tests, etc. and it was determined that the fainting was likely unrelated to the trial. Major thanks to Sheila and Emily (my hairdresser) for staying with me for hours in the ER while we waited for some answers.

Friends, I ask you to bear with me as I try to acclimate myself to these drugs. I’m currently not drinking (to be kind of my already taxed liver), I have to limit sun exposure (due to the drugs that are treating my rash/13 year old acne), and I have to fast 2 hours before and 1 hour after each of the 2 doses of chemo I take a day. It makes for an existence that is not necessarily as spontaneous and fun as I would like to be. I still want to go out, go to the beach, have dinner, etc. but I may have to make adjustments to accommodate how I’m feeling and what is in the best interest of my health at that time. Again, I just ask you to bear with me. I’ll try not to be a giant fun sucker.

As always, thank you to my family, friends, work-family, and everyone that has made sacrifices to help and comfort me.

You know what they say, it takes a village to kick the crap out of cancer…or something like that.


20 thoughts on “Swedish Orange?

  1. So glad to see a picture of you among all the treatment “stuff”. Jess, you are just beautiful and radiant – too bad only 1 in 5 EMTS were cute – could have been a great “first date”. Love and prayers!

  2. Hi Jess, Thank you so much for keeping us informed, you are an amazing writer and an incredible woman. We think of you every day and as always send our love and prayers. We may be “stronger than the storm” here in Jersey but YOU are stronger than this cancer.

  3. Jessica. Your words are that of shear honesty…I want you to know I am here for your fight..I think of you daly and I verbally/event sponsored/ donate to others in honor of your fight. And that of anyone fighting the Beast..if you ever feel you need a medically supervised ride to and from chem or mass general. I can help you. I am an ICU trained nurse. I would love to help…please text me anytime…I would live to sit beside you when needed…always here for you…Michelle’s aunt Cyndilou

  4. Oh my Gosh –
    Jess, You have such an interesting way of letting us know what you are going through ~ Healing thoughts and prayers for you and continuing humor, courage and peace …..
    I wondered if you if you ate more Swedish orange pills and dropped the grey and grey opaque ones if you’d feel better? ..Well, the palm pilot might take off though….or just try shutting your eyes and imagining Moravian blue, healing green, jet black, sexy red, maybe Greek olive?…etc….on the other hand grey is very sheik these days…and it does go with a lot of things. And best of all , the cancer probably does not like it at all.
    Thinking of you with love, Deborah

  5. Fuck all that fainting and fasting mess…you’re a trooper and a hero. Let’s talk about how damn adorable your hair is.

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