A Hair-Raising Halloween

On October 30, 2012, my entire life changed. I was brought in to Lutheran General Hospital for emergency tumor removal surgery, and my cancer detour began. This week, I recognized the one-year anniversary of that day, and while I remember it as a blur, this Wednesday, the feelings I relived were all too familiar. Luckily, my family, friends, and sorority sisters were behind me 100%, and I made it through the day (and the few subsequent ones) feeling stronger and more loved than ever.

I was planning on celebrating Halloween dressed as Alice in Wonderland, my all-time favorite book and cartoon character. However, when I sat to think about things, I made a different choice. One of my biggest insecurities in returning to “normal” post-cancer life has been my hair. It’s growing longer every week, and I’m hoping that soon, it discovers that gravity exists and begins to grow downward instead of outward🙂 I wear my wig still almost every day, and admitting that it is a wig is very difficult- these days, the only person who sees me without my wig is my amazing roommate, Carrah, and that’s only because I don’t sleep or shower in it (though she does continue to assure me that my mop of curls is adorable!).

I decided to embrace every single aspect of my recovery this Halloween, and I went wigless. It took more courage than I would have expected, especially considering how much I loved being bald for a while. I hate that going wigless makes me feel like Cancer Girl again, like I’m still the ugly, broken mess I felt I was when I first finished treatment. So last night, I took the first steps in regaining my full confidence again. It won’t be much longer that I have my beautiful auburn ‘fro, so I designed a whole new costume around it.

Halloween is my favorite holiday, mostly because I can dress up as anyone I want and not be myself. But this year, being someone else was elevated- I showed the real me to the whole world, and while many people just thought I donned a cool throwback movie-character outfit (I can’t count how many frat bros high-fived me for my cool idea), for me, it was amazing for the people who I know and love to embrace me as I am, and for many of them to see my real hair for the first time. I no longer have anxiety about wearing my curly Jew-fro out in public- the only people whose judgments matter are the ones who know how far I’ve come. Special thanks to my roommate Carrah, her friends Katie and Tori, and my sorority sisters (Shannon D, Shannon S, Megan, Lindsey, Kori, Tina, Katie C, Laura, Ashley, and so many others who helped me amp up my confidence during Happy Hour yesterday) for bringing the extra smiles to my face.

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Happy Halloween from a very happy Napoleon Dynamite. Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to go make myself a damn quesadilla and dance to “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai like there’s no tomorrow. 

Life Update- 6 Months Out

I don’t really know whether or not to call this an anniversary, but on August 18, it will have been six fantastic months since my oncologist delivered the good news of my remission. No matter what I call it, it’s a celebration that I’m six months stronger, wiser, and further down my path to happiness and healthiness. 

I figured I was due for an update on my life to those who followed Lindsay Sarah Interruped so diligently for so long. I’m currently on a family vacation in Los Angeles after finishing up summer school in Champaign. I’m officially a news-editorial journalism major, also pursuing a minor in public relations. My hair is growing in dark brown and curly, and if you can picture Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby, or a young Julie Andrews, you can picture what my hair sort of looks like. Most of the time, though, I still wear my wig. 

It’s amazing to know that my friends and family have continued to support me for this long, and I want to go back and thank everyone who’s ever taken the time to read this blog. It means a lot that my words, my inner thoughts going through a really tough time, were received so well. I hope that my health, and the health of all of you, continues to be good for the rest of the year. 

XOXO, Lindsay

Relay for Life!

Hey, everyone!

So, because this is cancer-related, I figured this blog was another great way to get the word out. I’m participating in U of I’s annual Relay for Life event with Psi Chi, the psychology honors fraternity I’m a pre-rush member of. The group is honoring me and my fight by calling the team “Team Lindsay”, and I am beyond grateful, honored, and excited to share this night with them and to fight for a cause very dear to my heart.

For those who don’t know what Relay for Life is, I’ll explain. It’s an all-night fundraising walk where all funds go to the American Cancer Society to find a cure. As a survivor, I’ll be walking the first lap honorarily with other survivors and caregivers. When people aren’t walking, there’s music, food, games, and a camp-out (it goes from 7PM to 7AM!) in the middle of the outdoor track. I’m on a team, but my individual fundraising goal is $500. 

http://main.acsevents.org/goto/teamlindsaysarah <— GO THERE TO DONATE!

Anything you can contribute would mean so, so much to me. (Thanks, Grandma and Gramps, for the first contribution!) Donating money, spreading the word, or even just sending me a photo of you wearing teal on April 19th or 20th, the day before and day of the event (Even the Lindsay Interrupted bracelet counts- I’m going to collage them for the walk!) all would mean a ton. I hope to really spread the word, raise awareness, and reach my goal. 

Thanks for reading this post, and thank you in advance for contributing to Team Lindsay!

xoxo, L

REMISSION!

As promised a while back, I’m writing to report the good news delivered preliminarily to me yesterday and officially to me just now via a text. I’M IN REMISSION! This detour in my life is officially over, and I have kicked cancer’s ass. I was so, so happy to hear the news, as was my family- Mom and I celebrated by doing some shopping and going to lunch. It was an awesome weekend at home followed by, as my friend Trevor put it, “the best thing to probably ever happen on a Monday”. 

I want to thank every single person who’s read my blog, sent me a Facebook message, contacted me in some way, shape or form, or just sent me good vibes throughout the last four months- I really do credit my good attitude and my excellent prognosis, at least in part, to all of that. It kept me going to know how much love and support I had in such a hard time, and I can only hope that the incredible closeness and care I felt from so many people continues on even as my health gets better and better.

Speaking of which, just because the cancer’s gone doesn’t mean I’m 100% just yet. My counts are all normal according to my oncologist, and my CT scans look totally clear. But my body is still expelling the toxicity of the chemo drugs, and I won’t be totally back to my normal self for about another month. I still occasionally get nauseous and, even more rarely, sick, because my GI system is still recovering. My energy is still not quite back to how it used to be- I’ve always been more of an early-to-bed and early-to-rise type, but yesterday I was pooped out by 8:30 PM! (Then again, it was a long day.) By around spring break or so, I should be fully back to normal, hopefully with some hair growing in, too! 

In the meantime, this blog doesn’t really seem to serve a purpose anymore. I’m not deleting it, by any means- it’s full of thoughts, memories, and experiences that I want to hold on to, both good and bad. But I’ll be moving on to more of what I actually want to write about in my future, not what was convenient and relevant to write about in the recent past. If you want to continue to follow my writing, all of my blogs (including this one) are now linked to my central home page: http://lindsaysarahgoldstein.tumblr.com . I’ve just recently started a TV (and occasional film) critique blog, and my articles from HuffPost, USA Today, and other sources will be posted there as well. Check it out at your leisure- I’ll be updating it as much as possible (when I finish schoolwork, of course!)

Speaking of which, off to study for a test in my advertising class. The real world awaits!

XOXO, Lindsay

Update: A Checklist.

Currently: Writing this post and waiting for my friend Mercedes to come over to watch Pretty Little Liars.

Listening to: “The Weight of Lies”, by the Avett Brothers. Recently re-discovered Pandora.com and how wonderful it is, especially 90s Radio and Mumford and Sons Radio

Procrastinating: A bunch of reading for rhetoric class tomorrow. But I did some earlier, so I should be good to get it done after my show is over.

Feeling: So happy to be back at school. The chemo side effects are really starting to subside, and every day I can feel my body doing better and better. I’m studying hard (I promise, Mom and Dad!), loving dorm life, and having fun. Last night, I even revisited a favorite high school pastime- trivia! My team didn’t win, but we sure had fun, and we even have an former state trivia champion joining our team next week! And in ten more short days (Friday the 15), I come HOME for a few days! I can’t wait for my high school’s musical, my sister Emily’s senior Poms night, and to spend time with family and friends. Oh, and a checkup with my oncologist! I’ll be sure to post about those results when they happen. Overall, things are great! Now, off to watch my show!

XOXO, Lindsay

Read my article on HuffPost Generation Why!

Read my article on HuffPost Generation Why!

First of all, I’m not sick anymore! Yay! My meds have kicked into full throttle, and all that remains is a small case of the sniffles. Easily remedied with Kleenex and minimal cold medicine. But if anything was the BEST medicine to make me feel better, it was an email from the Huffington Post- I’m the newest blogger for Generation Why, their section by/for cancer patients aged 15-39! And my first article has been published! It’s about my readjustment to dorm life, and how my friends have been nothing short of wonderful since I came back to campus. Click the title link to check it out- I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! There will definitely be more posts to come!

XOXO, Lindsay

Sick and SAGgy.

Well, the last few days have been far from fun for me. Not only have I had a delayed reaction to my chemo (in the form of nausea), I’m battling a nasty cold. As of today, it’s finally getting better, but yesterday and Sunday I was basically confined to my room, resting and getting work done from my bed. One of the things I watched, of course, was the SAG Awards on Sunday night. And, as always, I have my snarky comments on the best and worst dressed of the night. After conferring with Joan Rivers, Giuliana Rancic, and the rest of the Fashion Police team last night, I have my final list.

Best Dressed (in no particular order)

1) Nicole Kidman. She really redeemed herself after the mess of a dress she wore to the Golden Globes. Let’s be honest- Nicole can make anything look fantastic. This Vivienne Westwood dress would have been over-the-top on most women, but she pulls it off with simple hair (NOT soccer mom hair this time!) and jewels. Talk about a total turn-around- I absolutely love it.

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(Photo credit: redcarpet-fashionawards.com)

2) Ellie Kemper. I love everything about this Reem Acra gown- the color, the detailing, the sash and train. It’s absolutely gorgeous. And Ellie keeps the look simple with silver accessories and her hair pulled away from her face. She looks like a princess.

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(Photo credit: fabsugar.com)

3) Jennifer Garner. Joan Rivers may have thought she looked like an Oscar statuette (trying to make a point, Ben Affleck?), but I love, love, LOVE how Jen looks in this Oscar de la Renta stunner. Sparkles are so in this season, and it’s hard to do them without looking over-the top, but Jen pulls it off by minimizing the accessories and makeup. Also, gotta love the simple hairdo- it was a nice break from the sleek updos and all-hair-on-one-side styles. 

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(Photo credit: justjared.com)

Worst Dressed (in no particular order)

1) Rose Byrne. The print looks like it belongs on an elderly woman’s skirted bathing suit. The ruffles are overpowering. The lipstick doesn’t match. In my opinion, the whole look is just a mess. I usually love what Rose wears on the red carpet, but this Valentino gown just really didn’t do it for me. 

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(Photo credit: justjared.com)

2) Sofia Vergara. This Donna Karan Atelier gown looks like it had a great starting concept… but then had too many details added that made it go wrong. The fabric, a shiny winter white, makes Sofia look much bigger than she is. The draped fabric up to the hip is really unflattering and strange. And what is with the almost-sleeve? It looks messy. I’m not a fan of the vertical neck-strap-thing either. Usually, despite picking similar silhouettes, Sofia looks good on the carpet, but I absolutely hated this.

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(Photo credit: The Huffington Post)

3) Anne Hathaway. I hate that Anne ended up in this category, but this dress was just really, really strange. From the shoulders to the waist, it was actually really cute, and I liked the front panel detailing. But the bottom looks like a mess of sheer fabric that her legs are drowning in, and watching her walk in all of that was just painful for me. It looked too much like a maternity gown for me… Anne, is there something you want to announce with that new hubby of yours? If not, this dress was just unflattering.

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(Photo credit: Getty Images)

So maybe I had less snarky things to say than at the Globes, but overall, the fashion was pretty good on the carpet. A lot of safe picks, hence why my lists on both ends are a lot smaller. So, until the next award show (I usually skip the Grammys and head right for the Oscars!), I guess I’ll have to settle for… homework and studying. Blech.

XOXO, Lindsay

DONE!

Well, it’s official! Not only am I settled back in at school and doing really well, I’m DONE with chemotherapy for good! My last outpatient was yesterday at Carle Cancer Center in Urbana, and it went without a single hitch! I’m so happy to have this over and done with, and we celebrated last night by ordering my favorite treat- Insomnia Cookies, delivered fresh-baked to the dorm for my friends and I to share.
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There’s a photo of my two other bald friends and I last night! It’s nice not being the only bare-headed one on my floor, haha. This whole week has been absolutely amazing so far- I love all my classes and professors, and though it took me a few days, I’m now fully moved back in and unpacked in my dorm room! So glad to be living on my own again, returning back to normal. Obviously, things aren’t totally “normal” yet- I’m still taking meds as needed, going to bed a little earlier than most college students because I get tired pretty easily, and trying to stay FAR away from anyone who’s getting sick (the flu has made its way to Champaign-Urbana, unfortunately!). But I feel really good, and am very happy to be back after fourteen weeks away!
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Also, for those who helped out with my Andy Cohen tweetapalooza, thank you! This is what I got in response this morning! SO cool, and definitely brought a smile to my face!
And now, off to Environmental Science class for me! More soon!

XOXO, Lindsay

Last Hurrah

Well, if I hadn’t said it enough (or been loud enough when I woke up squealing and practically dancing in my bed), today’s the day! In about an hour, I’ll be in the car with my dad, all my stuff crammed in the backseat just like it was in August, heading downstate back to the University of Illinois! I’m so ready and so excited to see all of my friends, start studying and working again, and resume living a life everyone expects of a college student. Last night, to celebrate my send-off, Mom, our friend Lilli and I had an awesome night at dinner and a concert- Grace Potter and the Nocturnals! I’ve loved Grace for a few years now and this was my first time seeing her live. We at at Noon-O Kebab first, which was DELICIOUS (if you like Mediterranean food, this place is a must!), before we headed to the Riviera Theatre. My cousin Bob was awesome and was able to get us passes to sit in a little roped-off section next to the light booth- we had a great view, and none of us got too tired standing in a big crowd- we had plenty of space and chairs to ourself! Grace knows how to put on a great show, and I loved every minute of it. I even rocked the new blue wig! Overall, such a fun night, and the minute I got home I crashed and had very sweet dreams of music and lamb kebabs.

ImageThere’s Mom and I in our booth at the concert! Lilli took and filtered the photo.

Moving forward, I know I’m not gonna have nights as fun as last night for a while. Normally I’ll be a lot more tired, and I have to take it easy while I adjust back into college life. I do still have one more chemo treatment- this Wednesday afternoon, as an outpatient at the hospital in Champaign. I’ll be meeting with the oncologist there this Monday just to go over everything before she oversees my last infusion. If anyone wants to take off their Lindsay Interrupted bracelet that day, however ceremoniously they choose, go right on ahead. Personally, I’ll be wearing mine until mid-February, when I come home for a checkup and a CT scan. That will be the sign of the official all-clear for me- four weeks out with (hopefully) no problems. (If anyone has an idea of what I should do with it once it’s gone, or with the million extras I have, suggestions are welcome!) But to each his or her own. 

And now, this post must end, because my floor is STILL covered in clothing and beauty products.

XOXO, Lindsay