The teacher becomes the student

6 Jul

I was blessed with the opportunity of being offered two teaching jobs that I began as a part-time endeavor last Fall.  I started teaching Business 101 at the College of Southern Nevada and I teach courses within the Fashion and Retail Management program at the Art Institute of Las Vegas.  Although time consuming, the experience thus far has been more rewarding than I ever imagined.  Since last Fall I’ve taught five classes over two semesters with a total of over 150 students.  You hear it often said, but I can say for a fact that I have learned far more from my students than I could have possibly taught them.

Well now the tables have turned; it was time for me to head back to school. As part of the process for gearing up to start chemo, my cancer center required me to take Chemo Class – a seminar that is mandatory for new patients and also open to their friends and family members that will be enduring the process with them.  Nick and I attended the class where we learned and were forewarned about potential side effects of chemotherapy including but not limited to:

  • Nausea/vomiting – I will be receiving an anti-nausea medication in conjunction with the chemo meds to prevent this.
  • Diarrhea – a welcomed change from the lack of movements I’ve been experiencing!
  • Hand-foot symdrome (aka palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia or PPE) – this is a tingling, burning, numbing sensation in the hands and feet that can result in red, flaking or peeling skin along with swelling and small blisters.  My doctor indicated actions such as reaching inside a refrigerator/freezer or handling cold beverages may be very irritating.  Nick, looks like you’re on cooking duty…
  • Mouth sores – eww.
  • Hair loss – my doctor insisted I would not experience this, as it occurs very very rarely with my dosage of chemo.  I made him swear on the lives of his five grandchildren that this would not happen because I have an aisle to walk down in September and I WILL have hair.
  • Nerve damage – this can result in loss of balance, problems walking, and clumsiness…Nick would tell you that I’ve been experiencing this particular side effect for a long time already!

In addition to the side effects, I was guided through the proper chemo diet: very little greens and roughage, no raw vegetables, limited fruits, no whole grains rather bland foods consisting of white flour-based starches.  Umm…this isn’t exactly the ‘Ultimate Wedding Dress Diet’ I read about in my Modern Bride magazine.  Substitute pasta for salads and buttery toast instead of the fruit plate? Fun, but not ideal…looks like we’re going to need to go grocery shopping.

Aside from being presented these side effects, no one has been able to tell me what my chemo and radiation appointments – which begin tomorrow – will actually feel like.  I take that back. When picking up my oral chemo pills, the Walgreen’s pharmacist made the comment ‘Wow, this one is no walk in the park.’ Asshole. Well for anyone wondering out there, I will be more than happy to candidly describe the experience and refute or confirm the myths out there.  Take it from me…not your local Walgreen’s intern. Stay tuned, details to follow tomorrow…


2 Responses to “The teacher becomes the student”

  1. fabi July 7, 2010 at 5:55 pm #


    I love the way you write… you are an amazing writer. I am glad you had a great weekend so you can be strong for this week…The pictures you posted are beautiful…Thanks for sharing…you are always in my prayers.. love fabi

  2. Danette Jaeger July 9, 2010 at 7:00 pm #

    Hey Emily,
    With your fighting attitude this cancer doesn’t stand a chance! Thanks so much for sharing your experience – and know that our prayers continue everyday for ease and success of these treatments. We’ll work a little harder on the prayers for radiation treatments :-)

    Love ya!

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