Monday, January 16, 2017

Chemo Brain

Guess who's back, back, back, back again....
During my cancer treatments I had nothing but time on my hands, but since then as most of you know I've chosen to study pre-med in hopes of becoming a doctor one day. With that, comes A LOT of studying, volunteering, researching, shadowing, etc., etc. I have been so crazy busy! But this morning I read an article that really resonated with me and I needed to share it with you guys! Normally I would just make this into a Facebook post but I've decided to try and get back to blogging more regularly. With that being said, I'll leave the link to the article I read, (about Chemo Brain) at the bottom of this post for you to read for yourself!
This study showed that mice treated with chemotherapy showed a 14% deficit in hippocampal neurons 3 months after treatment. That's relative to TEN YEARS for humans. (For those of you who are unsure what that is, the hippocampus is the part of your brain that is responsible for memory and your sense of spatial surroundings.)
While initially reading this article made me feel terrified and a little hopeless, it also justifies that what's going on in my brain is real and I'm not just making this up! Chemo brain is real you guys!! I'm sure I sound like a broken record player trying to convince everyone, but I can't stress how frustrating it is for me, let alone all of you that have to deal with me. I struggle with following conversations, which is really embarrassing for me when I'm meeting someone new or talking to someone who doesn't know me very well. It's even hard for me when talking to those of you who do know about my chemo brain, because the last thing I want you to think is that I don't care or that I'm not trying. One thing I have noticed about my concentration is that it seems to really struggle in social settings and not so much in educational settings. I do great paying attention in a classroom, but I have a hard time holding my own at a dinner party.
Aside from my lack of social concentration and extremely faulty short and long term memory, I have a hard time with my depth perception, which is really noticeable to me when driving and playing volleyball. I also get dizzy really easily, which happens multiple times a day, i.e. every time I stand up from a seated position. (So if you ever see me hunched over after standing up, which I know many of you have, it's because my sight is going black and my head is pounding. Give me 10 seconds and I'll be good to go.) I'm really working on trying to stand up slower, the problem with that being I always FORGET that this happens! I'll tell ya, It's a vicious cycle.
Anyways! The point of this post isn't to complain about how bad I have it, because I think we all know just how lucky I am! My main goal here is to just educate you guys a little more about what's really going on with me. And to remind everyone to have empathy! If there's one thing I've learned throughout this journey it's that you never know what someone else might be going through. Hell, I coached volleyball the entire time I was going through chemo and half of the coaches at our club had no idea, thanks to my awesome wigs! SO always, always try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, and next time you feel yourself starting to judge someone, think twice about it.

Xoxox, Lex

Here's the link to the mice study, I'd love for you guys to all read it and let me know what you think!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Holla At Ya Girl

I guess I should update this thing for the 50 or so of you that are actually still reading my blog!

In case you haven't heard, LA was a bust! Honestly, it was such a great experience for me and I'm pretty lucky that I had the opportunity to live out my dream of being a "Cali girl" but man the grass is definitely not greener on the other side. I think referring back to my last post, (which I made while I was still living in LA) you can get the vibe for how I was feeling out there. I made some amazing new friendships that I've continued to keep while back here in Utah, but yes I officially moved back home! And I know what you're about to ask next; YES I am so happy to be back! This is, and will always be my home. I guess it really does take leaving to realize what you have. I've said that time and time again about my cancer diagnosis as well and it couldn't be closer to the truth. Sometimes it takes drastic measures and life altering events to open up your eyes but if there was one thing I could teach others about what I've gone through, it's that life is not as bad as it seems! Every single day you wake up and have the opportunity to make your day great. No one else gets to decide that but yourself. Sure I wake up some days exhausted and unmotivated but I actively tell myself today is going to be great. No matter what comes my way today, I'm going to conquer it with the best attitude I can. I'm going to rise above the negativity. I'm going to have such a great day today that everyone who comes in contact with me will have no choice but to have a better day as well. There are so many things in this life that have the power to bring you down if you let it. Cancer. Car accident. Headache. Financial issues. Diet. Break ups. I could go on and on am I right? But what I want you all to think about is the millions of people in this world that have it worse than you. Humble yourself. Do some research on the poverty and slavery issues that third world countries are still facing TODAY. Realize that by simply living in America alone, you already have it better than MILLIONS of human beings. Don't sweat the small stuff. Brush it off your shoulder and make your day great. Make your week great. Heck, make your life great you guys! I promise it's not that hard!

On a side note, I started a Team for the Huntsman Cancer Institute 5k this coming Saturday! If you would like to join my team and walk (or run for those of you crazy's who are into that) or even just donate money to help fund cancer research please contact me! You can comment here or send me a Facebook message, text message or an email. Anything you can donate gets our scientists that much closer to curing this crap! XOXOX

My email address is

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The City of Angels

Things I've learned about living in Los Angeles-

1. My family is the most important thing in my life, and I'm not very good at being away from them
2. I am TERRIFIED of cockroaches
3. I could live on the beach
4. There's always gonna be hundreds of people doing it better than you. Someone's always gonna be skinnier, prettier, more active, more inspiring. Love you for YOU.
5. I'm crazy for thinking it was a good idea to pack up and move away from everything I've ever known a few months after having cancer. The truth is that I'm still healing and I was crazy to think I could do it on my own.
6. This place is infamous for draining bank accounts 😩

Thats all! For those of you who are curious as to how I'm doing in California, that about sums it up. XO!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

I'm back!!

Well I think it's about time that I update this thing! First and foremost I should start out by saying I am still cancer free! Secondly, in case you haven't heard, I have up and moved to Los Angeles! Pretty crazy huh? I found a little studio apartment in West LA and am loving every second of it so far. I plan on going back to school in the next semester or so, but for right now I am just focusing on getting settled in and exploring the new city.

Obviously one of the first things that I did once I moved out here was find a new oncologist so I wouldn't have to hop on a plane and fly home every three months just to get poked with needles. SO my new oncologist is at City of Hope, which is about 45 minutes away from my apartment but the drive is definitely worth it. My new doctor is AMAZING, and so thorough. I love her.

As far as my symptoms go, there's nothing new there. My chemo brain is still very much a thing, a very annoying thing, but I'm getting better at dealing with it. I normally just start out greeting people with that.. Hi I'm lexi and I have chemo brain so if i just stare at you blankly in mid conversation don't be alarmed it's just my brain not working! Sounds silly huh, but that's the truth. Fatigue is another biggie that I'm still dealing with but  thats getting easier to deal with as well. At first I think I was just so eager to get back to my normal life that all these little changes were so frustrating to me, but what I was so afraid to admit to myself was that I had just beaten CANCER! When I was tired I would feel lazy for not being active all day, or when I couldn't think of the words I was trying to say I would feel stupid, but the fact is I just beat freaking cancer. So I'm learning that it is okay to heal. I'm not going to be back to normal overnight. In face, I don't think there's such thing as back to normal. I will never be the person I was before I got cancer, and I will have lingering side effects for the rest of my life. Which is not ideal obviously, but neither is getting cancer at 20 years old. You just have to roll with what life throws at you. And honestly if it weren't through all of the pain and crap that I went through last year, I don't think that I would be here in LA right now. It's always been a dream of mine to live here but I've never had the courage to, but having a life threatening experience really changes your whole perspective of life. And it's that LIFE IS SHORT! I can't stress that enough. You never know whats going to happen tomorrow, or on your way home from work tonight. Life is so short and in one instant everything can change, so don't take it for granted. Follow your heart, chase your dreams, life to your fullest potential. You only get one shot on this earth, so give it everything you've got.


I read this article last night and it's perfect. Check it out!

Thats all for now!!! Xoxox

PS. A huge congrats to my friend Ryan who had his LAST chemo treatment this week! Only a few surgeries left and that kid gets to join the Cancer Survivor's Club too!!!! AMAZING!

PPS. Remember that one time a couple months before my diagnosis when I ran a marathon on a WHIM? Well here I am, about nine months into remission and am about to do it again! Don't get me wrong though, I signed up for this thing about 4 months ago, and trained for it for a few weeks but I was getting so down on myself for how slow I am now and how HARD it is for me to run now. But again, hello I've literally been poisoned for months and months. So I told myself that I will run when I can, and I won't when I can't. Well turns out that approach didn't really work because then I never ran. And now here we are, four days until the marathon and I am not trained at ALL for it. I am just going to go out there and give it hell, and hope that I don't pass out. Literally. It's suppose to be 90 degrees. NINETY FREAKING DEGREES. I vowed to never sign up for another one of these things so you can bet I'll be keeping that promise to myself. I HATE RUNNING!

Monday, October 13, 2014

College and Chemo Brain

I'm sorry that its been so long since I've given you all an update, I really wasn't born to be a blogger. It's not that I don't care to update you all on my health and what's been happening in my life because I do! I just always forget, or when I do remember to get on here, I know that I should be spending that time doing homework and studying instead. Yep! You heard me, I am officially a college student again! I decided to squeeze in one more semester of school at the U before I moved to Cali because quite honestly, I was scared that I would never go back. So I pushed my moving date to the end of December and I am currently taking a few classes towards my Exercise and Sports Science degree. As well as a yoga class! Yoga has been one of the best things for me in my recovery process. It is such a cleanse of the mind, body (I sweat like CRAZY in there), and the soul. I feel so spiritually sound after each class which is something I really cherish after the year that I've had. But along with yoga, I am also taking Sports Psychology, Sports in American Society, and Biology. And here is the biggest shocker, I'm actually doing the best in my Biology class, but here's why.

I have this super amazing professor named Professor Temme and the way he teaches is so amazing. He doesn't teach you to get a good grade, he actually teaches you to learn. I don't really know how else to describe it other than there's no memorizing, there's no last minute cramming for a test, either you understand the concepts or you don't. Which I am SO grateful to have a teacher like him, especially this semester. I think I've kind of explained what chemo brain is to you guys, but in case I haven't or you didn't read it, I'll let you know again because it is such a huge part of my life right now. As far as my post cancer/chemo/radiation symptoms go, all of my main symptoms are gone besides a very persistent cough and sore throat, the fatigue is still as present as ever, my hormones are ALL over the place (my Dr. says its kind of like going through puberty all over again but with hot flashes like menopause....great), and the most annoying of all would be my chemo brain. 

The term chemo brain can be kind-of misleading because new studies have shown that it can also be caused by just the cancer itself, so it's also known as cognitive dysfunction or mental fogginess. And it's exactly that. For me personally, I have a very difficult time finding common words from my vocabulary and getting them to come out of my mouth properly. I get really tongue tied, or I can't remember what the word is all together. I struggle putting entire sentences together when I'm talking to someone, almost like my mouth and my brain aren't connected, or most of the time like my brain is just shut off. I have a really hard time focussing on things, and when I can pay attention to whatever it is, I can't store it into my short or long term memory properly so I end up forgetting it. And the absolute worst part of it, which can be directly linked to the chemo, is my memory loss. So many times in the past few months my friends and family have been reminiscing on something and will say, "Do you remember when we did this..?" and I have absolutely no recollection of it.

And I know what most of you are thinking, That happens to me all the time! At least that is what EVERYONE says to me when I try to explain what chemo brain is, and I'm not here to say that's not true because I know it is, these symptoms are all things that happen to us. But the difference is that that's how my brain is about 90% of the day. It doesn't just happen once a week, or once a day, it is ALL the time. I know you are just trying to relate and I do appreciate that, but I just want you to know that it's not the same. But I really wish it was!!! The doctors say it can last a couple months, a couple years, or it might never go away, (which will NOT be the case here) but they told me that working out and going to school and using my brain as much as possible (as hard as it is) can help reduce the symptoms, so I am doing just that. I actually found a t-shirt online that said, "I have chemo brain, what's your excuse?" and I want it so bad! It explains my entire life right now. 

So besides feeling mentally impaired all the time, having pre-teen acne and cramps all over again, and always coughing like a 3 pack a day smoker, I am doing amazing! But in all seriousness, I really am doing great. It sounds bad when I put it all in the same sentence but it's about 50/50 complaining and just trying to update you on where I am in my recovery process. 

I ran my first half marathon about a month ago since being diagnosed, and I am going to San Francisco this weekend for another one! I am slow as molasses, (I blame my poor chemo stricken lungs) but I am just so happy that I have my health back and am able to start doing the things I love again. Don't get me wrong, I definitely do not love running, but I do love working out and treating my body right, so running I will continue to do. 

That's about all I have for now, this turned out to be waaay longer than I planned for it to be, so if you read that whole thing, then you're amazing! Thank you to all my amazing support system, including the 45,000 viewers of my blog! It is so crazy to me that there's that many of you willing to read through all of my rambling and follow my crazy journey and I just can't thank you enough!!!!! XOXOX

P.S. I will post about my Europe trip soon! In the meantime, here is a hair update! This picture is like a month old, so it looks just like this but longer!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A whole lot of catching up..

I think it's only fitting that I change the name of my blog, seems as how I am cancer free now!? Wow. Who would've thought that I would be saying that I beat cancer before I can legally get into the club? I know this might not make sense to most of you, but I feel lucky.. blessed almost, to have been through what I have. No, I wouldn't ask to have cancer, but the people that I've been lucky enough to meet through this journey, along with the courage and the strength inside of me that I didn't realize I had and the second outlook on life (yes, that really is a thing), has changed my life and 100% for the better.

My entire life I have been in love with the beach and I have always thought, "I want to move to LA one day". I never thought that day would actually come though, my entire family and support system is in Salt Lake and has always been in Salt Lake, how could I leave that? It was especially hard about a year and a half ago when I lost my best friend in a car accident. If it weren't for my family, my friends, and my football roomies to sidetrack me and keep me busy, I don't know what I would have done. Then after almost a year had gone by, I was diagnosed with cancer. It was almost a sign from Seth that just because he's gone, doesn't mean that I need to stop living my life. For the longest time I couldn't see myself ever doing anything again that I had ever done with him. I stopped going back home where he had a room in our house, I stopped going to my dads company where he worked, I stopped hanging out with all of our old friends, I stopped hiking up to our favorite look out. I just couldn't imagine life going on the way it was, without the most amazing guy in it. I'm thankful for my roommate and all of his friends for keeping me company and entertained but after a while, I realized I was only masking the problem. Instead of mourning his death and trying to accept the truth of the matter, I just ignored it and pushed it out of my head.

Finding out that I had cancer one hundred percent opened my eyes to everything that had been happening, or lack thereof. I realized that I wasn't living my life to the fullest and that my dreams were just sitting on the top shelf in my closet collecting dust. So I immediately went to LA with Brian to tour a fashion school and started making some plans for when I beat cancer. And that's the thing, I KNEW I would beat it. There was never a doubt in my mind. Everyone always applauds me for my positive attitude and bravery and for a while I thought it was the weirdest thing, I've never really been the bravest person, let alone the most positive. But when I heard my diagnosis I never even thought that dying was a possibility. It literally never crossed my mind, I KNEW everything was going to be okay. Cancer was simply a bump in the road to my crazy journey ahead and I really think that made the world of the difference. I always say, there's not point in worrying because no good will come of it at all. The only thing worrying will do is make the situation worse, which in the eyes of cancer, is the worst thing you can do.

So here I am, the week of my 21st birthday, preparing myself to go to Europe with one of my best friend's for two weeks, all the while packing up my condo to move to California. That's right! In case you haven't already heard, I will be moving to the Santa Monica area on September 19th!!!! I;m not going to school out there right away and to be completely honest I don't really have a set plan. I'm just going to pack up and move out there and trust that everything is going to work out! Thanks to everyone for all the positive words and encouragement, it's been one hell of a year but I am SO much stronger because of that! I am so grateful for the life that I live and that I get to continue to live it every single day.

If there's one thing that you take away from this post, I hope it's that life is a gift. That sounds cheesy but I mean it with every ounce of my body. Stop looking at all the negative things in your life and counting up all your problems and realize just how lucky you are to have those problems. I was lucky enough to have gotten what they say is the best kind of lymphoma you can get. Yes, I am lucky for my cancer. There were so many people that my family and I had the pleasure of getting to know at the hospital whose prognosis wasn't as great as mine. There is always going to be someone out there worse off than you are.. Remember that next time you want to complain about something, anything at that matter.

Don't take advantage of your life, you only get one!


Sunday, June 22, 2014


For those of you who haven't heard already... I am in REMISSION!!! On my last day of radiation I met with Dr. Gafney and he said the cancer is completely gone and that I am in remission! I got a cute blanket and a certificate for graduating radiation treatments just like at chemo, it was so fun. All the nurses and technicians gave me their best and in return I gave them all donuts! They have all been so amazing to me at the radiation clinic and I was almost sad to be done. I'm so so glad that my cancer is gone but I really will miss all the amazing people at the hospital! And I know they'll miss me just as much, I'm the most fun and probably only patient under 35 years old ;)

So I know what you guys are going to ask next.. What did you do to celebrate? Well my amazing aunt and uncle took me out boating with them and some of friends up at Pineview Reservoir the same day I found out I was in remission. I went from the hospital to their house and off we went! It was such a blast out on the lake, we went tubing and wake boarding. Tubing was so fun I thought I was going to pee my swim bottoms and wake boarding... It was fun at first!...until I fell and found out later that night that I broke my ankle (the end of my tibia bone) and needed surgery to get screws put in!
JUST MY LUCK! So I had surgery about a week and a half ago and will have to be on crutches for another six weeks.

Also this year is my 21st birthday! My friend Chelsie and I are flying to paris on my actual birthday at the end of July and will be there for a week, until we fly to Germany to spend another week. I have never been to Europe so I am so so excited! regardless of the fact that I will still be in a walking boot. I'm just thankful to be alive and healthy! Thank you to every one of you that has been there for me on this crazy journey that I am glad to say is finally over! Let's celebrate!!!! XOXOX