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The light at the end of the tunnel!

The light at the end of the tunnel!

Tomorrow is my final radiation treatment! Woot woot!
For my final nuking I will get the gold chainmaille drape. This special fabric is suppose to intensify the radiation. I get to wear it every other treatment.
Today I met with my oncologist and we discussed the next phase of this battle. For now, I will start taking a drug called Tamoxafin. I will stay on this for 5 years.
I am really looking forward to being able to focus on something other than the day to day cancer battle. I am hopeful that this new drug will not cramp my style too much!

Radiation sucks

Just about half way through the radiation treatments.   Starting to dread the daily sessions.  The blistering is so painful and it is difficult to find a comfortable position for my left arm.  I have been tempted to hack it off just to keep it from rubbing on my radiation ravaged arm pit, side and what used to be my breast.   For some reason when the doctor was describing the whole process, using terms like ‘pin pointing the beam’ & ‘localized treatment’, I envisioned a very small effected area.  Heck no!  I have a 10×10 square of red, sore, oozy blistered flesh.  Makes me very grumpy.

Only a few more weeks to go.  Then I get to prepare for more chemo.

Good news is that my hair is really coming in quickly now.  Bad news is that the hair is coming in everywhere on my body.  Not quite sure why my body thinks I need a beard now.  Yep, a beard.  Not that pretty, silky soft downy type fuzz.  I have enough facial hair now that I could style it if I ever decided to embrace this new look.

 

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Radiation week!

Radiation week!

Radiation Week – kind of like Shark Week without the ocean.
I am three treatments in to my 25 on the schedule. So far, it has been a walk in the park. Maybe more of an amusement park. The machine is cool, it spins and rotates, the table moves & wiggles. The two techs that prep & nuke me are nice. I am assuming they will be sending me flowers and likely I am on their Christmas card lists since they fondle me daily. I was actually considering getting “Property of Redwood Regional Medical Group” tattooed on my chest. After all, it is no longer mine.
I had my little ‘Radiation Teach’ meeting yesterday. My daughters went with me. Radiation has a much smaller list of side effects than chemo. Love that. I prefer to think of it as tanning. Every day I have to go to the tanning booth for 5 weeks. That makes me feel normal. OK, normal if I lived in Jersey.
Busy weekend ahead. My son and his family are coming for a visit. Baby Gwen cuddle time! Also, there is a big fundraiser for the animal shelter that I am proud to be a Board member of. It is called the Rooster Booster and it is going to be a blast. Great food, drinks, raffles, auctions and animals! What could be better?
Have a wonderful weekend everybody.

Got Ink? I do!

My very first tattoo.  Somehow I always imagined there would be mass quantities of alcohol to go along with my first tat.  No such luck.

I had an appointment Friday with the radiation oncologist.  I was scheduled to get a CT scan and discuss the plan for treatment.  Must have been my lucky day because I got a bonus.   The radiation requires that I have a special form made for my body, so that was done while I was in the CT room.  Then the tech said he had to make some marks on me.  No worries, I am well aware of how the white coats love to color.  He told me it might sting a little.  I wondered what kind of marker he was using that would sting.  Holy crap!  Before I knew it I was a marked woman.  Literally, marked with a tattoo.  He told me I was going to get 5 more.  I asked for a shot of tequila.  He did not even smile.

Never again will I tease Mounds about doodling on my chest.  At least he just uses a Magic Marker not a tattoo gun.  

My journey through the wild, wacky world of breast cancer has now entered the land of the glow.  I am about to become my very own nightlight.  I start giggling when I realize with my bald head and special radiation glow, I will look like a super sized Glow Worm doll like my kids had when they were young.  

I will have 5 weeks of radiation and then more chemo.   My hair is finally starting to come in.  Nifty little peach fuzz that will fall out again in a few months.  My eyebrows have decided to come back grey.  Really?  Looks like my follicles have a sense of humor.

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Doing good!

Doing good!

The second surgery went well. I totally flaked on posting an update the day after.
I got to go home on Thursday, which in hindsight, might have been a bad idea. Thursday night was rough, lots of bleeding from one of the incisions and pain. Darn it if I could not find that wonderful little morphine button that made the pain go away from the first surgery.
Tried to take it easy over the weekend. By taking it easy, I mean bed rest was not in the cards but I did try to be kind to my battered old body. That was probably the wrong choice of words. Now I can’t stop thinking about foods that are battered and fried.
Today I go back to Dr Mounds to find out how he felt the surgery went. I vaguely remember speaking with him while I was in the recovery room. I also vaguely remember pink dancing elephants there. Pretty sure the hospital does not allow dancing pink elephants. This morning I will try to focus and ask questions about what he found when he got in there. Of course, by now, we all know he will say he found fat.
I am anxious to find out the pathology results. Fingers crossed that we get great news from the lab.
After I heal from the latest surgery, I will go get some radiation. I have been told it feels like a bad sunburn so I will just visualize a day at the beach. Surely, those pesky dancing pink elephants won’t be at the beach.
Have a great day.

Tomorrow is the big day

We are fast approaching second surgery day.   I don’t think I am nervous about the actual surgery.  Just nervous about what they find when they get in there.  I am hoping this will be an out patient procedure, I really don’t like staying in hospitals.  Other than the morphine.  Morphine is definitely a bonus.

My current treatment plan is surgery tomorrow, start radiation in approx 3 weeks.  5 weeks of radiation and then whatever chemo cocktails they have planned for after that.  So far, it sounds like all of 2013 will be devoted to fighting breast cancer.  That is fine with me as long as this disease realizes that it needs to be outta here by Dec 31.  2014 will not be a repeat of 2013, thank you very much.

I will try to post an update tomorrow.  

 

I have a surgery date!

I went to visit Mounds earlier this week and we discussed the next leg of my journey.  Surgery will be on July 11 (Happy Birthday Katie S!).  Mounds will be doing three separate surgeries at that time, so my chest will be a very busy place.  The main surgery will be scraping off & scooping out muscle and tissue trying to find those stinkin rotten cancer cells.  Next will be installing some faux tissue stuff.  I think he called it AlloDerm.  After that he will be relocating fat (of course he had to go an point out the fat again!) from an area just below my arm pit and use that to attempt to fill a big pit I have from the first surgery.  He was talking about making a tunnel and pulling the fatty stuff through so it ends up in the pit.  I have just been imaging a fat river waterfalling into the crater on my chest.  That makes me giggle.

Recovery might be a little tough but it will be worth it if I end up cancer free.  Fortunately, the dogs have been practicing sleeping on my lap.  A lot.  They will be good and ready to be warm compresses when the time comes.

After I recover from all of that I will start radiation.  I was hoping to avoid it but apparently with cancer, all roads lead to radiation.  Yippee.  That treatment is every day – 5 days a week.  I think the doctors were talking 5 weeks of that.  I will know more when I go in for another consult.

Enough about stupid cancer.  Time to talk about something fun!  My granddaughter is coming out for a visit next week.  Since she is a baby and can’t travel alone my son and his wife will be joining her again on this trip.  I am so excited to see her again.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

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End of Chemo!

End of Chemo!

I got to ring the bell at the chemo suite to announce my final chemo treatment.
I am so proud of my body for enduring the last grueling 5 months. I think it has earned some chocolate for all it has been through!
Now I am off to relax in the swim spa. Have a great day.

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Chemo is better with company!

Chemo is better with company!

Jennilee and Tina brought me lunch and visited while I was getting my infusion today. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family that is so supportive.
Today was my 7th chemo treatment. Only one more to go! In two weeks I will be done with this phase of my battle. My body is tolerating the chemo pretty well. I have the side effects but those are manageable. My red cell count is low – the lowest it has been since I started this journey. I was told to rest more and take it easy. I am pretty sure that means no housework, right? All those in favor? Done. No cleaning. Thank you chemo.
Tomorrow I meet with the radiation oncologist to get his opinion on the second surgery before/instead of radiation. I am all for the surgery but want the input of my whole team. Before I meet with him I will get the dreaded belly shot. I certainly won’t miss those suckers.
Have a wonderful day!

Round two of Taxol

Yesterday was my second Taxol infusion.  Everything went smoothly.  I snacked on grapes and watched the Price is Right for the first hour and then slept for the other 4 hours!  I guess this fighting cancer thing makes you tired.  Of course I startled when I woke up, disoriented and most certainly drooling.  So pretty….  Fortunately everyone is so friendly in the chemo suite.  Nobody teased me (at least not to my face).

So, 6 treatments down and two to go.  That is until I get to start this ride all over again with surgery in 8-9 weeks and then the follow up chemo.  It is like the movie Groundhog Day.  The worst part is now I know what to expect when I have to get those darn drains pulled after the surgery.  Ignorance was bliss the first time around.  Now I am going to have to pregame, load up on drugs and alcohol before walking in to the doctors office to have those things yanked out.  Funny how certain things freak me out.  I am fine with the surgery.  Not thrilled but ok with more chemo.  Something simple like drain pulling?  Yikes.  I would be yanking out my hair if I had any left.

I don’t miss the nausea that I experienced with the A C portion of my chemo.  The Taxol is easier on my stomach but harder on my muscles and joints.  The muscle spasms can be pretty intense.  My wonderful husband ordered a swim spa for me.  Hopefully that will help ease the worst of the pain.

Have a great week everyone.