Radiation day 6

I’ve had 6 days of radiation and so far so good. The colour of my radiated skin has a slight pink tone but there’s no burning or pain. I’ve been using pure aloe and aveeno baby moisturizer. I’ve been told that the side effects (fatigue, burning) get worse as the radiation progresses … So we will see how I am next week.

I think I’ve also decided on the condo I want. Will put in an offer on Tuesday and see what happens. It’s a loft and I love it! It will be nice to be in a new space after all this. Moving and decorating my new place will keep me occupied. A fresh start will help me stay positive and happy. Just like my new car. I’m loving it!!

Had a good weekend. Met with a friend for lunch which was very nice. He’s been supportive through everything. Including the break up back in July. I really appreciate that. I still can’t believe that one of my girlfriends who I thought was a good friend has completely not been there for me at all. Completely unsupportive. I’m trying not to think about it but I can’t believe that she turned out to be one of those people that really doesn’t care. Very disappointing.
Today went to my brothers place for late lunch. Was fun. After coming home I was exhausted. It’s like I can only do so much in one day. BUT this is definitely better than before.

I also feel ready to tell a few girlfriends that I didn’t share this with. Well ready being after radiation is done and I know everything is ok. I guess I need to share once I know it’s something I can say I went through but I survived. These friends mean well but I know they’ll have several questions. I will have to just tell them no questions and that I’ll share more when I’m ready. It’s exhausting and I’m still sensitive so certain things may make me emotional which I don’t want. I spent months crying every single day. I’m finally feeling better and not crying as much. I’d like to keep it that way.

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Starbucks

I’ve been addicted to Starbucks for years. Their chai latte … it’s actually the no water tazo chai latte with non fat milk, switched from soy. I recently switched to their green tea latte. Both are delicious!! Since my diagnosis I’ve completely cut down my caffeine and rarely have any tea. Sometimes green tea with minimal caffeine. Going to Starbucks became my morning routine at work usually 3-4 times a week. So of course you see the same people and the staff knows you by name, this includes knowing your order. Wow they know the names and orders of most of their regulars. As I now go to radiation every weekday, we drive past my work neighbourhood on our way. Part of me misses being downtown and seeing all the faces I’d see everyday. Ok there are a few I don’t miss lol. Yesterday I decided I wanted to stop at Starbucks which I hadn’t had in a couple of months. We stopped at the one I used to go to near work. I saw one person working there I knew. It was 11:45am so I had missed the morning rush. Thank god, as I wasn’t ready to see too many people I knew. Anyhow the Starbucks barista asked where I’d been and I told her. She asked for my number and said she was gonna call me. And she did. It turned out she had gone through cancer treatment not too long ago. I didn’t talk to her too long and had to call her back. Which I haven’t done yet since I’ve been so damn exhausted. I am going to definitely call her back. She’s very sweet and I’m looking forward to hearing her story and just sharing. She always seems happy and bubbly.

It’s great to talk to my friends but it’s just different talking to someone who has been in your shoes.

I feel like I was meant to go into that Starbucks that day.

To tell or not to tell

Yesterday we were having dinner at my aunts house. I was really tired from not having slept well again so took a nap. Woke up with very little time to get ready so didn’t put on any makeup. Figured it’s just gonna be us it’ll be fine. As we were just about to leave and I was confirming with my mother that it was just us going, she informs me that my great aunt and uncle would be there. What?! I didn’t know this and they don’t know my situation. This is going to be uncomfortable for me. Ugh. Why does my mother not think about how it’s going to make me feel?! Anyhow she didn’t think as usual. I get there and after taking my hat off my aunt is staring at me. I feel so uncomfortable that I’m quiet and not making eye contact with her. I mean as normal as my family thinks I look, it’s because they see me everyday. Anyone else is going to know something’s up. I either wanted to really make a statement or shaved my head because I was going through chemo. Not enough hair has grown back yet for a normal hairstyle. If I knew I could have put on my wig or eyelashes or something! After we left my great aunt asked my aunt if something was going on with me. My aunt now knowing whether it was ok to tell them or not says I was fine. Adding in “you know how Naqia always changes her hairstyle”. The whole thing becomes awkward and uncomfortable for me. Maybe not for my mom or my aunt but they’re not the ones going through it, it’s ME.

I either need to know if other people are going to be wherever we are going and then I can decide whether I want those people to know or not.

A friend of mine came down to buy my old car today. Hadn’t seen him in almost a year and it was nice to see him. He told me I looked great and healthy. Said I didn’t look sick at all. Then he said I’m beautiful 🙂 Every kind word lifts my spirits. He has been a very supportive and positive friend. As have some others. I’m grateful to them all. I have moments when I think about the friends who haven’t been there and it bothers me but I just try to focus on the friends who love me.

Lori who is going through the same thing (who I connected with through my cousin), sent me a card and gift. So thoughtful and sweet of her. She sent me a pink sock monkey she made, and a couple of other lovely things. I’m actually making something for her but we will leave it as a surprise until it’s done.

I will definitely remember those that were there for me through this time. They will always have a special place in my heart.

Insomnia and the cat

My sleeping was getting better but now it’s back to not sleeping again. A couple of nights ago I barely slept so yesterday I was a mess. Going on 3 hours sleep while going through breast cancer treatment is HELL! Part of it is because on the weekends the house is not quiet in the morning so it’s really difficult to sleep in. My 3 year old niece slept over and then there’s my brothers cat which has been here now for 2 years which he was supposed to take back once he moved into a bigger place but still hasn’t. The cat meows endlessly starting at 6am. He’s now moved but just told me this morning they can’t take the cat because it will keep him and the kids up. Basically as usual I am the one suffering the most. My mother is exhausted by the end of the day and forgets or doesn’t have the energy to lock cat in the basement at night. She will now have to every night, since today I again didn’t get enough sleep thanks to the cat and had a horrible headache and pain. Had to take codeine for it. Was so frustrated I started crying. Haven’t been crying as much but I still have moments. He’s such a good cat but he’s totally neglected here because of everything going on.

At least I am not having radiation side effects yet. Right now it feels like I’m just lying there getting an X-ray. Tuesday will be radiation day 3. Starting tonight I am going back to taking drugs to help me sleep. I can’t take being exhausted and in pain anymore. I’m sure it’s also not good for my recovery.

On a happier note I’ve started looking for a place but my condo hasn’t sold yet. I think there are too many units in the building and for whatever reason they’re not selling. I’m going to have to lower the price. I want it sold before the summer. Looking for a place is tiring but also fun. I’m happy that I’m going to have a new place, it will feel like a new start. I also just bought a new car last month and will have new hair :). My hair is growing back (only 1/3 of an inch right now) and is soft and fuzzy … unlike my normal coarse thick hair. I still want to reshave my head so there is none of the chemo fuzz (which wasn’t much but still). I want completely new hair growth.

I am going to try to take a nap now. It’s noon and I’ve been up since 8am. We are going to my aunts house for dinner so I definitely need a nap, especially since I cut down my caffeine. The most I get is the small amount in the green tea I bought. If I’m really tired it does nothing. I think the codeine is kicking in, I feel really sleepy …

Radiation day 1

I have my first radiation therapy session today. I’m a little nervous but nowhere near as scared as I was before chemo or surgery. I do however have to hold my breath for 20 seconds to move the heart as far away from my chest wall as possible. They’ve tested my breathing etc so I’m ok with the 20 secs. Can actually hold my breath for a minute without too much discomfort. The only thing is my throat got dry as my nose is clipped and I can only breath through my mouth during this whole ordeal. Have to remember to have some water prior to.

The radiation oncologist said that he found that natural aloe with baby aveeno on top seems to be the best thing. Anything I use has to be water based. I also read not to take long hot showers as it dries the skin. That sucks since it’s still winter! Would someone in a warmer climate fare better with this? I’m thinking maybe …

I’ve started to feel a little better so I’m not looking forward to feeling worse again … Whatever that worse may be. More fatigue and sunburn-like skin? If that’s all it is I’ll survive. I’ve already gone through worse. 5 more weeks and treatment is done!!! Yes more surgery afterwards but no urgency so I can do that when I feel ready. Of course I don’t want to wait too long to do reconstruction but I need a short break from all this.

Now gotta go eat shower and get ready for radiation …

Mmmm … Smells Good

I’ve always had trouble sleeping even before having breast cancer. My brain is always in overdrive so I tried to find different ways to help me relax. One of the things that works for me is to use body oil with a relaxing scent. I love the chamomile and lavender body oil from bath and body works. I also recently bought the eucalyptus spearmint pillow mist as well. All of it just relaxes me instantly when I smell it. Mmmmm sigh smile. Just smelled my hands 🙂 I also have their orange scented candle which is for energizing. I love it but cannot light it at night. Haha. These are all from their aromatherapy line.

The other thing I used to do was to look at a picture of the beach with the ocean, sand and some trees. I had it posted on the wall at work. When I looked at it I felt myself relax right away. Funny how that happens. This was a previous role I was in. I’m going to find a picture for my bedroom wall.

I am sleeping better and hopefully will continue to, since sleep is an important part of recovery. Although these hot flashes are not helping! I’ll be fine and then all of a sudden I’m so hot I feel like stripping. I usually have to take the top layer of clothing off until I cool down. Ugh.

I also drove to my condo this evening to get my mail and some other stuff. First time I drove downtown in months!! Yayyy! Wasn’t as tired today. Getting out of the house made me feel somewhat normal again. I also went out yesterday to do some errands including buying some shampoo. I use Invati by Aveda which has been working great for my bald head, which now has lots of very short hairs. It’s meant to exfoliate the scalp and isn’t drying, which is great since it’s super cold here!!

Going to bed now with my lovely smelling pillow.