It’s been exactly 4 months since my last chemo session and 1 week since my last radiation treatment. Treatment is done!!! I made it through and am still intact and doing ok. I’m so thankful for everything and grateful to be alive. Each day truly is a gift.
My hospital was downtown so after my last treatment on Thursday I met with some friends after work at Rosewater nearby. It’s a Thursday after work hot spot now and by 6pm was packed. Nice lounge menu, food was good. We got there early so had a nice sitting area by the windows on the main level. I had a wonderful time. Christiane brought me beautiful flowers and a card. I read one line and started tearing up so had to put the card away until I got home. Of course when I read it later there were tears rolling down my face. What she wrote was heartfelt and touching. Sean had them write ‘job well done’ on the dessert plate which was sweet. It felt good to be social again and I wasn’t exhausted by 9pm?! Maybe I was just so happy to be done with treatment that I was wired lol. My life was at risk and I was fighting the battle that know one wants to be in so the people that were there for me have a special place in my heart. At a time like that you need support, I can’t emphasize that enough. I don’t know how I would have made it through without my mother, my family, and my friends. Even the people who simply said something kind or showed me that they care. It’s something that was appreciated more than they know. For those on and off friends, sorry but I’ve turned that switch OFF.
The next evening I went to a friends surprise birthday party. It was a family friend and he’s very sweet. His wife planned the party and I had a nice time. These are a different group of friends and all in the suburbs near my parents. Not all of them know what’s going on with me so I had my wig and eyelashes on. Again I didn’t feel exhausted and stayed pretty late! I always feel a little weird not telling people because then I have to pretend I’m working and still living in the city. Oh well, maybe it’s better to just be normal for a night.
My mom had some family over on Sunday to have a celebration dinner which was nice. With CAKE! Yayyy! It’s been a really good week.
My skin is not too bad. Depending on how much of my décolleté you can see you may notice that the left side is red/brown and darker than the rest of my skin. It’s also itchy and sensitive. The entire area from my neck to the bottom of my ribs looks like I’ve been in the sun too long. Hopefully will get better soon. I’m also emotional at times. I’ve been crying more this past week. I think it’s being overwhelmed with emotion realizing that my treatment is done and everything I just went through. Also being thankful to be alive after eight months of hell. The radiation was the easiest part for me. Now it’s time to focus on rehab and recovery.
Right now have a few follow ups, consults, blood tests, and ct scan. First follow up and blood test down, all good. Next …
My alarm goes off at 8:45 but I hit snooze. I never go to bed early so waking up before 11am usually doesn’t happen and if it does it’s a struggle. Not to mention that I now need 11 hours of sleep. I get out of bed 15 minutes later and get ready to go to the hospital. My mom is downstairs and has made French toast for me (she’s been great through this). I grab some water to take with me. 10am we’re out the door. My mom’s driving … Wed afternoon parking is always difficult so I usually go in while she finds parking.
I’m at the hospital now, I check in and fill out the weekly assessment before seeing the Dr (radiation oncologist or his fellow). I see the dr every wednesday. My mom is with me and I get called in. The usual dr that sees me isn’t there and I see another ‘fellow’. She comes in and says hi, and then rolls her stool over to my mom and asks how she’s doing. She just assumed my mother was the patient! Do I look that young? Did she not look at my chart? Did she think my mom was 43? Whatever happened she had no comeback. She could have just said she thought my mom looked young or I couldn’t possibly be 43! Haha. Anyhow she was embarrassed and we continued with the appointment. She asked how I’m doing and examined the radiated area. I’m doing fine, some redness and sensitivity but otherwise ok. Moral of the story … Never assume.
We now go back out into the waiting area and I scan my card to let the radiation therapists know I’m here. My room is on schedule. Unit 15 is where I go everyday and switch between the same few therapists. They’re all very nice. I get many compliments on my Kate Spade light turquoise bag. Bought it in August shortly after diagnosis. My cousin and I went shopping. Fun! The bag is my perfect hospital bag as there is nowhere to put my clothes when I change into the gown for radiation (annoying but whatever). So my bag fits my clothes and I love the spring happy colour of my very roomy bag. It’s a great tote and I love it!!
The radiation therapist now calls me in. I change into the robe and wait for them to call me in. Once I’m called in they ask for my birthday to confirm. I lie down but there is a fold on the table which ends up being right at my tailbone. Ugh. So we put a folded sheet underneath (everyday). I lie down and everything including me is being adjusted. The lights go off and there is a panel above me. One of the two techs comes over and asks me to take a deep breath and hold and takes some measurements. I can see a ruler like image on my chest in the reflection above. She takes a few more measurements and then puts the nose clip on, puts the snorkel in and gives me the emergency button. My right arm is down holding the button and left arm is up. I’m semi comfortable minus the nose clip.
Now it begins with a panel moving into position on my right. I hear “first breath in, breathe out, second deep breath in” and now I hold my breath until I hear “breath normally”. Although I couldn’t breathe if I wanted to since the snorkel is attached to some sort of device and my air is cut off when I’m holding my breath. After that this happens a few more times as the panels move around me. They come back in and take a few more measurements, then leave and we repeat the process. Then I hear “you’re all done”. I sigh with relief … Until tomorrow.
I now have 2 weeks of radiation left … It can’t come too soon. My skin is noticeably darker now, like a partial tan. There’s a certain area which is sensitive but it’s not too bad. Going downtown to the hospital everyday is exhausting. Also, chemo fatigue can last for months afterwards. I’m also having numbness and tingling in my thumb, index, and middle finger every morning. It then goes away after an hour or so. What is that about?! Chemo side effect 3 months after chemo has ended. The gift that keeps on giving.
Another loft came up so we went to look at it today. I fell in love! It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for! The bedroom has 2 walk in closets. They’re his and hers but will be hers and hers :). The closets also have built in shelving, space for my clothes and shoes! The closet downstairs also has racks for my shoes. This place was made for me!!! Then the huge 2 storey wall which is all windows is beautiful. Thinking of living there makes me smile. Being in my own space will make me feel somewhat normal again. I will probably transition over from my moms place and decorate and keep my mind busy. It will also be a fresh new start. I’m excited and hoping that my offer is accepted. We will know soon enough. Stay tuned …
I feel like I’m working again … So happy it’s Friday!! Wooo! Radiation is Monday to Friday for 5 weeks. And I have a half hour drive to the hospital, sometimes longer with traffic. There’s additional fatigue from the radiation itself. It’s all exhausting but will be done in 3 weeks!
Today was day 11 and my skin is pink and sometimes looks a tad darker then my normal skin colour. The good thing is I’m not in any pain. I’ve been using pure aloe with baby aveeno on top. Seems to be soothing and working well so far.
Emotionally I’m feeling a lot better than before. Maybe because the end of treatment is near, maybe because my eyebrows/eyelashes are coming back so I look a little more normal again. Oh and the hair on my head is growing but it’s soft and fuzzy.
My only worry is that my ct scan come out clean next time. Prior to radiation there were still some cancer cells in my mammary node, which was inoperable. Chemo and radiation is supposed to get rid of it. It was pretty small and chemo reduced it but it was still in existence. Why can’t they all just die! Leave me alone, get out of my body, my life and stay out! I had a nightmare last night that the radiation didn’t get rid of all the remaining cells. I guess in the back of my mind I have that fear. I must think positive and know that as my dr told me the radiation will get rid of it.
Oh I’m sleeping better and not crying as much. Actually much less. 🙂
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.
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 …