Being Sick Sucks!

I don't mean the "cancer" kind of sick, although that DOES suck.  I'm talking about the lingering cough sick I've got going on right now.  I have not been able to sleep for the past few nights, and I AM CRANKY!

I was supposed to start boot camp this week and get back to my routine, but it's looking like that's going to have to wait at least a few more days.  I have zero patience with all of this right now.  I feel fat (I've gained at least 15 pounds), ugly (I have no hair), and still just don't feel like myself.  I know, I know, give myself a break and yes it could be a lot worse.  I know I'll get over it and do feel like a few nice days around here would definitely help.

On a good note...I continue to be amazed by the support I've gotten for the 3 Day!  I've gone above and beyond the amount of donations I ever thought I would get.  I've been in the process of tracking down addresses to send "thank you" notes to you all, so don't think I'm an ungrateful slacker with no manners.  I had the great idea of sending out hand made cards and did a batch, but they weren't that great, so most of you are getting some store bought-but lovely ones nonetheless.

Anyhoo...that's my rant for the day


Taking the Next Step (and other AWESOME things)

So, I met with my Radiation Oncologist yesterday. His name is Dr. Adam and he is...all that and a bag of chips!  LOVED him!  The totally cool thing about him is the fact that he knows my favorite doctor of all time, Dr. Kent, and worked with him for many years.  I told him my expectations were VERY high and to please not be offended if he wasn't able to unseat Dr. Kent as my fav.  He had a great sense of humor and took all of my nervous wiseass remarks in stride. 

I was there for about 2 1/2 hours and he explained every detail of what radiation treatment entails.  We talked about my diagnosis and prognosis, and he was very good about re-iterating the fact that going through cancer treatment can really take a toll on the body and not to push too hard too fast.  I think I need to be reminded of that fact more often than not because I have gotten my butt kicked this past week. 

Anyway, so I'll be having a total of 35 radiation treatments-Monday through Friday for seven weeks.  They gave me my very own "connect the dot" tattoos yesterday so they know where the radiation will go EVERY time.  I asked if they could do something a little more clever like a heart instead of a plain old dot, but no can do.  They really should give people the option.  Maybe a choice between a heart, a star, a butterfly, something fluffy and cute. Basically the radiation is an in and out thing-just a few minutes for the actual radiation each time-and shouldn't have too many side affects.  They say you can get what equates to a sunburn as the treatments go on, and some people experience added fatigue.  Every person I've talked to who's gone through it has said it's NOTHING compared to chemo.  Amen to that.   

Kimberly, Tracey, and Me
After my appointment I had lunch with two of my cancer friends, Kimberly and Tracey.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE them!  We compared war stories and Tracey (who's a year out from treatment) was awesome to talk to and get a perspective on what comes "next" so to speak.  We have all had completely different experiences, although Tracey and I had virtually the same regimen.  Kimberly has had a much rougher regimen but is doing so great.  Some things have been harder on her than were on me, and vice versa.  We can all agree that the going bald and crappy taste in the mouth completely suck.  Again, I am so fortunate to have people around me who are not only inspirational but sympathetic! 

Aren't hey PERFECT?

When I got home I was so excited to see that the new walking shoes I bought especially for the 3 Day came.  They are and cute!  They even have the 3 Day logo on them.  I can't wait to start breaking them in.  I'm going to wait a few days since I've come down with my first cold in about five months.  I totally jinxed myself by saying I'd made it through the whole chemo process without so much as a cold.  Now here I am.  I've definitely had worse, it's mostly in my chest and throat, but it certainly adds to my fatigue.  I literally have about two hours of good energy, but then I feel like I need to sleep for two.  Fortunately it's all worked out well with my job and I've been able to go at a slow pace and do what I need to do.  The weather is so beautiful today and I noticed new leaves sprouting on one of my hydrangeas.  It's going to be a GREAT spring and summer...I just know it! 

Go Honey Badgers!


Hasta La Vista-CHEMO!

This past Tuesday was my fourth and FINAL round of chemo.  OMG-I am so relieved it's over!  As lovely as the staff at the infusion center were, I hope I NEVER have to see those people again in my life!  Don't get me wrong, I would definitely recommend it.  I'm just going to ASSUME chemotherapy will never again be part of my treatment plans and they will all become a distant memory...have a nice life! 

Nurse Kim
It was certainly a day to celebrate for my family and I.  I got up in the morning to a dozen pink roses from my husband and we were all in good spirits.  All of my blood counts were normal (they sort of love me for my stellar blood work) which again meant no Neulasta injection after chemo.  I dodged such a bullet with that stuff.  Only one injection through the entire course of chemo, thank God! 

My nurse for the day was the lovely Kim.  She was very nice and efficient and I could not have been more pleased with my overall care there. 

My usual group escorted me in today.  Jeff, his dad Howard, my mom Gail,
and my aunt Diane.  We got a private room again which is so nice to have.  We were visited by a man named Roy who is a 7 year survivor and now works as a volunteer.  He was very nice and had a great sense of humor.  I can see myself doing that someday.  I didn't get to know any of the patients since my treatments were so spread out, I didn't see any of the same people when I was there.  I think it would have been nice to build a relationship with someone else going through it, but most people are pre-occupied with family and friends anyway so that's a little difficult to do.  I'd feel bad for someone going at it alone...although I'm sure some people prefer to just handle it by themselves. 

After getting through the infusion, I officially became a chemo graduate.  Yahoo!  They presented me with a certificate signed by the staff and that puppy will be cherished-I tell you what!  Here's a picture of my family and I after receiving it (Howard is taking the pic). 

Also when you "graduate" from chemo, they have this tile collage at the Cancer Partnership and you get to add a tile in your name.  they were out of light pink tiles for Breast Cancer, so I just used a dark pink one for mine.  It's hard to tell but it has my name on it and the date I finished.  I will never forget 2/28/12!


So here I am, a few days out from my last treatment, and it's been a rough couple of days.  I get terrible muscle and joint aches from the Taxol, and the fatigue is just a given at this point.  Again, I know I am so fortunate to have tolerated things as well as I have-even making through the last four months with not so much as a cold!  (knock on wood).  I think everyday of the people who struggle much worse than me, and whose roads are so much longer.  I have a consultation with my Radiation Oncologist next week, and we'll map out the next several weeks of radiation treatment.  After that, I'll be on a drug called    Tomoxofin (sp) for five years which I look at as my "maintenance" program.  I will see my Oncologist every 3 months for the next year and will have my first mammogram six months after I finish radiation.  I can't help but feel that  I've left the scenic route of this trip and will be heading down the long boring highway of recovery and remission.  Hey, I'm all for long and boring!  

So much will be happening the next few months that I am excited for!  Back to boot camp, a bunch of 5k races I've entered, and the Susan G. Komen 3 Day in September.  I have SO much to work and look forward to!  I am so thankful to have all of these opportunities ahead of me and could not have made it through without all the people who love and support me.  Thank you all!