Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hi friends and family,

Many of you have been asking how I am doing so I figured it would be time for an update. I started radiation this past Monday. I have it in the morning so after the kids get dropped off at school I make my way to the Cancer Center. I will be doing this every Monday – Friday for six weeks. My last day of radiation is set for December 8. Yes! This is 10 days before our 10 year wedding anniversary and 17 days before Christmas. Yahoo!!!!!

The whole radiation thing takes two minutes and is painless. I am laying flat on my back on a very hard table. It is similar to laying on a hard surface like a bedroom dresser. Arms reaching back gripping handles. I asked the technician today if the radiation is turning on when I hear a light vacuum sound. She told me she doesn’t know because she has never been allowed in the room to hear it!! Little comments like that don’t make me feel comfortable. Monday was tough for me. The first day took 20 minutes as they needed to make sure I was lined up properly with the machine so they don’t accidentally radiate my lungs in the process of radiating where my tumor used to be. My neck was in pain from turning my head to the left (the bumpy hard “head rest” didn’t help) and my hands and arms were completely numb from holding them in the position for so long. I was surprised by this day being painful and felt so alone being in that room completely by myself the whole time. The feelings of April/May 2011 came back as I was laying in there seeing my name on the big screen in front of me thinking to myself, oh my gosh, I had breast cancer. What is strange about this thought is that I rarely had the thought during the time I had chemotherapy. Allen was always with me for my chemotherapy and all previous doctor appointments so I never felt alone. And when I was getting the chemo I was in conquer mode because I felt like I was proactively doing something powerful about the disease. Frankly, I felt like I was kicking it’s a$$. Now that chemo is done and there I was laying in that room that is clearly marked do not enter/radiation area I felt some crazy emotions. And when I say crazy emotions I mean I was putting scary thoughts into my head filled with negativity about my own mortality. Whenever I feel the dark cloud entering over my head a good cry and a good talk clears it up and the next day I feel “somewhat normal” again. When I ask Allen if he is sick of hearing me talk so much about BC he says no. I thank God for Allen.

Other than radiation, oh and starting the pill Tamoxifen that I spoke about in an earlier post, I am gaining my energy back a little bit more each day. Today was the first time I was actually able to RUN up our stairs at home to grab something on the second floor and not have my heart race or breathe hard. My “chemo brain” is improving and I am feeling less and less of a fog where I have had many moments where I can’t think straight or remember things. My port surgery incision is healing up nicely and is feeling better each day. My hair continues to slowly grow (it’s maybe 1/2 – 3/4 inch long) and my eyes no longer pour with water. I had lost 50% of my eye lashes and eyebrows and those are starting to grow in as well which is great. My left foot/toes continue to feel numb (not all of the time but enough that I notice it) and I am hoping this goes away in time. I am told the side effects from the radiation (sunburn on area being radiated/fatigue) will begin in a couple of weeks. I am still convinced it cannot be as bad as chemo.

I will end this note with a story about a fortune cookie. My friends and I went to lunch last week. Everyone got a fortune cookie for dessert. I did not want to eat mine and decided to bring it home to Jacob as he had been home sick for two weeks and it would cheer him up. Then I thought like a Mom with two kids and said I cannot give that to Jacob because Ansley might get upset that I didn’t get her one. So, I didn’t give it to either of them and it sat on our bedroom dresser until this past Monday when I was cleaning our room and decided to throw it out I thought to myself, I cannot throw away a fortune cookie without reading the fortune first. That would be awful luck. So, I opened it up and felt a sense of peace. It read “Good health will be yours for a long time.” I don’t know if all of the cookies that day said the same thing but for me I didn’t care because that was my sign for the day that everything is going to be alright.