Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hi everyone,
I hope you all are having a fantastic 2012. So far mine has been wonderful – much, much better than 2011. I wanted to give you an update with my latest.

It has been over a month now since my last radiation treatment. I visited with my Medical Oncologist last Thursday (my Chemo Doc.) They withdrew some blood from me to test my red, white, and platelet counts to see if they were back to the normal range. Good news was my red count was back to normal which means I am no longer anemic which also means as of last Thursday I am no longer taking iron supplements. Both my white blood count and platelets are still low. The docotor did not seem concerned and he said the further away I get from my last chemo date the higher the numbers should raise. My sugar levels, which were always elevated during chemo (because I was on steroids), are back to normal so that is great news!

I will meet with my Radiation Oncologist this coming Friday morning. My skin is healing up great although the area is still “tan” and will be for some time. I am just so glad the redness is gone.

My hair continues to grow. I want to say it is two inches now. There is quite a bit of grey in there. Very much salt and pepper. My doctor gave me the okay so tomorrow I am getting my hair colored. I am excited to get MY hair done tomorrow. It’s been six months since I got my hair done (“shaved”). I am still wearing my halo/hats. I do not wear my wig too often as it is getting really uncomfortable now that I have hair underneath. I will feel more comfortable with my hair once I cannot see all that grey. My doctor says over time that over abundance of grey should subside and will grow out. My hair is growing in straight, just as it was before.

My energy levels continue to increase. I still try to rest a little each afternoon when I know I have a long afternoon/evening ahead of me and that downtime seems to help. I am still experiencing hot/cold flashes. Annoying! They come on at strange times so if you’re around me and I start peeling off my clothing layers that is why. I still don’t know if all of this pushed me into menopause. Doc says if I do go into menopause then in a couple of years he will switch my medicine to another type for menopausal women. Fun times.

My Doc told me I now have a 2-3% chance of a breast cancer recurrence in my right, radiated breast and a 5% lifetime breast cancer risk in the opposite breast. Getting it again in my breast is not my worst fear as that is treatable! I know in my heart that I have done all that I can do to make sure it doesn’t come back anywhere else. I am being proactive and have modified my diet and skin care routines. Whole Foods has become my friend. Now if I can just get back to the gym… 😉

The nurse at my church is thinking about putting together a Cancer Cares ministry. I look forward to helping out in any way I can. I have a strong passion for connecting with and helping others going through cancer. When I was first diagnosed our priest did the annointing of the sick oils with me and my name was in the weekly mass bulletin under the pray for our sick section. I am happy to report that my name has now been removed from the bulletin. At church last weekend the intentions prayed for “those with cancer and other chronic illnesses.” Mass was very emotional for me last week. The songs were beautiful.

What’s next you may ask? I have my first post BC mammogram scheduled for Thursday, April 4 so it is smooth sailing until then. I feel relieved to have over two months “off”. After the mammogram I then will meet with my breast surgeon, my medical oncologist, and my radiation oncologist. They will take my blood again in May to test the white, red, and platelet counts. Then I should have a few more months off and then I will have another mammogram again, etc… We will surely hit our medical deductible again in 2012.

Thanks to everyone for continuing to check in on me! I am really beginning to feel like all of you, “normal”, again. It feels GREAT and I will NEVER take normal for granted ever. The small stuff in life is really not worth sweating over! (unless of course you are sweating over a hot flash…) Until next time…