Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Done, Finished, Complete, Through, Over

My cancer treatments are done. It sure is a relief to have all that behind me.  It’ll take a while for my skin to heal from radiation, but it will now have a chance to heal completely. It has been a loooong nine months.

My oncologists have been great.  I credit my medical oncologist with seeing to it that I was able to avoid the nausea that’s so common with chemo. And she kept close watch to make sure that I had no neuropathy issues.  My radiation oncologist is very good about answering all my questions and giving me breaks when my skin needed some time away from the rads.

For the next twelve months I’ll see my medical oncologist every three months. She’ll do very specific blood work to look for any signs of remaining or recurring cancer. Then it will be every six months; and then yearly. For many, many years I hope.

My brain is back. My hair is coming back.  And I’m back to my normal energy levels. 

Thanks to everyone for your support and prayers.

Life is good.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Update and some thoughts

I’m just about finished molting.  Almost all of the peeling is done – just a couple more small spots that haven’t yet let go.  It is red, red, red.  I’m into the “boost” part of radiation now. Higher doses to a smaller area. Four more to go.

My hair growth is finally beginning to look more like hair than fuzz.

It’s been a long nine months since my diagnosis.  I’ve learned a lot about cancer, breast cancer in particular, and its treatment and its emotional effect on people who must deal with it.

I never joined a support group because I’ve had great support from family and friends.  I may be wrong, but it seems that support groups are most important and useful to those who are shocked and/or devastated by the diagnosis. Reading discussion boards such as surprised me at the number of women who are thrown into emotional chaos by this disease. Tears, abject sobbing, and a feeling of hopelessness seem to envelop some women like a dense fog.  They seem consumed by fear of recurrence and keep asking and looking for statistics that tell them it will all be ok.  I feel so sorry for these poor ladies.  Thankfully, there are many, many others who seem to have an attitude as pragmatic as mine.

Ironically, the most distraught women are not those with Stage IV or metastatic cancer. It seems that most of the late-stage women who post on these boards are reconciled to their circumstance.  They offer each other moral support and advice based on their individual experiences.  They become close friends even though they’ve never met. Only someone in that situation can understand what its like, so they are a great comfort to one another. 

Another surprise from these discussion boards is the number of women who hate the whole pink ribbon thing.  They hate “Pinktober” so vehemently that a few refer to it as “F***tober”.  They apparently resent the cheery carnival atmosphere of the pink events,   I wonder if they think that people would attend and participate in somber events that had slide shows of tumors and cancer patients.  I think that these are mostly the ladies who are emotionally undone by their disease.

My radiation treatment ends on Thursday.  I’ll post at least one more entry when I’m done.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A longer break from radiation

No radiation this week. 

My short break from radiation did a lot to ease the pain but, in the meantime, my skin has begun sloughing off.  Like a super-peeling from a sunburn. 

My Radiation Oncologist has suspended treatment for this week and given me Domeboro and Silvadene to help the healing. 

Domeboro is an astringent to dry the skin. And the Silvadene is a silver-based antibiotic to prevent infection in the open wounds from the peeling.

It’ll be nice to not get zapped again until at least Monday, but I’m hoping to then be able to move forward and get this behind me.




Sunday, May 4, 2014

Red Red Red


Actually, dark red with black undertones. And it’s very uncomfortable. 

Conventional wisdom is that radiation is much easier than chemo. I’m an exception to that.  My chemo side effects were irritating and annoying but not painful.  I guess I’m paying for that now.  Been taking Aleve as often as I can. 

I suspended treatment for Friday and Monday to give four days for my skin to heal a little.   Get back to it on Tuesday.