Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Final Stretch

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's a rainy, dreary Thursday afternoon, but I really can't complain. My blissful state of ease is largely due to the fact that today, I reached another small goal.

While I have 35 total radiation treatments, the first 27 are a little different than the last 8. The first 27 treatments cover the whole breast--from center of the sternum to the armpit to well above the breast and well below. The last 8 treatments, on the other hand, cover only the small area where the cancer was located.

I currently have a large blue square drawn on my breast that has to remain there until after my last treatment. It's a square directly around my scar and that is where the last 8 treatments will be directed.

Today marks the last of my first 27 treatments. I now only have the 8 more focused treatments to go! Yippee! Small victory!

Throughout the whole treatment schedule my symptoms have been minimal until this week. After last Friday's treatment I noticed a lot more skin redness and discomfort and as of today, my underarm, in particular, looks like I have a very very serious burn. However, if that's the only trouble I'm going to have....I'll TAKE it! I'll say it again...compared to chemo, these 27 treatments have been an absolute breeze.

In other news, my hair continues to grow--slower than I'd like, of course. I'm back at the gym daily, which is making me feel like I can regain some semblance of normalcy after all. And, I'm looking ahead to mid-November when I can finally say I'm done with treatment!

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hair/Radiation Update

My cancer journey has been relatively boring lately, which is my lame-o explanation for why I'm not posting anything.

I am 17 treatments into radiation, which means I'm about halfway done. I'm still counting down to November 11th as the very end of treatment (also my parents' anniversary, so there are many things to celebrate that day). The radiation front is relatively boring though...

I'm not really having any side effects besides a little fatigue and a little skin redness and irritation. The prescription gel they gave me is working wonders and I'm so used to being tired all the time from the chemo that I barely even notice it with the radiation. Basically...radiation is a BREEZE if you've been through chemo and surgery already. the more interesting point. Hair.

Never in my 25 years of life have I gotten as many compliments on my hair as I have in the last 2 weeks. All of the following terms have been used to describe me and my hair (just in the last two weeks):

1. Chic
2. Adorable
3. Cute
4. Classy
5. Sexy
6. Fashion forward
7. And, one woman even said that I was the perfect example as to why it is such a shame that more women do not go for short hair these days. She said, "If all women looked as good as you do with short hair...that would be the standard."

I personally thought that last one was a bit over the top, but I was in a Starbucks and everyone seems to think of everyone else as a best friend or long lost soul mate when you're in Starbucks...I don't know why. Starbucks frequenters do tend to think of themselves as all things urban chic! Apparently, with this hair, I now "belong" at Starbucks.

Anyway, here's an updated picture. Just as a reminder, I completed chemo at the end of July and my hair had started back in just a little bit before I finished. This is about 3 months of hair growth.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

1/5 down...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

First, happy October. Second, I'm 1/5 of the way through radiation treatment. I'm 7 treatments down and 28 to go.

It's fall and the leaves are beginning to turn. As the leaves begin to fall away, I can't help but equate my cancer journey with the turning of the seasons.

In the spring, as the new growth began, a tumor was growing in my body.

As the summer heat poured into open doors and windows, and roasting humans ran into air conditioned homes to escape the to cold, hot to went my chemo. From extreme discomfort to feeling almost normal, and back again...I pivoted between chemo on and off weeks.

Now, as the fall comes, all that spring and summer had to offer is falling away--my cancer is falling away.

I'm in the final stage of treatment and this experience is fading. The flurry of phone calls, cards, and letters has stopped. The phrase, "I have cancer," has left my vocabulary because, in all technicality, I no longer HAVE cancer.

For six months, no matter how hard I tried to avoid it, cancer dominated my life and controlled my existence. Now, as that period of my life begins to fade away, I find myself temporarily floundering--searching for how I move past this and resume some sort of normalcy. I'm working on it...but for now, I seem to be alternating between elation, frustration, and maintaining the status quo...

Let me stop right there. I apologize. This post was reflective at best, self-indulgent at worst, and the moment has passed. The effervescent, perky optimist will return with the next post...I assure you. For now, goodnight and thank goodness the weekend is near! TGIF!