Friday, May 27, 2011

Radiation

I've just completed 6 of 20 treatments with not so much as a little sensitivity and itchiness along my collar bone....but apparently that's about to change.

Sometimes I sit stunned thinking about what this poor body has gone through in the past few months....I don't look at it as "me"...I look at it as a human body that's been poked, prodded, cut, put to sleep, poisoned, radiated, humiliated, touched, stretched, pulled, tattooed....etc. Oh the poisons that have flowed through me and now the radiation...what an experience on it's own.

I lay there alone on this table, all marked up, body pulled and pushed into position....breast marked and Jiffy'd and placed into position....to be told to "stay still"....while "they" leave the room and close the 6 inch door behind them....leaving me with "the machine".

"The machine" starts just below my left shoulder where I can't see it too well but the "ominous" sounds it makes are all too familiar at this point..I get three treatments at that level...then the "hand" (about three feet wide/high) moves it's way over to my right side and does it's thing twice over...finally settling right above my left breast it gives me two more blasts....some are 20 seconds in length and some are 30....the only comfort I have laying there is know that one by one...I have 7 and once I reach that number I'm done...for the day.

The radiologist comes back in, the table moves back down and I get dressed and put on my scarf....one down and 14 to go.

Oh the people you meet.

One thing I can honestly say going through this whole ordeal is that I've met some wonderful people...some pretty miserable people too....but mostly wonderful!

I think of myself as a pretty positive person...sure I get grumpy and down and have even  had my share of anxiety driven panic attacks, but generally....I'm a "half full" kind of gal.  I love going (and this is going to sound very weird) to my treatments to meet the wonderful people that I have.  Like the lady who shows up with a port in her chest wall, wig on and make-up perfect, sipping on her tea and laughing with the gentleman next to her.  Or the gorgeous young woman (probably in her early 30's) with her head held high, looking radiant as ever and walking through the chemo ward with her iv.  Or the wonderful older gentleman at the radiation department who sat there smiling at everyone that passed him by....one nurse walked by and said to him "you have such a wonderful smile"...and he does.  Or the lady who today wished everyone a "great weekend" as she walked out after her treatment....or the second lady who walked by me and said "good luck with this too", as she tapped me on the shoulder.  Or "Bob".....

I met Bob (and yes that is his name) during my last visit to LGH, he was being treated for colorectal cancer...just a simple gentleman with a beautiful smile.  His wife (I'm assuming) was with him and after he was set up for his 4 hour treatment she gave him a tap and left the ward to do some shopping or whatever else.  We started chatting...he had no children...I had three...he has three dogs...I have one...small talk mostly....talk about our treatments....our cancers.....our struggles....our want to live forever....me for my family....him for his shear love of life.  Then he turned to me and asked "take that off your hat" (meaning my bandana)....I looked around and said "you really want to see?" and he said "yes"...so I did....and he was the first person to tell me that I looked "beautiful" without anything on.  I mean, I know my husband thinks so...or so he's said in his round about way but....this was a stranger I had only met an hour ago....and I chuckled and put my bandana back on....  We chatted for a bit more and then I was done.

I wished him good luck and that I hoped we'd meet up here again....and he told me that when he's feeling really down he'll remember chatting with me, the smile on my face, the tears in my eyes and the love for my family and life.

I kidd you not!!!  This is not a Harlequin Romance that I'm writing...it's true stuff and it really did happen! ;o)

Makes me love life that much more!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another Chapter

Here we go the next round of  body torture!  Tomorrow at 11:30 I will begin my rounds of radiation...20 of them...day to day (except weekends and holidays...hmmm...I wonder how much better off I'd be if I did this consecutively?).  I'm not looking forward to this and the effects should hit me two weeks into it.....and last 2 - 4 weeks after I finish.

Funny thing is that I got a summons to jury duty last week and had to ask my oncologist to write me a note to "excuse" me...well she did....and she wrote that I'll be out of commission until at least...August 2...there goes my summer!

Last night I gave my children persmission to "color" my head...they had fun...the only stipulation was that they had to use "washable" markers...I have pictures...they're coming.

My eldest is going to his Grad dinner/dance next weekend...it's going to be a very long night.

I'm having issues with women....in general...how old are we?  P/D....nothing to do with you. I think there comes a time when we really do need to grow up and stop acting like we're 10.

Al's sitting next to me on his computer playing some tunes...currently it's "Classical Gasl" by Vanessa Mae (not Mason Williams...which is another great version)...this one includes my most favorite instrument the violin...I tell ya..check it out.

The Canucks are winning but I'm vowed into silence because they last time they won I freaked and did a "whistle" that blew my husbands ear drum.

The girl in on the computer eating ice-cream and listening to the Beatles....we're far too techi.  Actually it's more that this family has far too many computers and we've forgotten how to socialize with each other.  This is actually not completely true...we talk...and write on each other's heads'....it's all love.

And with that...the girl needs a bath and I need to load up on mega water if I'm going to get through this burning phase.

On a side note...the Canucks are totally winning...it's still early....it's early with the Canucks until there's 10 seconds to go...and even then but...woo hoo..."bye bye San Jose"!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Suffering

I have had to deal with "acid reflux" for just over a year now.  Unfortunately it got worse with chemo.  So now I'm dealing with it on a daily basis.  I've upped my "prescription meds" and have included Gaviscon and honey into my diet.  There will be no more wine.  I'm really having a difficult time with this.  My throat burns, my mouth tastes like acid and my nose is being affected....oh the joys.

And I'm still waiting for my radiation appointment start-up appointment...my tattoo's are fading!   Seriously....never mind....I'll just keep my mouth shut and go to bed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Graduation and $$

So the eldest is graduating....*sigh*...I still remember pushing the sucker out!...and him driving the car backwards at 18 months (never mind)...and him smacking his mouth on the edge of our kitchen table....and him projectile pooping on his first doctor...and not sleeping for 4 months....and winning his first TKD tournament....and...well enough said...my boy is graduating.

$105.00 for his grad dinner/dance ticket!!!  And the I came to the realization that it's May 10th and his graduation dinner/dance is on the 28th...he needs a suit/tux!!!  And I just know that radiation will start any day and suck the life out of me and I won't be able to go and pick a suit/tux with him...which is why we're going this Friday.  And my boy and his buds already have a limo arranged and I'll get to watch him cross the podium on June 23rd!

And really....I'm far too young to have a young man, taller than myself, graduating...now...but then the hot flashes do say otherwise.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

So much going on

There's a certain time in the morning that just feels so comforting....  yeah...it's the 4:30-6:00 time when the birds are chirping and I lay in bed listening to them while they piss me off because they're keeping me up..I love that time because it's just me, myself and the birds.

Then there's that time when, if I go out with friends I can come home and it's just me coming to "my home"....there are those times that I come later than "his bedtime" and I feel as though I'm coming home to my parents' home....*sigh*...I with I could just be left to be my own grown up.

On a different note...I have stubble!! Yay me...and it's on my head only...at this point...even better!

I had a fabulous night...my meringue cookies didn't work but...I won at bowling and enjoyed pizza with friends.

The whole is family is home again and I'm heading off to work tomorrow.

Still no word on my radiation treatments....will definitely be this week or at the latest next Monday.

When do you stop worrying about getting cancer again?  Does it ever really leave?  They say that I would be "cancer free" in 10 years!!  I just want to be here for my kids...I have three graduations, weddings and grand children to witness.....I have half my life to live...and that includes the gondola again!  Let's throw in a horseback ride...or two....and maybe even a Corvette.

Oh it was good to get out tonight and have fun...I've been doing that more so lately....my weary soul needs that.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's difficult to sleep when....

....your dog lays in front of your closed bedroom door and...."whines"....at 4:30 in the morning.  So I let the mutt out...proceeding with my nightly "pee" and "drink of water".  I then open the balcony door and summon her in...quietly...not wanting to sound like our neighbor did  *screaming* her "Peppers" name at 3 a.m....no, not me....

The husband was quiet so it wasn't his fault...*sigh*...I guess I should get used to this...especially since I never sleep through the night....  Did you know that birds start chirping at 4 am?!?  Then they stop...at 6 am....just in time to get up....blasted feathered creatures.....right about the time I wake up having to pee again and feeling my bald head is just a little too cold.

With that...low hemoglobin levels are catching up to me! g'night

A Decision to Make....Made

So on Monday I was handed a ZipLoc baggie with some meds...*oh...what the heck are these?*  Well they turned out to be "Tamoxifen"  yay me!  After dealing with the doctor's/nurses etc.....it was decided that I could start these meds at my own accordance...now...and deal with the side affects during radiation or...after...and have a reprieve. Guess which one I chose...well, since I already took a pill yesterday....I might as well keep going with *killing my chance to every have another baby* again....not that I was planning on it or anything!  So I will begin with the "estrogen blockin" meds *that I will have to take for the next five years* tomorrow...I just hope I don't end up killing anyone while my body adjusts.....

It's a good thing I really love my husband.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Didn't get it

So I went for my Herceptin treatment yesterday....that went fine.  As I suspected though my oncologist wanted me to have another transfusion....so he sent me for blood work again to see if there was any improvement...and there was "marginally".  Still well below "normal" things were creeping up and so it was my decision as to whether or not I wanted the transfusion....I said "no".  But then I mentioned that radiation was coming up (to the nurse) and she thought it would be a really good idea to give me a requistion and if I wasn't up to par by Monday...I should go for yet another blood test.  So I may still get that bag of blood.

As far as radiation goes...I'm all marked up and ready to go....just waiting for my turn....ugh, I hate the medical system here!

I really would like for my energy to come back, for radiation to be over and for me to finally be able to lose these extra pounds!!

Oh and in addition....I'll be taking "Tamoxifen" for the next five years...oh yay...menopause here I come.  The fun just keeps going!!