Thursday, January 19, 2012

Time to heal, time to relax

Done!  After almost $500,000 in medical billings and innumerable doctor appointments, biopsies, surgeries, chemo treatments, radiation, and thousands of miles, I am done. 

Radiation turned out to be a lot harder than I expected.  It may have been at least equal to if not harder than chemo, which I would never have expected.  Because of the daily grind of commuting to Boston every day, and the fact that my skin broke down towards the end, it was not the "easy part" of treatment.  My skin is still sprouting new open areas and I have sore ribs, tight muscles and a swollen chest.  I'm sure it will improve soon.  The good news is that I seem to have escaped any extreme fatigue.  Must be those pre-natal vitamins (which are also helping my hair grow pretty fast).

It's time to get on with life!  We are planning a trip to Florida in February and then our big splurge will be Paris with our daughters in late May.  At the moment I am enjoying not planning around the next doctor visit or treatment.  I do have a follow-up visit with my medical oncologist next Wednesday, which I fully expect to be routine.  I'll see the Plastic Surgeon the first week in March and a follow-up appointment with the Radiation Oncologist in June.  Hey, the whole month of February with no medical cool is that after 20 straight months?!? 

I couldn't have done this without the love and support of all my family and friends.  I felt your presence throughout this entire ordeal.  I hope we never have to do this again, but you all made the journey so much easier. 

Don't be surprised if I don't post much between now and when I get going on reconstruction later this year.  In this case, no news is definitely good news! 

With deep gratitude for your love, friendship, prayers, healing and positive energy,


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Almost done!

Today was our 25th trip to Dana Farber for radiation treatments.  I cannot believe how lucky we have been with traffic and weather.  Not a single flake of snow has fallen during our commuting, and we had some drizzle on one trip. 

I have finished with the "full treatments" and now have five boosts to go.  These will be done to the scar area as it is where recurrences tend to happen.  My skin is a mess in the area where the electron beam was zapping my mammary  nodes.  I have second degree burns (about the size of the palm of my hand) and yesterday the Radiation Oncologist decided to change the radiation to the photon type (which is the "usual" treatment) because it is less abusive to the skin.  I have a big supply of Cuticerin gauze (which is impregnated with Aquaphor), tubes of Aquaphor and large abdominal pads to protect my clothes.  It will heal in a couple of weeks.  The rest of my radiated skin has held up well and looks tanned but nothing else is red or sore.

Assuming I am not speaking too soon, I seem to have escaped the fatigue that so many women experience.  Maybe it's because I am not working and I don't "have" to do anything on any specific day.  Or maybe I'm just wired differently.  Or maybe it's those prenatal vitamins I have been taking since my blood counts plummeted during chemo. 

After twenty months of continuous doctor visits and treatment for breast cancer, I am looking forward to the end of active treatment and the month of February, which I have declared a "doctor-free" month.  No treatment, no follow-up visits, nothing, notta...  Just a little trip to the warmer climes of Florida!