Saturday, May 28, 2016

5 Down, 28 to Go!!!

I must admit that at first, I didn't like this radiation stuff.  It just seems lonely, since you are in the room alone (which is good, we don't want anyone else getting radiated lol).  I also didn't really understand why radiation is necessary, or how it works.  My doctor brain has to know exactly HOW something works for me to accept it.  If I don't understand it, I don't like it (side note: I'm probably the same way about people...something to work on!).  Another side note: the ticker above is technically a fundraising ticker...but I'm using it to keep track of my radiations!  ;)

After talking with my medical oncologist yesterday, I realized I need to feel comfortable with any kind of treatment I am receiving.  I needed to do some research on this whole radiation thing, and talk to my radiation oncologist next week.  I spent a few hours yesterday learning about how the radiation therapy works, how the machine works, etc, and I feel a lot better about it now.  Basically it damages the DNA of tumor cells.  Normal healthy cells can repair themselves well, where as tumor cells cannot so they die.  It's quite interesting actually!  Especially the MLC finger-thingies that move around on the machine!  Some links that helped me out:

Slideshow on radiation therapy and how it works

Radiation therapy fact sheet

How does radiation therapy work

So far I have not noticed any side effects, other than a slight pink tint to my skin.  I've been lathering on all kinds of serums, gels, and lotions: prevention is key!  Anyways, I've got 5 down, and 28 to go!  Then on to Tamoxifen for 10 years!  Had my 9th infusion of Herceptin yesterday, and feeling okay today (minus a wicked sinus headache...are the allergies getting anyone else this year too!?  Wow!).  Thanks for reading and for all the love, God bless!!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

Feelin' Rad! 😉😆☢

Radiation treatment has begun! Today was pretty easy, the only hard part was having to lay still for the setup and treatment haha (total time was about 20 minutes with my arms overhead). Now I just gotta do it 32 more times! Lol...I will have 28 regular treatments, and 5 boost treatments (see video link below). My hands went numb during the process, and we're still tingly when they went to take my blood pressure (with a machine) before I saw my doctor...I didn't think much of it, but apparently my hand was not a fan and I totally got a hand cramp, complete with fingers going all directions! Lol I've had my feet do that before, like when your foot cramps and your toes go all funky directions that you didn't even know they could go in; but never my hand! Obviously it resolved quickly, but it was kinda funny. Full feeling and color has returned to my hands now! Lol. Does my bandana clash with my gown?!? 😆😂

Here is a link to a good video that explains the radiation process:

Please note, however, that my tattoos are BLACK ink, not blue ink! Lol...thanks for all the love and prayers!!! 😀❤

Friday, May 20, 2016

Something I Previously Enjoyed

Bedtime used to be my favorite time of day.  I also liked waking up to a fresh, new morning that was full of possibilities, but bedtime was always the best.  It felt so good to lay down on a comfy mattress in soft sheets, curl up with a pillow and my cat, and drift off into restful sleep.  No matter what else happened during the course of a day, I could always count on the joy of going to bed at night.

Until halfway through my cancer treatment.

Other than generalized anxiety, I'm still not sure what has triggered this new insomnia trend.  Even through the worst of chemo I was always able to sleep at least 5 hours per night.  I know many people who have struggled with insomnia, and it always seemed awful.  Now I can confirm that it is!  I've started dreading and even fearing going to bed at night, because it seems that's when the demons attack.  What used to feel like a calm, quiet, relaxing time is now seems to be stormy, and loud (with thoughts) time.  Even darkness, which used to trigger relaxation, now made me feel alone, anxious, and constantly reminded me of death.  I started going to sleep with a light on, which probably was not helpful (since supposedly it messes with your awake-sleep cycle or what not), but it helped me to relax a bit.  It seemed like if I could see things around me, then I would be ok; but when things are dark and I can't see, then it's like my life is slipping away.  What a mess in my little head!!! lol...

I also seem to have developed some sort of restless leg action as well.  After my second round of chemo, I had experienced something like this with the "crawling" sensations, but this was more than just crawling.  I felt that if I didn't get up and move my legs I would seriously explode.  W T F!!!  So bedtime isn't the good time it used to be for me, lol.    

I am so thankful that this devotional (which I recommend for any woman going through cancer; and THANK YOU PAM!) came into my life at the perfect time!  Psalm 91 was part of the scripture readings for today, which reads (and I like this one because it's a good reminder of upcoming Memorial Day):

I love verse 5 that says, "You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday."  This is the best reminder that God is watching over us at all times of the day, and that even though I have been feeling anxious and alone and scared, He is always with us and protecting us.  We need not fear the dark of night, or even the arrows (doctor's appointments, work and life stresses, etc) that may try to attack us during the day.  The NIV Life Application Bible sums it all up perfectly: "God is a shelter, a refuge when we are afraid.  The writer's faith in the Almighty God as Protector would carry us through all the dangers and fears of life.  This should be a picture of our trust - trading all our fears for faith in him, no matter how intense our fears.  To do this we must 'dwell' and 'rest' with him.  By entrusting ourselves to his protection and pledging our daily devotion to him, we will be kept safe."

Ok side note: I've been anxious since noon today that I haven't received a call about radiation yet, as I was hoping to start next week.  As I was finishing typing the above quote, guess what - my phone rang, and I start radiation at 3:30 on Monday!!!  Oh how I still need to learn to TRULY and FULLY trust Him!!!  And now I'm distracted and unfocused so I will wrap this up with a quick update lol.  I got my right expander mostly deflated on Tuesday, and I was SO WORRIED about walking around with lopsided breasts!  Mostly because of my OCD brain!  But it's not as bad as I thought, and doesn't look as bad as I thought either thankfully.  I went bra shopping with my bestie last weekend (which I was VERY anxious about, to the point of having a meltdown outside Victoria's thankful for best friends!) and got me a bra that kinda helps keep the shape over on the right for me.  I also got to enjoy a Royals game with my fab coworkers this week (and a game the week before for Mom's B-Day!), which was a BLAST; plus we won!!!  Doc even got us a premium parking pass so we LITERALLY parked RIGHT IN FRONT of the stadium (because walking long distances is still a struggle for me...getting better, but I'd rather spend my energy walking to the Fountain Bar to get a Royal Rita than walking through the parking lot, I'LL BE HONEST! lol...also we discovered that you're practically a celebrity if you walk around the stadium with a Royal Rita, so be prepared!) and covered seats in case I'd start radiation awesome!  And my man Dyson did AWESOME!  So even with a lopsided chest, it's been a great week :)  Ok thanks again ya'll for your love and support, and God bless!!!  <3

Dyson at bat!

 BRRR it was SO COLD when we went for Mom's b-day!  

D'awwww!!!  Those feet tho...LMAO! 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Hairs a' Growin'!!!

I noticed this morning I've started to get a lot of hair growth, especially on my legs! I'm super happy for my head hairs, but not as much for my leg hairs. However it's a sign of growth and healing, so overall I'm happy! Never thought I'd be happy to have hairy legs!!! 😉😂

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day!!! I Love You Mom!!! :)

Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's out there, but especially to all the mother's who are also caretakers of their children; and especially ESPECIALLY my wonderful mother, who is THE best out there!  Thank you Mom for all you've done for me while being sick.  While I can't say I've totally enjoyed this cancer journey, it's brought us closer together (which I didn't know was possible) and has shown me how truly amazing and strong you are (which I always knew you were, just not to what extent!).  This verse to the right (Proverbs 31:26) is you to a T...I'm always amazed at how strong you are!!!

Thank you for always taking care of me, whether it's fixing me a meal that I either didn't end up eating or only ate two bites of, or cleaning up after my messes in the kitchen.  Thank you for cleaning up after me outside the kitchen as well, as this body has made SO many messes the past few months!!!  And thanks for doing my laundry and cleaning my room when I'm too weak, just so I feel at peace.  Thank you for always being there when I needed a hug or a shoulder to cry on or just someone to listen to me vent about how sick and tired I am of being a cancer patient.  Thank you for always telling me how beautiful I am when I tell you I feel like an ugly cut-up beat-up rag-doll.  Thank you for always listening to me and helping me to sort through my tumultuous emotions about cancer and life.  Thank you for staying up late with me and sitting with me till I fall asleep, just so I don't have to feel alone.  Thank you for dragging me out in public when all I want to do is lay in my little crawled-up ball.  Thank you for fighting all my insurance claims - personal and at work (the ones I get stuck on! lol).  Thank you for holding the fort down at the office while I've been gone soooo much, and answering pretty much all the phone calls when I was in chemo-land.

Thank you for, when I told you I had cancer, not just crying and commiserating with me, but telling me to own it: "Tell yourself you have cancer, and that you're going to deal with it, and you will get through this."  Initially I was so scared of dying, but since you told me that right off the bat I haven't worried about dying since then.  Thank you for always helping me to stay positive, and keep my faith.

You tell people that it should have been you that got cancer, and I tell them I am so thankful it was NOT you, because I know that watching you go through what I have gone through would have been too hard for me.  I would not be the woman I am today if it was not for this journey, and if I didn't have you there always showing me and reminding me what true strength and faith are.  Plus Dad couldn't have handled that LOL :)

Thank you for all you've done even before I got sick.  Thank you for carrying me for (almost lol) 9 months, giving birth to me, raising me, loving me, disciplining me, and all the other things you've done for me.  Thank you for always being patient, kind, and giving to me, and to everyone you meet.  You are truly a gift from our great God, and I am so thankful for that.  You are the most strong and amazing person I know, and I am blessed and honored to be your daughter.  <3  And your roommate and co-worker as well!  I love you more than I have words to express.  Now, can you please bring me another box of kleenex?  ;) <3