Monday, May 27, 2013

6 more treatments

Tomorrow I continue with my "boost" of radiation. When I went for my first boost on Thursday it took a little while to set it all up. There is a very concentrated area around my mastectomy scar that they are focusing on. There is a cone that comes out of the machine that holds a little metal piece with the shape around my scar. They also drew on me with the same shape so they can line it up. Unfortunately for them, my skin is peeling and their sharpie peeled off this weekend. The boost treatment is much faster then the regular treatment. Its about a 20 second burst of radiation and that's it. Before it was that 5 times.

I am really glad that I have been blogging about everything...the good and the bad. I would NEVER believe today how bad my skin looked the last 2 weeks because my skin is so much better now. I forgot all about my drains and after my mastectomy and chemo. Although every time I think about chemo I get a little nauseous.

I am SO excited to get radiation done. It is such a pain in the ass to go to everyday. When I got there on Friday they told me they were running 45 minutes late so I left and came back later. I think they forget that we are still working people who have lives. Even if I wasn't working, who wants to sit in a waiting room for 45 extra minutes?

I started to not wear anything on my head when I go out, except to work. I still wear my hair to work. But I forget that I have SUPER short hair and then I wonder why some people keep looking at me. Its so normal to me that I look like this. I know if I saw someone with super short hair like mine that I would probably look at them and wonder too. I still can't really tell what color it is. The top looks lighter than the sides. I think just because it stands up and the sides lay flat.

last chemo: 2/28, pic taken 5/25- 3 month hair growth

This weekend we worked on changing Mackenzie's room to a big girl room. Her crib converts to a full size bed so we bought her a bed on Saturday and it was delivered today. Last night as we were putting the frame together and cleaning the rest of her room out I got so emotional. I was always expecting to put another baby in that room and never thought we would be using that full bed so soon. I have been spending the last 3+ years figuring out how to put 2 kids in that room room in my head and now there's no room for another baby. Its been the hardest pill to swallow. BUT the child that I have is SO ridiculously happy with her new room and is so excited to be a "big girl". Tonight is the first night in her big bed and it took awhile but she is finally sleeping pretty! I'm sure Bailey doesn't mind it either!

We also took Mackenzie to her first movie in the theater on Saturday. We saw Epic. She LOVED it! She got her own little popcorn, fruit snacks and drink. She sat still for the entire movie! I was very impressed. Next up will be the new Monsters, Inc. movie comes out in the end of June! 

Next Tuesday is FINALLY my last treatment! I am SOOOOOOOOO excited! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

How things are going

Last Wednesday when I went to radiation they made me see the doctor before I could be treated because of my burns. The doctor said I should have treatment that day but should take off Thursday and Friday giving me a 4 day weekend. The break was nice but it's not like it really helped clear up my burns. They're still here. In fact, today the radiation therapists made me see the doctor again before I could be treated. When they asked how my burns were I said better and worse. There are parts where I can see new skin (right under where it says armpit on the picture on the left) and that's great. But as you can see in the same picture, the overall look is worse. The picture on the right is on my ribs and that's the other gross part that is oozing and peeling. I have been taping surgical pads to me because they're usually oozing. I told the doctor today, its not really painful its just GROSS.

I have 2 more regular treatments and then 1.5 weeks of the boost. I think I'l be done June 4th. That's my guess anyway. That will be almost 8 weeks of treatment on and off. I can't wait for my poor skin to be back to normal. I feel like I have to walk around like I have my arm in a sling so I don't move it too much. At least with the surgical pads it feels a little bit better less gross.

In other news.....

I'm super excited that you can FINALLY see some hair! I still can't tell what color it is going to be. The sides look dark but the top looks tinted red a little bit. Maybe that's just wishful thinking! 

This weekend we also celebrated my brother Ryan's wedding to his new wife Claire! The got married last month in Hawaii (lucky!) and had a party this weekend in Arlington. It was so fun and so great to see all my family. This picture is kind of crappy quality but you get the gist. We are all so happy to have Claire in our family! 

I read this article today on Huffington Post (click here) and it is like this guy wrote it from my thoughts. Its been a lot on my mind lately about how I should feel and how people think I should feel. I try really hard to keep a positive attitude because that's how I cope with having cancer. My happy face isn't to make anyone else feel better about it. Maybe that sounds harsh. It might be. But I honestly can't really care about how my cancer makes other people feel that aren't my immediate family. Some days (besides going to radiation) I really don't think about having cancer. But some days are REALLY shitty and really scary and I almost panic that I actually have cancer. I wish that as soon as radiation is over and I get the all clear that I never have to think about this again but that's not the reality. I'm excited to get this over with and start to be able to physically and mentally move on and hopefully just have to remember I had cancer every 6 months or so for scans. I have such mixed feelings about radiation ending. Obviously I cannot wait to not have to due this anymore but it's still pretty scary to not get any more treatment. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It's never going to end

I haven't talked a lot about radiation. It's been really hard emotionally and physically. Right now I'm in A LOT of pain. The burns in my arm pit and the area underneath my armpit and on my ribs are starting to peal and blister; its just so painful. The radiation therapist today told me that she was surprised that I seemed happy because I looked like I should be in a lot of pain. I told her I was in a lot of pain!

Yesterday, I almost didn't get treatment because my skin was so bad. But luckily they did my treatment and I got prescriptions for a new lotion with lidocaine and Vicodin  I used both yesterday and I finally got some sleep. I still woke up every time I moved but I felt rested when I woke up. I was kind of hoping that I would get the fatigue side effect but I have the opposite because I'm in so much pain.

Radiation has been really hard emotionally. I've shed a lot of tears. I said before that it's hard because its a constant reminder that I have a cancer. Mostly I cry after treatment; a few tears here or there while I'm changing. At first I would cry because I was scared about treatments being over but now I'm just so miserable I can't wait for it to be finished. Yesterday I had tears in my eyes during treatment because it hurt to keep my arms over my head (I lay down but my arm pit is so tight it hurts to put my arms up).

As of right now I have 4 regular treatments left and then 1.5 weeks of a "boost" treatment just to my mastectomy scar. During regular treatments, the machine stops at 3 different spots; to the left of me, to the right of me and directly above me. When the machine is to the left and right I had a wet towel put on the right side of my chest to make the radiation more intense there since I don't have breast tissue anymore. Yesterday because of how bad my skin looked, the nurse practitioner decided that I shouldn't have the wet towel anymore. Hopefully, that will make my skin feel better faster.

My radiation burns look so funny to me. There is a definite square on my chest of where the treatment is. I also have 2 spots on my neck (that you can see in pic above). I can't wait until my poor skin is back to its normal pale color. I was expecting to get a sunburn but I really wasn't expecting my skin to get this bad and that radiation would be SO painful. Its starting to feel like treatment is NEVER going to end. I've had cancer for almost an entire year. I'm ready to not have cancer, to not be in pain and to finally get a vacation! 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!


I’m not sure exactly how to start. There really aren’t words to say how I feel. You’re amazing. 10 months ago I couldn’t have imagined how much our lives could have changed but if anything good has come from it, it has brought us SO much closer.

I can’t imagine how it felt to have your daughter be diagnosed with the same exact disease that you battled just months before her diagnosis. Honestly, I pray I never have to feel that feeling. And although I know it’s been a very scary journey, you have never wavered from my side. You have been my biggest supporter and cheerleader, my sounding board, my shoulder to cry on and my care giver when I literally couldn't care for myself. You never hesitated to empty drains, shower me, wipe my tears or come with me endless appointments.

I said towards the beginning of this cancer journey that I was the luckiest cancer patient in the world. I am surrounded by the strongest friends and family. This has been really hard. Surgery is hard. Chemo is hard. Shaving my head is hard. Radiation is hard. I try not to think about how hard this is for everyone else because that just makes it harder.

You were the first person I told I needed a mammogram and the one who was there after my mammogram when I found out I needed a biopsy.  You were there when I had my mastectomy and stayed overnight in the hospital with me that night. You came to chemo with me twice, brought me to the ER twice. You just know when I need your help and you are always there without me having to ask. No one wants to have to take their child to the ER at 10 pm on Christmas Eve but you were there without hesitation. You always are. In college, I needed help moving and you were just there. I never had to ask; you just woke up Saturday and drove down to help me.

I’m so glad that we are best friends. There isn't another friend I can count on more than you because you are also my family. I am so lucky that I have that. When I think about me and Mackenzie in the future I pray that we have the same relationship that you and I have. I hope that I can be the unwavering support to her that you have always been for me. 

I'm not sure I could have made it through this cancer thing so well if it wasn't for you. I'm not going to pretend this was easy at all but some how I have been able to (mostly) maintain a positive attitude. I can't wait until this is all over and we can focus on better things, like beach houses and (hopefully) more grand kids. I love you mom. You're an incredible woman who I will always look up to and strive to be more like. 

On a different note. Today was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Our team was AWESOME! Gretchen made tutu's, Angi brought head bands and Zenia did face paint. We looked AMAZING! It was supposed to rain all day today but the rain held out long enough for the race and for a little dancing at the end! Except for the super early wake up time, it was so fun. I wasn't sure if it would be hard or emotional to be there or not. There were moments were I felt the weight of what this diagnosis means. But fellow survivors would see me and smile or ask to take a picture with me or hug me and that felt great. I knew throughout this journey I have never been alone but to see others that are walking the same path I am was incredible. Thank you so much to everyone who supported our team and especially to my teammates, for putting this team together for me and for being there
Me and my girl. Also...can you see my hair?! 

Rowena and I

Team Kylez Krusaderz

Zenia and I