Half way through “Rads”

I know I haven’t posted in quite a while.  I was actually having trouble logging in….figured out it was my laptop settings.  Go figure!

I just re-blogged a post from my friend Stephanie, as I have had so many people ask me about what they could do to help.  Stephanie said it all.  She is quite a remarkable woman, and glad that I’ve met her.  Her blog is amazing.  

Anyway, I am half way through radiation, I’ve done 12 of 25!!  So far so good.  Other than having one very tanned armpit and side of my chest, I’m doing fine.  No burns, or tenderness. I’m tired at the end of the day, but that’s more because it’s a long day.  I go right from work to the hospital and then home.  I chose to do my radiation, or “rads” as “those in treatment” call it, at Sunnybrook as it is literally 10 minutes from my house, and on my way home from work.  I work in Markham, so trying to get downtown to Princess Margaret was going to be challenging everyday for 5 weeks.  Even my Oncologist suggested I do what worked for me.  

The question I get asked the most is…”How often do I go for Radiation”  EVERYDAY!  It’s a grind no doubt.  I do get the weekend and holidays off…yippee!  I will be done Nov 14th.  I am told that the side effects really come after I’m done.

I’m not surprised as most of the side effects I’ve had from Chemo also came after I was done.  I’m now 9 weeks done, and still having issues.  The one thing that is difficult, is that most people assume that because I’m done, that I’m done.  The truth is, that it is just a beginning again.  When you have chemo, your whole body is affected, everything.  Even my tear ducts were messed up for a while.  I’ve been trying to find out more about detoxing but it’s hard to really understand it all.  My friend has been helping me try and navigate what I need, but it’s going to be a long road to recovery.

I had to have a chat, or in this case and email with my boss.  He has been wonderful as has everyone at work.  I make sure I look good everyday when I go to work, and I think that’s actually worked against me….LOL!  Go figure.  Because I look good, everyone assumes, I am good, and the truth is that I’m far from good.  But I will get there.  I’ve been told that I should start to feel “like myself” again around January.  Can’t remember what that feels like, but I suspect, that it will be different from what it was before this all started.   I have worked through all my treatment, and taken off what I have needed to take off.  It was the right decision for me on many levels, and I’ve been fortunate to work for a company that has been very understanding about what is going on.  

Richard, Carly, Hailey, and myself along with Richard’s brother Corey, and his son Matthew, and the girls friends, Meg and Syd walked in the Run for the Cure.  Why is it every walk we’ve done for breast cancer…it has rained!!??

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I guess PINK is my colour from now on…good thing I like pink!

I’m still figuring out this blogging thing, and it seems that i am supposed to “tag” the subject, so I’m going to try and start doing that.  Not entirely sure what that does, but we’ll see…

I have now finished 6 of my Herceptin treatments.  I think there is 18 all together.  I can’t remember.  It means going to back to Chemo Daycare every 3 weeks at  Princess Margaret, as this drug is administered through my port.  I also get Mugascans every 3 months at Mt. Sinai to make sure my heart is functioning properly.  Herceptin can affect the heart.  So far I’m good, no issues there.  It does mean lots of hospital visits.

You find out all this stuff, that really you never wanted to know.  Every treatment has side effects. every treatment could lead to other issues, even other cancers, but we’re not going to go there.  I chew so many mints to take away the bitter taste that has lingered from chemo (yes another side effect), that I’m sure I will end up with tooth decay when this is all said and done! One thing at a time!

I did find out that parking costs while in treatment can be written off on your taxes.  (I never knew I could do that). The cost of parking is so crazy at the hospital.  Rarely is it less than $20 a visit.  Sometimes I take the subway down.  I was able to get a weekly price at Sunnybrook while in radiation.  So I’ve gone back and listed every time I’ve had to be at the hospital since this all began, and wow….does it ever add up quickly.

That’s it for now

Hugs everyone, Randy

 

Helping a friend in need

I really couldn’t have said this any better myself, so Stephanie, I hope you don’t mind me reblogging your post as I think we are totally on the same wavelength.
The thing that was the best for me was when I would come home and there were meals, cookies, muffins, noodle puddings, Frappacinno’s waiting. I was blessed by so many friends and family with all those, and baskets.
There were lots of baskets of goodies for my girls, and that was really wonderful. So much focus was on me, it was nice when someone remembered them. Or when someone took my husband out for a drink…he really needed it!
I found it hard, and still do to ask for help, and if people asked what I needed, I found myself saying, “nothing” all is good”. For me, it was better when people “just did it”, and I appreciated each an everyone of those goodies.

pass me another cupcake

I’ve often thought of sharing a list of “what not to say to someone who has cancer.” However, I’ve seen many of these lists before and I know they can be somewhat harsh and make people feel like there is not a single thing they can do that is right when someone they care about is sick. So instead, I think it might be more productive to do a “how to help someone who has cancer” list.

1. PRESENTS

Anyone who has been following along since the beginning of the blog knows that I loooooved getting gifts while undergoing cancer treatment. Presents are awesome even when you’re feeling great, but they’re extra awesome when you’re feeling lousy. Sometimes the only thing that would make me smile on a terrible day was hearing the doorbell ring and seeing a box waiting for me. There was one day when I had multiple…

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I’m SO happy to be NEGATIVE!!!!

After a very long month of waiting…..I got the call today…I am BRCA Negative!!  I do NOT have the breast cancer gene!

That is the single best piece of news I’ve heard since this journey began in February.  It’s not only good for me, but great news for my girls Carly & Hailey.  It’s great news for my brothers, and my nieces and nephews.

As a very positive person, I’m so happy to be negative 🙂

I found out after I had met with my Oncologist today.  I was actually having my Herceptin treatment when the phone rang!

It’s is such a relief, a big relief…now at least I know what my next steps are.  I am meeting with the Genetic Councillor on Monday to go through all the paperwork, and then I have my first of 25 radiation sessions right after.  I’m so happy that I will be having radiation, as I must admit, the alternative was not so appealing.  I was keeping a brave face, but, I’m radiation was my preferred route.

Thank you everyone for all your prayers….they worked!!

Yeah!!!