3 more rads!

3 more rads!.

3 more rads!

Only 3 radiation sessions left!!  I will be done the major stuff on Nov 14th. Hard to believe.

It’s been a long year……

  • Mammogram in January
  • Compression Mammo, Biopsy & Invasive Ductral Carcinoma breast cancer diagnosis in February
  • Lumpectomy & sentinel Node biopsy, results-stage 1, grade 3 (aggressive) cancer, and clear margins from surgery in March
  • 6 rounds of chemo, 3 FEC & 3 DH from April till August
  • healing from chemo, September and on-going
  • Herceptin August and will continue to June 2014
  • 25 sessions of radiation October-November
  • healing from radiation November-December

Wow…I can hardly wait for 2014!!

The last few radiation sessions have resulted in my skin getting very burned and itchy.  So far I don’t have any skin breakage, but I don’t think I will be so lucky to continue saying that next week.  I’ve been using cold saline solution compresses to take down the itchy burning feeling.  As well, I’ve now using a steroid cream.  It’s really bad right at the side above my scar where they took my lymph node out, and that right where my bra hits.  Uncomfortable.  

I was also told by the Radiation Therapists (a huge shout out to everyone on PRI06 at Sunnybrook, there are such an amazing group of men and women!) that it is the 2 weeks AFTER I finish up rads that I will have the more severe effects on the skin.  😦  

….and then the HEALING BEGINS! 🙂

Thanks to everyone who has been following my countdown on Facebook, I love your cheers as it makes me feel like I do have my own personal posse of positive vibes from incredible people.  I don’t think of myself as anything more than someone who is doing what they need to do to get through a nasty time in my life.

Having cancer changes your life, treatment isn’t “fun”, but it’s not all horrible. I’ve tried to keep a balance in my life, and have been fortunate to have had the strength & energy  to continue working through all this.  I think I might write future blogs on what to expect, or things that might help others if they are faced with chemo etc. hmm….something for me to think about.  The harder part now will be figuring out who Randy is after cancer.  I will always live with the fear of it coming back.  Somehow I have to reconcile all that, and that’s a big thing, with getting on everyday with my life.

Having so many friends and family there for me physically and virtually, makes the tough days a little easier.  I always tell people that my record for getting through the tough days is 100%.  

It’s kind of strange to be thinking that as of the end of next week, all the major stuff will be done!  Ringing the bell, celebrating the end of chemo at Princess Margaret Cancer Care was incredible! I remember a few days later, having an emotional breakdown .   The realization of what “could have been” had my cancer not have been found so early, really hit me.  It’s hard to know how many emotion are going to surface once rads are over.  My whole focus this past year has been on getting treatment to make sure the cancer won’t come back.    

I made it through, I did it.  But I didn’t do it alone.  Yes, I was the one receiving the treatment, however, there were so many that were right there by my side, every step of them way.  

And to all of you, I am eternally grateful.

Hair, Running and my Dad

I know that might sound like an odd combination, but to me, it actually makes perfect sense.

One of the worst parts parts (for me) about chemo for breast cancer is that you know you’re going to lose your hair. I remember trying to be so brave about it, but the truth was always that, I was scared shitless that it would not grow back.  I have armed myself with wigs and scarves, and I knew I was never going to be brave enough to be “oh Naturelle”  I so admire many of my friends that have posted pictures of themselves bald.  I have never been so brave.  I do have the picture,  (I let Hailey take one picture, and one picture only, and she knows that picture is never to be seen unless I say so) and maybe next year I will post it, but right now, no, I just can’t.  

People tell me, bald is beautiful.  Like my scars, yes, they are my victory scars.  But there are days, , that I look in the mirror, and just want to vomit.  Two scars that are my reminders of what they took out of my body, one scar a reminder what they put in my body (my port) to make sure that I could take the drugs that would ensure I didn’t have to get anything else taken out.  My hair, it’s starting to peak through, but I’ll be covering my head for a long time. Now from radiation, one breast is much much darker and sensitive than the other. That will go away.  The fatigue will eventually go away.  Eventually my hair will grow back, but the scars will always be there.  A reminder that this happened.  I can never take life for granted again, innocence lost.

My hair is starting to grow back, slowly.  I actually have to shave it back a little as the first growth is chemo damaged, and radiation has slowed down the growth, so I will do that soon.  Actually Richard will.  He is much better at that than I.  He has had lots of practice!  The benefits of being married to a bald man  🙂  It’s going to be a long time before, I will “uncloak” my head.

I miss running.  The last time I really ran was in February before my surgery.  I got scared.  Scared I would fall and hurt myself.  I was never told I had to stop, but when I was told that I had to have chemo, and that chemo, and Herceptin affects the heart, it kind of freaked me out.  Plus I was tired a lot.  So I did lots of walking.  Now with radiation, putting on a run bra, and the friction of running, well let’s just say….it’s not a pretty picture.  And what would I wear on my head!  I know, these seem like excuses, but cancer plays major head games on you.

Today is the New York Marathon.  I had entry to run it today, but cancer took that away, and I had to defer.  I have run it before in 2009. I know I have had a different type of marathon to deal with this year, and that’s very true.  But it’s not the same.  Yesterday was my Dad’s birthday.  He would have been either 82 or 83.  Happy Birthday Daddy!!  I posted the picture below of him on my Facebook page.  Thank you for all your wonderful comments!  They are so appreciated.  

My Dad was a runner, and he was my inspiration to run, as was my Mom.  I thought they were both nuts for running marathons and half marathons.  

It wasn’t till many years after my Dad passed away that I took up running, and realized they were nuts! and how incredible the feeling of running was.  I miss my Dad everyday, and there is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about him.  When I ran the NY marathon in 2009, I ran it for my Dad.  You see when he got sick, he had entry to run NY for his 5th time, but he never got to run that race.  NY was my 5th marathon, and I completed his journey.  Richard, and my brothers and sister in law’s came with me to cheer me on and share the journey, and my Mom was with me via telephone.  

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So that’s my Dad, crossing the NY finish line, and that’s me around the 10 mile mark in 2009.

Here’s my plan.  I will start running again, but probably not till the spring.  I still have a fear of sliding on the ice in the dark, and all I need is to break my leg…NOT.  I do have a treadmill, so maybe I will start there to be ready for the spring.  By spring, my hair will a grown a little more.  It grows about a half inch a month, although radiation does slow that down.  So, I will find some great run head covers, and get back out there.  I miss the social part of the run!  After all….what’s said on the run…stays on the run!  Kind of like Vegas!  

I have 8 more radiation sessions to go.  I’ve been working through all of it, as I did through my chemo.  I am starting to feel the fatigue.  On Friday I came home, went to bed at 7, and didn’t come downstairs till 11 yesterday morning. I’m guessing I was tired 😉  I’m told I will start to feel like “me” again in January.  I’ve said it before, I’m not sure what me is anymore.  

As I re-read all this, I know I sound down, and I really don’t mean to.  But I promised, I would keep my blog real, and I guess “down” is how I’m feeling.  I share the ups and the downs.  I’m hoping for lots more “ups” as I get away from the everyday treatment.

It’s hard for my family and for those around me to really understand what’s going on inside me.  I look good on the outside.  I tell people I’m fine, doing well.  Hopefully soon, I really will be!

Hugs

Randy