Treatment is over!

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Today was the day.  After 33 treatments, I am all done with radiation.  It’s a good thing too; my boob can’t take much more.   I am peeling but not like from a sunburn and have to go on antibiotic cream to fight off infection.  I’m also glad that I can now use regular deodorant again.  The stuff I had to use during treatment didn’t do a dang thing for perspiration and odor.  Sometimes I couldn’t stand being around myself.

After I finished in the treatment room, both the girls gave me a big hug and then I went and saw the Dr.’s nurse, Winny.  She gave me my discharge papers and let me know what was still ahead.  Even though I’m not getting zapped anymore, the treatments are cumulative so for the next 3-4 weeks, I will continue to turn red.  Well, that’s something I wasn’t expecting.  She also said that I will begin to feel tired.  I told her I hadn’t had any of that now and she said it usually hits at the end.  I may find I need to take naps in the afternoon.  I’m scheduled to go back to work on Monday so if I feel anything come on, I’ll just close my door and rest my head on my desk for a while.

I have a follow up appointment with Dr. Shimizu on July 12th and one with Dr. Wilde on August 1st.  After that, I’m not sure what else is down the pike with regards to doctor’s appointments.

I realize how fortunate I have been through all this.  I spoke with patients in the waiting area each day that were going through hell with their treatments.  Some were even going through both chemo and radiation at the same time.

I probably won’t be blogging as much between now and my trip (which is in 68 days).  🙂  During the trip I plan on blogging each day and sharing my experience on my trip of a lifetime.

I thank each of you for following along as I went through treatment.  You’ve been supportive and encouraging and for that I am truly thankful and blessed.

I invite you to continue with me on my Journey to the half century mark.

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5 Treatments Left

I am now down to my last 5 treatments. These will be, what they call, “boost” treatments. These last 5 will focus on where the cancer was found. Thank God, because the boob is really fried. 😦 I have one very raw burn spot that hurts to reach or sleep. I just keep loading it up with this great ointment I got with the cream I’ve been using. Thank you Jacqueline for looking out for me.

Yesterday was the first half of my teeth deep cleaning. That was fun….NOT! The part that hurt the most was the Novocain injections. At least next week I know what to expect.

I am looking forward to going back to work and then in 75 days…….Off to Alaska!

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Coming into the home stretch….

Today was the end of my 5th week.  I now have 10 treatments left and I am done!   My skin is starting to take a beating.  Dr. Shimizu says I have folliculitis.  It’s an inflammation of hair follicles.  It itches like crazy and doesn’t look very pretty.  With only 10 more treatments, I think I can tough it out.

This past week I was getting bored and felt like I needed a change so I cut all my hair off.

Before:

Long hair

After:

short hair

I feel like I’m going to be starting over and I needed a change.  It’s just hair.  🙂

Half Way Done!

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Take that cancer!

As of this week and I am now half way through treatment.  Three weeks from today I am all done with radiation.   I never thought I would hear myself utter these words, but I am looking forward to going back to work.

For those that know me, I am habitual about my yearly exams; teeth cleaning, physical, “peek-a-boo” and mammograms.  So this morning I had my 6 month teeth cleaning.  I always look forward to getting my teeth cleaned as it always feels so good when they are done.  They do a little scraping, polish and I’m out of there.  Imagine my surprise when things didn’t go so well this morning.  I told them when I got there that I didn’t want to have x-rays as I was already going through radiation treatment and I didn’t want to add on.

My usual hygienist was away so the new gal Jackie would be cleaning my teeth.  Wow was she thorough.  Turns out that when they did the probe between the teeth and gums, I now had 4’s and 5’s where I was always a 2.  They said that because of radiation, all my gums are inflamed.   So now I have to have a deep cleaning on some of my teeth, brush my teeth with a special  toothpaste and get my teeth cleaned every 3 months until things get back to normal.  Before I left today, they painted my teeth with fluoride.    This was a side effect I wasn’t prepared for.  I pride myself on my good teeth.

Skin seems to be holding up well.  Just sunburned and tanned.  No fatigue at this point.  I will hold off celebrating until I’m completely done.

Another week under my belt

Today I completed my third week of radiation.  The boob is turning a lovely bronze color.  Due to the holiday on Monday, I’ll get a 3 day break. 

So far I’ve only had a couple bouts of exhaustion.  When it hits, it feels like I’ve been crying for hours without the puffy eyes but then the next day it’s gone.   I’ve had some pain that feels like I’m bruised and it’s tender to the touch but that’s it.   I’m still forcing myself to go for my 3 mile walks as soon as I get home from treatment.  I’ve read that I should be doing at least 4 hours of exercise a week.  My walks take an hour so I’m getting in 5 hours.

This past week I had my weekly x-ray and I also had a CAT scan.  The CAT scan takes readings for when I go through the boost treatment which is the last week.   This next Wednesday will put me half way through the process. 

Now to take a few days to relax.  Have a wonderful Holiday Weekend!

 

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Week Two Completed

Today I completed my second week of radiation.  Other than having one nicely bronzed breast (that no one will see), everything seems to be going well.  I meet with Dr. Shimizu every Monday, just to give a status report.  Other than one day when I felt kind of wiped out, I’ve been feeling good.  Every day after radiation, I come home and take Charlie for a 3 mile walk.  When I told this to the doctor, he seemed kind of surprised.  I told him, I was going to keep it up until I didn’t feel like I could.

This week they had a service dog in the gowned waiting area.  His name was Boomer and he was an English Yellow Lab.  They are there every Monday.  Next Monday will be Amber.

I found out this week  as well that after every 5 treatments I get an x-ray.  It’s done by the same machine that zaps me.  This next week I have to get another CAT scan and plan for my boost treatments.  I thought my last week of treatment was when I got the boosts but apparently it gets done in the middle as well.

I finally received my payment from disability.  It only took a month.

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One week down…..

Today I finished my first week of radiation.  So far, it hasn’t been bad.    I already got the burn starting and as of today it has turned into a tan.  The first tan in decades.  🙂  Unfortunately or fortunately, however you want to look at it, I can’t wear a bra since it rubs in the burn area.  YAHOOO!  Finally a legitimate excuse for going braless.  The girls are free!!!

Maxine Girls Night Out

I’ve started to get a routine down:  first thing in the morning I put on the lotion I got to minimize the burn, drive to La Jolla, take of my top, put on the gown and robe, wait to be called and go into the room.    Below is a picture of the machine similar to the one I  am in each day.  Once I am in the room, I take off the robe and lay down on the table.  They line up the marks on my chest and leave the room.  The machine rotates from one side to the other for 30 seconds each and I’m done.  I’m literally in and out of the radiation center in less than 20 minutes.  Once I get home, Charlie and I head out for our walk.  Hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up with the walks.   I’m just not sure how the side effects will hit me.

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The three ladies that work in the Sierra Treatment room are so nice.  Everyone so far that I have come in contact with since being diagnosed has been wonderful and supportive.

Thank you also to all my friends and family for the well wishes, prayers and cards.  It is appreciated more than you know.

One down, 32 more to go

Today was my first radiation treatment.  Once I got all marked up again with water soluble ink and I was ready to go.  Today took a little longer that it will for the rest of the treatments but all in all it’s a very quick process.  I can breathe but can’t move.  You have to keep your arms above your head and can’t move them down.  Of course my nose started to inch.  They told me to begin the aloe vera lotion as soon as I got home and use it 3 times a day.  I just can’t use it 2 hours before treatment.

When I left they gave me my schedule for the next 32 sessions.  I go every week day at 10:15 am.  The last 5 sessions are the boost sessions.

I’ll have to wait and see how my body and skin reacts to treatment.

Yesterday I got a call from Dr. Bernstein’s office with the results from my bone density test.  Turns out I have Osteopenia in one of  my legs.  This is the beginning before Osteoporosis.  Great, another plus to going through menopause early.  I guess I’ll have to increase my calcium intake, along with milk and more green vegetables.  Right now this is the least of my worries.  🙂

 

Poked and Groped, Part II

Today I went to see Dr. Shimizu, Radiation Oncologist.  We met briefly to discuss what’s next.  I found out that I have to get a new deodorant; nothing with aluminum.  Another interesting thing was I was told I couldn’t take anything that was extra antioxidants supplements.

After we were done talking, I was taken to get a CAT scan.  The nurse walked me around and showed me where I would go from now on.  They gave me my hospital bracelet that I’ll show each time I check in.  I changed my clothes and waited to be taken to the CAT scan.  This wasn’t so bad as the MRI.  I did have to hold still but didn’t have to hold my breath.  They had me lay on my back and positioned all the pads and arm bar.   Once I was down on the table, I put my arms above my head and then Dr. Shimizu marked with pen the areas that will be shot with radiation.  They taped wires and little metal beebees to my skin so it would show up on the film.  I was then rolled back and forth into the machine for a couple of minutes.  When I was done, I got my tattoos.  Oh and guess what, I am allergic to tape.  One spot turned red after 5 minutes.  Now about the tattoos; OUCH!  I always thought I wanted to get one but, no thank you.  These are smaller than a freckle and they hurt like a son of a mother.    I now have 4 on my chest including one on the breast that doesn’t get radiation.

Once I was done, the nurse showed me the room where I will be getting my treatment.  She knew I was keeping a blog and said that if I wanted to, I can take a picture to post it.

And so it begins…… next Tuesday, I will have my daily radiation treatments, 5 days a week for the next 6-1/2 weeks.

Right on Schedule…..

Today I spoke with Dr. Shimizu’s office and it turns out I didn’t need insurance approval after all  for radiation,  so tomorrow I go see him.  It will start off with a one-on-one and then over to the planning session.  I don’t know if this means I get measured and the tattoos tomorrow or I’ll have to go back again.  Tomorrow it will be exactly 3 weeks since my surgery so everything seems to be going as planned.

This afternoon I met with Dr. Bernstein.  We talked about the treatment after radiation.  Turns out I won’t go on Tamoxifen or Raloxifene.   The drug that I could go on causes bones to become weak.  So, in case I do go on that drug, I have to go in for a bone density test.  I need to have this done anyway since I’m post-menopausal.  He said it’s completely up to me if I want to go on the drugs afterwards.

I will post tomorrow after I meet with Dr. Shimizu.