"Let's kick cancer's booty and take some names."
LORD, after this suffering, let it be said that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, make my Savior clear to all those around me. Because of my suffering and willing perseverance, cause others to be encouraged to speak the Word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
(Phillippians 1:12-14)

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Monday, January 17, 2011

Radiation, Follow Up Appointment and Surgery....Again

Hi everybody! I hope you all are staying warm and have thawed out from all the snow.

Let me start out with another big thank you. Yesterday at church, Mark Adams preached on the power of prayer, hope and forgiveness. I have certainly felt the power of prayer over the last 9 1/2 months. I know without a doubt that I never could've gotten through this without the prayers, hugs, notes and support from my friends and family. I was looking for a scripture about prayer and I ran across so many that said, "God answered their prayer" or "God heard their prayer." God DOES hear and answer our prayers. And I cannot thank you enough for your prayers on behalf of me. I am completely honored and humbled.

I had 3 appointments today and I'll start with radiation.

Radiation is quick and painless. There is nothing invasive about it. In fact, I don't even know when it's happening. I get undressed from the waist up. Then I go to the table and lie face up. They put a ring around my shoes to keep my legs still and then proceed to move the table and the radiation machine around until it's in the correct spot. The radiation tech (not sure what to call her) says, "I'll be right back." Then she leaves the room. I hear some noises and the machine moves around to behind my shoulder blade. The machine makes some more noises, then she comes back in and says, "Ok. You're all done." It literally takes less than 10 minutes. So far I can't tell any difference in my skin. They say that after about 2 weeks you start to get a burn on your skin or even a rash. It can also make you tired after a couple of weeks. Today was my 5th treatment. 30 more to go. If all goes well I will be done February 28th. That's a great way to start one of my favorite months, March.

One of my other appointments today was a follow up with Dr. Yardley. I had my last chemo 3 weeks ago tomorrow. They drew blood, as always. My blood counts looked great except for the red blood cell count. She said it was a tad low, but sometimes that happens with radiation.
She wasn't concerned. She gave me a prescription for Tamoxifen. It's an estrogen blocker that I will take for 5 years. She said the main side effect was hot flashes. I'm already having those due to the chemo. She said they might get worse, but there are medications I can take if they get too bad. She asked if I'd like to go ahead and get a prescription for the hot flashes, but I said I'd wait to see how bad they get. I don't want to take another pill if I don't have to. I go back to see her in 8 weeks. Following that, I'll see her every 3 months up until 2 years after the diagnosis, which was April 12, 2010. After that, it will go to every 6 months. At the 5 year mark, I will only see her 1 time a year.

I asked about having a breast reduction. I was considering it before I was diagnosed but with the cancer, I had to wait. She said I would need to ask Dr. Hunt, the radiation oncologist. Evidently the radiation takes awhile to get out of your system and can cause the breast tissue to harden and become hard to work with. She said as far as the chemo goes, I could have it done now. But I need to wait until the radiation "damage" has cleared up. As I recall, Dr. Cooper said I'd have to wait 6 months to a year. I'll see what Dr. Hunt says and make my decision then. I'd like to have it done this year. With the radiation and another surgery on the horizon, I will most certainly meet my deductible and out of pocket maximum with the insurance company. Therefore, a breast reduction later in the year won't cost me anything out of pocket.

I am having yet another surgery next Monday. But I'm more than happy to have this one. I am having my port removed. And can.....not.......wait! The port site, at least 1 time a day, either itches or throbs. It freaks me out a little to think of a foreign object sewn to my chest wall. I'm very happy to have it removed. I went to the hospital this morning to have my pre-admission testing done. Which means more blood drawn. I also had to have an EKG. I'm not sure why and I didn't ask. But the results normal.

So......after 2 pricks with a needle, I'm not drinking much water today. I'm afraid my arm will turn into a watering can. :)

My next appointment with Dr. Yardley is March 15th. Until then, all I have to do is go downtown Monday-Friday at 11:30 for radiation and have my port out next Monday. I am very happy to have this break.

The next thing on my agenda is to plan my "after cancer" party and plan a vacation for the Spring. I'm ready for warm weather and the beach in some tropical location. Hawaii? The Bahamas? Not sure yet, but where ever it is, I'll have a smile a mile wide.

Everyone have a great week! -

2 comments:

  1. Hey Candy,

    1. I'm very flattered to have made it into your post, so thanks for the tip of the hat, and thanks for listening!

    2. Just a silly thought: Until you get to take your vacation, you can think of your hot flashes like personal mini-vacations to the tropics. :-)

    Thanks for keeping us posted. I bet you'll feel a big boost of encouragement when that port is gone.

    Mark

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  2. Hey Mark! Yes, I was paying attention. ha! The lesson was good. Yours always are. Not to say that Don's arent......

    Somebody else told me a similar thing. They said think of the hot flashes as my own personal summer. ha! They aren't bad yet, so I'm hoping they won't get too bad.

    Thank you for keeping up with the journey and all the encouragement.

    Candy

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