Well, it has been awhile since I entered a post. It is because we have been busy going back to school and with evening sport activities. I’ve actually been feeling fairly good. Three weeks ago I started radiation. The month before I had really started running again and managed to run 7.5 miles the day before radiation. I went back to work too. I uncovered my head and showed everyone my new hair which is darker and has more gray than before. It even has some wave to it. I am starting to feel the fatigue of radiation toward the end of each week…. Thursday and Fridays are tough. However, this weekend I ran into something new. It is now pretty hard to swallow. My Dr. warned me that this might happen although she described it as maybe a little scratch and that I might not even notice it. Well, I can certainly notice it. Yesterday, I thought that I was choking. In fact, it still feels like there is something stuck in there. Yuck. What I don’t like about this is the discomfort, obviously, but the unknown. How long do I have to put up with this? Will it get worse? I can also feel the depression that comes along with new health issues. Every time that I start to feel better something else comes along. It is hard to deal with sometimes. I don’t want any of this anymore.
Sometimes I feel lost, trapped between worlds. One world is my old world – where I thought that I was happy and healthy. I was a bit wrong about that. One world is my “sick” world where I don’t feel well and I don’t feel like doing anything. The heat and humidity is not helping with that. And the last world is, hopefully, my new world. My new world is a place where I am as healthy as I can be and happy. I want to be in that world. I struggle on exactly how I will get to that world. I can’t really go back to doing things they way I used to do them – I was clearly too stressed and unnecessarily so. Balancing work and family still seems hard to me. Although, I have decided to make some specific changes. For example, I plan to meditate at work. This is something that I would have never done before but I don’t see why I can’t take 15 minutes in my day, perhaps right after I teach, to chill and re-group. I’m actually really excited about this new plan. I have my own quiet office, so why not. I hope to get more yoga sessions in at work and I hope to just be more relaxed. Some things are not worth that amount of attention that I have them, negative attention that is. I will spend more time focused on my children and less on work. Work will always be there. My children will grow and I want to be there to watch them. Well, I started my post feeling quite tired. I think that I’ll head off for a walk now.
I received a call yesterday regarding the Tumor Board meeting. They have decided to order a new PET scan and an ultrasound of the lymph nodes on the left side following my final chemo infusion. This is all interesting to me but it again makes me anxious. I want to do everything that I can to remain cancer free. However, I’m tired and I’m not really interested in 6 1/2 weeks of radiation to my lymph nodes. The radiation will be hard on me, my family, and work. I like the idea of having more information so that I can be more involved in the decision. If the PET scan is not clean – that would be quite bad since it was clean before chemo. The ultrasound will be useful to clarify why the lymph nodes on the left side were hypermetabolic the first time (cancer or a reaction to the mastectomy that I had just had). Regardless, I will have to wait a few weeks for the new information.
I did manage to run 3 actual miles yesterday although it was incredibly hard. But it felt good. I have a little bit of Taxal flush face today but no bone pain yet. That might show up later today.
Back to the oncologist today. My blood work all looks very good. I even earned an A+ for my protein levels. I handled the second TH treatment much better than the first one and, thus, we are going to go forward with the additional two doses. I can’t say that I am overly excited by this. But, I do feel pretty good (although, tired of course) and I am already bald. So, I figure let’s just get this over with. We also discussed when I would begin radiation and I mentioned that my surgeon was not convinced that I needed radiation at all. My oncologist indicated that she would bring this up in Tumor Board and that the radiation oncologist would have the best advice there. My oncologist also indicated that I’m welcome to seek different opinions and that I should gather as much information as I can so that I can make my decision. Hmm…. I’ll probably do radiation. I generally do what I’m told to do anyway. I’ll have to consider the risks again but I do actually want to live cancer free for as long as possible. Although, I did notice that doctors do tend to put years on how long they think that I will be cancer free and it generally seems a lot lower than I would like (5-10 years). I’m rambling but I guess this is now considered chronic. I have cancer but they think it will come back. Great. I suppose I will have to prove them wrong then.
It has been a pretty good week. My bone pain is gone although my mouth pain lingers. I’m more tired than I want to be but what can you do? I’ve been to yoga twice this week and managed to run 2 miles today. My little girl won numerous awards at school today including reading over 500 books this school year and being a Character Kid in May. Although I’m pretty darn afraid of germs (due to lower white cell counts) I’ve very pleased that I went to her award ceremony today. Her smile still warms my heart! My son asked me to meet him at the bus stop today and I did that too. I love how excited he was to see me there. I love them more than they will ever know and I will beat cancer for them.
So, I actually made my own food today. I have been relying very heavily on others to make me food and I do appreciate it but it does make me feel pretty lazy. Today I made a family favorite – breakfast cookies (and stuck in extra chia and flax seeds 🙂 ) and I am also currently making my own granola for tomorrow morning. This may not seem like much of an accomplishment but to me it is. It is hard to explain to others how incredibly tired I get. I look at tasks all around me. Tasks that should be done. Tasks that a mom should do but I just don’t do them. I don’t have the energy. Well, little by little I hope to add them back. This round of chemo was a little easier on my body than last time so hopefully the energy levels will respond similarly. Now, if I can get the littlest one in the shower and to bed on time I will be pleased.
Today I met my new breast surgeon. My previous surgeon no longer works at the hospital by my home. I really liked the new surgeon. He went through my history and then asked if anyone had found anything demonstrating cancer in my lymph nodes – to which I responded no. They were hyper-metabolic on my PET scan but the doctors and tech indicated that response could have been due to the mastectomy that I’d had two weeks prior to the scan. So, the new breast surgeon was not convinced that I needed radiation and that it might do me more harm than good. He asked if he could take my case back to the tumor board of which I said “sure.” I suspect that I will still need radiation but I really appreciate that he is questioning the treatment plan and adding his input. Of course, I would love to skip radiation! But… I won’t count on that.
On a different note – I walked 6.5 miles today 🙂