a little c

because I refuse to give it a big one

Posts Tagged ‘radiation’

I want to name this post “Winning!”, but I think Charlie Sheen has ruined that particular phrase for all of us.

Posted by wendy on 2011/07/18

EDITED TO ADD:  You can totally buy the print above at my Cafepress Store!

I actually hesitate to write this post while I’m still all giddy and high off endorphins, but hey, why not–it’s my blog, amiright?  😉  I had my very last radiation treatment this afternoon!  I’m done!  I’m done!  *dances the dance of being done*  I just so completely blown away that it’s over (and a bit incredulous, because–really?  It’s over?  How did that happen?).  I feel all invincible today, you know?  When I was walking out, the oncology nurse gave me a little pin that said “survivor” on it, and it made me cry a little.  It feels a bit like a cheat…like I shouldn’t wear it until my five years are up and I get my official ‘pronouncement’ of suvivorship, but you know–I DID survive.  I will survive.  (Oh wow, I just went all Gloria Gaynor on your asses, didn’t I?)  I’m in the next stage now.  I have to take tamoxifen for the next 5 years, but hey-I take a multitude of vitamins every morning, so I’m not feeling terribly put out by that anymore.  My onc wants to schedule a baseline PET scan for me next month, and then it’s just regular check-ups and keeping an eye on things.  OH!!  And, there is the removal of my Frenemy, The Port.  This baby is coming OUT, people.  Hallelujah.

So, there is a lot to talk about here and I’m just going to jump right in, as I cannot think of a witty segue-way from “YES!!  I AM DONE WITH TREAMENT!!” to “Hey, this is what a radiation rash looks like.”

Radiation Rash

I feel like I should have painted my nails before I showed you my rash. I also feel weird that I just showed you my rash.

I had zero fatigue with radiation, which is a very good thing.  And, I had no real effects from it until this past week when the rash sprang up.  It’s not painful, really–but, it DOES itch like madness.  I’m putting benadryl cream on it, and it helps a bit.  My skin is also a bit tender and pink–like a slight sunburn at the radiation spot.  It’s kind of funny to note that it is actually in a perfect little square section of my right breast.  When I saw the Dr last week, she pronounced my red, rashy skin to be “exactly what we like to see at this stage”.   She said it shows them that the radiation was actually doing its job and that I will continue to get pinker over the next week and a half, but then it will probably clear up just as quickly as it showed up.  (and seriously–this rash?  Popped up overnight–it was crazy.)  So, there you have it, Dear Frantic Googler.  That’s a radiation rash you see over to the  side of this post.   You can also see why they were at first concerned about my port getting in the way–and I really wish that I had pushed this issue–this is probably the most uncomfortable thing I have going right now–the skin over my PORT is itchy and sore and I have to put cream on it, which means I have to TOUCH MY PORT.  So, I’m both uncomfortably itchy AND skeeved out.  It just doesn’t feel fair at all.

Life is rarely fair, but it can be good.  Oh yes.  It can.

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Change is the New Normal

Posted by wendy on 2011/04/22

Chemo #7 went off without a hitch yesterday.  My blood count is the lowest it’s been yet, but apparently, my onc has discovered that my insurance company had already okay’d TWO Neulasta shots for me, and the pharmacy had sent over two, so I have one left–I’m getting it this morning!  *dances*  This should help shoot my blood count right back up where it should be and that will keep me on track for my May 5 finish date.  I haven’t mentioned here that my onc is pregnant, so I met with the doc who will be taking over her patients when she goes out on maternity leave yesterday–loved her, too.  She’s chatty, like me, and I think we broke the morning schedule with our bonding.  😉 It’s nice to know that when I go in for my follow-up visits, I will, yet again, be dealing with a doctor that I really LIKE.  Lucky girl, that’s me.

In addition to the most excellent Neulasta news, we also discussed the fact that I’m moving into the radiation phase, so she’s set up a preliminary appointment with a radiologist next Friday.  And, that’s when the fear hit me.

I am actually afraid to finish chemo.  I mean, don’t get me wrong–chemo SUCKS–but,  it has been my routine for the past few months, and I’m…used to it.  I know what to expect.  I get to sit in the same recliner (my lucky chair!) every week, I love my doctors, I love the nurses and the receptionist.  I love Buddy, the volunteer who brings me graham crackers and knows just how I take my coffee.   I like the atmosphere at the clinic, because it is upbeat and there are smiles everywhere you look–even on the patient’s faces.   Clearview is an excellent place to receive care, and while I know I’ll be back for check-ups, etc…I am about to move on.

I’m graduating Chemo 101 with flying colors, and now they’re moving me to a new clinic with new people and new doctors and I feel so apprehensive about that.  The intellectual part of me knows this is a bit silly–finishing chemo, starting radiation–this is all very good stuff.  I mean, the radiation is the end of my ‘to-do list’.  (wait–getting my port out is the end, but I doubt there will be much apprehension when that little bit comes up-ha.)  I’m all full of dread, though.

I know there is a bright side to this–my hair is going to start to grow back, my taste buds will return, the hot flashes will subside and go away, I’m one step closer to putting this behind me.  I know this.  Moving on is a good thing.  I know it.  But, knowing a thing intellectually and knowing it emotionally is not always an easy thing to do.   It’s a change–and there has been so. much. change. in my life the past 6 months, I should be used to it by now–Change is my new normal.  heh.  New docs, new offices, new procedures, a whole new set of unknowns that I will need to investigate and learn.

The Devil You Know over the Devil You Don’t, eh?

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