Thursday, March 27, 2008

This is what I was afraid of!

My radiation doctor told me today that they reviewed the calculations again and it seems I will need to return for 3 additional treatments to a targeted area. When I heard the nurses say the doctor wanted to speak with me after my treatment, my first thought was that something showed up in a film that was not good. The nurses assured me this was not the case. I am planning on having treatment on Monday, taking Tuesday off, and finishing up the rest of next week.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Only 5 left!

We called yesterday my "Cancer Day." I had to go to the oncologist in the morning and also received Herceptin. I then had radiation in the afternoon. Following radiation, I went to get sized for special sleeves for my arms to help with swelling and drainage. Finally, around 7:30 last night, cancer day was done.

My visit with the oncologist wasn't off to a good start when he said that I would be receiving Herceptin until October. Dave said I almost bit his head off when I corrected him. The doctor simply misspoke but I told him I have plans that do not include Herceptin through October! (We all know how plans don't always work out.) We then scheduled my last 3 Herceptins and discussed my last treatment visit with him in May. When I saw the paper with the end on it, I just started crying and couldn't stop. Dave said I was giving my soul a bath. The dates are now in my calendar and there is a big smiley face on May 28.

We, of course, have a few hurdles between now and then - finishing radiation on March 31st, Dawson's surgery, my final surgery, and anything else life seems to throw at us in the meantime. I have a friend who will be beginning chemo the end of this month and also sat across from a woman yesterday who was receiving her first treatment. It is hard for me to believe that it was only June 5th when I received the phone call and later that month began chemo. I am participating in a clinical study about cancer survivorship and the study mentions that recalling some of my symptoms from treatment could be upsetting. I am trying to help this friend with chemo side effects and see a change in me anytime I have to recall my chemo experience. I may forget some of the specifics but my body seems to remember!

I am asked frequently, "How are you feeling?" My fatigue is the most prominent feeling at the moment and it becomes more extreme as each day progresses. But, I definitely find it more tolerable as I am rounding the final lap in this marathon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Radiation update

I unexpectedly got the day off from radiation on Monday. The building where I receive treatment had to be closed down because a sprinkler pipe burst. Unfortunately, I will still need to make up the treatment. But, it was nice to take a longer nap than usual. Yesterday, was the worst day I have had since I began radiation. It was one of those days where if it could go wrong, it did. On top of that, I was exhausted and very nausoues. My medication had run out the day before and I needed a new prescription. I got the new prescription yesterday and when my father-in-law went to fill it for me, it was dated for today! Well, I have been to Target today and took the pill right at the pharmacy counter and my belly has seriously calmed down (and so have I).

A friend who has been battling ovarian cancer and is now cancer-free is celebrating life this Easter weekend. She began her chemo treatments just as I was finishing them and she is an incredible survivor. At her celebration, she will have information about a run/walk to Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer on May 4th. Her celebration reminds me that there is a time coming where I will be done with treatments and can also celebrate. There is a time when David will not have to rely on other people to dye Easter eggs with him because mommy is too tired. He came into my room last night, crawled in bed with me, and said, "I am sorry you have cancer, Mom." Dawson just says, "Get up!" I am considered also to be cancer-free but continuing treatment. I can see the light at the end of this tunnel though. Hopefully, by the end of May, I will be done everything. MAY!!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dawson update

We saw the specialist today. The pathology report shows tissue pointing towards an infection or inflammation of the lymphnode. If we leave it alone, it could become more infected and then sort of "spill out" and the surgery to remove it would then be more invasive. Antibiotics are another option, but the infection may not respond to them. So, removal of the mass seems to be the best option. There are possible complications, as with any surgery. The mass will then be examined again to see if further treatment is needed. Whew! The surgery is scheduled for April 14, which works well for us because I had already planned a "Dawson and Mommy" weekend the weekend before his surgery.

Thank you so much for your prayers and concern.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sweet Lucy's excitement

We not only thank the mystery gift giver for the Sweet Lucy's gift card but so does the family who was sitting next to us. A little boy next to us received the wrong ice cream and began having an allergic reaction. He was also allergic to nuts and either the ice cream or the cone was making his lips bright red and puffy. The mother had left his medications at home (since they would only be out for a minute). I had the Benadryl dissolving strips that we keep for Dawson in my purse and gave her one. His face began to calm down, but he was disappointed that he wouldn't be finishing his ice cream cone. I don't think we will run into them again, or at least not there.

Another mystery gift

Thanks to another mystery gift, our family will be enjoying some ice cream at Sweet Lucys. I look forward to a little family outing.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Radiation update

Someone asked me today how radiation was going. I told them my theory that the radiation machine is not actually emitting rays to kill the cancer, but instead is sucking the life out of me. I have been so tired lately. He reminded me of the movie, "The Princess Bride" and the Pit of Despair which contained the torture machine. Although the technology has come a long way, I still feel like Wesley after his encounter with the Machine.

I have now completed the 2nd week and have 3 more weeks to go. My skin is starting to look like I was out in the sun too long. I am also battling some nausea that can be controlled mostly by meds. But, I am generally pooped. I am able to keep going for awhile and then crash. I have seemed to lose that skip in my step.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Dawson's biopsy

We received a call this morning at 8:30 telling us that the doctor could do the procedure earlier than scheduled. Because we hadn't given Dawson anything to eat since last night, he would be okay with the earlier time. They said that the procedure was now scheduled for 10 and we would like you here at 8:30. Oh, it is 8:30 - as quickly as you can safely get here. So, we shifted into a different mode and arrived at the hospital at 9. This was good because we didn't have to sit around waiting, while trying to keep Dawson's mind off of the food and drink he wanted.

He went through the procedure fine and the doctor will call us within the week with the results. We also have a follow-up appointment scheduled to discuss the next step. Dawson woke up quite agitated and was screaming at the nurse whenever she tried to touch him. He then started yanking on his wires and IV. She was trying to get the IV out as Dave and I are restraining him. He was screaming in her face, "No!" and "Bad." We all have some blood on us after this fiasco and Dawson later informed the nurse that she was a "bad guy." He is now sitting at home, watching television and may rest later.

We can not thank our family and friends enough for everything they have done to help us. Surprise meals, caring for David, cards and gifts, emails and phone calls, and many other things have been so encouraging through everything happening right now. We also know we have an army of prayer on our behalf, coming to the Father and asking for grace.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Another fun day at Longwood

Dave needed to move some furniture on Saturday and the boys needed to stay out of the middle of it, so I took them to Longwood Gardens for a children's show, Dinorock Theater ( It was a neat show and David was picked to go up on stage and assist.

I then came home and took a long nap. It was nice to have a break from radiation. I have completed my first week, with 4 more (weeks) to go. I then came down with the stomach flu on Sunday. Today and tomorrow are going to be quite hectic with Dawson's pre-op appointments and biopsy and I have a few appointments too. I am also trying to recover from yesterday. With incredible help from family and friends, we are able to juggle everything, including the everyday necessities - like eating!