Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Radiation treatment almost done!
It's hard to believe that I'm just two days away from being done with radiation treatment. Going in every weekday for treatment hasn't been convenient but I've been so blessed with the most amazing team there, not to mention the incredible technology (TomoTherapy). Dr.Z, Nurse Grace, Therapists MaryBeth, Kit, and Joe, and the office team led by Lorraine are all so awesome - so friendly and compassionate. Besides, they appreciate my silly humor and the fun and quirky little gifts I leave for them most days. During the last week of regular radiation treatments I developed some painful red burns which I've been nursing with cool compresses and lots and lots of goo. The areas that are most painful are the crease underneath the breast and a large patch on the far left side of the breast under the arm. My skin feels rough/chaffed and stings like a bad sunburn. It also aches beneath the skin sometimes. I'm incredibly tired. My left/treated breast is swollen, making me larger on that side temporarily. Swelling is no stranger to me given that I now have lymphedema of the left arm. Thankfully, my arm swelling has come down quite a bit, but not completely. I'm sporting the compression sleeve all the time now which is not fun but I always remember that things could be much worse and I'm truly blessed to have gotten through this. So incredibly blessed. So incredibly grateful. This current and final week consists of the "boost" treatments - five of them - which are treatments focused on my scar site because apparently that is where recurrences tend to develop. These boost treatments are shorter than all the previous treatments which is a nice bonus. Instead of being under the beams for 7 minutes, I'm under for just 4 minutes during this final week. I've had three of the boost treatments so far and my final two are over the next two days. By mid-morning Friday I will be all done with radiation treatment, and with that being done I'll be done with all my major cancer treatment! I praise God for these miracles! After radiation is completed I will move on to have the remaining reconstructive surgeries as well as a hysterectomy and Zometa treatment. Sounds like a lot still to be done and I suppose to most that does seem like a lot but compared to what I've already been through I don't see them as very big things - more like finishing touches. I'm working with all the doctors and surgeons to figure out the best timing and whether we can combine surgeries to limit the number of times I go under and the ultimate amount of time spent preparing and recovering. We'll see if they cooperate with me ;).