“Nothing can prepare you for this new lifestyle. Every step of this journey has had it’s ups and downs. With chemo my body was left feeling weak. I have become a vitamin junky and am trying everything to build up my immune system. At first I wanted to make sure my body was healthy and strong enough for surgery. I didn’t want the recovery time to take a whole month, eventhough that’s what it takes. I have had to be patient as my body heals. It is not easy. For a person who is so independent it’s a rude wake up call to have to take your time, be patient and to let others help you.”
On June 1, 2017 I completed my LAST radiation therapy session. 28 sessions completed. Thank you God! People always ask which is worse, chemo or radiation? To be honest they both have their issues. With Chemo losing my eyebrows and eyelashes was rough. The fatigue was also brutal, but it was once a week. With radiation therapy, it’s EVERYDAY. It becomes so tedious. Your day is interrupted. At first I was going at 7pm. So my dinner was interrupted. Then it was moved to 5:30pm, so picking up my boys was interrupted. Then it was moved to 3:30pm. Regardless of the time, everyday the same thing. All modesty goes out the window. You have to lay on this hard table with your arms in a position that causes pain and discomfort, with your breast exposed…. or whatever you have left of your breast… and every day you see your skin changing and turning red. I was a CRAZY person putting aloe and other creams several times a day. Even with all of that obsessive compulsive behavior my armpit was still burned. The nurse told me she has seen worse and that my burns were not that bad. But think about it. The amount of friction you get under your armpit… of course that skin is going to peal and get raw. And this Florida heat doesn’t help.
I was lucky to have a great radiation team. We always cracked jokes. I figured if they had to see me half naked everyday the least we could do was laugh about it. But that’s just me! You have to be a special type of person to work with cancer patients. I am sure people walk into the Cancer Center with the weight of the world on their shoulders. I am sure not everyone is nice. One of the techs gave me a huge compliment, she told me I had the right attitude! That made me smile.
It’s been 2 weeks now and the skin is finally healing. I bought a cannabis cream and I feel like it’s been helping to heal the skin. I love telling people about the “Weed Cream” because their faces are priceless. The way I see it, I have never been a weed smoker, but at this stage in the game I am willing to try anything if it means helping to control some of these side effects. With chemo I was always hungry and never had nausea. With radiation I experienced a loss of appetite. I eat because I have to, not because I am hungry. I also had some difficulty sleeping. Those are 2 very essential things for healing. FOOD & SLEEP! Without those two elements how is my body supposed to recover. I asked my oncologist about medicinal marijuana and apparently Memorial Hospital is not a fan. I guess ONLY if you are in severe pain they will do something to help and it usually means giving you pain meds. I am not a fan of pain meds. So sorry for Memorial but this girl is on a mission, so I will do what I have to do without their permission.
Sebastian saw my burns last week and had a few questions for me. I tried to answer his questions honestly and to put him at ease . I explained how mommy has some “bad cells” in her body and the doctor’s are trying to get rid of them. I showed him the pictures of the radiation machine and told him it’s like a laser that kills the bad cells, but it didn’t hurt. I told him the machine burned my skin, but its temporary and would heal. I could see it in his eyes that his little brain was working to try to process all of this information. He seemed to get it. As a mom, one of my biggest fears has been that my boys would never know how hard I have been fighting for them. I reassured my son that I was going to be okay and asked him if he knew why mommy is working so hard to get better and he said yes, “for me, daddy and Leo”…. I cried! I cried because my son is so young to have to deal with all of this, but I was so proud to know that he understands that mommy is fighting hard to get better.
I have found a great acupuncturist who has been working with me not only on the side effects of my treatment, but my overall health. She is a strong believer in holistic medicine and she has been a great addition to my Green Ninjas Team. She has seen the determination in my eyes and has reassured me that I am doing all the right things to get healthy.
The only thing I can control is what I do. The choices I make. I have become a food natzi and I am very careful about what I put in my body. I have given up coffee and sugar. Yes! Sugar!!! and I know coffee is not bad for you, but it gives me acid reflux. I am trying to make my body alkaline. I drink all kinds of herbal teas instead. I don’t eat processed meat. I eat more fresh raw veggies and organic meats. Eating out is no longer fun for me. I ask questions and I am so sad that everything has SOY!! Why? Don’t these people know that soy is trying to kill me? I have to read all the food labels before I purchase anything. I have thrown away so many things in my house. The hubby must think I am nuts. I have changed all my body products, cleaning products, make-up, etc. Everything is organic or safer for me. Even my vitamins and supplements are organic, because I have found that they can contain soy. Why would a Vitamin E pill contain soy? So now I have to purchase the more expensive brands because they don’t contain soy. It’s very annoying. I religiously take my vitamins everyday to keep my immune system strong. I am doing my part!
Everyone has asked “What’s the next step”?? Well, I am officially signed up for the Clinical Trial. I am praying for the study group and NOT the placebo group. We want the Cyber Knife. I should be starting Ibrance soon, it’s a new chemo pill that works with the hormone therapy to keep the cancer under control. Research shows that taking the Ibrance along with the Letrozole (hormone blockers) will give me two years with no progression. I am feeling very hopeful. I keep hearing stories of more and more women living longer with metastasizes. My tumor markers have been very good and I am just waiting for my doctor to tell me there is “No evidence of the disease”.