Yesterday was my last radiation treatment! Hooray! I really tolerated the treatments very well up until this last week. I told my friend, Nancy, it was like my skin finally held up the white flag and said enough is enough. I'm really sore, especially all along my incision area. The muscles underneath are very tight and sore, too. Dr. Kuske explained to me that the sun's radiation only effects the skin on the surface resulting in a sunburn. The radiation they used for my treatments penetrates all the way in to my muscle. He said my muscle probably looks like a medium rare steak right now. It sure feels like it. But, the treatments are done and healing can begin!
Joe got home from work early so he could go with me to the last treatment. Then, when we arrived home, Janaya had prepared a special dinner in celebration; lemon-herb chicken and watermelon and arugula salad. It was yummy! When we were done eating, she presented me with a peace bracelet from Brighton's. It is beautiful and I love it. She is such an amazing young woman!
Joe and I went up to Tucson on Monday to meet with Dr. Livingston. We didn't really recieve any new news. He just went over the plan he had discussed with us after my surgery. In about three weeks, I will start on a new chemo called Navelbine. It will be given once a week through my port for a total of twelve treatments. I will continue on the oral chemo, Xeloda, that I've been taking since my surgery, just at a higher dose. Dr. Livingston is also going to try and get my insurance to approve a drug called Zometa which in a study done in Europe has been shown to reduce the occurance of bone metastasis - one of breast cancer's favorite places to reemerge.
Dr. Livingston will continue to plan and coordinate my care, but I will be seeing a new oncologist, Dr. Wendt, here in Phoenix. This will allow me to get my weekly chemo and still continue to work without having to take a day off every week. I have an appointment to meet Dr. Wendt in two weeks. We've heard really wonderful things about him and he did some of his training with Dr. Livingston.
Going up to the cancer center this week hit me hard emotionally. I have been trying really hard to get on with living my life in a positive way and minimize the role cancer plays. It is very easy each day when I am at school with my students and friends. Each night, however, when I get home and am feeling exhausted, and the wig comes off and the prosthetic bra comes off and it's just me and the mirror, it is hard to escape. It is really hard to not let thoughts of recurrence consume me. When we arrived at the cancer center the fact that I am a cancer patient hit me full force. Seeing all the patients in various stages of disease is scary. It may be my imagination, but Dr. Livingston has seemed to be more serious to me since my surgery. He didn't say anything this time about being optimistic. I know this doesn't really mean anything: he probably didn't even realize it meant so much to me each time he's said it in the past. One good piece of news. I asked him when they talked about survival rates, when they started counting and he said from time of diagnosis. This means that I am already a nine month survivor! I was afraid it was from time of surgery which hasn't been that long.
So, that's it for now. Not much new; just continuing with the treatment plan and continually hoping for the best. School is going wonderfully and I absolutely love my students.
Till next time,
Love you all!