Friday, May 29, 2009

Relay For Life

What an emotional event! I took the first lap with Steve and the boys and cried the whole way. It was great to be part of the Survivor group. We didn't stay that long, it was rainning, but hand's up to all those over there that had their tents set-up and ready for the night. I did manage to find my luminaria that Steve's aunt got for me. We didn't stay until they were lit, I bet it's beautiful to see all those little lights in honor or memory of someone. If it wasn't for the rain, I would have stuck around to see them, but I doubt they were able to light them, so we headed back home.

Well, on his way to bed, Jerome came to me, gave me a big hug, started crying and before I could say anything, he told me "Mommy, I'm so happy it's all over!". What a sweet child, what else could I do but to hug him back just as tight, hold him and pour out some more tears of joy with him. Now, Jerome is the one that had the hardest time dealing with my cancer, the numerous doctors appointments and all the side effects. Jerome is also the one who cannot and has NEVER voiced his emotions that way before. It melted my heart.

I Have Officially Survived Cancer :)

I'm officially a Survivor. The last possible tiny cancer cell left in my body was killed at 11:30AM. What a great feeling! Although, I have been crying all day, happy tears. I was so excited and happy to be done with treatment that my eyes got watery before the machine was even done working :)

We'll be heading to the Relay For Life shortly. Hopefully the rain will stop soon.

Happy Day :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

One More :)

I can't believe that tomorrow will be the end of my cancer treatment. That tomorrow I will be able to call myself an official cancer survivor. That is somewhat of a bitter-sweet title, I'm so thankful to have survived this disease, but then again, never in my wildest dreams did I ever thought I would be going through cancer in my lifetime, especially not at the age of 33!

I learn so much over the past few months. The night I found my lump (at 3:30AM I must say!) I cried all night thinking that I was going to die and couldn't keep my children off my mind feeling so sorry for them that they would have to grow up without a mommy. Remember, it was 3:30AM, I wasn't thinking very straight. After very little sleep, I found myself in front of the computer getting information about breast cancer. Very soon, I found out that about 80% of all tumor are non-cancer, so it put myself at ease until I could get a mammogram & ultrasound. The tests showed a cyst I was told but my breast surgeon quickly told me this was no cyst, she had to biopsy the tumor to be on the safe side but she was certain it was nothing and that I should worry. Well, the rest is history. All that was 9 months ago. I have NO idea where those 9 months went. It's all a blur, like a bad dream and I'm finally waking up. I was never in denial that I had cancer, but at the same time, I can't believe I just went through cancer treatment. I barely remember going through chemo! I'm feeling like this didn't happen to me, maybe it's my coping mechanism that erased it from my memory as soon as it happened, I don't know. But what I know is that I am so thankful that I had a cancer that was caught early and that was highly curable. I so thankful to be able to start enjoying life again with a brand new set of eyes.

Back to what I was saying, 9 months ago, I had no idea that so many people were or had been dealing with cancer. I had no idea that cancer is now curable, I always thought of it as a death sentence, hence my crying all night when the tumor was found. I had no idea that cancer treatment were actually not that bad. I might be one of the lucky ones less side effects than the rest, but now that it's over, I can say that it wasn't all that horrible, it wasn't fun, but I was expecting it to be A LOT worse than what it was. I had no idea that there is more and more younger people with cancer. I always thought of cancer as either an elderly disease (80+) or childhood disease like leukemia. Well, there is now a whole lot of ladies dealing with breast cancer in their 30's-40's now. Cancer isn't what is used to be. We shouldn't be scared of cancer anymore.

I probably won't sleep tonight, I'm just way to excited about tomorrow. Radiation at 11:30. At 11:35, I'll be able to put all this behind me :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 7

The boys decided to pop in my weekly picture today. They're so precious :) Still growing, although right now I'm debating about dying my hair or not. The grey is driving me crazy. But I would need to find a natural hair dye as I don't need to put more junk on myself. Still thinking...

The skin under my arm is feeling much better. I was ready to go into the office armed with suggestions on Tuesday, but as I was expecting, it started healing over the weekend. Well, by healing, I mean peeling. As soon as the skin peeled, the pain went away and I was able to start moving my arm again. Phew, that was some pain! Skin is still a little tight, but I'm keeping it moisturized.
The boosts are so easy & quick. The radiation techs drew a big blue circle around my scar, so everyday, they just wiggle the table until the machine hits the circle perfectly. And for the boosts, I only get 1 zap everyday. So instead of being in the office for about 4.5 minutes, I'm there for about 2 minutes everyday. Short & sweet. Well, maybe not sweet!

31 down, 2 to go...

Friday, May 22, 2009

It Hurts!!!!

Here's what my arm pit looks like right now! I decided to make y'all feel bad for me ;) This is so very painful. I found out yesterday from the nurse at the radiation office that after radiation stop, it usually gets worse before getting better. Yikes! I told her everything I had been doing, alternate between Aloe Vera gel, miaderm lotion (which is a radiation cream made by oncologist), Aquaphor and corn starch, then showed her my arm. She went "no, no, no" and gave me a few samples of Xclair cream which should work much better.

I'm still in pain. Moving my arm hurts. I wake up in pain at night. This is NOT fun! To top it, I need to lift my arm a certain way for radiation, which is excruciating right now. Well, as soon as I lifted my arm today, it started getting numb, my entire arm, from shoulder to fingers. And of course, I couldn't move as the machine was in the zapping process. As the pain went away, the numbing went away, but I about had an anxiety attack laying there today. What can I say, I'm really looking forward to this 3 days weekend. Hopefully by Tuesday, my skin will start healing and the pain will go away.

4 more to go...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 6

I don't have much to say today, but here's my weekly hair growth picture. It's getting pretty thick. Nobody believes me, but it's white all over, it looks like I've been baking and put flour all over my hair by accident! Eyelashes are beautiful :)

So far, the boosts don't seem to make me so fatigued. Today was #2, so we'll see. Even though the regular radiations are over, my arm pit is still so red and raw and it's quite painful. I've been alternating between different lotions and applying corn starch as I have been told but it still hurts and wakes me up in the middle of the night. Hopefully, it will start healing soon.

I'm looking forward to Memorial Day weekend. We don't have any special plans, but 3 days off radiations will be great.

27 down, 6 to go...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Last Stretch

I can't remember if I explained this already, but I have 33 sessions of radiations to do. The first 25 treat the entire breast. The last 8 are called boost and only treat the tumor location. Yesterday was the last of the 25 radiations. The technicians then took positioned the machine with the boost attachment, took pictures and drew a nice blue circle of the boost area. Over the next 2 weeks, I have to be careful to not wash up the blue drawing as this is what tells them where to aim the machine. I had to keep my arm up in my arm prop the entire time. My arm was getting numb by the time they got done. She did say that they did yesterday what they usually do in 2 days, so I'm glad I didn't have to lay on that table an extra day. I do have to say that I'm glad the first part is over as my arm pit is pretty red and irritated, now it can start healing.

After all this set up, I had my weekly appointment with my radiation oncologist. He's a great doctor, very chatty and fun. To be sure they're all doing the same types of follow-up, I asked him if I needed to do any types of body scan when radiations are over to be sure all cancer is gone and his answer was "No, as far as I'm concerned, you're cure!". I thought I would mess with him some and told him that since I'm cure, I don't need to come back for the boosts, right? It feels great to be finally there. The end of treatment looked so far away last year, it's here, finally!

Neither my breast surgeon nor my medical oncologist see a need for PET scans or other types of scan. They're all in agreement that follow-ups are the best ways to find a recurrence. So, 4 weeks after my last radiation, I need to go back to my radiation oncologist. In July, I go back to my medical oncologist and in October, my breast surgeon and so on. Every 3 months for the next 2 years (maybe 3, can't remember), I will alternate seeing these doctors, with a mammogram very 6 months.

Today, I had my first of 8 boosts. 7 more treatments and I'M DONE :)I'm scheduled to be completely Cancer Free on May 29th, 2009.

On May 29th, 2009, the American Cancer Society is hosting a Relay For Life here. The Opening Ceremony start at 6PM with the Survivor Lap where all types of cancer survivors will walk the first lap. Now, I don't know how I personally believes in those types of fundraisers, I must be honest. A lot of money gets donated, but also lot of money is spent to be able to hold such events and I don't know how much money ends up to the real cause. But... I think for me, it's a great way to be able to celebrate the end of this journey to be able to walk that lap on the day of my last radiation treatment, and it also is a great way to raise Cancer Awareness in a community. Cancer no longer hits ONLY older folks, more and more younger people get cancer now days, and younger people need to be aware of cancer so that it can be detected early and cured. This definitely has been a wake-up call for me.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 6

It has been exactly 4 weeks since my hair have been growing. I can't wait for them to be long enough for a haircut, those white hair are driving me CRAZY! Believe it or not, I'm finally self-conscious about my hair! Luckily, I found a very cute straw hat that also protects my head from getting a sunburn. Sun is getting hot! Eyelashes are coming in fast now, I'm finally able to put on mascara. Life is good ;)

Now, I don't know what is going on, but I've been an emotional wreck for the past few days. I'm not sure if my hormones are going back to normal, could also be the fact that this whole nightmare is finally coming to an end, I don't know but phew... Fatigue is also sinking in, maybe it was just yesterday, but I've been keeping busy for the past few weeks. I found that keeping busy was preventing me from being fatigued, well, I think it finally caught up with me. The boys spent the day & night with Mom-Mom so I was able to get some rest. And since we didn't have any children here last night, Steve and I went on a date. We went out to our favorite Italian restaurant, it was great. It had been so long since we had gone out just the two of us.
Getting ready for number #23, then 10 to go...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 5

I'm having a pretty uneventful life right now. My hair are still growing and they're growing quite fast although right now, I'm feeling like a chia pet!

As far as radiation goes, it's not so bad. Nausea is done, funky taste in my mouth hasn't happened yet this week so those lovely side effects look like they might be things of the past. We'll see... Fatigue seems to hit as soon as I leave the building, but then it's like a roller coaster with highs & low of fatigue. Overall, it's not so bad, but I'm doing my share of yawning. I have never yamned that much in my life before. My skin isn't too bad either, it's definately getting red, but right now it's still pink. I can cleary see the entire area being radiated, I'll spare you thye picture ;)

Luckily, I get a break on weekends and we've been trying to have fun with the kids. Last weekend, we took them skating with friends, they had a great time. It's nice to be able to slowly get back to normal life after all this.

17 down, 16 to go... Half way there :)