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.