Thursday, April 30, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 4

My hair are finally growing :) I have really enjoyed washing my hair over the past few days, the shampoo now foams on my head, it's all so soft and it's great! Isn't funny the things you take for granted that become so enjoyable when they are returned to you? They're probably about 1/4" tall right now, I can't take my hand off my head, it feels like the softest stuffed animal you can't stop touching. I know, I'm obsessed with my hair right now, but hey, they've been missing for 4 months. It will still be at least 2-3 years for them to be back to where it was before this whole mess started, but right now, I'll take anything, even as short as it is right now, it's hair and I'm HAPPY :) My eyelashes are also slowly coming back, I have baby eyelashes right now, they're about 1/8".

As far as radiation goes, this week isn't so bad. We've been on the go since Monday, maybe that's what helped with the fatigue? I don't know, but what I know is that I won't be able to keep up like this for the next 4 weeks.

We've also decided to cut sugar from our diet. That should be a tricky one, I love my chocolate! Sugar just isn't healthy for you, so I'm trying to bring more fruits in the house to satisfy our sweet tooth and eat less process sugar.

13 down, 20 to go...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 3

My hair are growing, they're all white (mostly), but at least they're growing and done falling :) My eyelashes are near gone!

This has been a pretty boring week. Chances are the next 5 weeks will be pretty boring as well. Here's the sum up of my weekdays:

8:30AM Breakfast

9 AM Home school with Jerome

10:30AM Hop in the shower, get dressed and pretty-up my face (AKA make-up ;)

11 AM Fix lunch for the kids (alternate between PB & cheese sandwich) & rush out the door

11:15 AM Drop them off with Daddy for lunch

11:30 AM Radiations

11:45 AM Pick the kids up from lunch with Daddy (they think it's great by the way)
12 PM Back home and waiting for my energy to be drained by the minute :(

6 PM Dinner & rest for the rest of the evening.

Did y'all notice how nothing happens between noon & 6PM? That's the radiations working it's wonders of taking every little bit of energy I have! I'm still capable of doing stuff, but have no desire to do so since I can't move fast enough! Just making a grilled cheese for lunch takes about 15 minutes.

I'm seriously finding radiations to be harder to deal with than chemo. With chemo, I would get a relief between each treatment. With radiations, the only relief I get is on weekends. It's pretty draining and I'm not even supposed to be feeling it yet!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 2

It's looking a lot like my first picture on April Fool's, look who got fooled ;) The only difference would be the thinner eyebrows and the nearly gone eye lashes.

Today was my second radiation treatment. So far, so good. The radiation technicians are both very sweet ladies, it will this stretch much easier.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

1 down, 32 to go!

A lot happened over the past few days! On Easter morning, I decided to give myself a quick buzz. My hair were falling again and it was starting to look quite bad. The quick buzz made for a much cleaner look for Easter. My hair also became so brittle, that it started poking my head when it was trying to sleep and it became so uncomfortable that I ended shaving it completely again yesterday morning. My eyebrows are now thinner than they ever were, and my eyelashes, well, they're really going. I'm not quite sure what happened. Well, I know, I've been on chemo, but it is just so odd since it was growing and growing. This has been quite upsetting, I think I've embraced being bald long enough, I was ready for my hair to grow, it was almost 1/4" long! And sure enough, it's already growing back!

Other than that, I had my port removed yesterday morning. I am so thankful for the makers of Xanax, or that procedure would have been quite horrible. It was done under local anesthesia only so I was wide awake (well, not quite because of the help of Xanax!) thought the entire procedure. First, my surgeon injected the local anesthesia all around the port. Let me say that she injected A LOT to make sure I was completely numb. Well, all that liquid had to go somewhere. When she cut my skin open, it squirted all over my face! Thankfully, my eyes were closed since Xanax was working it's wonders and I was quite relaxed, almost falling asleep. Then, as the nurses are wiping my face, she proceeded to reassure me that "Don't worry, it's not blood!" Now, the problem with ports, is that they get comfortable in your body so the tissues starts growing around it, she had to cut around, pull and twist, cut some more, pull, twist, pull, twist, then it finally came out. As she was doing all this, she was talking with the nurses saying that mine was one of those that doesn't want to come out! I didn't feel anything, but all this pushing, pulling, twisting was quite uncomfortable. She stitched everything back and I was done. I no longer have a HUGE bump sticking out of my chest, I now have a small dent left by the port. I'm sure it will look normal again at some point. And Jerome was quite happy to see it gone.

I was supposed to go for my 3-month follow-up this Thursday, instead she did the follow-up after the procedure to save me a trip to the office. Everything still looks normal. Next follow-up with her is in 6 month when I will be due back for another mammogram.

After getting the port out, I went for my simulation for the radiation. Pretty much, I layed on the table, they set-up the equipment and took a bunch of picture to make sure that the radiation were going to hit the right areas. It was very quick and thankfully, the technicians seems very nice. It was a long day, we got home and slept for 3-hours!

I started my actual radiation this morning. I brought the boys over to Steve's work with a lunch, they were thrilled to hangout with daddy. Then headed over for my radiation, which was very quick and went back to pick them up and we still had a few minutes before Steve had to go back in. This schedule looks like it will work. On our way back home, I asked the kids if they had a good time and if they wanted to eat lunch with their dad every day for the next 2 months and I got a very cheerful "YES". This should definitely be easier on them. So, 1 down, 32 to go...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Well, Well, Well...

After posting my update yesterday, my head became very sensitive. My scalp had been sensitive this time around but last night, it started hurting. It didn't feel right, so I tried pulling on my itty bitty hair that had grown 1/8" tall in the past week, and sure enough, it stayed in my hand! My hair had been slowly growing after chemo #2 and it was finally to the point where it was getting thick and uniform all over my head. For some odd reasons, 18 days after my LAST chemo, my hair decided to tell me "Just kidding! We're not really going to grow". I was really planning on not shaving my head anymore, but it HURTS! Just in time for Easter!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Growing Hair - Week 1

I took a picture of my week old hair yesterday, I just didn't get around to update the blog. It's definitely growing and getting thicker. I can't still see a lot of white hair because I'm looking for them, but most people wouldn't see them. I might be able to get a cute haircut this summer. Of course, it will be a short short haircut, but better that than nothing! It's actually growing rather fast.

Well, now that I think about it, my eyebrows are both growing & thinning at the same time. What already fell off is growing back, but what didn't fall yet is slowly falling. My eyelashes are going through the same process. Hopefully, it will keep with the growing & thinning schedule at the same time.

Otherwise, it has been a uneventful week. Chemo side effects are almost done/gone. Although my head is somewhat sensitive to touch and my back still hurts when I stand up too long doing housework, isn't that a shame ;)

I'm really looking forward to getting my port out on Monday morning.

That's about it!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools!

Chemo is over, it's time for my hair to start growing again. What better day than April Fools to be bald one last time! So I gave myself one last shave today. My head was half covered with white hair anyway. When the hairs start growing, they come out white, it's the dead part of the hair that was stucked inside coming out first. I think I might have already shaved most of those white hair. I hope! I'll post pictures as my hair start growing. I'm not expecting to stay bald very long as my hair usually grow fast.

We met with the radiation oncologist on Monday. The one question I had for him was to explain to me the need for radiation again. I did just go through 4 months of chemo so why radiations? His quick & easy answer is that chemo targets cells that travels in your blood stream, it is to prevent a recurrence or metastasis (spreading of cancer) while radiation works best on tissue. Since the tumor was found in the breast, they are radiating the breast tissues to be sure that no cancer cells are left and my last 8 treatments will be on the tumor location. After explaining all this, he went over all the possible side effects, which most doesn't typically happens he says. Mostly, I'm looking at getting a very sensitive and dry skin in the radiated area. As far as fatigue goes, he says that patient coming out of chemo don't usually complain about fatigue much. I am still not allowed to take any vitamins or supplements, I have to stay away from antioxidants he says, just like with chemo. But... I am allowed to start loosing all the weight I gained from chemo :) With radiations, side effects ARE cumulative, so any side effects I get will be getting worse and worse until it's over!

After we met with him, I had a CT simulation. CT simulation is the most accurate process to localize, define and reconstruct, in 3D, a patients' tumor. The process identifies the tumor along with the normal tissue surrounding it, allowing the radiation oncologist to design a treatment plan unique to each patients' anatomy. It's enables the radiation therapist to map the resulting treatment coordinates with a high degree of accuracy. During that process, I ended up with 3 permanent tattoos. I'm not happy about those! They're bigger than I was expecting. One is really tiny, would have been great if the other 2 were that size. And to top it, they're black. But, 2 on the side, 1 in the middle, no one besides me should ever see them. I still plan on having them removed when it's all over, he says I can.

I start radiation on April 13th. For the following 7 weeks, Monday-Friday, I will get my radiations at 11:30AM. Each sessions will last about 5-10 minutes with most of the time spent on setting up everything, the actual radiations last about 30-45 seconds I was told. It's less than 5 minutes from Steve's work, so the kids will be having lunch with their dad while I get my treatments. I think it will be fun for them to hand out with dad and it might make those 7 weeks go faster.

My oncologist did promise that I was NOT going to glow in the dark ;)