Monday, July 25, 2011

49 - 28 - 35

Measurements?  Maybe if you were Barbie!  These numbers are not physical measurements but markers.

49 - Way back in the beginning of my writing this blog, I mentioned an article I read about other survivors and the goals they had.  Reasons to feel the pain of chemotherapy and radiation and cure yourself just to see your children get married or hold your grandchild.  I couldn't wrap my head around it back then.

I used to be the one who never broke the mold - laughing in adversity, enjoying any situation, serious professional when I needed to be, concerned for the safety of my family, a caring friend and supporter, tough enough to stand up to the big boys, etc.  A force unto myself.  Never really getting 'that' close to people so they would know ALL about me.  I created a good cover - stone cold Mary.

In my 49th year of life on this planet, I've become a different person. Many of these things about me haven't changed.  I still laugh and smile to make the best of a situation.  Life is fun, after all!  I always look on the bright side as an eternal optimist.  What has changed is I'm not emotionless as I once was.  I wear my vulnerability much more on my sleeve.  Tears flow a lot more easily than they ever have.  Sometimes uncontrollably - it's not my comfort zone, but I can't seem to help it.

Over the course of these last 7 months, the outpouring of love and support that has come my way has been overwhelming.  Cards and letters, internet chats and emails, flowers and plants all meant so much to me.  With each note, I felt my armor crack and finally crumble away.  It helped me to realize how many people I've effected and how I'm not done making a difference in others lives. 

My family, my friends, my dancer family, my office - all of them are the reason I did chemotherapy, surgery and radiation to cure myself.  I love my life and want to live more of it!  I'm not done yet.

28 - This week I finished my radiation treatments.  The extra safety measures to ensure we got all the cancer. I didn't feel the fatigue they described, just some soreness like a sunburn with the worst of it under my armpit.  It feels better each day.

35 - About a year ago, Bob and I were driving past a cemetery and we started to talk about heaven.  Being Jewish, Bob doesn't believe in the concept of a life after death but I do.  He asked me what I would look like when I'm in heaven.  Back then, my answer was I'd be 35.  When I was 35, I was in the best shape, my hair was still red and I was just in a good place.  Bob listened intensely and devised his own plan.  If I could be whatever I want, then he would be Brad Pitt!!! I think I have him on board with the heaven concept!

But seriously.  I've changed my mind.  When I go to heaven, I want to be who I am today.  I am incredibly satisfied at this moment.  I have some really fulfilling relationships as a result of this disease and wouldn't trade them for the world.  New friends, old friends, my family - they've all brought me to this place that I just wouldn't trade.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good to the last dose

Tomorrow is my last radiation treatment - woo hoo!  While I am pretty excited about it, it seems I can't quite muster the energy tonight to do much about it.  I am feeling incredibly tired.

We had a great weekend, Bob and I.  We've been seeing alot shows at the Powerhouse Theater at Vassar College again this year.  This weekend we were scheduled to see 3 - Friday, Saturday and Sunday!!!  Knowing it would be too much for us, we gave the Saturday night tickets to Jay from our office. 

Off we went to see February House with Barbara, Allen, Joel and Nadine... let's just say it wasn't our favorite show of summer.  Oh that's right - except for Bob - much to my surprise he really liked it!   I was just not connecting to the music or the story but somehow Bob found the meaning in it all. Well, it just goes to show you never know what a person's going to like or dislike - even after 26 years!

Saturday I went to a Zumba class out in Millbrook and ran some hills.  We went car shopping for Bob that day too - that was fun!!  Hopefully, he'll get the car that makes us feel like we are on vacation VERY soon! After that, we crashed a 21st birthday party to listen to a friend's band and we were supposed to move onto an outdoor concert, but instead we opted to stay.  All I can say is - I laughed so hard at the drunkenness around me!  Our friend was the drummer of this garage band of 50+ guys - they were pretty good until they started the 3rd set after several rounds of shots!!  The dance floor was funny too - imagine Granny from the Beverly Hillbillies dancing with black Mack - one of the drummer's friends.  She smacked him repeatedly, hugged him then turned around for us to see that she had wet her pants!!!  I lost it at that point.... funny night.

Sunday I hit the track for my long run and then Bob and I took the bikes to the Rail Trail for 15 miles.  In between we had a little incident with the M.I.L. which I'll reserve for later - but it was off to another show at the Powerhouse with Barbara and Allen.  This time is was a cute children's show - Island Musical.  Very newly written and still very much in progress from Dar Williams - a fellow Beaconite!  It was short but fun. Afterward, we went to the Karma Lounge to see the Differents - good food and great music!

Why am I telling all this?  To prove a point - I was very tired when I got home last night.  It wasn't very late, maybe around 8pm when we got home.  My body was buzzing like it does when I am overtired.  I attributed it to all the activity of the weekend, of the past 2 weekends!  No real down time just to recoup and recover.

Today, I went to Dyson for my 2nd to last radiation treatment, as usual.  It was exciting to know this was my last week.  They promptly brought me in and prepped me for 2 angles - the 3rd was dropped as part of the plan.  Also, the bolus was dropped a week or so ago because of the reaction my skin was having.  I asked to keep the bolus - for no apparent reason but why not!  So here it is:

So, this thing, would sit on top of me like armor and would simulate another layer of skin.  Thus pulling the radiation closer to the surface of my real skin.  I think it's cool looking - almost like a piece of art or something!

First time I've seen Dr. F in about a month - he's been away on vacation.  He asked how I was feeling and was surprised when I told him I felt fine - no fatigue. He warned me that it could happen at anytime.  The wave of fatigue/tiredness could hit me now, next week or even 6 months from now!

I think he jinxed me.  I was so tired when I got home that I found myself laying in my old familiar spot on the sofa.  The same thing I had done countless times before during my chemo treatments.  I needed a couple of hours of rest but even that didn't really help me get back to speed.  I'm hoping this was an anomaly and not the norm for a while.  I have my last treatment tomorrow, a dance night tomorrow night and we're off to see Sarah on Thursday - I have no time to be tired!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blog writing, blog writing.

I don't want it to be a chore.  I want it to be fun, meaningful and inspiring, but you can't be meaningful and inspiring every day!  So, sometimes I just write about where I am with all the breast cancer treatments, my workday, dancing, the fam - whatever!  I promised myself today that I would try to find something to write about everyday - - - if it makes it here or not!  As I sat getting a pedicure today to cover my UGLY toes, I pulled out some paper and just started writing.  That one won't make it here...

My side effects from the chemo drugs have worn off.  My hair is coming back in thicker than before as are my eyebrows and lashes - darker and longer!  I'm not swollen at the feet/ankles any more either.  Those half size larger shoes are way too big on my now. I'm almost down to my 'fighting' weight, so I'll try the closet organizing again that I never did in the first place.  My nails are looking a bit better - even though I still cover them with polish - but no neuropathy!  I can untie a knot or open a jar again!

I'm down to the last 3 days of radiation and since they removed the bolus from me its not burning my skin as it was last week.  I was also given the cream for burn patients that is really helping to heal it and ease the pain rather quickly. But that's all.... I'm tired, but not from the radiation.  I spent 4 days with my dance girls - long days, short nights - and I'm still catching up from that. Ahhh - a topic for another post.  Back to where I was - I'm tired, but no fatigue as with chemotherapy. 

I pretty much feel back to my old self.  I just look a little different than I did a year ago!

I have to thank Juliane for the blogging suggestion way back in December.  I never thought I'd enjoy writing as much as I do.... now for my next topic.... stay tuned!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Joining the Circus

That's right - I'm a side show!  The hair on my body is coming in fast and furious EVERYWHERE!!!  I've already talked about my Grandmother's mustache, but this is different.  I noticed a little fuzz at my neck when I looked in the mirror against a dark backdrop... but when my dance girls mentioned my fuzzy cheeks to me at the dance convention I thought I was going to die! 

The Bearded Lady.  It could come in handy if I need a job someday....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Needing to catch up, on a few things I guess.  My life has been busier than ever these past few weeks and thus my blog has suffered. 

I've been running back and forth to radiation every day for the past month.  While it has become 'routine' now, it does disrupt me in the middle of the day.  I have a giant red square around my right breast from it.  The center is pretty sore and is peeling and my armpit looks bruised and is a bit bubbly too.  They've given me several topical creams, but switched me to another one today.  They call it bliss - it's pretty thick and has lidocain and aloe.  What a mess, but it feels a bit better I guess.

I'm down to my last 5 treatments.  It'll be good to get it behind me.  I go to see the plastic surgeon next week so he can see if there was any damage done to the temporary implants.  If there was, he may have to do an additional surgery to correct it before replacing them with the gels. I'm looking forward to it.

I've started a bunch of posts, but haven't finished very many...  I'm a work in progress in more ways than one.  I'll keep working on them.

--- don't know if I have this floating out there or not...