Friday, January 6, 2012

Good News!

I met with my radiation oncologist today to go over the general plans for radiation. I'm not starting for another 3-4 weeks to give me time to recover from the last chemo but I go next week for my mapping appointment. This is when they do a CT scan and position and tattoo you to mark where the radiation will be done.

You know the common belief that once you get one tattoo you want more and more. Well, I guess I'm getting more...the one(s) on my leg were not enough, now I need pretty blue dots on my chest and armpit. They'll go nicely with the survivor tattoo I'm getting on my left wrist when this is all said and done.

Anyhow, on to the good news.

I was talking with the nurse before the Dr came in and was remarking about my weight gain. I said that between my comfort eating and steroids I've gained 10-15 lbs since the outset of chemo and I swear I must be the only person who gains weight while fighting cancer. She said to me "Well actually, we really like to see weight gain. Often times if someone is losing weight it means the cancer is still there."  HOT DAMN!! Of course my weight gain doesn't necessarily mean the cancer is all gone but it's a damn good sign and I'll take it.

And truth be known, besides the chemo side effects, I really do feel great so I'm encouraged.

Next, I was discussing with my Dr my concerns about developing lymphedema further. My medical oncologist said that it appeared as though I had a small amount of swelling in my right arm. My radiation oncologist thought perhaps I should have another CT scan to exam the lymph nodes in the armpit and neck to make sure there was nothing of concern and to have a baseline. But then, upon further exam he said that I, in fact do not have lymphedema right now, that the swelling is a combination of my weight gain and a side effect of the docetaxel. HOT DAMN!!

Having said that, he did say I'm at high risk to develop it during radiation because I had so many lymph nodes that were infected (17 of 18 removed) I do still have some lymph nodes in there so hopefully they can pick up the slack and as I understand it, the body can 'reprogram' itself to drain the lymphatic fluid through other routes...and those who do not develop lymphedema are the examples of this.  So, fingers crossed that I can avoid that.

I'll take any bit of good news I can get.

The effects of this final treatment seem to have kicked in a bit sooner than I'm used to. My legs and knees are aching and I'm tired, run down. I'm having brunch at my girlfriends' house tomorrow so I'm determined to not feel bad. Plus, I really want to work on a sewing project.

I also finally posted something on my new Kindergarten Blog. It's a bit of a challenge since I'm not in the classroom but I've got all my resources at home so I get a good jumps start and add to those posts again when I get back to work (which now looks like the beginning of April, and only half days for the first two weeks)

I made my strawberry, blueberry and raspberry balsamic vinegars this evening. They are cooling now and my house smells like stinky feet. It was quite easy to make so I'm excited to see how this turns out for the dressing next week. Of course, the vinegar keeps for a month and I have quite but so I'm thinking I might have to make some dressing to give away. Any takers??

Yesterday I made a stop to the pharmacy to pick up the cream recommended to me to use during radiation. It will help protect my skin from the side effects (the burning and peeling)

While I was in the skin care aisle there was a woman with the pharmacy assistant looking at creams as well. She commented that the cream would be going on her breast. I immediately knew she was also undergoing radiation. I didn't want to interject myself into her conversation but the pharmacy assistant was showing her every cream except the one that so many cancer patients have recommended to me. Finally, the women settled on one and the assistant starting to walk away. I stopped  her and asked her the different between two creams (same brand, different package) I said I was undergoing radiation and needed the better one. This caught the other woman's attention and she joined our conversation. I told her that the cream I had had been recommended by all the women at Hearth Place as well as several friends who've undergone radiation as well.

We got to talking in the aisle, sharing our stories and wishing each other luck. It's amazing where you find camaraderie.

Well peeps, I'm off. I'm going to bed early tonight (I think) so I can be ready for brunch tomorrow!

Oooh, and after 27 games I finally beat my computer at a game of chess. Yeah, can we say BIG FAT LOSER.

Nitey nite!

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