radiation recap and port removal
hello!!!!!!!!! i cannot believe that over the weeks of my radiation therapy that i did not do a post… i wanted to! i really did… but if i’m being honest, there wasn’t much to report. after the hellish simulation day that i wrote about, nothing else that happened was that bad…. now that i think about it, that would have been nice information to share! like “oh hey, this radiation thing isn’t so bad thus far!” but…. i didn’t. there were a few days that i started a post but then stopped and i will tell you why. mainly because while health wise i felt ok i guess, mentally i did not feel ok. this whole cancer thing is just exhausting in so many ways. i was growing tired of talking about it! explaining my situation over and over to whoever would ask. do not get me wrong, i appreciate and am super grateful for all of the love and support i have received… but i was/am so tired of being “sick”. i was tired of driving back and forth to philadelphia every day…. that truly got old quick… i hated having to sit there in my gigantic hospital gown with other half naked patients awaiting my turn… i hate that i don’t have hair i can put in a pony tail!!!!!!!! i rarely even wore my hair up before, but now it’s all i want to do! just all of these little things are started to add up and become “big things.” so basically, i was too much of a grump to muster up the energy to give an update.
so let’s get into it…. radiation! every day was pretty much the same…. drive to philadelphia, argue with a parking attendant who tried to tell me the lot was full when it wasn’t, wait for my turn with what looks like a restaurant pager and then go in and get radiated! my mom did ride along with me for a lot of the treatments, i did enjoy that part of it!!
for my treatments i would lay down on my back and get bolted into this face mask… it was super tight. then they would put a breathing piece in my mouth, a nose clip and goggles that i could see a computer screen through. when the treatment started i would watch my breathing on a screen through the goggles imagine every breath you take it would draw what looks like a little mountain…. so breathe in and out for a few times and when i saw the green bar at the top i had to take a deep breath in and hold it for 30 seconds. i had to do this a total of 6 times. during each 30 second breath hold is when they would do the radiation. so this was my day for 17 days in a row! originally i was supposed to have 20 treatments, but was able to finish at 17… i considered that a victory! and i got to ring the bell!!!! the FINAL bell marking the end of my treatment… a very special, emotional moment for me.
skin issues. overall i didn’t see many changes over the 17 radiation “doses” …. if anything just a little redness and minor skin irritation (weird bumps that felt like goosebumps but weren’t). i have been using cerave and it is amazing!!!! i started with aquaphor and hated the greasy feeling it left on my body… but the cerave has been perfect. it quickly cleared up all skin irritation i was experiencing. not to mention i couldn’t apply it to my back so i am able to get a nightly masage! thanks, husband!! after going through chemo, i would take sunburn looking patches any day of the week. of course the potential long term damage looms like a dark cloud in my mind… but let’s just not think about that for now.
fatigue. my doctor said that a great way to combat the intense fatigue i will start feeling post treatment is to stay busy, to not slow down. i have been doing that and let me tell you, by 8pm each night, i am exhausted. just in time for the kids to be in bed and for me to enjoy some time catching up on shows with danny… my body is like, nope! it’s so lame and i am over it. i am also over pretending that i DON’T feel crappy. no one has asked me to pretend of course, but it’s been 6 solid months of this cancer stuff and i’m sure a lot of people are over it… just like me, so i keep trucking along with a smile on my face, most of the time. also, what is the point of complaining? everyone has stressful things happening in their lives. and let me tell you, the amount of unnecessary, stress related situations TOTALLY unrelated to cancer that we have been experiencing lately has been OUT.OF.CONTROL!!! things i would love to talk about, but i will spare you all the outrageous details. some people are not worth it.
oh! i also had my port removed… which was a very special and exciting day. the surgery to remove it was not very pleasant. it was only topical numbing so i felt the whole thing… it wasn’t painful, just very weird. lots of tugging and pressure. also when it first started the port area instantly felt wet which apparently was my blood…. i tried not thinking about that for too long because that thought alone was making me want to pass out! i could also feel the doctor stitching the area back up with was super strange… the nurses were chatting with me during the entire procedure which was not at all what i expected… but they were adorable and sweet. i also listened to dave matthews during the surgery… which blew my mind a little that the doctor could do the surgery with loud music playing… i guess they are in the zone? the few days post surgery were uncomfortable… the incision area was super sore and irritated but that is to be expected. it looks much, much better now and will continue to heal over time. despite all of this awkwardness and pain, that little purple port was so so worth both surgeries it took to have it in. the nurse told me a crazy story during the procedure… that she met a nun who had her port in for 18 years… even though she hadn’t needed it in 17 years. she just never wanted to take it out. she comes to the hospital a couple times a year to get it flushed and decides to keep it in even though she is encouraged to have it taken out. to each their own i guess!
so now i am “done.” i will have my next scan in february to see if it all worked! my goal between now and then is to not stress out about said scan. i will do what the doctor said and stay busy, start working out (waaaaahhhh) and just enjoy my life because it truly is short.
words will never really explain how thankful i am to my family and friends for all you do for me each day!!! i don’t know how i would have gotten this far without each of you. thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!!
and of course a very special thank you to this blended family of mine (minus santa). while sometimes we all drive each other a little crazy, i am very grateful for each one of them. life is complicated and being a mom is hard sometimes… but having them in my life makes it a lot sweeter. throughout this whole process they have made me appreciate life so much more and not take each day for granted. kids are always watching even when we think they aren’t… the 3 of them are the reason i have tried to remain as positive as possible… they don’t need a perfect mom, they need a happy one… someone who puts them first and is always there no matter what! not even cancer could change that. and danny… i can’t imagine being the spouse of someone going through any of this… what a helpless feeling that must have been. thank you for everything!!!! we made each and every day work and i am so grateful for you. i love you!
2018 has been a real s.o.b. … i cannot wait to bid it adieu and ring in the new year with my family. very ready for 2019!