Welcome! Read Me!

This blog is created to give you a central location to answer any questions you have about my current and upcoming treatments and reactions. It is also created to help me make Lemonade out of the Lemons I have been given, so I will keep this as positive as I can.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Race For The Cure!

What a wonderful day!
There is not a better way that I could have started the day than how it began. I was all ready to go and when my mom and dad came to pick me up so we could carpool and not have too many cars to handle in the crowds Dad gave me a gift that my Uncle Lynn had made. It is absolutely Beautiful and really put me in the right "Survivor" frame of mind so that this Race could be a Celebration. What was this Gift? You may ask? It is a Beautiful Plaque Engraved and stained in a wonderful Wooden scroll with one of the best sayings for anyone living with Cancer.

"Cancer is so limited...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit."

~Author Unknown~

We Picked up Cindy and got to the Gateway very early so we would certainly not miss any of Team Nuke-M-Boobies who was coming. Here we are at the meeting place that we had agreed on.
The inspiration for the Team name and the hats came from the fact that I was about a week and a half into radiation and wanted to play with this a little. The hats are intended to be a Mushroom Cloud and is adorned with the "Radioactive" symbol to drive that point home. It is funny that there were some people who got it immediately but others simply called us the Bakers. I got thinking about it after the event and realized that it fit as well... though I was being "Baked" rather than being the Baker. LOL! It wasn't too long before people started to show up and more and more hats began to be worn in the group. It was so wonderful that so many came to support me and the Cause of Breast Cancer Awareness and a CURE! I have the best Family and Friends in the world and would be nothing without all of you guys!

It was fun to see all the other outfits that people were wearing, team names and other ways they were showing their support for the Cause!

After not too long the race started... too bad we were still at the meeting spot when they started it and it took us nearly 30 minutes to make our way to the starting line because the crowd was so massive! Here is a view just as we made it across the Starting Line. People as Far as the eye can see!
In hindsight having started so late I probably should have taken the 1 mile route so that I could spend more time relaxing, but I enjoyed the walk with those who were with me! I was fortunate that the Radiation had not yet begun to burn my skin yet. It was only sapping my energy a little. It was perfect timing! :)
Here is proof that I did the whole thing. I didn't get a Pic of me with the Mile 3 marker, but I got the one at the finish line. :)

What a great Walk!

I got through the finish line just in time to join the Parade of Survivors. Although I was in the wrong group, as the Newly Diagnosed had passed earlier, I made it up to the Stairs where all of the survivors were headed. It was quite a sight to see all of these wonderful women who have been through the same battle as I am fighting and have WON! I ended up standing there next to a woman who was a 30 year survivor! How wonderful it was for me to see that while I am in a stage where it is so new in my own life.

I won't lie, I started my day with tears, and I had many tears in the midst of the event, and even more after I came home. But it was such an uplifting thing to be a part of! I have done it in the past for Family and Friends, but this time I did it for Me! And I hope that in some small way My contribution and those funds that Me and my wonderful Team were able to raise will be able to get us one step closer to finding a cure, so that My Daughters don't have to hope for a cure for Their Daughters.
In Addition; I hope that those people who hear my story will not be scared to find that lump, That they will get their check-ups and if they do find one that they will not be scared to get it checked out and treated! There is a wonderful Sisterhood out there and while it is never the club I would have signed up for on purpose, I am happy that there are so many inspirations to help me through each and every day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Radiation has begun

Well, It has started and I guess there is no turning back now. My "Dry Run" was on 3/26, Ironically this is the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster. While thier Radiation was definitely a tragedy, that took many peoples lives (immediately or not) mine will hopefully help extend my life considerably. I have had 3 radiation treatments so far and I have 22 left. Not on the downhill yet, but I will get there. I should be done by the end of May, so long as I don't have to delay any of my treatments for any reason. It is common to delay treatments as time goes by to help the skin heal, or if I get sick. I hope and pray that neither of those cases happen to me so I can be in and out as quickly as possible.
I was curious about how this whole thing would work so I will walk you through a treatment. Maybe it will help you if you are going to go through it, or at least it will help demystify it if you are just curious. The office I go to has the process down to an art. They schedule my appointments, and I have to be there, changed and ready to go back at the minute of my appointment. They took a picture of me on Day One so that they could have a Facial Recognition. I don't have to Check in at the front desk, I simply walk in (the back door) change into that "lovely" hospital gown we all know and love, and have a seat in the waiting room and they watch for me and call me as soon as they are ready for me. If I am early enough, and the waiting room isn't too busy I get to sit for a minute at the Puzzle Table. They have a puzzle out for the patients and others who come with them can have something to do while they are waiting. The first day, I was only able to get 1 piece in before they called me back, but the second day I was earlier and I actually got 6 pieces in. And on the 3rd day I was able to attach a few large chunks, I am thinking about being 30 minutes early for my appointments so I can get more done. LOL There was a lady sitting at the Puzzle Table when I came to my Friday appointment. She had finished her daily treatment 20 minutes before, but she wanted to get that last bit of the puzzle put together. It is kind of a nice escape from the norm so that you don't have to think about what is going on, and just focus your energy on the puzzle. I think more Dr's Offices should have a Puzzle Table. Especially the ones who notoriously have long wait times.
Once they call my name I head back behind The Curtain This is the Mysterious corner that only the Patients and Doctors can go because of the possible radiation. At that point I confirm that the picture on the computer is me and that they have my proper xray up and aren't going to Radiate the wrong place, then I sign the "permission slip" to go ahead for the day. We then go back to what I consider the Dungeon because it is usually dark so that they can easily see the laser lights that line up with my tattoos. This is when I lay down on the table and they move me around until my Tattoos line up with the laser lights then I get moved back under The Beast. The Beast is this Giant Radiation Machine that moves around to target whichever specific location that they are targeting. Once I am there the remaining process only takes about 8-10 minutes. They radiate at 3 angles. Directly on top then from one side, then from the other. The Beast makes several clicking and buzzing noises at each position, then I am done.
I feel nothing except the pull on my muscles as I hold the stationary position for that time. And so far I have not had any real ill effects. The first day I felt icky for the remaining day after treatment, but since then I have not had any other issues besides being a little tired. I talked to my Dr about it and she said that I will likely start having more effects by the end of this coming week or middle of the following, so we'll see where that goes.
And now for the Pictures. Enjoy!

Sneaking in through the Back Door

The Beast- The table ends at the circle on the floor and the tan part rotates around that spot.

This is my View for the first several minutes of treatment. Very Exciting!