It's been a while--I see my last post was just after the party. Update on that: we ended up raising $4970, and then my friend Trey, who was handling the SOS contributions that were rolling in, chipped in the last $30 to get us to $5000. Thanks, Trey, and thanks to all of you who contributed! $5K for SC breast cancer patients is freaking awesome!
So what else has been going on? Work, kid taxi to soccer/gymnastics, trying to get back into some sort of exercise routine, and just generally resuming life, which seemed to largely be background noise during cancer treatment. My wounds are healing well, though the scar tissue in my left armpit/outer boob quadrant restricts my movement in that shoulder a little bit. I mostly notice it when stretching at the gym (I've never been flexible, but that shoulder is particularly tight), and when I want to scratch my shoulder blade (the left shoulder is itchier than the right, probably because of radiation, and now it's also harder to reach). I saw Dr. Shand last week for a 6-month follow-up, and she agreed that the weakness in my hands is likely neuropathy, but the neuropathy in my feet seems to have faded away or at least become unnoticeable.
Exercise. I'm trying to get back into it. I actually worked out with my personal trainer, Jessica, every week during treatment, except for when I had the flu (pic with her is from just after my last chemo; the other from today so you can see my hair!). There were definitely weeks that I wanted to just lie on the floor of the gym, but she pushed me to do more. Most weeks, I felt better afterwards. One particularly low week, however, I recall her saying "I keep trying to unlock your energy, but I feel like I'm draining the last drop of it." But we stuck with it--I aimed to lose as little strength as possible during treatment. I lost a lot of strength and conditioning anyway, and now I'm trying to claw it back.
I felt so much better last Fall that I started running again, after months of not. And I immediately screwed up my knee. I had a tear in the meniscus of my right knee fixed in 2016. This time, I was pretty sure I had torn the left. Friday, I went back to the orthopedist, and he confirmed a radial tear to the medial meniscus. It was 3 years to the day since my last visit with him for the right knee. %$#^%&^&**&!!! Thought I was DONE with medical stuff for a while. At least I managed to squeeze in the knee MRI the week before Christmas, so it was free to me because I'd hit the out-of-pocket max for the year. Unfortunately, I couldn't squeeze in the surgery--that'll be Monday. This type of tear is not really repairable, and tends to tear further if not "cleaned out."
I also worked in a brain MRI the day after the knee MRI. The previous week, I had had 3 migraines, which is very unusual for me. I have atypical migraines, which means I get the aura, light sensitivity, and sometime nausea, but not the headache, which is a blessing. I used to get them like clockwork, once a month. Now that I'm post-menopausal (thank you, chemo), I haven't figured out a pattern. The weather was crazy that week, and Sam even had a migraine--he's only had a few in his lifetime. But cancer is the gift that keeps on giving, and I know that migraine symptoms can be caused by a brain tumor. Brain is one of the spots triple neg likes to metastasize to. And Dr. Baker's last words before she released me were "Call us if there's anything unusual that persists for more than 5 days." Worried after the 2nd migraine, the third one hit on a Friday morning, and I couldn't ignore it any longer. Dr. Baker agreed we should check it out, and they set me up for the soonest possible MRI, on the following Tuesday. Which left me the weekend to vacillate between panic ("this is the second Christmas in a row I'm freaking out about not making it to the next Christmas!") and feeling generally fatalistic ("I fought the good fight, and thought I'd beat cancer, but it's just not so..."). By the time Monday had rolled around, I'd dug out the last of the 14d supply of Ativan that my ObGyn had prescribed for me when I was diagnosed. I had 3 pills left. I took 1/2 of one Monday morning, and again on Tuesday, so maybe I would care just a little less. Had the MRI at 3:00PM on Tuesday, and was distracting myself with the computer after dinner around 7:30 when I saw Baker's number pop up on my phone. I didn't expect to hear back that night, but I leapt on it. She apologized for calling "so late," and disturbing my family time, but wanted to let me know my brain looked fine. I told her she could call me at 2 AM with news like that. Generally, she has been good about calling very quickly if the news is good, and waiting until the next day if the news is not. But 4 hours after an MRI is pretty darn fast. I love Dr. Baker.