Treatment is complete! The port was removed on 2/27/20 and my follow-up appointment with the surgeon was one week later. All is well.
My cousin drove me back and forth for the removal of the port. He was a great sport to get up before dawn to do that—because I was scheduled for the first procedure of the day. The whole procedure took just a couple of hours—I was sleepy for the rest of the day—so I took a nap while my cousins took a tour of downtown St. Augustine.
My cousin’s wife and I have been on similar tracks this past year. We were diagnosed with breast cancer within about one month of each other. However, we had different types of breast cancer at different stages at diagnosis. Therefore, while we both had chemo, radiation and surgery, the chemo was a different type, as was the radiation. Also, the surgery I had was less invasive.
While they were visiting, we had a chance to compare experiences.
We had different reactions to chemo and radiation. The two reactions we had in common were (and are): fatigue and neuropathy. For both of us, the fatigue and neuropathy continue. The fatigue will probably lessen with time. We have both been told that it could take up to a year to have the fatigue fully dissipate. The chances are for both of us that the neuropathy is with us forever. It’s possible it might lessen a little bit with time.
So—for anyone who has been reading this blog and is going through treatment for breast cancer, I want to reiterate that I have been writing only about my experience. Other people’s experiences could be completely different.
Now we go forward with our lives and transitions can be tricky. A year ago, I was transitioning from “healthy person” to “cancer patient.” That took some adjusting. This year, I’m going from “cancer patient” to “cancer survivor.”
I was told at Cancer Specialists that I may call at any time to speak to their social worker for counseling. And I appreciate that. I was told that some folks, who have been so busy with treatment, feel a void when all the “busy-ness” is done.
While I am plenty busy getting ready for the move to Seattle, two things I have noticed in this transition are:
1). How will I know I’m healthy? This whole year I’ve been having bloodwork done every single week and checkups that tell me I’ve been doing well and that I am getting better. Now I will just go by the semi-annual mammograms and checkups that will be scheduled.
2). Survivor Guilt. In this past year, several friends and family members have passed away from various types of cancer. Some significantly younger than me. Why did they die and I’m still here? I don’t know.
So—I have decided that I will go through this transition the same way I went the transition last year. I will “live in the day” and be grateful for each day.
The move to be closer to my daughter and son-on-law has been pushed back to the end of May—due to Lisa’s work schedule. Also—we are monitoring this Corona-virus situation—-which may or may not affect travel plans.
(Note from Lisa: We live very close to where nearly all of the COVID-19 fatalities to date have happened in King County, Washington, and our Department of Public Health is recommending that people over the age of 60 and/or with underlying health conditions stay home (i.e., not leave the house) as much as possible. We'll continue to watch what's happening here as Mom's move date gets closer - as Mom would say, it would be "a heck of a note" for her to go through all of this in the past year, only to contract the coronavirus as soon as she crossed into WA State! Back to Mom...)
For today, I hope everyone reading this has a good day and I will, too.
P.S. I’m not sure how long this blog is available and I won’t be adding much, unless there is something significant to add.