It has been awhile since my last update....November to be exact. 5 months can bring a lot of change, growth, and recovery. I'm not sure that I'll ever see myself as the same person I was pre-cancer both physically and mentally. It takes something out of you and at the same time puts something back in....I'm just not sure I know yet what that is. It isn't over yet....it is so close though.
Since November I have continued on with Chemo every three weeks, while it was supposed to be "easy" chemo, it for me was still a struggle. Chemo doesn't love my liver or my stomach for that matter. I struggle with nausea, vomiting, and other GI issues, my labs ebb and flow from normal to critical, and so each time I go in my chemo meds change or at times have been held all together. I'm down to my last 3 infusions, with an end date the last week of May! When it is done, you will find me grandstands at the Indy 500 with my partner by my side! :)
Radiation in January was easy some days...I mean you just show up and lay on a table...it can't be that hard right? Luckily there are very few side effects to radiation, and those that do exist are mainly cosmetic to the radiation site. But for me....going daily in the middle of January when it was cold and grey....well I was cold and grey! I was so thankful for it to be over as the daily reminder of having cancer and having to show up for a treatment daily grows weary on your soul. I finished in late January and as you can see by the picture above I was able to ring the bell and graduate from treatment!
I continue to have left over soreness from surgery specifically to my left side and into my arm. I'm assuming my left arm will be numb for the remainder of my life and it is something that I just have to aware of. I have a "tattooed" sleeve that I can wear as needed for lymphadema, but luckily haven't had to use it often. My arms are substantially weaker than they used to be, but it will be a work progress at the gym to get my strength back!
The middle of April I will be starting a 12 week strength and conditioning program at our local YMCA that helps get cancer patients back on their feet! I"m hoping that this will help with re-building strength in many of the areas that I have lost!
My first mammogram was in February. Mammograms are never fun, but this one was nerve racking. I think I underestimated how nervous I was, the radiology tech had to literally move my body into the right positions and tell me which was my right/left side because I couldn't follow directions from nerves. The tears came easily and I was more than thankful when it was over. Luckily, I saw my MD that same hour and was able to hear that my scans were clear! We will repeat every 6 months going forth, but hopefully with this first one under my belt I can think more clearly!
So many have asked....are you in remission. I felt funny, but until last week....I just didn't know. What was remission? If so, why am I still doing chemo? So I asked. Yes, I am in remission. The cancer is all gone. What I'm doing now is like clean up work, chem drugs that kill any microscopic cells that might have still been there. But, I'm happy to say I am in remission.
I'm not sure what it feels like yet to be in "remission". It is weird, this last year has been a whirlwind and so many time I think back or hear the kids say things about the last year...and well I don't remember them. I think there were many moments when I felt so bad that I moved through life, but I didn't feel life or participate. I was a picture on the wall and the world kept going along by my side, but I really wasn't participating. Over the last 4-6 weeks I've started to feel human again. My hair has grown into a nice mo-hawk. I'm a participating parent again, partner, and friend. I'm ready to play in this game called life, ready to get up to bat and take on each day, and hoping with all my being that I don't strike out again and find myself in this same predicament!
The photo of me in the blanket wrapped up is day of surgery back in October. The bell ringing was in January at radiation graduation. My work photo was in February, and the one of the flower shirt was my most recent chemo treatment in March. It is a fun "hair" progression timeline!