Friday, October 24, 2008

October 24

And so it ends! Thank the dear Lord!

I had my last radiation treatment this morning. I honestly can’t believe it. I’m done with the treatment part of this stupid breast cancer. Hallelujah!

I’m doing pretty well – but still have some areas that look pretty burned on my chest and under my arm from the radiation treatments and am, frankly, a little sore in all of the areas I had surgery. I also am still a little tired. But, from here on out I should get more energy and gradually feel better.

I have follow-up appointments with both of my Oncologists next month and will start hormone therapy – which will last for five years.

I have still been able to work and have taught my Gospel Doctrine class the last couple of weeks. I’m still not as social as years past, but am being able to make most of my commitments.

It’s my birthday in a couple of weeks. My, what a year it has been. I am so looking forward to this coming year without cancer or treatments – and with hair! What a bonus! I’m looking forward to continuing to learn from this experience and help others that are going through trials in their life. I have been so blessed and have had so much help during this trial and I want to pay it forward.

I have learned more about breast cancer than I ever imagined I would this past year. If any of you ever have questions or know someone that was just diagnosed and would like some information, don’t hesitate to ask. Also, remember to pray for those you know that are struggling or suffering – whatever their situation. Prayer is the answer! I promise you this. It not only blesses those that you pray for – but blesses those that are praying.

Thanks to everyone for your love and kindness during this trial. It will still go on for a while, but I am getting to the end of the road and the view from there is heavenly.


Friday, October 17, 2008

October 17

One more week of treatment and I’m done! Someone buy the fireworks. I’ll provide the diet coke.

The radiation treatments have been making me feel pretty tired the last couple of weeks. My friends and co-workers hate talking to me in the afternoons because all I do is yawn and then it makes them yawn. And, after going through my first 4 weeks of treatment with no skin issues – I developed a rash and am pretty red everywhere on my left side.

Yesterday – they marked me up and made a special template and my last 6 treatments – including today’s treatment – will only be to the area where the tumor was. The treatment takes 20 seconds. The rest of the area on my chest should start looking and feeling better in the next few days. My first 5 weeks of radiation treatments treated not only the tumor area – but under my arm and up to my collar bone on my left chest. My whole left side was pretty much getting treated.

May I just give a big shout-out for Aloe Vera. What an amazing thing. I got some of the good stuff at Whole Foods that is 99% aloe and keep it in the fridge. It is the only thing that seems to work on the rash and burn and makes it feel SO much better.

My eyelashes and eyebrows are back. In fact, my eyebrows are fuller than they have been in years – so there’s a bonus. I have told a few people that you can lose your hair and eyelashes and still look fairly decent. No eyebrows makes you look somewhat not human. You need eyebrows. I faked them till I had them. It was a necessity.

On a somewhat humorous note – I ran into Jason from my ward and his friend at TJ Maxx last weekend. I had on a knit winter cap because it was butt-cold that day. His friend later said to him that with my hat on – if he didn’t know better – he would say I looked like a chemo victim. Jason was like “Dude – she is a chemo victim! What rock have you been living under?” This totally made me laugh.

I have shaved my head a couple of times since my hair started coming back and am now in the home stretch. It seems to be coming in quite well. It is darker than before and there are some gray hairs here and there that are not pleasing me. Someone at church said they can’t wait to see what color my hair comes back in as. I told them that they won’t see that. As soon as my hair is long enough and can be in a decent sort of style – it’s getting dyed to whatever color fits my current pleasure. I’m not going to waste any time getting it to look the way I want it to look once I quit wearing the caps and scarves.

I have started teaching the Gospel Doctrine class in my ward again. It is nice to be teaching again. It is really good for me to do the studying and preparation. I get a lot more out of my reading and studying when I know I have to teach it on Sunday.

Work has been good. It has slowed-down a bit – which isn’t great – but we are hanging in there. I love my job and am so grateful to have it and keep working through everything that has been going on the last few months. It has saved me not only financially – but emotionally and mentally as well. Some may argue that there is no saving me mentally. I might have to agree with them.

I’ll be glad when the election is over. I’m sick of all of the negative back and forth and just want one of the guys to win and do a really good job for the next four years. We need someone to do a really good job.

I’m excited for the coming year. I’m excited to have hair again. I’m excited to feel and do things that I haven’t done much of for a while. I’m excited to get past the trials of this last year and put my energies in other areas besides myself and my cancer.

It’s weird. It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. When I see the stuff you can buy and the reports in the news, it still seems like they are talking about someone else – not me. I think that I have not completely wound my head around everything that’s happened and everything I have been through. I feel that I have been so blessed through this trial that I haven’t been as worried or scared as many people can be. I have felt so confident that I am going to be cured that it hasn’t even seemed like there was a possibility it would be otherwise.

In one short week – I will be able to confidently and officially say that I am a breast cancer survivor. I am grateful to God for blessing me to be diagnosed and treated so that I can say this. I am grateful to Him and Jesus Christ for blessing me so greatly through my trail. I am grateful for and to my doctors and techs that have taken such good care of me and treated me with great kindness. I am grateful to all of my friends and family for their support and prayers on my behalf.

I couldn’t have made it through this without all of you.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

October 7

I have actually been feeling pretty well the last couple of weeks. My radiation treatments have not been making me as nauseated – a super-big plus – and my energy levels have been somewhat better as well. I’m not having any issues with my skin where I am getting treated and am now more than half way through my radiation treatments. I still get tired, but have been able to run around for my weekly errands and hosted a wedding shower for Andrea Rockwood from work last Tuesday and my annual Fall Conference Soiree this past weekend. I wasn’t going to have the annual party – but decided I could certainly handle it. It was so good to see everyone that came.

The last couple of weeks have been difficult ones for some friends and acquaintances. Betsy Berge, my friend Dave LeCheminant and York Powell at Sun Litho – all lost their Mothers to cancer. My heart truly goes out to them and I hope we all can keep them in our thoughts and prayers. It is so hard to lose your Mother – this I know.

I started a Tai Chi class. It’s through Community Education and meets once a week at East High. I am really enjoying it. It’s great for stretching, balance and strength. Our teacher is really nice and patient – which is good because it will take a long time to get any good at this.

I have had so many people so show much kindness and concern since I was diagnosed with cancer. I was not – however – shown any mercy today by the Motorcycle Cop that pulled me over just blocks from my house this morning as I was driving to my radiation treatment. I was apparently going about 10 miles over the speed limit. I may have been – but I certainly didn’t feel like I speeding or going any faster than the rest of the traffic. He asked me if there was a reason I was speeding and I pulled up my cap and showed him my bald head and told him I was trying to get to radiation treatment on time. He still gave me a ticket. Cancer cannot get you out of a speeding ticket. Yet another lesson learned.

I am going to teach my Gospel Doctrine class this Sunday. This will be the first time I will teach since getting in to my chemo treatments and asking for a reprieve. I am looking forward to it.

Thanks to everyone that is still praying for me. I am doing really well and know that I have been so blessed through this trial because of all of you.