Schedule: Week of December 3-7, 2012

Monday [Radiation Therapy – Day 24]:

7:00am-8:45am Drive from Home to RTher

storm track

[Yes, it took me one hour and 45 minutes to get to RTher this morning.  Yes, the streets were wet.  Three accidents happened along my route After I left my house.  No, this is not reasonable.  Yes, this is the worst traffic has been in this recent series of 3 storms coming through Southern Cali.

And no, that image above isn’t from this past weekend’s storms, but it is of a storm track in the right part of the country, so I’m using it.  You must know by now how much I like my graphics and reference treasure hunts, no?]

8:45am-10:15am RTher, Appt with ROnc

[Yes, those two things took me an hour and a half today, but since I was late I did not feel like I could hurry anybody else up – I may sometimes be a bitch, but I try not to be unreasonable (they are Not the same thing).  I had PTher scheduled for 9:00am-10:00am this morning, but when I figured out I wouldn’t be getting to my first appt of the morning Anywhere near on time, I called and cancelled my PTher, asking them to change it to Wednesday.  Thankfully, they were willing and able to move another patient (thank you for your flexibility, whoever you are) and get me in on Wed at 9:00am.  I haven’t seen my PTher in two weeks now, and if I couldn’t see her this week, my next appt  with her is Wednesday December 19th – two weeks from now – which would have been four weeks between visits with her.  Now, I would have figured something out, or made alternate plans for treatment somehow, but since I am having swelling issues, it’s nice that I Don’t Have to figure my way around that.  :)]

10:15am-10:30am Drive to Work

[With 1 stop to put gas in the car]

10:30am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:15pm Lunch

[I’m back to shorties to make up that 1-1/2 hrs work time I’m down on “first thing” Monday morning.

joanns-fabric

Headed over to my nearest Joann’s (found out this store is closing January 24, 2013 – I’m not so happy about this – it was, well still is, but not for very much longer, a close stop for lunch-time craft supplies shopping) to pick up some materials for decorating my teeny tiny punkins (two of them, ‘cuz one got taken home with the intention of being decorated and never made it back to my ledge at work, but magically another one showed up there to take its place!) to help them transition from Halloween, when they first appeared, to the end-of-the-year Holidays.  I may publish a separate post about that with pics and I’ll update this one with the title if I do that.  Or maybe not.]

2:15pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-5:45pm Drive from Work to Acupuncture
5:55pm-7:00pm Acupuncture

[This is my last visit with Mo, who I really like!  😦  She has finished her internship now and is headed on to study for her licensing exam at the end of February.  It takes a month or so for results to come back and then a couple weeks for licenses to arrive, so the earliest I could have her again would be sometime next April.  She did say she likes her supervising doctor at our facility and might explore working with him when she gets her license so she may be back where it’s very convenient to me.  She has my email and says she’ll keep me updated on that plan, and I have her email so I can bug her about it if she doesn’t!  And I’m sure whoever else I get for my last Acupuncture treatment of the year in two weeks will be good too.]

7:00pm-8:05pm Drive from Acupuncture to Home

[With 2 stops: 1 at the pharmacy to drop off my new Rx for pain meds (babe-seems-to-think-I-am-an-addict – otherwise known as my ROnc – actually refilled my pain meds today.  Maybe she realized I’m still taking the same amount as I have been the last two weeks to manage my pain and not more, and maybe this was part of her conversation with my RSurg last week.  In any case, she gave me twice as much this time as last time, so I don’t have to have this conversation again with her next week or the week after.  Thank the Goddess for small favors.) and 1 stop to pick up dinner for me & Hubby (no officer, that wasn’t me texting while driving – thank you Siri): two patty melts and an order of fries to share from Everest!]

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 25]:

7:10am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:10am-8:25am RTher, Post-RTher ablutions (otherwise known in my world as boob-gooping)
8:25am-8:35am Drive from RTher to Work
8:35am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch

200px-Whole_Foods_Market_logo.svg

[One of the things that has (temporarily) gone by the wayside is bringing breffast & lunch to work with me – are you reading this post, have you seen my life lately? – but the clothes are getting a tad snug (‘course that could be the monthly tide business – things crested this past Sunday) and it’s just good practice to eat clean, so headed off to Whole Foods for a salad bar lunch, with some organic (WA state, but you can’t have everything; where would you put it?) Ambrosia apples (didn’t get any in Oak Glen this year, so picked up a couple), and organic Bartlett pears (just because they were there and I could), plus 4 more bags of cranberries for more cranberry sauce before I can’t find them anymore.]

2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:45pm Drive from Work to Home

[With 1 stop to pick up pain meds]

Wednesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 26]:

7:00am-8:15am Drive from Home to RTher
8:15am-8:30am RTher
8:30am-9:00am Killing time between RTher and PTher

[Walked down to the end of the block to the Local 80 of a major entertainment union – there’s a locational bread crumb if it makes any sense to you – to get myself a coffee since traffic this morning wouldn’t nearly let me stop on the way in to get one, and discovered that a one long block walk decided to make my legs tired.  Not liking that at all!  Struggling between trying to get some exercise to limit how much this all takes out of me before it’s over, and saving what energy I do have to do what needs doing.]

9:00am-10:00am PTher
10:00am-10:45am Drive from PTher to Egg Plantation

egg plantation

[Because, goddamn it, I was finally going to have my pancakes!  Of course there was plenty of protein first.  The eggs I had were so fresh and the yolks such a beautiful rich orangey color I had to ask my server where the place got their eggs from.  They looked so much like the eggs I get two canyons over from my house, I just knew they had to be some local, non-industrial place and sure enough the restaurant gets their eggs from a cage-free farm about 8 miles away (a different place than I get them, but same situation).

Seriously, there is Nothing on this earth like eating an egg you know was still in the hen no more than 2 days ago.  Just for contrast and information – most of the eggs we all find in our supermarkets are already at least 3 weeks old before we lift that carton out of the cooler – yes, it makes a big different in appearance and taste.]

10:45am-11:30am Brunch
11:30am-12:30pm Drive from Brunch to Home

[With 1 stop at Food for Less to pick up the apples for that 2nd tub of applesauce.  Ya know, at 10 lbs of apples per tub of applesauce, things aren’t cheap here, so I figured 98c per lb of apples was doable.  And I think the non-Oak-Glen applesauce will be the one going to work – let’s see if anybody notices.]

Afternoon:
– nap
– took call from RSurg

[Really needed to talk to her before agreeing to radiation boost.  Emailed her physician’s assistant last Monday asking for a call last week about this.  Didn’t get one.  Called PA again while at brunch this morning saying “um, running out of time here.”  Got a call from RSurg this afternoon.

Doctor’s really don’t get it with patients, or maybe I’m just that different from most other people.  RSurg told me that yes, this radiation therapy Could create a situation where I may not be able to have implants later if I decide I want them.  She told me something I did not want to hear, but she gave me an unequivocal straight answer when I asked her a direct question, trusting that I can understand it and handle it.

Then she told me what else we Can do about my appearance (using other methods) to get me to, or at least closer to what I (may) want to look like when this is all said and done, or later on in the future (since a history of breast cancer is sort of a get-insurance-to-pay-for-boob-surgery-forever card).

I wish more doctors would understand the “if you want me to listen to you, then you have to really listen to me first, and answer my damn questions” thing.

My RSurg actually made me a little more scared than I was before our talk about the damage this treatment that I need can do to my body, and at the same time reinforced my belief that she’ll be there to work with me to get me over/through/past it, and still be the me I want to be when I do.]

– called ROnc to tell her I would be doing the boost radiation next week
– called Mom to tell her RSurg had finally called me back (PA had passed on my request for a call to RSurg, but had not followed up to make sure the call had been made, and took responsibility for the delay in the call happening – she’s pretty damn awesome actually, so they get a pass on this one)
– waited downstairs for Hubby to get home from work

[Turns out Hubby had this kinda crazy idea – that we go out to dinner.  You see, he got home around 4:30ish (yeah, I know, blue-hair territory, but remember, I’m going to bed at blue-hair time these days, so what the hell, huh?) and figured though we sometimes go out on weekends, it’s usually brunch (okay, if you haven’t figured out I’ve got a serious thing about breakfast food, please stop reading here and don’t come back, you’re too stupid to be here, thank you) and maybe today it could be dinner for a change.

So we could sit for a few minutes for him to shift his thoughts from work to evening, and we could go out, have a mellow sit-down dinner (not necessarily fancy or expensive, just someplace we get dinner on a plate instead of in a paper bag), and be home by like 7pm, plenty of time for me to call the parents, do evening boob-gooping, take my evening pharma-cocktail and still make my blue-hair bedtime…cool!

We ended up at this place we’d never been to in 8 years of living in this valley: Margaritas.  Damn, why’d we wait so long to try this place?!  Just the highlights – very nice Tequila selection for a restaurant in a strip-mall (but that happens a lot in my valley – strip malls and restaurants therein) – custom-made margaritas by bartender/owner (we figured out the bartender had to be the owner about halfway through dinner) – wonderful delicate flavors in Every dish (nothing heavy or overpowering) – someone in the kitchen Really Loves shrimp (they were, and I don’t use this term lightly, seasoned and grilled to perfection).  Plus, I think we were the only people in the place who didn’t know everybody else in the place, but that will change.  We’ll be back, so eventually we’ll know everybody else too.]

– talked to “Dana” (my friend from radiation) on the phone for over an hour!

[It was Really nice to get more than a few minutes with her.  We could share a bit about our particular situations, which we hadn’t actually done at the treatment center – that’s kinda not something you really get into in the few minutes of gooping, or the “you’re finished for the day and now it’s my turn to lay down on the table” passing in the hallway that happens.

I was sad to hear her details (not going to share what they are, they’re not mine to share) – they scare me more than my own details.  All I can do is love her (yes, we just met, we’ve had essentially a couple of hours of actual time together and I love this woman – sometimes in life you meet someone you just click with automagically and instantly – she is one of those people for me and I think she feels the same about me) and keep her company on her journey as she will walk with me on mine, wherever those journeys go.]

– 11:00pm bedtime (I know, not precisely blue-hair territory)

[When we got home from dinner, I had that pleasant slight-food-coma thing going, figuring I’d slide right into a decent bedtime.  But after talking to “Dana,” I was wired.  From excitement about sharing with someone who Really Gets It, worry about her details?  Not sure why, but it took 2 Benadryls tonight (usually only takes 1) to get me to dreamland – that’s gonna make for a rough morning.]

Thursday (Radiation Therapy – Day 27):

7:15am-8:30am Drive from Home to RTher
8:30am-8:50am Wait for RTher

[Yeah, when I’m late, I lose my right to bitch at them about the time, so I was a good girl.]

8:50am-9:00am RTher
9:00am-9:15am Drive from RTher to Work
9:15am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch

[This shorty catches me up on work time this week (not including my Wed off) so I can have an hour lunch tomorrow, what Will I Do with all that time?]

2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home

Friday (Radiation Therapy – Day 28):

7:00am-8:10am Drive from Home to RTher

[With a quick stop at Starbucks for my regular Friday “treat” – wouldn’t have been late if I hadn’t stopped for this, but I’m no longer able to stress every morning about being there perfectly on time.  They take whoever’s there in order of appointment time, and they slot me in when I do arrive – this is Exactly why I took the 8am spot rather than cutting things razor-thin timewise by taking the 8:30 spot.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any Starbucks iTunes Freebies this morning so my work folks are outta luck on that this week.  Again, I can’t stress about that.

Uh-oh, I think that just became Rule #4: I Can’t Stress About That.]

8:15am-8:25am RTher
8:25am-8:30am Post-RTher Ablutions
8:30am-8:45am Visit with “Georgia”
8:45am-9:00am Drive from RTher to Work
9:00am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– put gas in the car
– laid in partial supplies for more cranberry sauce (still need fresh oranges, more nutmeg and I may be low on maple sugar)
– bought more apples for a second batch of applesauce – seriously, my work colleagues can go through near an entire tub with latkes, leaving not nearly enough to be used in other recipes, eaten over yogurt and cottage cheese, etc. – so another tub is in order
– uh, yep, looks like I’ll be cooking again this weekend, hm?

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 28 – Friday December 7, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– Today is my last day of “regular” radiation therapy, and next Monday begins my “boost” radiation therapy.  Up until now the radiation has been spread over my whole boob, which actual tissue is farther and wider than one might think (the delineated soon-to-be radiation “no fly zone” stretches – measured laying on my back with both arms bent back up over my head – from the center of my sternum all the way around to the center of the left side of my body, and from a point along the outside edge of my boob level with the top of my sternum down to an inch and a half under my inframammary fold.).  Starting Monday, the 1.8 Gy fractionation per treatment spread across the whole boob becomes a 2.0 Gy fractionation per treatment concentrated in the tumor bed only.  Where the whole boob deal was administered from above-and-down-from-the-bottom-right (the machine emitting the radiation was positioned basically above my stomach and pointed just “south” of my armpit) and from below-and-from-the-top-left (the machine is slightly below me angled up from just “south” of my armpit pointing basically toward my stomach) (both of which angles if the depth were miscalculated would harmlessly shoot away from my body into the open air, the boost part will be straight down into my body from above (I’m imaging from somewhere above the left side of my body angled some top-to-bottom, left-to-right way entirely through my body front to back – I’ll know more on Monday when it actually happens), carefully (I sure fucking hope!) calculated to hit the bottom of the tumor bed, but no farther down into my body.

– Oddly enough, with the first blast of down-from-above today, I got some pain where the my ribs connect to the top of my sternum.  Also, as I’m wearing a bra today for the first time in more than a couple days (since the increased pain lately made me wonder if I should be dealing with gravity more deliberately), but I’m finding it generally uncomfortable, slighty cutting into me on the side where I’m more swollen, and then there’s the rubbing on the nipple.  Welcome back to damned-if-I-do, damned-if-I-don’t.

Side Effects:

– Fatigue/lightheadedness – Seems to be a regular deal these days having this hit me while I’m walking from treatment out into the parking lot to go to work.  I’m not sure if it’s one or the other, or both.  I can’t always necessarily separate them (not that I’m trying so hard to do so.)  Thankfully, when I sit down in the car to drive to work, my mind is all there and I’ve not felt like I would be a danger to myself or anyone else (or I’d not drive until I was safe).

– Just plain fatigue – yeah, I’m typing this and it’s only 12:35pm.  Seriously?  That’s it?  Time’s now going backwards, right?

– When I got home and got ready to do my evening gooping, I stopped at the exposing the boob part, since mine had (guess I wasn’t going to get away without it after all) gone full red – like lobster colored.  Fabulous, my last mother-fucking day of full-boob radiation.  Plus…

– more numbness (means more swelling, or more concentrated swelling is now interfering with nerve conduction) and more overt swelling/pain in my axilla

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Maybe remember this when you find yourself wanting to minimize something (anything) someone else is going through by saying (some variation of) “someone else has it worse.”

The Sarcastic Boob

We’re all so programmed to minimize our experiences.  I hear it a lot among women with breast cancer.  Whether it be in a discussion board or face-to-face conversation, it doesn’t take long for someone to say “I’m just dealing with hair loss” or “I’m only just stage two.”   I think there are two sides to this coin.  On one side, we know that someone else always has it worse.  And, on the other side, we’re relieved that we’re not that someone else.

Even at Stage IV I can preface a statement with “I’m just.”  I’m just taking Tamoxifen and haven’t had to deal with the horrors of chemical warfare; I have had no surgery and still have my breasts.  I just have metastasis to two spots in my spine, not every bone in my body.   I just have some spots on my lung, but not in my liver.  …

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Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I got a bonus today!  I opened my WordPress Reader to find that anotheronewiththecancer had nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award:

veryinspiringblogawardWhen I first decided to write this blog, it was of me, about me and for me (See “Who, What, Why“) and inspiring someone else seemed to me to be just a possible bonus.  Since then, becoming more involved in both my local and the online breast cancer (and other cancers) communities, and seeing how I’ve benefitted from knowing others and their journeys, the possibility that what I’m going through could possibly make someone else’s journey through similar territory just a little bit easier, point them toward something that helps them get through a day (See “Resources“), or just gives them an unexpected but I’m sure much-needed laugh, has become more important to me.

That’s why I’m truly honored to be nominated for this award – thank you!

The Very Inspiring Blogger Award Rules

1.  Display the award logo on your blog – check.
2.  Link back to the person who nominated you – check (see above).
3.  State 7 things about yourself – check (directly below this list).
4.  Nominate 15 bloggers for this blog and link to their pages – check (next list after the stuff about me – below).
5.  Notify these bloggers of the nomination and the awards’ requirements – right, will be doing that over the weekend!

7 Things You Might Not Know About Me:

1.  I ride motorcycles, and I didn’t grow up doing it.  I didn’t learn to ride motorcycles until after I turned 30 – I blame, I mean thank, Hubby for that.  Even better, Dad can’t be mad at Hubby for it.  You see, when Hubby ‘got me’ I already had speed and racing in my blood, thanks to Dad: when I was 14, Dad raced Porsche 914-4’s as a hobby and for the first 3 years of Dad’s racing, I was his only pit crew.  It was just me and him, showing up at the gates of the racetrack at 7:30 in the morning waiting for them to open the gates, claiming a garage and pit spot, unloading the car (our first trailer did not have a winch, so Dad would unhook 3 of the tie-downs and I’d brace the car while he unhooked the 4th and we’d back it off the trailer together – then at the end of the day we’d push the car up and I’d brace it while he hooked the first tie-down, then we’d do the rest together), then while he was unloading all the tools & stuff, I’d untape the carburetors and go arrange for race gas delivery.  So Hubby is actually very smug about my Dad’s discomfort about me riding motorcycles (since, when I started, I knew I’d eventually go fast enough to scare Dad) ‘cuz Dad is a cage-guy (and a closed-wheel cage-guy at that), and I’m much less protected on a motorcycle than Dad was in his race car.  But I also ride according to the four things Dad taught me about inherently-dangerous sports: a) wear all the most current safety equipment possible, b) get the best possible training in your chosen sport, c) keep your equipment in impeccable working order, then d) forget about the risks and go have fun!

2.  I’m Jewish.  I consider myself culturally Jewish, but not religiously Jewish.  In terms of religion, I consider myself rather more spiritual and happen to believe that all the major religions have the same tenets of love, tolerance, and charity at their roots.  That isn’t to say I necessarily have anything against Judaism as a religion.  I’ve been to ceremonies and services in Temple from time to time and found some comfort in the sense of submission to God I felt during some of those times.  There is a relaxation in giving over to an other, being of service, and relying on their protection and caretaking, if only for temporary periods of time.

3.  Next Monday, December 10, 2012 is my 21st anniversary with Hubby.  We both originally went into this relationship with the perspective that we’d hang out with each other until someone better came along.  When I mentioned the other day that Monday was approaching, he asked me if I thought we’d ever find someone better.  I told him I was losing hope about that after all this time and he might just be stuck with me.  He said he could live with that, so we’ll go on counting December 10ths for a while yet.

4.  I am interested in and have explored the idea of dominance and submission in other parts of life than just the religious.  If this comment is a bit obscure for you, feel free to ask privately.  I’ll certainly answer you, but whether the answer is the whole truth or not depends on who asks.  🙂

5.  I’m a knitter; hence some of the blogs I’m nominating below are knitting blogs.  Knitting comes and goes in my life.  I get really into it for a while, then some other part of life will take precedence and I’ll let it go.  And then some time down the road things start to feel a little crazy and my mind turns back to knitting for a bit of private, quiet-time zen.  And round and round we go.

6.  I was born under the sign of Gemini, which may not surprise anyone who has noticed the back-and-forth, not-all-one-thing-or-another, one-answer-in-one-mood-another-answer-in-another-mood nature of my blog.  BTW, this was true before cancer and should not be confused with the Roller Coaster Of Cancer, which is its own separate phenomenon to which I am Also currently subject.  It’s not that I can’t find the middle ground, it’s just usually that I’m waving to it on my swing from one end of the pendulum to the other, promising it I’ll see it again on my next time by.

7.  Hm, last one, what shall it be?  I’m also sort of a foodie, maybe more of a theoretical foodie than an actual concrete foodie.  I wish I had more time to cook from scratch and that I chose to spend more of the time I do have in cooking from scratch, but (Especially Now) there’s only so much time, and more importantly, energy to go around.  And though I may never actually find it and stay there for very long (See No. 6 above), I Am always looking for balance.

Okay, just because I got to my 7 things and thought of one I really wanted to include, but didn’t want to wipe any of the above out, I’m including a bonus 8th thing:

8.  I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and soon after starting this blog a friend of mine brought it to my attention that because of this blog, I am!  I grew up in an extremely verbal and articulate family (See “I Missed You Last Night, Grandma – Single Malt Scotch and Election Returns“) and was always praised for my writing ability throughout my school years, and then again when I lost my Grandmother last New Year’s Eve (yeah, this whole year has kinda sucked in some ways, from beginning to end), my published-writer cousin complimented me on the quality of my writing when he heard my remarks at my grandmother’s memorial service.  I never really thought of it in these terms until recently but I like telling stories, painting word pictures, sharing information and teaching something to someone so that they understand it.  I mean, I wrote over 1000 words in no time at all about getting blood drawn for lab tests (See “Seriously, this Woman Knows Her Way Around a Vein – I’m Naming Names Again“) just to praise people who were kind to me and walked the talk!  Even I recognize some might say that’s kinda crazy.  So, starting this blog merely as an outlet has become something I’ve looked for my whole life and my job/career never dovetailed with.  It has since become something I feel I don’t have enough time to do, which must mean it’s important to me.  I’m a writer.

Blogs I Read and Am Inspired By:

Swift Expression
Trifecta
The Sarcastic Boob
Amateur Gourmet
Stupid Dumb Breast Cancer
elynjacobs
Twist Collective
Natty Knitter
Margaret and Helen
hkt4life
A Faded Romantic’s Notebook
The Judeo/Christian Tradition
Blogging for a Good Book
Knitting to Stay Sane
Pickles

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 27 – Thursday December 6, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– Okay, today I got a real zotz when the treatment first started, straight through my nipple, then it went away and didn’t hurt anymore.

[Right, sorry, “zotz.”  Okay, so I tried to find the definition of this word I always thought was Yiddish, but I’m not so much finding an actual definition in a casual web search.  So I’ll define it for you as I’ve always used it and known it to be used, so you know what the hell I’m trying to say.

A “zotz” is a sharp, stabbing or burning pain that comes on instantly and is gone almost before you actually realize it’s there, but leaves an echo behind for a bit.]

Side Effects:

– Tired (come on, you’d wonder what was going on if I didn’t feel the fatigue anymore).

[But of course that’s also not surprising given my 11:00pm actual bedtime last night.  No, 7 hours isn’t enough sleep for me when I’m Not in primary cancer treatment – it’s Definitely not enough now.]

– more pain than I’ve been having the last few days.  Not entirely surprising – I’m extra tired today and that always makes things hurt more, and I got manhandled pretty good yesterday (which was necessary, but still made me hurt more).  So early to bed and maybe tomorrow will better.  At least tomorrow will be Friday, which is Always a good thing!

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 26 – Wednesday December 5, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– Again, really nothing to feel during treatment, although once they got me into the position they wanted me in, I felt kinda tweaked.  But we can do anything for 5-10 minutes, right?

Physical Therapy:

– today kinda hurt – I’m having some increased swelling, including some into my arm, but certainly into my axilla and down the side of my body.  She also got rid of some adhesions underneath my nipple scar – breath in, breath out, she’ll stop in a minute.

– PTher is also going to start the process of getting me a sleeve.  You see, one of the fun things about this cancer and its treatments is the risk of lymphedema in the affected arm (for me, that’s left) . . . in hot weather, when ramping up exercise, just being at altitude, or plane travel . . . For The Rest Of My Life.  Woohoo!   So they have these spandex or lycra or something sleeves to add some compression to help the lymph system drain more normally.  Though I haven’t had lymphedema in the arm, I could start, at any time.  Of course, sometimes if I need to wear the sleeve, it’s possible that fluid can get stuck down in my hand and cause my hand to swell – more fun – so I’ll have to be prepared with a glove too.  Dontcha wish you could be me?

– On the plus side, however, when I first started getting PTher, she said a lot of people like to do it at the end of the day, then go home and relax.  It turns out that the lymphatic system is very shallow under the skin.  Therefore, very little pressure is needed to move the lymph fluid through the system.  The result of this information is that lymph drainage feels like a very light swedish massage (over the affected parts of the lymph system) and is very relaxing.  Unfortunately for me, because they start early, their “last appt of the day” is nowhere near late enough to be after I’m done with work.  But today, I’m not going to work (same with two weeks from now), so I can enjoy the relaxation of my PTher (after the pain) and go home to nap (after breffast/brunch of course – see my schedule for this week).

Side Effects:

– Tired (yes, I’m getting as bored typing it as you are reading it) – this time it hit me on my way to the car.

– More pain today, though not entirely unexpected after I’ve been (necessarily and as gently as she can) manhandled.  Of course I don’t want adhesions under my scars, of course I want to minimize the tissue damage my treatments necessarily cause.  So I went home (eventually – after brunch & a quick apple-acquisition stop) and lay down – that always helps the pain.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 25 – Tuesday December 4, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– Same old, same old now (if it’s not films/doctor day).  Marina was kind enough to bring me a warm blanket today without me having to ask – she seems to know which days are cold enough to be automatic-blanket days and which days to ask if I want one.  That girl’s gonna do fine (she’s doing her internship with my regularly-scheduled/licensed guys).

Side Effects:

– tired, again (still?) – I keep throttling back on what I’m doing (on wise advice of Dad, trying Very Hard Not to Overdo when I feel okay), and yet it only takes one long day to really wipe me out at this point – the fatigue slammed me midday when I headed out to pick up lunch.

– some nipple pain today, and me with my lidocaine gel down in the car – the good news is the pain’s not bad enough I hafta run down there ‘n’ fetch the gel.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Friday Fictioneer – November 30, 2012

Friday Fictioneer - 11-30-12

I walked.

All day, I walked.

Without a destination, I walked.

Without counting my steps, without seeing outside my own body, I walked.

My thoughts churning, the tornado in my head skittering here and there, I walked.

Without food, without drink, I walked.

Without talking, without hearing, I walked.

All morning, all afternoon, I walked.

Without looking, without seeing, I walked.

Without touching, without feeling, I walked.

And finally, at dusk, the outside world, the real world, reality itself, returned.

The concrete, the lights, the sky, the color, the air, the sky, the people.

I saw, I heard.

I felt.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 24 – Monday December 3, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– They needed to do new films today, and have the doctor come in while I’m positioned on the table because I was swollen and she needed to confirm application of cell-destroying radiation – um, okay.  So my guys could see that on the films (that I was swollen from the treatment – if you’ve been reading me you know it actually happened Treatment Day 1 or 2), and I’m imagining the CT scans taken last week to plan the boost Did Not exactly match the CT scans taken a week before I started treatment because treatment made me swell damn near immediately!  But could she have believed me when I told her this 4 weeks ago?!  Apparently Not – she must be a fan of Dr. House (who gets the reference – 1st section?)!  But other than it taking a bit longer than normal – nothing much to see here, move along.

Doctor’s Visit:

– I’m inclined to believe that my ROnc actually did talk to my RSurg last week as she claims she did, for two reasons:

1) Mom pointed out that she said she did in my medical records and she couldn’t/wouldn’t do that if it weren’t true ‘cuz of this little thing called Medical Ethics.  Count on Mom for reminding me of the logical side of things.  But even more than that, I believe they talked because . . .

2) ROnc did Not try to push me into what she thinks I should do.  She walked into the room with printouts (as I had asked her to do) of the boost plan.  She explained them to me.  She then hands me and explains to me several study abstracts backing up her claim of the benefit the boost will provide to me And shows me the fairly good cosmetic results also covered in the studies.

She then tells me that she’ll do her visit notes with me and when we’re both happy, Then (electronically) sign them and print me a copy (to avoid having to void and reissue the notes as I had her do last week regarding my use of painkillers to get through the pain caused by the swelling (that she actually now believes exists) caused by the treatment itself.

She reads the notes right up until the last sentence, which I happen to see as she’s printing and closing that screen: “Patient will be given discharge instruction on last day of treatment.”  I repeat this to her and ask her to get them to me earlier (I don’t need things like that to be last minute in case I end up having questions, but she says they basically say “Call me if you have any questions or problems.”) and then she says she’ll have them printed and I need to bring them back to her, signed, on Friday, which will be my last day of treatment if I decide not to have the boost.

No further pressure – just giving me the information and letting it be my decision.  This is actually why I quit smoking (98 days CFT, BTW!) – because my RSurg Did NOT tell me to quit – she just told me what would happen to my body if I didn’t and I decided all by myself, just like a big girl who doesn’t have to be told, that my boobs and what I was going through to keep them, were more important to me than smoking.  I have to come around to things in my own time.  Forcing me there does not get me there sooner, it Delays Me Getting There.  Christ Almighty, she could have saved me so much angst if she had figured this out sooner!

Side Effects:

– lightheadedness, again – intermittently throughout the day

– So, interestingly totally normal blood pressure (107/62) this morning during my morning activities & the weekly installment of putting my doctor in her place.  Okay, so I seemed all calm this morning.  I figured I’d go with it.  Then midday I get nauseous and start to hurt, badly.  It’s actually my back that hurts, but I know it’s coming from stomach upset – this is a fairly familiar GERD pain pattern.  So maybe my Monday Morning Stuff manifested this way instead of as higher than normal blood pressure.  Okay, so I take a Zofran for the nausea.  30 minutes later the nausea was gone.  The pain wasn’t.  Took a pain pill.  45 minutes later no nausea And no pain!  Yay!  Time for lunch – soup, just to be on the safe side.  All’s well with the tummy for the rest of the day.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.