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.

Schedule: Week of November 26-30, 2012

Monday [Radiation Therapy – Day 19]:

7:10am-7:55am Drive from Home to RTher
8:00am-810am RTher
8:15am-9:00am Appointment with ROnc
9:00am-9:30am Waiting for requested med records to be printed
9:30am-9:45am Making additional acupuncture appointments

[Going from only on non-support-group weeks to weekly, for now, at least while I’m still in radiation therapy, and while Mo is in her clinical rotation (before she graduates and the next class comes in).]

9:45am-10:00am Walked over to lab building across the street (Please see “Seriously, this Woman Knows Her Way Around a Vein – I’m Naming Names Again“) to get my lab results that should have been faxed to me last week.  Yep.
10:00am-10:15am Drive from Disney Family Cancer Center to Work

[With a drive through McDonalds

for junk 740 calorie breakfast (eggs, sausage, hashbrowns, biscuit) – really, there’s only so much one can shoehorn into a morning and still get anywhere near a full-day’s work done.]

10:15am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-5:45pmpm Drive from Work to Acupuncture
6:00pm-7:00pm Acupuncture
7:00pm-7:55pm Drive from Acupuncture to Home

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 20]:

7:15am-8:00am Drive from Home to RTher
8:00am-8:20am Wait for RTher
8:20am-8:25am RTher
8:25am-8:35am Slather boob goop/visit with “Dana”

[I had invited “Dana” to join me at Support Group, which is tonight, and then go to breffast tomorrow before going home to rest after we do our crazy crack-of-dawn cancer business, but…

… it seems her blood work yesterday is such that they didn’t do her chemo, and she’s been feeling like something’s going in her body just now, so she’s not really supposed to be around people until her blood counts recover – this all means that her immune system is compromised to a point where she needs to be Extra-Careful ’til things turn back around.

She told me she was disappointed and I am too.  Of course, timing may not have worked out tomorrow anyway with my new CT films, but I hadn’t had a chance to tell her about that.  She said she’d call and I reminded her that we both have the rest of our lives to get to know each other if we want, and we’d keep trying to just find some quiet time for us to hang together some.

Throw up a little prayer for my new friend, if ya feel like it?  Thanks.]

8:35am-9:00am Drive from RTher to Work

[With 1 stop to put gas in the car and buy lottery tickets.  Damn, if there was any time I could go for winning a lottery that would allow me to quit my job, if even just for a while, it’s now!]

9:00am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:00pm Lunch

[Seems I’m back to shorties to make up work time missed for medical appts.]

2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Support Group
7:00pm-8:30pm Support Group
8:30pm-9:15pm Drive from Support Group to Home

[Yeah, sorry, you only get two days of this week.  Even with taking Wed off – this week was my first of 4 consecutive Wednesdays off – I’m getting  pretty tired.

It’s weird, the treatment really doesn’t feel like much – you can’t see it, smell it, or taste it – and yet it can lay you low.]

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– wrote check for housecleaner who came the Monday after Thanksgiving instead of her regularly-scheduled day which landed on the day after Thanksgiving last week
– made it working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
– bought lottery tickets for the first time in weeks (months?)

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 19 – Monday November 26, 2012

Treatment Notes:

– really nothing to report, except for slipping by one of my guys at the front of the suite on my way back to the machine – being Perfectly on time and having him scramble to catch up with me today – hehehe (well, I’d take credit, but I think we’re maybe headed into that amorphous time of half-holiday-light traffic as we gear up for schools to start letting out for Christmas Break (yeah, I’m Jewish, I celebrate Chanukah, I’ve been known to have a Christmas tree, not a Chanukah Bush, get over the ultra-political-correctness already, will ya?)

Doctor’s Visit:

– Yeah, long story short:

She said she called my RSurg, had a discussion with her, and that my RSurg was okay with a “regular boost,” but was concerned that I was getting a “super boost,” and therefore was comfortable with the boost plan in place for me

. . . which claims, all of them, will be checked out by me, hopefully telephonically, with my RSurg, since I trust her, but do Not trust my ROnc to have the Whole Me in her best interest.  I wish I did, but I don’t.  Oh well.

. . . which boost plan has not been drawn up – What?  Yes, the boost plan (the last week or so of treatment where they take the daily amount of radiation currently spread over the whole boob, and concentrate that amount of radiation in the tumor bed only) has Not Yet been planned.

As I was writing the last sentence, my ROnc called me – she wants to get new CT readings (since I’m having some swelling – or she finally believes I am – she never got to see me before I started rad therapy and I swelled almost immediately) but using my existing tattoos – to make sure the boost plan is completely accurate (since my body has changed with the swelling since beginning this treatment, the CT scans done a week before I began treatment may not be accurate to my anatomy today).  Then she will take Thursday and Friday to do the boost plan.  She will print it out for me (like I asked her to do today with the regular plan) so we can discuss it next Monday at our visit.

Then I’ll have all of next week, still on the original and unchanged first part of the plan to decide if I want to do the boost or not (which, if I do it, will start the following Monday) without getting me into a situation where I don’t have enough time to consider boost or no boost before we’re forced to consider an unintended break in treatment.

So, that’s the plan for the moment, so to speak.]

Side Effects:

– Um, other than blood pressure of 140/75 this morning (WAY high for me – I’m usually – well, BC as in Before Cancer anyways – around 110/60 normally), but since I was planning to follow my “new normal” Monday schedule of 1) get my radiation treatment, 2) put my doctor in her place, 3) go to work – I was okay with that reading (this too shall pass) – the good old “white-coat syndrome” magnified and all that.

Update: This early evening before acupuncture, Mo took my blood pressure again – 110/70.  Not surprising at all.  I was having the Pavlovian relaxation reaction just being there knowing what we were about to do was going to make me feel better, immediately and for days to come.

In fact, when I left I shared the elevator down with another cancer patient I had met at acupuncture and we both had that ever so slightly sleepy, very relaxed ‘I just had acupuncture’ look on both our faces and shared that moment together in the elevator on the way downstairs.

– less pain today.  I’m inside the week that my acupuncture treatment effects seem to last (I managed to get another appt with Mo tonight – yay!), and the past 4 days of not having to wear a bra, and being able to rest and/or sleep Whenever I Want have helped too – a much needed break indeed.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Schedule: Week of November 19-21, 2012

Monday [Radiation Therapy – Day 16]:

7:10am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:05am-8:15am Waiting for RTher
8:15am-8:25am RTher
8:25am-8:40am Waiting for appointment with ROnc
8:40am-9:00am Appointment with ROnc
9:00am-10:00am PTher
10:00am-10:10am Post RTher-ablutions [in other words spreading boob goop]

[Yes, you are reading correctly – I had radiation therapy, a doctor’s visit And physical therapy, All Before going to work. :)]

10:10am-10:25am Drive from RTher to Work
10:30am-1:15pm Work
1:15pm-2:15pm Lunch

[I’m pretty sad about this Hostess thing – not only because I’m tired of upper management in companies being greedy, bankrupting their companies in the first place, And Then blaming it on the workers who put all that stolen money in their pockets!  And Then of course, a world without Twinkies and Ding Dongs would make me sad.  Are they healthy to eat?  No.  Is it okay to eat them once in a while?  Yes, I think it is.  Are they a reminder of my childhood I would be sorry to see disappear from the earth?  Yes again.

It has been said (most likely correctly) that another company will buy up the assets of the company (the brands and their accompanying product recipes – at least where the Hostess brand is concerned), so that these bad-for-you but occasionally good-for-your-nostalgic-soul-and-sweet-tooth cakes may indeed survive their original maker’s demise.  Just in case they Don’t get sold and survive, I was going on a hunt for ’em in my local neighborhood – namely my closest (within 5 miles or so of work) Hostess Outlet.

Long unnecessary story shorter than it could be – I came away with two bags of powdered sugar Donettes, but there were no Twinkies or Ding Dongs to be had at all in the outlet (good thing I have a box of each coming from Amazon – let’s not talk price – we definitely achieved the ‘silly’ level, but Did manage to stop short of ‘crazy,’ ‘ridiculous,’ and my personal favorite ‘batshit insane.’)  I’m low on time and energy in general these days (and interest too – a touch of depression anyone?  Yeah, I’m being treated for that – it’s cool.), but I’m thinking that was a lunch hour well-spent.]

2:15pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-5:45pm Drive from Work to Acupuncture
5:50pm-6:05pm Get blood drawn for lab work

[Please see “Seriously, this Woman Knows Her Way Around a Vein – I’m Naming Names Again.”]

6:05pm-7:00pm Acupuncture
7:00pm-7:45pm Drive from Acupuncture to Home

[Including a quick drive-through of a pharmacy to drop off the Rx for pain meds I was grudgingly given this morning.]

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 17]:

Hm, I completely did Not (obviously) keep track of this day, and since this is actually being posted Monday November 26, 2012, I’m gonna let this one go…

Wednesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 18]:

[Otherwise known as (effectively) Friday this week, with Thursday and Friday off from work.  :)]

7:05am-8:00am Drive from Home to RTher
8:05am-8:15am RTher
8:15am-8:20am Post-RTher ablutions
8:20am-8:35am Chatting with “Georgia” at the main lobby reception desk at the RTher facility
8:35am-8:45am Driving from RTher to Work
8:45am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-1:30pm Lunch

[On days before holiday weekends, my company intends to close early.  To that end we’re asked to take short lunches.]

1:30pm-3:00pm Work

[Yup, we did close.  Yay!  (You see, I work in a fairly small shop, and the policy is ‘we all go or we all stay,’ so work that has be done by any one of a handful of us can scuttle an early day for all of us.  I’ve been both the scuttler and a victim of someone else’s scuttling in the past – but not today!)]

3:00pm-4:15pm Drive from Work to Home

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– RSVP’d to two Thanksgiving Dinner invitations – one yes and one no
– indulged my returning knitting habit by buying more yarn for the stash (yeah, I know but it’s a thing with us crafters)
– that’s about it – it was a short week, ya know?

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Seriously, this Woman Knows Her Way Around a Vein – I’m Naming Names Again

So Monday [See “Radiation Treatment Journal – Day 16 – Monday November 19, 2012.”] I talked to my doctor about bruises I don’t remember getting.  While it is unlikely that I would get Thrombocytopenia from radiation therapy alone (without also having or having had, chemotherapy), it is not out of the realm of possibility, plus I’m on two other drugs that contribute to this condition.

So, in order to humor me (which is generally Not okay with me – I do not like to be “managed” as anyone who knows me offline will tell you – but in this case is okay, because a test that tells me there’s nothing wrong will set my mind at ease and allow me to let go of it), she ordered some blood tests.

Of course, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, so I wanted to get this done and get results before the world all crawls into the Thanksgiving hole this year.

Therefore, I tried to shoehorn getting blood drawn into my day Monday (See “Schedule: Week of November 19-23, 2012” to be published later this week).

[Hm, do I put Thursday and Friday of this week in the week’s schedule or the weekend’s schedule?  Dunno yet.]

In order to try to be less of a bull in a china shop, while at work I called the lab in the building across the compound (for lack of a better word right now) from the Disney Family Cancer Center to make an appointment.  No, they don’t take appointments.  And of course, the time just after work is busy because everybody Else who works and needs labs done wants to come when I do – between leaving work at 5:30pm and having my acupuncture at 6:00pm (or in their case whatever else they have planned for after work).

I will admit at this juncture, that my tolerance for other people’s scheduling issues is realistically, well, nil.  If you’ve been reading my schedule posts, that might make more sense to you, because when I say I don’t have time for this shit, I Literally Do Not Have Time for this shit.  In fact, I think I’ll make a new Rule for this – Rule #3: I Do Not Have Time For This Shit.  You may still think my looking at things that way is not fair or not okay.  And I’m not saying it is right or fair of me to think that way.  I am, however, accepting of the fact that at this point in my life, it is my reality.

So, no appointment made (because they don’t do such a thing there), I walk into the lab lobby to find it completely empty!  Seriously, this holiday light stuff is finally working for me!  I signed in and headed down the hall to the actual lab as directed by a receptionist in that office’s lobby.

And I walk in, admittedly, like a bull in a china shop – because I needed my vein tapped, taped and me across the way in 10 minutes to make my acupuncture appointment on time.

Okay, so I was there 12 minutes instead of 10.  In that time Nick (dude, you rock!) managed to take my bad attitude and turn it around so that I was smiling and thanking (them both) on the way out.  For you being able to do that alone, thank you.  Yes, you talk the talk “[his] job is to help patients, not to be an additional burden to them,” and you walk that walk, seriously.  🙂

And then there’s Prudencia.  I’m here to tell you, if you ever need to get blood drawn for labs anywhere close enough to Burbank that it makes sense to go to 201 S. Buena Vista, Suite 125, Burbank, CA – make the trip and ask for Prudencia.  This woman took hold of the butterfly dealie they use, I felt one tiny stick, looked down to see no blood in the micro tube connecting the needle to the catch-tube-container (yeah, not very medically precise, but you know what I’m getting at, and if not, check out the pic at the top of this post), and watched her connect a tube at the collecting end and it sucked my blood right down there with no further pain at all!  Two tubes later, she removes the needle, covers the microhole she made with a gauze pad, attaches the red self-adherent gauze I provided to her (See “I’ll Take Red Please“), and I was on my way to acupuncture.  Since then I’ve had no pain there at all, and the next morning I had a tiny little red mark beside what may be a tiny little bruise – about the size of a pea or so.  Today, no bruise at all.

I mean on the one hand, with what-all this cancer shit is putting me through, so what if one needle stick turns out to be an (Capital-E) Event?  That would pale beside some of the other things I’m getting to experience (yup, that was my tongue in my cheek, you aren’t wrong).

On the other hand, with what-all this cancer shit is putting me through, does a simple blood draw need to be an (Capital-E) Event?  Because really, with all that other stuff do I need something More to be bigger than it has to be?

Thanks to two great people, last night mine Wasn’t.  🙂

I thanked you guys Monday night before I left, but if you ever land on this page, thanks again for helping me shoehorn that into my schedule and even though I came in the door snarling, for sending me back out of it smiling.

And yes, I now believe this cancer journey is maybe making me just the tiniest bit crazy – I just wrote almost a thousand words about getting my blood drawn <facepalm>.

Well, if you’re still here, Happy Thanksgiving to all – please be present with thankfulness about something in your life (even if what your thankful for doesn’t make any sense to anybody else), and tongues explicitly permitted in cheeks during this exercise.

Schedule: Week of November 12-16, 2012

Monday [Radiation Therapy – Day 11]:

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

[With 1 stop @ Starbucks because it’s Veteran’s Day (which I don’t get off from work), so traffic is holiday-light, so I got nearly to RTher by 7:40am and stopped to get myself a treat (yeah, I know, quit counting, k?) on the way for no other reason than I had time.]

8:05am-8:15am RTher
8:15am-8:30am Appointment with ROnc
8:30am-9:05am PTher
9:10am-9:25am Drive from PTher to Work
9:30am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:30pm Lunch
2:30pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:35pm Drive from Work to Home

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 12]:

7:08am-8:15am Drive from Home to RTher
8:25am-8:35am RTher
8:40am-9:05am Post-RTher ablutions

[Walked back into the female changing room after RTher and found one of the private rooms open, with my new friend “Dana” doing her post-RTher ablutions, so I slipped into the room with her (so we could share the mirror) and proceeded to chat and do our stuff together – sharing with each other what we’re each using and having a lovely time actually.  As wonderful as my entire support system is (And They Are!), there is something incredibly freeing and relaxing about being around someone (even if, to other people, they would seem a stranger) who is going through what you are – there is an instant intimacy and community like no other.  So we slathered boob goop on ourselves and chatted, I shared this blog and my contact details with her.  She said she’d read my blog and gimme a call to give me her contact info.  I hope she does – I had to get to work and she had to get upstairs for something so we couldn’t talk for but a few minutes – but I really like her.  So “Dana,” if you’re reading this like you said you were gonna, gimme a call.  :)]

9:10am-9:25am Drive from RTher to Work

[With 1 stop to put gas in the car]

9:30am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:45pm Lunch

[No good deed goes unpunished.  I had 3 sweaters I had bought and after getting them home decided they didn’t fit well enough to keep.  Every year my company finds a family who doesn’t have all of what they need and helps them out.  One of the things this year’s family asked for was food.  I figured I’d take the sweaters back and use that money to buy food for this year’s family.  I can do that in an hour, right?  Wrong.

So after daring to take a few minutes this morning to talk to someone who, more than almost anybody else in My world right now, knows Exactly what I’m going through, I’m all of a sudden (with yesterday’s PTher) an hour down on work time this week.  And now after doing my good deed (despite giving myself an out not to do Anything for Anyone this year – oh, and I’m sticking by that for my own family – won’t they be surprised?), I’m an hour and 15 minutes down on work time.

So much for a foot massage Friday at lunch, eh?]

2:45pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Support Group
7:00-8:35pm Support Group
8:35pm-9:15pm Drive from Support Group to Home

Wednesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 13]:

7:05am-8:20am Drive from Home to RTher
8:30am-8:45am Drive from RTher to Work

[Wait, aren’t we missing an entry in there?  Yes, yes we are.  As it turns out the entire computer system for the hospital, and by extension, the Cancer Center went down at 4:30am this morning.  It still wasn’t up when I walked in for RTher this morning, and of course since the medical records are all electronic, they couldn’t even call me to save me driving an hour an 15 minutes for nothing.

And if the system comes up, it takes at least 45 minutes for the machine to warm up, Then they have to go through their daily calibration (or whatever they call it), so who knows if I’m getting my treatment today or not.  So I was originally going to have my last treatment on December 12th, but since my facility is closed on Thanksgiving and the day after, we’re now taking two days on the end of my treatment.  And if I don’t get treatment today, then we’ll add this day onto the end of my treatment.  And then if I (yes, I, not my doctors, it’s not there body – I’m going to get two of their opinions and then make the decision myself) decide not to have the Boost at the end, then that adds another 7 treatments or so on the end, so I’ll be lucky to be done with this by Christmas.

And I have no idea when they’ll be able to treat me today, which means as much energy as I’ve put into making this as easy on my employer as possible, I now have to tell them I need to wait by the phone and bail on them immediately if it rings.  They’ll understand, but it pisses me off.  I simply Do Not have time in my day for it to get rearranged like this.  Please see Rule #3.

Happy Hump Day!]

 8:45am-1:00pm Work

[Got a call at 9:15am from one of my guys.  Apparently the machine is back up and he wants to know if I want to come in for my treatment today.  I ask him when.  He says he has 1:15pm, 1:30pm . . . I take the 1:15 spot, since that actually does Not need an announcement at work – I’ll just take my usual lunch hour and use it to go get treatment instead of…

…what I was going to do was make a deposit to my HSA account to get the tax breaks of maxing out my HSA deposit for this year and be able to pay some of the medical providers who’ve been sending me bills.  But now that will have to wait for another day.  Doesn’t sound like a big deal, I know.  My life feels so full right now, tho, that getting rearranged is more of a big deal than it might be for, well, you.

And I’m doing things on my lunch hour sort of because I am so tired these days, in that A) there’s no way I’m doing it on the way home, I’m completely done by the end of my work day,  so this way Some of it gets done, and B) I’m afraid that if I stopped and rested at lunch I may not get going again for the afternoon, so this way I have something to keep me going while I plow through my day in one fell swoop, as they say.]

1:00pm-1:20pm Drive from Work to RTher
1:20pm-1:30pm RTher
1:30pm-1:35pm Post-RTher ablutions
1:35pm-1:45pm Drive from RTher to Work
1:45pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:30pm Drive from Work to Home

Thursday [Radiation Therapy – Day 14]:

7:05am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:05am-8:15am RTher
8:15am-8:20am Post-RTher ablutions
8:20am-8:30am Drive from RTher to Work
8:30am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch

[Doing today what I wanted to do yesterday at lunch – depositing some money into a couple of accounts so bills can be paid – and they can leave me the hell alone already!  :)]

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

Friday [Radiation Therapy – Day 15]:

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– blogged
– took a hat I had knitted for myself and gave it to one of the supervisors at my office to send to her sister, who has finished chemo and radiation, but whose home got slammed in Sandy – at least last week she was wearing a hat (‘cuz her hair hasn’t grown back yet from chemo), under multiple blankets and eating chips for dinner ‘cuz she had no power or heat – ‘cuz I do have hair, power and heat at home, and the means to cook a hot dinner.
– managed Not to run out of gas in the car (it was a pretty close call one day)
– emailed with my cousin on whether I will or will not be coming to her Thanksgiving shindig next week.  It makes me sad that I had to decline, but with Hubby maybe having to work over TG weekend (yeah, crappy, but oh well), and me literally not knowing how I’m going to feel day-to-day right now, since she needs to know for sure by Tuesday noon to plan her party, I had to decline as I honestly can’t guarantee knowing by then if either Hubby or me will be able to/up to doing Thursday.  So Hubby and me are on our own for Turkey Day, but it’s not the first time (prolly won’t be the last) and we’re okay with that.  We’ll either find somewhere else to go, do our own little thing just the two of us, or just hang out together and have peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Schedule: Week of November 5-9, 2012

Monday [Radiation Therapy – Day 6]:

7:10am-8:25am Drive from Home to RTher

[fucking traffic! – being late on Monday morning is a shitty way to start the week]

8:25am-8:35am RTher
8:40am-9:00am Weekly visit with ROnc
9:05am-9:20am Drive from RTher to Work
9:20am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-5:45pm Drive from Work to Acupuncture
5:55pm-7:00pm Acupuncture
7:00pm-7:45p Drive from Acupuncture to Home

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 7]:

7:00am-8:20am Drive from Home to RTher

[fucking traffic, again! – because starting my day off stressed for more than an hour is so conducive to being healthy, Not!]

8:25am-8:35am RTher
8:35am-8:45am Post-RTher ablutions

[first aid cream on the nipple scar, scar cream on all 5 surgical scars, super-moisturizing cream on the whole boob – plus massage to minimize tissue damage, deodorant – no antiperspirant for me during radiation (aluminum on the skin interferes with the killing of the cells, dontcha know?), and no creams or goops of any kind for 4 hours before radiation treatment (again, interferes with that killing goal)]

8:45am-9:00am Drive from RTher to Work
9:00am-1:30pm Work
1:30pm-2:30pm Lunch

[Acapulco: Carnitas]

2:30pm-530pm Work
5:30pm-6:35pm Drive from Work to Polling Place

[with 1 stop to get gas]

6:35pm-6:40pm Vote
6:40pm-6:45pm Drive from Polling Place to Home

Wednesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 8]:

7:05am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:10am-8:30am Wait for RTher/Meet social worker

[it seems the machine wasn’t behaving this morning (it is tested every morning I guess before the first patient – me – is put on it) and it took a few minutes for someone to beat it into submission]

8:30am-8:40am RTher
8:40am-8:45am Post-RTher ablutions
8:45am-9:05am Drive from RTher to Work
9:05am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch

[Marie Callendars: Chicken w/ artichokes & mushrooms over pasta.

Are you noticing a pattern here?  Yeah, me too.  And I thought I was doing so well Not stopping at Starbucks every morning on my way from RTher to Work.  The good news is that lunch each of the last two days has yielded enough leftovers for two more full lunches, and I do eat leftovers (Hubby doesn’t), so if I can remember to eat that for lunch tomorrow and Friday, I’ll spend no more money on that, waste no food, and I can eat that at my desk if I want so maybe I’ll get my ass out of my work chair and back up walking again.

That’s something else that has changed (and not for the better this week).  I’m starting to fall into the non-smoker’s (72d CFT today!) bad habit of Not getting up for morning and afternoon breaks since my body is no longer sending up a cry for it’s fix every 2 waking hours.  Okay, starting this afternoon, I resume my twice daily walk around my work block).]

2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:35pm Drive from Work to Home

[Up from 3:00am-4:00am: woken up by animal noises outside my open window – potty, back in bed, nose congested, use polysporin to moisturize/decongest, back in bed, drifting off as more animal noises outside, close window, pick up Kindle – next thing I know I’m hitting snooze, again, on the alarm.]

Thursday [Radiation Therapy – Day 9]:

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

[Big shout out to Hubby (he won’t see this, I don’t think he reads me – he figures he sees me every day, he gets all the info he needs about how this is going directly from me, and the occasional medical event he attends – meeting new doctors, surgeries, first new treatment of any kind – although he is willing to come to Any and Every medical event I Want him to come to) – last night I was complaining about the stress of trying to make it to RTher every day (comparing it to the stress of getting to a former job on time when it was a 2-hour commute – yes, that is Not a typo – One-Way,  in good weather – longer in bad weather), and this morning (as he goes to work before me and heads to just the city before the one where I work in the exact same direction/route as me), he texts me with a traffic & weather report so I know what I’m in for on my way!]

8:10am-8:20am RTher
8:20am-8:25am Gooping up/applying deodorant
8:30am-8:45am Driving from RTher to Work
8:45am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch

[Trip to Whole Foods: A cousin of mine (no, not the same one as has a birthday this week) posted a smoothie photo that had a blurry bottle of Synergy Kombucha in the background, so we had a little convo about that in the comments for the post, and it reminded me that I love that stuff and hadn’t had any in way too long, so I’m using my fabulous one-hour lunch today to go pick some up (along with the tomatoes and green onions that Hubby did Not pick up at the market the other night when getting “salad stuff” – okay, he’s amazing but not perfect – but then neither am I , so that’s okay.]

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

[It’s only a little rain, people, not That big a deal!]

Friday [Radiation Therapy – Day 10]:

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

[Back to a regular Friday light traffic patter, with time for my weekly (yeah, I know, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) Starbucks treat stop – but this time I was involved in conversation with someone and forgot to pick up the new Starbucks/iTunes Freebie cards – sorry work-peeps!]

8:00am-8:10am Waiting for machine calibration – met and chatted with another patient “Dana” until my machine was ready for me
8:10am-8:20am RTher
8:20am-8:25am Post-RTher ablutions
8:30am-8:45am Drive from RTher to Work
8:45am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:30pm Lunch

[I get an extra-long one today ‘cuz after building in ‘life is screwed up’ time into when I scheduled my RTher, I now end up with extra already-worked time on Fridays sometimes, and I know work doesn’t really want me taking off early (tho that’s what I would prefer to do), so I’m just tacking it onto lunch instead.]

2:30pm-5:30pm Work
5:4opm-6:45pm Drive from Work to Home

[Yeah, got caught up in reading my, well, personal email at the end of my workday and ended up staying 10 minutes late!

Additional Tasks Accomplished This Week:

– walked at least 20 minutes um, some days
– blogged
– VOTED!
– wished my cousin Happy Birthday on Facebook
– paid some bills
– cleaned up bedroom, put clothes away
– gave $100 to a fund for the family of a co-worker of Hubby’s who died on the job this week  😦
– remembered to write check for every other week housecleaner And actually leave it at home for her

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Schedule: Week of October 29-November 2, 2012

Monday [Times after 8:30am approximate – I was out of my routine & not keeping strict track] [Radiation Therapy – Day 1]:

7:30am-8:30am Drive from Home to Disney Family Cancer Center to straighten this out before my appointment at 11:30am [Meet Hubby and Mom to back me up/help me out]
8:30am-9:00am Find the CEO of St. Joseph’s Hospital – Request meeting with same – Get escorted to his office

9:00am-9:10am Throw Dr. Rex Hoffman under the bus with the CEO of the hospital at which he works
9:15am-10:15am Eat breffast w/ Mom & Hubby in the hospital cafeteria – nearly free with coupons from the hospital CEO [wasn’t that nice of him?]
10:30am-11:15am Visit with Nurse Navigator [to make sure I was still welcome in her office, since I bcc’d her on the email in this post – and I was  🙂 – nice chance to catch up] [As I’m walking across the way to the other building I see Dad driving up to join my backup posse]
11:15am-11:45am Wait for my 11:30am first radiation therapy appointment to begin [Dr. Hoffman being the only ROnc in the office today, my care will be changed to another doctor tomorrow]
11:45am-12:30pm First Radiation Therapy appt [w/ Mom, Dad and Hubby as backup]
12:30pm-2:30pm Drive Hubby to his truck [parked and left at a local Starbucks this am to save 1 parking fee at doctor’s appointment] – went w/ Hubby in his truck to a vape store so he could test some flavors [leaving my car in the very same Starbucks parking lot ‘cuz it had already been a tough day and I just wanted to be with him for now] – going back to pick up my car
2:30pm-3:30pm Drive from Starbucks to Home [with 1 stop at a local deli for chicken noodle soup w/ a dry matzo ball on the side – my soul needed it]

Awake in the middle of the night from about 2:15am-4:00am.

Tuesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 2]:

7:00am-8:00am Drive from Home to ROnc
8:00am-8:15am RTher [with Mom in tow since I was seeing the new doc this morning – I try Always to have an extra pair of ears around during doctor’s visits – countless times already someone else has heard something I did not because I get stuck on something and check out of the conversation for some period of time]
8:15am-8:35am Wait for appointment with new ROnc
8:35am-8:55am Appointment with new ROnc
9:00am-9:15am Drive from ROnc to Work
9:15am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch [a whole hour!  two weeks in a row!  got a couple errands done.  :)]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-6:50pm Drive from Work to Home [with 1 stop to pick up last minute stuff for work pot luck lunch tomorrow and to have a bowl of candy for kids trick-or-treating in the office, and 1 stop to pick up more meds]

Wednesday [Radiation Therapy – Day 3]:

7:00am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher
8:05am-8:15am RTher
8:15am-8:35am Waiting to see ROnc [to discuss noticeable side effects Nobody led me to expect I’d have so soon – after Two treatments?!]
8:35am-8:55am ROnc appointment
9:00am-9:15am Drive from ROnc to Work
9:15am-12:30pm Work
12:30pm-2:00pm Halloween Pot Luck Lunch @ Work [& visiting with my work friend’s 18-month-old granddaughter dressed as the cutest pirate ever!]
2:00pm-5:30pm Work
5:30pm-7:00pm Drive from Work to Home [With 3 stops on the way: (1) put gas in the car; (2) Costco – this is a kamikaze run to grab a sweater I’d already bought 2 of (in different colors) in yet a Third color! – Hm, parking lot very empty, what’s up with that?  Oh, right, Halloween – score on the empty Costco!; and (3) the pharmacy Again to pick up the Rx I dropped off last night, and drop off 2 more I got this morning to help deal with side effects of RTher.]

Woke up enough to look at the clock at 3:25am, but managed to get back to sleep without peeing, eating, reading, turning on a light, or even getting out of bed (I think)

Thursday [Radiation Therapy – Day 4]:

7:00am-7:55am Drive from Home to RTher [I actually decided to go all by myself this morning, just like a big girl – and one of my RThers asks where my Mom is and gives me grief about not bringing her with me, for her sake!  (This comes from his understandable perspective of a father with an only child.  Tomorrow I’ll gently remind him that the person at the center of our joint drama isn’t my Mom, it’s me.)  But I did tell him he’d get to see my Mom on Mondays, since Mom will join me on doctor appointment days.]
7:55am-8:05am RTher
8:05am-8:15am Did the PTher I have to do myself to deal with my side effects, and hyper-moisturize the area we’re charring each weekday to hopefully help prevent, well, peeling, weeping, and sloughing of the skin.  🙂
8:20am-8:35am Drive from RTher to Work
8:35am-1:00pm Work
1:00pm-2:00pm Lunch

So, with the start of RTher, apparently comes a new lunch schedule.  Whereas before, I was taking short lunches to make up time taken by randomly-occurring doctor’s appointments, I deliberately made the RTher appointments early enough so that most days (even if slightly delayed by traffic or some other time issue), they would Not interfere with work (I didn’t schedule them so they wouldn’t interfere with work only if timing were perfect every day – this is traffic in greater Southern California I’m dealing with after all).  But that means that most (non-ROnc/non-PTher days) I’ll get to work Early.  Therefore, most days I’ll not only get the hour lunch that used to be my norm, but even after counting the ROnc and/or PTher days when I’ll still be in late, I may even get extra-long lunches on Fridays from getting to work early and storing up some extra work time other days of the week!  We’ll have to see how that works out – or am I just being overly-optimistic now?

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

Friday [Radiation Therapy – Day 5]:

7:10am-8:05am Drive from Home to RTher [With 1 stop @ Starbucks for the weekly coffee treat – yeah, it’s not my only one this week either, I know]
8:10am-8:20am Rather
8:25-8:40 Drive from RTher to Work
9:45am-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:

– walked at least 20 minutes each day (um, except Monday)
– blogged
– managed to carve out a whole hour for lunch at least one day
– threw my doctor under the bus and replaced him with a new her doctor
– used my hasn’t-happened-in-several-months one-hour lunch to practice some minor retail therapy
– rearranged physical therapy appointments to conform with my new doctor’s schedule, shared same with Hubby, Mom, Dad and work
– actually participated in a Holiday Party – the Halloween Pot Luck Lunch at work

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 4 – Thursday November 1, 2012

This is the first time I’m deciding to go to RTher all by myself – you know, like a big girl.

Treatment Notes:

– my RTher asked where my Mom was, why wasn’t she here?  Really?  I finally decide to treat this thing like it’s no big deal in the hope that acting as if will actually make it feel like no big deal (I’m just coming in for some quick RTher and then I’m off to work – no biggie, right?) and he asks me where my Mom is. . .facepalm.  Well, he knows I’m an only child (from talking to my Mom previously), and he also has only one child, so he’s asking from his/her POV.

This actually got me thinking – I went home and promptly asked Mom, Dad and Hubby if they were as involved with my treatment as they want to be, for themselves.  I figured I prolly knew the answer but I asked anyway, separately, each of them.  I’m not sure that I would have changed anything if they had said “no” but thankfully they all answered “Yes.”  So, tomorrow I’ll let Iggy know that I asked, they said yes, and gently (he really is a good guy) remind him that it’s about me first, before it’s about them.

– a little warmth this morning when they did the down-from-above angle

Side Effects:

– late afternoon fatigue – about the time I usually take my walk around the block – 4:00pmish.  I’ll make it through, but tired enough that my eyes are starting to hurt and there is actual yawning.  I’ve been told to expect serious fatigue, at some point before the end of treatment, which could last up to several months after treatment ends (since things are still ‘cooking’ in there – nice, I know).  I’m hoping this isn’t that, but just reaching the end of my usual weekly energy allotment.  Of course my RSurg thinks my body is, in her word, hyper-reactive (and no, for those who are thinking it, she didn’t mean that in the good way – get your mind out of the gutter just for a minute, k?), so who knows?

– intermittent breast pain – some near the hematoma I still have lateral to the nipple and some from the nipple incision, which is now showing almost a pretty cherry red – if I do lose my skin integrity during this, I’m afraid that may be the first spot to go.  Thought about using ice, again, but didn’t – I was too damn tired to deal with it.  Doesn’t make sense, right, and yet it’s true.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

Radiation Therapy Journal – Day 3 – Wednesday October 31, 2012

Slightly less freaked out after Not being poked/fought with for two whole days.  We’ll see what the doc has to say about my stomach issues – took anti-nausea meds on the way to RTher this morning.

When I came in to the suite this morning I asked the waiting room receptionist to let my ROnc know that I wanted to see her this morning after my treatment.

Treatment Notes:

– didn’t really notice any sensation today

Doctor’s Appointment:

– I’m glad to see my, yes admittedly combative, attitude yesterday did not put off my new doc.  I brought up the concern about nausea and stomach pain leading to real permanent damage.  She could have pulled the “I’m a doctor, just trust me, it’ll be fine” crap, but she didn’t.  She said she didn’t do my radiation plan (she didn’t, the asshole did), so she brought it up on the computer, showing me where it was and where my stomach was and that they did Not overlap.  She actually showed me medical evidence for what she was saying, thereby buying actual credibility with me.  Only then did she opine that my stomach problems may be a result of my anxiety.  Hm, okay, I was certainly open to that possibility (I was under no illusions that I was no more than an inch below the ceiling, and had been at least that tightly wound for almost two weeks), so let’s treat that with an anti-anxiety med – script 1.  This will also help me sleep, which will help reduce the anxiety, which will help me sleep, and so on.

– And, by the way , I was Not told that I would be swelling would be this bad, or this early – I mean even before today’s treatment!  I’m talking at least a half cup, maybe a full cup, and all the way around to the side of my body and up into my axilla.  Swelling causes pain that is breaking through the two Aleves I have on board 24 hours a day, so is this normal?  Why haven’t I heard about this happening so much and so soon?  So, no, it’s unusual to happen so soon, but it’s not unheard of.  Great.  Okay, so let’s further help me sleep by seeing if I can Not wake up in pain, so let’s treat that with a pain med – script 2.

Side Effects:

– No nausea or stomach pain today, that’s a step in the right direction

– breast pain: ice pack used three times – twice on the hematoma lateral to the nipple, and once on the nipple itself.  One time it felt so good in there I almost forgot to take it out after 15 minutes.  Time to start using a timer on that deal again.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.