(Near – Hopefully)-Future Radiation Therapy

New Form of Radiation Therapy Has No Side Effects

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Song Lyrics That Speak to Me – Call Me When You’re Sober by Evanescence

Call Me When You’re Sober by Evanescence

Call me when you're sober

Don’t cry to me.
If you loved me,
You would be here with me.
You want me,
Come find me.
Make up your mind.

Should I let you fall?
Lose it all?
So maybe you can remember yourself.
Can’t keep believing,
We’re only deceiving ourselves .
And I’m sick of the lie,
And you’re too late.

Don’t cry to me.
If you loved me,
You would be here with me.
You want me,
Come find me.
Make up your mind.

Couldn’t take the blame.
Sick with shame.
Must be exhausting to lose your own game.
Selfishly hated,
No wonder you’re jaded.
You can’t play the victim this time,
And you’re too late.

Don’t cry to me.
If you loved me,
You would be here with me.
You want me,
Come find me.
Make up your mind.

You never call me when you’re sober.
You only want it cause it’s over,
It’s over.

How could I have burned paradise?
How could I – you were never mine.

So don’t cry to me.
If you loved me,
You would be here with me.
Don’t lie to me,
Just get your things.
I’ve made up your mind.

This one is for those to whom most of it applies, and I don’t mean the alcoholic bit.

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012 All Rights Reserved.

March 21, 2013: Mammogram/Ultrasound

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Nope, Those Aren't Mine.

Nope, Those Aren’t Mine.

Well, things have been pretty quiet here since missing my Grandmother’s unveiling.  That one hit me hard – the repercussions of which are still setting my head spinning . . . but that is a subject for another post on another day (that is Still processing).

On to today’s topic.  My post-active-treatment (except for my second and hopefully last reconstructive surgery) life Does in fact go on, one day at a time.

Since my last post, we’ve had The Great Anti-Hormonal Experiment of 2013 – which was an unqualified failure, and is now over!  (Ten days on Tamoxifen before I became near completely non-functional, then [after a detox period] Six days on Raloxifene [Pre-menopausal use is apparently a new off-label use of what was only a post-menopausal drug] to start going down the same road as Tamoxifen).

Tamoxifen

My medical oncologist doesn’t know I stopped taking the second one.  Why not?  Well, making that phone call, then being basically “on call” during my working hours for his call-back to tell him that was not going to change the fact that I’m not taking it anymore.  I need to not be “on call” for a doctor calling me back every goddamn workday of my life.  And I’m seeing him again in two weeks (geez, has it really been almost three months since my last in-person visit with him Already?!) anyway, so I’ll tell him then.

Which basically skims over some shit I’ve been dealing with, the details of which may or may not ever “grace” the pages of this, my blog, to turn a phrase (:)), and catches us up to last week.

I made yesterday’s appointment six months ago – in August of last year – at my last cancer surgery follow up appointment.

First, they call me the week before the appointment to tell me that I have to come in an hour earlier than it was scheduled (thereby taking Another hour off work – which I have to make up) because there won’t be a radiologist there to read the films.  I’m sorry, what?

So, I deal with this, then try to make sure I’m getting Both a mammogram And an ultrasound.

You see, I have dense breasts, so having a mammogram alone actually isn’t even going to tell us what we want to know.  Therefore, I’m not going to go in and get my tender girls mauled for basically no good reason (and to Not get the information we’re trying to get).

Then I show up to see the work Unilat on my paperwork?  Is that, um, “Unilateral?”  As in they’re just going to test one side?  Um, no.

They’re both here, check them both.

I’m told that insurance won’t pay for checking the right boob (i.e., the one on the right side of my body, and the one that did not have cancer in it last year) because it has been less than a year since it was checked and I can come back in June (in three months from now) to check that one.

june_calendar_2013_H6X

So, you’re saying my two breasts are going to be on separate mammogram schedules?  Um, please refer to my comment above – NO!  That’s just stupid, and although I didn’t do stupid well before cancer – let me tell you I do it even less well now.  They’re both here now and I’m not going anywhere until they’re both checked out – thanks for playing!

I went half-postal on almost half a dozen people in that place getting them to understand that we were checking Both of my breasts, and if necessary I would have the “that’s just Stupid!” conversation with my insurance company.

But it turns out it won’t be necessary.  You see, they found something in my right breast on the ultrasound.  They tell me it looks like a cyst and my cancer surgeon gave me a choice of “wait and watch” or biopsy.

Hm, let me think – I’ve had breast cancer WITHIN THE LAST CALENDAR YEAR!  So, I’m NOT so much in a ‘wait and watch’ frame of mind – let’s stick that bitch and know for sure!

So, tomorrow morning at 8:00 am I’m having my second breast biopsy in less than a year.

100th Post: I Wore a Bra Today…

…all day, without padding my nipple with a nursing pad, and not once did my nipple harden and hurt for no discernible reason!

Well, not until I thought that it hadn’t and then, of course, it gave me a Zotz just to remind me it was still there.

I was composing this post in my head on my commute home, and let me tell you it was clever!

But, of course, after getting home, putting food stuff in the kitchen, realizing I left my iPad at work (confirmed by Find iPhone on my phone), getting out of work clothes and into snugglies…

…all that cleverness has evaporated.

Add to that evaporation the tiredness from the Tamoxifen (less than a week in and on only 5mg a day, for those in the know – does not bode too well going forward, eh?) and articulate speech goes nigh out the window.

That bra Also did Not hurt in either axilla – a definite problem the last time I wore one, so…

snoopy-happy-dance

Happy Dance!

Okay, theoretical Happy Dance (no Actual dance cuz of Tamoxifen fatigue, among other side effects already, to be shared in upcoming “Tamoxifen Journal” posts).

Or at least (hopefully) for another month or so until I have more surgery – possibly going in through the nipple(s), sending me back to step one with it(them)…

…but still!  I had today!

Copyright Ridingthebcrollercoaster.com 2012-2013 All Rights Reserved.

This Must Be The Worse Before The Better

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December 11, 2012: Breast Cancer Support Group Holiday Potluck Party – otherwise known as the once-a-year gathering where those who no longer need the group on an ongoing basis bring something to eat and join the rest of us for a quick munch & gab & catch-up.

This event lands in my last week of Radiation Therapy.  To say I’m struggling is an understatement of epic proportions.

When I’m asked how I’m doing, I can barely (and sometimes not quite) keep from losing it, both with people I know from group, and those I don’t who are coming for their once-a-year appearance.

Maria is one of those people I meet who doesn’t come regularly, but comes to the party, and to whom I confess how hard things are for me just then.  It’s been years since she was in active treatment, yet she remembers seemingly like it was yesterday – I think we all do/will.

She tells me when radiation ends it gets worse, then it gets better.

I was told that the radiation is still active in my body for about 2 weeks after the last treatment.  I assumed when Maria said there’s a further dip and then things start to look up (I’m paraphrasing), that the worse would be about two weeks long and then end.

My last treatment was Friday, December 14th – 12 days ago.  I don’t feel like better is going to show up in two days.  I think I made an assumption and just realized it’s probably not a valid one.

Last weekend, Hubby had to work all weekend moving his company.  My office was closed Monday/Tuesday, as was his (providing the moving was completed enough).  When he told me he was working Saturday and Sunday (and that they would be long days), I was thrilled.

I don’t get really any meaningful time alone in my house these (general) days – with the way our schedules interact.  Being an only child (and Hubby a first-born), we both need alone time – maybe more than folks with more siblings.

Now that the absolutely overwhelming schedule of Radiation Therapy has backed off quite a bit, lots of things are flooding in, the chatter seems to have intensified:

Work: revise this, draft this, file this, fax this, answer this phone, schedule this meeting, cover for this person on vacation, etc.

Personal: check in with Mom, check in with Dad, listen to Hubby, (and with Christmas yesterday: buy this, wrap this, send this – do it all On Time), etc.

Household: dishes, laundry, pay this, stop for this, buy this online, descale the coffeemaker, clean out the fridge, manage the grocery list, etc.

And of course, everybody’s happy right now – taking vacations, giving and getting just the right gifts, opening their hearts to family and friends – and looking forward to the “fresh start” the New Year provides.

I’m not happy right now and the new year is Not a fresh start for me (as I’m only mid-way through my active treatment)  – I’m still fucking tired, on So Many Levels – physically, emotionally, FYI in case you were wondering my last pain-free day was August 12, 2012 – the day before my first surgery.  So I either feel guilty about not sharing everyone else’s joy for/with them, or am further exhausted by faking it for/with them.

I was thrilled with Hubby having to work because right now I just want to be alone.  I feel like the last six months have been a blur of overwhelming input and I just need quiet.  To get that quiet, I need to be alone and let the rest of the world’s demands go away.  I had two days of that.  I need more.

I imagine this crawling into a hole period will have some people upset – I’m going to have to try to not care.  I need to walk my talk of being selfish.

I need that quiet to process – to transform another part of the journey toward “after the first year.”

I imagine some people in my life are going to notice this difference and not like it.  Because what they think about what I’m doing is not actually about me, I’m going to have to try to not care.

I don’t know what that means for this blog in the near future, I actually don’t know what that means for a lot of aspects of my life in any (insert short-, mid-, long-term word here) future.

I guess I’ll be sitting with quiet as much as I can create it while waiting for…

thumbs_up_bciy

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.