Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Good News Bad News

What do you want first?

The Good News or the Bad News?

Bad News is that my radiation burn is getting worse by the minute. Literally. Half an hour ago, it hurt less than it does right now.

Here is an updated picture of the skin around there
(compared to a few days ago in the post below)

Point made, right?

Now on to the good news:

My hair is growing like a weed.

I remember about 4 weeks after chemo finished, I was still bald as ever. Everyone was asking me when my hair was gonna come back (As if I'd know!)

Then finally, around week 7 after chemo (took it's time didn't it!) Brad said he could start seeing somewhat of an outline of possible hair growth.

Then a week later, there was definite hair, and now, even more so!

Check it out:

Last week:

This week:

By this time next week, I'll be braiding it for sure.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Officially done radiation - plus pics

Alright peeps - I'm back and I'm done with radiation!

Can you believe it?

All D.O.N.E. with radiation!

I am burnt, but not too bad, not itchy or uncomfortable yet so I guess I did okay. It will remain in my body for the next 2 weeks though, so I expect it to continue to get redder. And sorer.

I even have pictures for you!

Awww... they are getting the machine ready for me. I get my own mold to lay in. (As you can see there are plenty of molds hanging - our name is on each one)

As I lay there I mostly have my eyes closed. But if I didn't, I could look up and see their version of a palm tree decorated on a fake skylight in the room.

I know you've wanted to see the inside of the radiation room, while I'm lying in the machine. I have my arms above my head (and my ipod in my hands so I can listen to my favorite music instead of their yucky elevator music).

The nurses are pushing buttons and from this angle I look pretty comfortable, but in fact my arms have the 'pins and needles' felling fairly quickly. I lay like that with my arms above my head for 12 minutes every day.

I've got two nurses fussing over me but it's not all luxury. They are also making sure they are lining me up right (by drawing on me with black felt pens!!) so that the laser beams go in the right spots.

Talk about being monitored.

When they're confident that I'm all lined up, they leave the room and start watching me through their TV. They also press a bunch of buttons on the computer to make sure the machine buzzes and spins around me. You can't see them in the photos but there are green lasers pointed at me from different angles, suggesting I better lay still or else...

It's far too small to see from here, but on the second computer, in the top left corner, you can see my body and my organs inside... cool eh? They need to make sure they avoid the other organs as much as they can when they do the radiation.

And this is what my chest looks like now - red, bumpy and scarred.

My hair is also starting to grow, it started a couple of weeks ago and I feel a little like a chia pet. It sticks straight up and is soo soft, I love it. I am constantly rubbing it. My eyebrows are also growing in, and I even had them threaded the other day (well, the 9 of them that are there)

In September I move on to Tamoxifen (oral chemo) and my injections of choice, Lupron and Zometa... (trying to stop my ovaries from producing estrogen) I have decided to go this route for now instead of the hysterectomy.

We'll see if I change my mind...

Friday, August 12, 2011


I've been going for a week and a half. And I keep meaning to tell you about it, but I think "I have to get pictures next time" and always forget.

So, instead of waiting to remember to take pictures 'next time' I will let you know what I think of radiation now.

I may never remember my camera.

There are 2 rooms they use - unit 1 and unit 2 - the machines are loud and mega loud respectively.

But I don't discriminate -I hate both units.

The ladies working there are quite nice. Their whole job is to line me up 'just right'. They have calculators, lasers and my mold to help them. They are constantly calling out numbers at each other across the way. Kind of like at the Seattle fish market.

But less stinky.

I sometimes wonder what will happen if one of them calls out a number and the other one mishears her - will they radiate the wrong body part? That would suck.

After about 5 minutes of rearranging me, all the healthy people leave the room and I am left with the machine. It moves all around me, sometimes coming quite close to me then other times backing away. It makes a buzzing noise while it radiates me.

I have 7 buzzing noises in 12 minutes.

I don't know if that is a little or a lot.

But it's irritating.

I sometimes have a small panic attack in there since I get claustrophobic and the noises don't help. They make it worse. I count the times til I am done - 13 more!

So far the skin has darkened a bit, and has a light pink shade to it, but nothing too much. I've heard horror stories about people's skin falling off during radiation so I am expecting the worst, but so far, it's not bad.

Of course, it may just be too early to count my chickens.

Brad will come with me on monday and promises to take pictures! When he does, I will post them so you can see what I'm talking about.

In other news - my hair is a 'darker shade of bald' (as one other blogger put it). Brad keeps telling me he thinks it's growing back, but so far, I don't see it. In fact, the little small amount of fluff that remained is now falling out. It seems backwards doesn't it? I'll keep you posted and as soon as I see a reasonable amount of hair, I'll share a picture for you to see too!

We will then have officially hit all the milestones.

Which brings us to my next thought: I have a feeling this blog may soon have run it's course... there is very little 'new' information left to share.

I haven't figured out how I feel about that yet.

Don't worry, I will say a proper goodbye when the time comes.