Quick recap since my last post. I finished my chemotherapy treatments on October 18th. It was a tough one but I managed. Had a nice break until my surgery on November 10th. My family and my in-laws came to be for a few days during my surgery. I was supposed to have a lumpectomy but after some complications, they had to remove my whole nipple from my right breast (where cancer was) and 12 lymph nodes from right armpit area. That was so hard to process. I thought I would have been ready for a mastectomy but my nipple was just as hard. I think because I treasure my breastfeeding years very close to my heart, I had to grieve for my loss.
My family took boys with them to Delaware so I could rest and my niece stayed with me for a week after surgery to help me rest. During my time of being kid-free I had a lot of time by myself to rest, meditate and really appreciate my boys and husband. After appointments with oncologist, surgeon and radiologist, I was diagnosed cancer free. I was thrilled, almost speechless, but none the less very grateful for the opportunity (not many can say) to have survived breast cancer stage 3. I went to Delaware after Thanksgiving to see my boys and spend time with my parents and sister, after two weeks I brought boys back with me since the plan for them to stay thru radiations did not go too well (boys missed me too much). Then Christmas happened and it was wonderful, weekend after was my birthday, which was bittersweet to turn the big 30. Made amazing memories during the holidays that I will never forget.
Finally it was time to start radiations but of course there were some troubles with CT Scan and they had to re-write my treatment plan twice. Everyone that I talked to that has been thru cancer said that radiations were easier than chemo, because of their information I was hopeful to get them done. Think again. My treatment plan consists of 28 radiations to both areas where cancer tumor was (right breast and right armpit area) and 5 booster radiations to breast scar, 5 days a week in Atlanta (one hour drive from my home). Week one was awful because it was the first week home after the crazy busy holidays and I went at all different times each day to see which time worked best for my family (I have to pick the same time to go everyday for all 33 treatments). Going to hospital 5 days a week was not only had on my sanity but my boys too. They started having lots of fear which resulted in them sleeping with us in our room, and in lots of fights from them and my screams.
Week two was better since I had found a time that worked best and I had no visible side effects yet.
By week 3 I am already to get worn out, I was exhausted all the time, could not even do more than lay in bed or sit on couch after radiations. I had to accept that I just did not have the physical, mental or emotional energy to function normally. I started getting depressed.
Then week 4 happened and let me tell you I was done with this, my skin was starting to breakout and it was so painful.
When I was supposed to start week 5, I was literally crying, while my husband held me, because I did not want to go. I ended up going but when I got there doctor saw me and said my skin was too badly burned for treatment so he gave me 3 days off. I almost cried of joy. I was so broken, literally falling apart. If doctor wouldn’t have said that, I do not know what I would have done. I was supposed to return Thursday but the machine was not working so went ahead and took the whole week off.
My week off was amazing, I rested so much. My skin was in real bad shape, only pain medicine made it better, even though medi-honey and other lotions helped too. I needed this week off so badly, I felt renewed inside out. It was an incredible experience to be at home resting with my boys. We have not been in routine, which was awful for our homeschooling (thanks to http://www.time4learning.com for saving my life lol), but doing nothing was also necessary for our health.
I am now on week 5 and have 10 more treatments and thanks to my Higher power, my family and all of my friends, I know for sure I will make it till the end. This journey has been so hard but radiations have for sure been the hardest part. I am fortunate to be alive and this is only part of the journey ahead, as a breast cancer survivor.