December got off to a bit of a rocky start, as I ended up in the emergency room at the end of November with a severe cold and a high temperature. Luckily, they were able to get things under control! I'm still sufferring from the sniffles, but nothing like earlier in the month! The set back from my illness has made it hard to get mentally on track this month and also made me realize how fragile my immune system is right now. Its easy to get caught up in the momentum of chemotherapy until you are hit with something that reminds you of exactly what chemo is doing to your body. I've been trying to stay away from people who are ill as much as possible and have been granted the ability to work from home if people on campus are sick. Shane has been able to stay well so far. We are keeping our fingers crossed that he makes it through the holidays healthy and well!
Yesterday we went to my MUGA scan appointment (a MUGA assesses the functioning of the heart and has to be done once every three months while on Herceptin to ensure that my heart is still functioning at a normal level) and met with Dr. Niak, my breast surgeon, for the first time since surgery. The MUGA was uneventful and we should have the results before chemo next Thursday. The meeting with Dr. Niak consisted of a breast exam (no outward signs of reoccurance at this point), and discussion about our next steps. Dr. Niak referred us to a Radiologist in Salem to get started on the planning process for radiation. According to Dr. Niak all of my stats are right on the border of when they normally recommend radiation. Usually a tumor of 5cm or lymph node involvement of 4 or more would require raditiation. I had 3 nodes involved and a 4.2cm tumor. We have decided to go ahead with radiation because it will further reduce the risk of reoccurance. Raditiation will likely start at the end of January once chemo is finished (YAY JANUARY 6TH!!!!!). This is also about the time my hair should start growing back! I absolutely cannot wait to see some stubble on my head! While being bald has made getting ready in the mornings much easier and the showering process very short, i'm excited to see my real hair again. I have sworn to myself after this ordeal that I won't cut it again for a very long time. I plan to have my long hair back as soon as possible!
Shane and I are looking forward to the holidays this year. We are planning on taking a week off of work and heading to Wallowa to spend time with family and friends. Its much needed time for both of us since we have both been working full time and attending school, not to mention the ongoing treatment for my cancer. This weekend we went out and got our Christmas tree. Sunday, I spent the day decorating the house to Christmas music and trimming the tree. Last night, Shane put up the outside lights and our snowman in the yard. All of our gifts are wrapped, Christmas cards are in the mail, and our spirit is intact! I'm so in love with our little house during the holidays. Shane and I always talk about how we can imagine the people who have lived in our house before us during the holidays and together on Christmas morning. There have been many Christmas' spent in our house before us, and putting up the decorations every year reminds us of all the joy that has been shared there before us.
My next chemo treatment is scheduled for December 16th so I should be feeling much better by the time Christmas rolls around as long as I can stay well otherwise! We look forward to seeing everyone this year and hope that you have a wonderful Holiday season!