Hey everyone! We haven't updated the blog for a while because, honestly, there hasn't been much happening in the cancer realm. I am feeling much better and know that things are only going to get better from here on out. I have been trying to walk with Shane or do yoga daily in order to get my strength back. Its amazing how my body has changed and become so inflexible since the surgery in August. I really haven't done much physically because right after surgery I started chemo. I am re-learning my body and trying to reshape it to the body I remember - only better. In mid February Shane and I are thinking about trying to ride the "Worst day of the year" ride in Portland. Its an 18-mile bike ride through Northeast Portland. I'm not sure yet if my body will be up to it, especially since I'm barely able to walk the two-mile loop at the dog park! Only time will tell! All of this exercise is only going to aid in losing the 17lbs I gained during chemo! Cheers to being able to fit into my clothes again!
I met with the radiology oncologist, Dr. Henig, two weeks ago to discuss "the plan". I will be getting "radiated" five days a week for 7 weeks (36 times). Most of the side effects involve fatigue and burning of the skin. I think our friend Faye said it best when she described the fatigue as your body being worn out from fighting all the damage that the radiation is doing to your body. In fact, the radiation will kill a portion of my lung. Dr. Henig said that I shouldn't notice the part that will no longer work unless I'm planning on running the Boston Marathon. I guess I should probably remove "run marathon" from my list of things to do in this lifetime! Luckily, the oncologist believes that they will be able to miss my heart so there shouldn't be any damage there! I need to save as much of my heart as possible to get through the Herceptin!! :-)
Thursday my Plastic Surgeon "deflated" my tissue expanders so that there would be more loose skin in order to avoid the radiation causing my skin to get tighter around the expander and also so that my "good" breast would be out of the line of the radiation beams. I am officially the only person I know who has gone from a DD to an A, to a B, then a C and back to an A again! Either way, Dr. Thaker, my plastic surgeon said that I will probably be able to have my exchange surgery in August or September once the skin is completely healed and we know that the radiation isn't going to cause a capsular contraction. I can't wait to see the final product and look half-way normal again!
Wednesday I will go in to get my tattoos, which the team will use to line up the machine each day, and get the machine calibrated to my particular situation. I'm not excited about the tattoos, but think they might be an excuse to get a real tattoo that I've always been too chicken to do. What better excuse than to cover up radiation tattoos!? Its my understanding that the radiation will start Monday, January 31st. I'm hoping to get an appointment super early in the morning so that I can avoid interfering with work as much as possible.
Thursday I have Herceptin at OHSU. This will be my first trip to the infusion room without getting the full chemo! I currently have eleven Herceptin treatments left, then hopefully I'll move right into the Neratanib trial. Please keep your fingers crossed that it's still open when I finish!
Hope everyone is enjoying the first month of the New Year! We will keep you updated when radiation begins!
Heather & Shane