Best day of my life – reblog

When getting in the car today, the song “Best day of my life” came on. I think this song will forever bring tears to my eyes. Little man even sang along to the beat today – so awesome!

Thought it would be appropriate to repost from that day. Happy Sunday, friends!

https://iamredphoenix.com/2016/02/08/the-best-day-of-my-life/

💚💚💚

Friday treatment updates

Another Herceptin treatment in the books! Is that the saying? In the books? On the books? Anyway one more down and only 6 left to go. Six. That seemed so far off just a few months ago.

Another radiation treatment is also complete! Today’s treatment was pretty quick. I arrived early, they took me early and the films were fast. I’m still have this painful lump in my chest (esophagus, really) so I stopped over to the doctor’s section to chat with the nurse. I was given a prescription of a concoction the pharmacy has to “combine” and will be available after a few hours. I will then use a syringe to squirt it down my throat to help numb it. I can use a spoon instead but that would numb my entire mouth. So this should be interesting. It’ll only last 15 – 20 minutes at a time but will hopefully help me eat and be a bit more comfortable when combined with the other medicines. We’ll see, I guess. I’m still researching other methods too. It’s incredibly uncomfortable and consistently there so I’m anxious for some relief.

I’m also incredibly thirsty lately. Think vampire-waking-up-from-a-long-stretch-of-sleep thirsty. I average about 70 ounces of water a day, not including other liquids but I’m still incredibly thirsty all the time. Side note, can anyone recommend a vampire movie to watch? I have a weakness for a good vampire movie!

The fatigue is continuing and I’m curious to see how the weekend goes combined with the Herceptin treatment fatigue. While the nurse was administering my Herceptin treatment today, she was talking about fatigue from treatment & radiation and the struggle it presents. “It’s not like a tiredness that you once felt, where you would lie down for a nap and wake up feeling refreshed. It’s an exhaustion that sets in your entire body and you can feel it deep within you. Despite a nap or a good night’s sleep, you wake up just as tired, as if you barely slept at all. Your body needs to rest and it needs to rest a lot. It is healing from everything we’re doing to it. Remember that.”

My chat with her was a nice reminder to take it slow and allow my body the time it needs. It’s often challenging because I want to be normal, active and productive but the fatigue and my body have different plans.

Aside from the busy day of treatment, I feel good. Every day, I am reminded of just how incredibly blessed I am. For that, I continue to be grateful. Happy Friday, friends. May your weekend be filled with love, laughter and fun.

So I have a question

Yesterday after treatment and an appointment, I stopped into a salon and had my eyebrows done. This is something that I normally would have considered inconvenient, especially considering how tired I was, but I was excited. It is the first time that I have needed to have my eyebrows touched up since beginning treatment last August. That means that I have enough hair growing to require it – yay!

While I was there, I asked about eventually getting my hair cut. I’m not quite ready to cut it but I was curious about the length and how long to wait before having it done. It was nice to talk about the future potential hair cut that I will receive. I may need to start pinning some styles on pinterest!

So today, as I sit here receiving my Herceptin dose, I glanced at Joe. He recently cut his hair and, dare I say, I think my hair is almost longer than his. Mine isn’t styled today (or ever, ha!) but I think I might have him beaten in length.

So, friends, what do you think? Whose hair is longer?!

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I did not miss you.

After my first aggressive chemo treatment, I had crazy heartburn. Antacid wouldn’t touch it and I was in pain so bad that I texted my nurse first thing Saturday morning to see what I could do combat it. Soon after that, I started taking two separate heartburn medications throughout treatment to keep it away. Despite those two medications, I had a lump in my throat for about a week after each treatment. It eventually went away but was rather annoying and made swallowing a bit difficult at times, especially if I took a big gulp of water. Once my aggressive treatment ended, so did my struggles with heartburn and I was super excited to stop taking any medication for it.

A few days ago, I started to have a similar lump in my throat, though it is more painful than before. It isn’t associated with any burning sensation that I would equate to “typical” heartburn, aside from the pain that sometimes feels like it radiates out a bit. I didn’t mention it to my radiation oncologist at first because I didn’t think it was related to radiation therapy and it wasn’t listed as a possible side effect. It’s been really started to bother me, so I decided to ask about it being from radiation.

I initially asked the technicians who treat me daily and they immediately suspected that it was heartburn from the treatment. So after treatment today, I stopped by the nurse’s station where my radiation oncologist is located (right down the hall, which is super convenient!) and after a quick chat, they suggested to try taking the heartburn medication again. If that doesn’t help, I can chat with the doctor some more.

I did not miss you, heartburn.

Hopefully the medications will help but in the meantime I’ll be trying out some of the tips and tricks suggested to help me before. Pickle juice, anyone?

 

New routine with 7 done!

Radiation treatment 041316

I suppose the universe heard me mention that my appointments take quite a bit of time because they’ve been under 30 minutes the last two days, including a doctor’s visit. I don’t mind the wait so much but it’s nice to be in and out so quickly. My technicians are always the same, unless one of them has a day off. Everyone is incredibly kind and patient too. They always seem to be smiling.

I’m getting used to the routine now and know what to expect each day. The receptionists know me so a simple hello is the only way I need to check-in. I head right to the changing room and swap out my shirt for a hospital robe. One of the technicians calls me in pretty quickly after I change and grabs me a warm blanket while I settle in on the table. The table is hard but there’s a sheet over it so it isn’t cold. I lay myself down and they put a triangular pillow under my legs to keep me comfortable. My arms rest in their usual place above my head and I am asked to hold my breath so they can place a small piece of wire tape on each of my sides. When I start treatment, this lets them know whether or not I am breathing in too much or too little. The red line needs to line up perfectly with the tape.

I’m offered a blanket for my arms too but I always decline. It’s incredibly chilly in that room but I am afraid of a hot flash during treatment…if my arms and legs are covered and a hot flash comes, yikes! My skin might actually melt. 😉 The technicians use the extra blanket to warm up my bolus while they leave the room and take my films. The machine moves around me and I’m asked over the intercom to hold my breath on and off.

Once the films are done, the technicians come in and place the bolus over my chest. It helps increase the radiation and basically acts as a layer of skin so that they can treat my actual skin. In order for the bolus to work properly and not have any air pockets between me and the bolus, it is taped in place. They must go through a ton of tape each day! Despite warming it, the bolus is usually still a little cold and it’s hard to sit still while they tape it on me because of the chill.

Next up is treatment. The technicians leave the room again and the machine moves into place. Sometimes they treat me from above first, other times they start under me. The treatment part is over pretty quickly. Once done, the bolus is removed and the technicians help me sit up and head out to get changed. I always lather up with lotion and drink a bottle of water before leaving.

One of the hardest parts of this new routine is the amount of time that I spend in my own head, especially on the treatment table. Even on a good day when the treatment is under 30 minutes, it’s still a while that I can’t move or talk much. It’s hard not to think about what is happening inside and what the radiation is doing to me. If only I could nap while on the table, that would help with the exhaustion that I feel already! 🙂

One week down!

Well, I have successfully completed one full week of radiation. I feel good so far, just incredibly tired. I wasn’t expecting the exhaustion to start so quickly so that’s been a bit challenging. I have a little pain under my arm pit but nothing crazy.  I’ll mention it to the radiation oncologist tomorrow during my weekly visit.

I’ve started using the Miaderm mixed when Calendula oil twice daily. I can’t put it on prior to radiation (within 4 hours) so I’ve gotten into the routine of showering at night, putting the lotion on before bed and then bringing it with me to radiation and putting it on immediately after treatment. So far this seems to be working well.

My appointments have varied in time each day based on what they had available at the time so I have had the opportunity to meet some incredible women in the waiting room over the last week. They have shared their stories, words of encouragement and what to expect after a few weeks of treatment. That’s been helpful and it’s wonderful to chat with so many strong women.

The machine has been “down” a few times over the 5 treatments so the appointments typically vary in length. I waited over an hour one day before being called in and the next my appointment was in and out in under 40 minutes. The radiation part is super fast but the positioning and the films each day take a while.  With the 45 minute drive each way and then the 40ish minutes for changing and treatment, I’m tired by the time I even arrive home.  Having people to chat with in the waiting area has been helpful so I don’t mind the wait. Things happen. 🙂

That being said, I think this is a great opportunity to listen to some books on tape…or streaming, I guess is the thing nowadays. Can anyone recommend a streaming service? I’m hoping for a free one but not sure if that’s a possibility or not. Thanks in advance!

1 week down, 5 more to go – yeah! Happy Monday folks!

Just Breathe

“This song is for my wife’s best friend, as she battles breast cancer…” he said, as the band started to play.

The music traveled high up to the seats they occupied.  The light beat and guitar magic started to intensify as it filled the open room.

She glanced to her left and smiled, remembering whether or not to choose this as their wedding song. They had decided on a different song but this one always held a place close to her heart.

His smile was wide and she could feel the love through his eyes.

🎵 “Stay with me…
Oh, let’s just breathe” 🎵

He takes her hand and stands, walking away from their seats to the stairs. She follows him up a few steps, to the open area behind their section. There is no one there, just the arena around them and the music that fills the room.

🎵 “Did I say that I need you
Did I say that I want you
Oh if I didn’t I’m a fool you see
No one knows this more than me” 🎵

He takes her hands and pulls her close. Wrapping his arms around her, they begin to dance. She leans into him and inhales deeply, breathing in his sweet scent. They move to the beat of the music, spinning slowly as the world around them falls away.

🎵 “As I come clean
I wonder everyday, as I look upon your face, uh-huh
Everything you gave
And nothing you would take, oh no” 🎵

He reaches for her hand again and she follows his lead as he twirls her.  She smiles wide, feeling a childlike sense of freedom, something she didn’t know she needed to feel. He pulls her in again and hugs her tight, his arms wrapped around her like they will never let go.

🎵  “Nothing you would take
Everything you gave
Hold me til I die
Meet you on the other side…”  🎵

The music begins to soften and fade away.  As the next song begins to play, they continue to dance, unaware of the world around them.

Clean teeth!

Young Meg  040816

When I lost my baby teeth, my adult teeth came in a bit crazy. My front teeth overlapped, on the top and bottom, and I had weird gaps and tight spaces. Needless to say, I wore braces…for 5 years. Not just braces, but spacers, bands, mouth guard, retainer and eventually a bar across the bottom. I am incredibly blessed that my parents did all of this for me, as I now have almost perfectly straight teeth (they have moved a little over time).

Since I spent a large portion of my childhood in braces or other fun accessories for my teeth, I became a little obsessive about them. I have them cleaned and examined diligently every 6 months, if not sooner at times. So when I was first diagnosed and learned that I couldn’t have my teeth cleaned during chemo, I went into a slight panic. The reasoning is because the risk of infection is too great with teeth cleanings. But I LOVE having my teeth cleaned. I can’t NOT do that!

A quick call to my dentist calmed my anxiety, as they had a cancelation and were able to fit me in first thing the next morning – whew! I was able to begin chemo with clean teeth. This was incredibly important to me…perhaps because it was something I felt like I could control, since everything in that moment was a whirlwind.

After chemo ended, I needed to wait a month before having my teeth cleaned to ensure my body could fight off a potential infection. Well that was right about the time for surgery so I needed to wait until after I was healed enough to lay flat for the cleaning. This took quite a few weeks but once I could lay down and the oncology letter of clearance was received, I was quickly added to the schedule.

One of my appointments yesterday was a dental cleaning. Like I said, I love having my teeth cleaned. There’s just something about knowing they are nice and clean with no cavities that makes me feel good. It also makes me feel as though things are starting to transition back to a nomal-ish way of life. Well, if you ignore the daily radiation and every 3 weeks Herceptin. 😉

Do any of you enjoy the dentist like me?!

Oh, so tired

Life continues to amaze and inspire me. The way one phone call, one conversation, one word, one smile or a seemingly random encounter can put together a stream of events that fall perfectly into place. Incredible, isn’t it? The way life works sometimes…it’s like the universe (or God!) is winking at you and saying: Just follow my lead.

So what’s stopping you from taking the lead and following the path that seems to be carved for you? What’s stopping you from following your dreams and making them a reality? Excuses? I need to stop making them.

I wrote today. A lot. I felt really great about it, actually. My day was spent going from one appointment to the next with a few minutes in between that I spent scribbling away in my notebook trying to make sense of my thoughts and organize them in a way that can be understood and flow nicely. I scratched out lines and wrote in the margins and crossed out a paragraph and skipped to a new page. It was a wonderful way to spend the time in between appointments and it felt productive…and wonderful.

I came home in the late afternoon after traveling around town for these appointments, which included radiation treatment number 3. I walked in and sat down to enjoy a bit more time to write…and then it hit me. Tired. Oh, so tired. My whole body suddenly felt exhausted. I decided to lay down and nap, which I did for a quick 30 minutes. I know radiation causes fatigue but I didn’t anticipate that it would happen so quickly. And maybe it didn’t, maybe I am just over tired and the running around to appointments today got the better of me. But my goodness, I am tired. It was a reminder to me that my body is still healing and still fighting. And sometimes it needs a break.

So, although I feel good about the writing that I did today, the rest will have to wait until tomorrow. For now, I will rest.