Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Here I am world!

I know it's not the best pic, but here I am! At least you will be able to see my full "coverage!" A long lost friend stopped by my classroom the other day and he's the one that took this. Thanks Scott...we sure do miss you around Riverside! (Notice that I now have eyebrows as well...I'm so proud!)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Check out my "ride!"

My apologies for being MIA and not updating the blog. I have been super busy lately with school just around the corner...not to mention returning to work after 8 months away! YIKES! I also spent this past Sunday in a marathon day of driving to Indianapolis and back. We took Rachel back to college, got her moved into her sorority house, and spent the rest of the day buying out Target! Those of you that have taken a child to college know exactly what my day was like. For those of you that haven't reached that stage of your life yet...start saving your money now for move in day! LOL

I've now had 12 radiation treatments and so far so good. It's just stressful to be going and coming every single day, as well as getting there ON TIME! The treatment itself isn't painful, except keeping my left arm up over my head for 30 minutes isn't very "comfortable." Alas, I fear that the left side of my upper body will take quite some time to recover, and I've been told that it may never be the same. I will just have to adjust and get used to how it feels...or should I say how it DOESN'T feel since there is little sensation there. I have been asked quite often what the machine looks like that administers the radiation, so I thought that I'd let you see what it looked like.
Basically, I lie on my back on the bed of the machine. My body is kept in place by lying in a cradle that was molded to my body. I'm sent in, and the machine does the rest. I just lie there, sometimes listening to my iPod (it's broken now however) or just thinking about random things.
Today, I think I actually fell asleep for a little while because before I knew it, I was done! Remember the movie, "Ground Hog Day?" Where the exact same thing happens day in and day out? Well, that's exactly what this feels like. Same procedure, same people, just another day. But, this too shall pass. I am a little worried about teaching and receiving my treatment on the same day, but that won't happen until September 8, so I'll try not to worry about it right now. I will figure out a way to handle both at the same time. I may in bed at 6:00 PM but at least I'll get through it.

I now have 8 weeks worth of hair growth and everyone who sees me exclaims over how "LONG" it is. LOLOLOL I guess "long" is a relative term. I'm just happy that I'm no longer bald, so ANY hair to me is a welcome sight. I'll have to post a new hair pic soon.

Thanks for checking in. I'll try to not go so long before my next post.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Is it me or is it noisy in here?

I have three radiation treatments under my belt now and I can honestly say that after today (Friday) I will be ready for the weekend "break." It's not that the treatments are all that bad, it's just the grind of going every single day. There's no pain involved (thank goodness) but all in all the whole experience is a little odd.

When I was "mapped out" last week they made something called a cradle for me. Basically, it's a mat that I lie on every day that is molded to the upper half of my body with both of my arms extended up over my head. I use my right hand to hold onto my left wrist. That was a definite OUCH when they did this the first time as my left arm doesn't extend very much due to the surgery. But I've been doing stretching exercises at home and now, even after the third treatment, it goes into position much easier. Anyway, this cradle is waiting for me on the flat bed of the scanner when I get there and it's covered with a sheet. I lower myself into "position" and lie still. The room is freezing, but at least I can wear my pants! (use your imagination for the rest of me! lol) Yesterday I remembered to bring slipper socks and at least my feet were warm and toasty as well.

The techs then make sure I'm in the right position and line up my TATOOS (three tiny ones but permanent thank you very much) with a laser level (inquiring minds wanted to know how they knew I was in I asked) and I'm ready to go in. The flat bed moves me into the unit (like an MRI machine for those that have had one) and scans me for several minutes to make sure everything is in the right position. Then I move back out of the machine, still lying in the cradle on my back, freezing, and wait. and wait. and wait. Finally a tech comes back into the room, pushes the button and I move back into the tunnel of the machine and the radiation begins. No, it's not like a laser light show, although that would be cool! Basically there is only a very loud noise from the machine which is constantly circling my body. I will be able to replicate that noise on demand (for anyone that would like to hear it) for the rest of my life. After about 15 minutes I come back out and that is the end of that.

I finally asked yesterday if I could wear an ipod while getting my treatment because nobody even mentioned that to me. I was told,"Yes, LOTS of patients do that." Well thanks for letting me know. Today I will have my ipod charged and ready to go. I'm taking suggestions for what to listen to.

As of today, the only side effect I've had is being tired. So what else is new?! I keep looking at the skin in that area to see if I'm glowing (kidding) but it looks the same to me. I'll keep you posted.

Have a wonderful weekend and thanks for checking in on me.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Hot Off the Press!

The radiologist's office just called me and it looks like tomorrow is the day! My first radiation treatment will be at 2:20 and lucky herceptin infusion is right before that at 11:00! At least I'll get them both over in the same day. Let the count down begin...only 35 more to go. Do you think I'll glow in the dark?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ch Ch Ch Chia

Wondering why the strange title? Well, take a look for yourself and then you'll get it.

There is a strange resemblance between my head and the ever popular Chi shown above! I do have a covering of "hair" on my head and it does stick out in strange directions. Thank goodness mine is not green and sprout-like but even that would be welcome at this stage of the game. I couldn't resist the urge yesterday to run a comb through it. OK I know that was silly, but I just wanted to go through the motions! I'm even using a pin point amount of shampoo on my head and lathering it up. LOL The bravest thing I did this week however was going out into public without my trusty bandana on my head. Steve and I ran errands on Sunday and I decided to go au naturel. I did take my baseball cap with me in case I chickened out, but in the end I walked all the way through the computer store and Trader Joe's market with just my growing fuzz. It seems I am making progress after all! :-)

Tomorrow I have my last "filling" at the plastic surgeon (THANK GOODNESS is all I can say about that) and Thursday I have my second visit to the radiologist and she will possibly map me out for treatments that hopefully will start next week. I also have my second herceptin infusion next week at camp chemo. All in all things are moving along and with my newly "sprouted" head of hair the only place to go is forward!

Thanks again for checking in and keeping me in your thoughts.