Sunday, July 4, 2010

Entering the next phase of Operation Kick Cancer's Ass

When this whole drama started, I broke it down into four parts as I couldn't wrap my head around what was ahead of me. They were:

1. Operation
2. Chemo (8 doses)
3. Herceptin (14 doses)
4. Radiation (30 doses)

Once these four stages are complete, I can get my life back. I have completed stages one and two, and last week commenced stages three and four. Herceptin involves going to the chemo clinic every three weeks, having a needled plunged into my chest and Herceptin delivered intravenously. Which isn't different from chemo, apart from the side effects. I had my first Herceptin last Monday and I am very glad to say that it didn't knock me out for a week or more. I had the next day off work, but was all good the day after that. I was feeling anxious about the side effects, but I now know that NOTHING is as bad as chemo.

I wasn't looking forward to radiation as the planning stage was such a drama. However, I did very politely ask that if during the positioning stage, if someone was going to yank me by my ankles, I would like to be informed first. They took this on board and the first three treatments have been pretty easy so far. I also asked about why they wanted to take photos and why the positioning is so unique. I was hoping they weren't going to say because you have the weirdest boobs to ever have come through the clinic. I have to admit that I have checked out some of the other women, and I am pretty sure mine aren't the strangest. It turns out that they have never had to radiate someone in the prone position (that it technical medical talk for lying on my belly with my arms above my head) when they have to radiate my shoulder up to my neck, because so many lymph nodes were involved. I felt much better about this and feel I can contribute a photo of my shoulders and back of my head to a medical journal.

It is taking them less and less time to get me in the right position, so by the 30th treatment, they should have it perfected. Radiation doesn't hurt and I lie there thinking about lying on a beach in Tahiti, and this makes the hour go past pretty fast. I have been invited to go sailling around Tahiti with a friend and I am really hoping that by thinking about myself lying on a Tahitian beach, that I get to go. It may involve moving some of the radiation treatment, but I figure that if I had a car accident and was in a coma, they couldn't radiate me, so they should be able to delay treatment if I am on a boat sailing around Tahiti! Although, some may argue that if I am in a coma, I have bigger issues to deal with. The issues I have to deal with during radiation are red skin, rash, blistering and possible skin breakages. Luckily, this mainly happens to women with more generous servings of breast. Another curse for big boobed women! I had a dream that I blistered so badly that I couldn't wear a bra, so I refused to leave the house for six weeks. I had visions of myself as that eccentric lady who walks through town wearing a sheet as a sarong (although, I have far less facial hair and do not look like Old Man Finnegan). I really hope that stays a dream........

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