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Sunday, May 2, 2010

I really think that is a real light at the end of the tunnel...

Yes indeedy. I got some good news on Friday. As I was leaving radiation, one of the technicians commented that this coming Thursday was my last day. I was thinking it was Friday. So I made her double check. Yes, indeedy, I only have 4 days of radiation left! Thursday is my last radiation.

That is a huge milestone. Thursday will be the last active day of cancer treatment.

There are still 8 or 9 Herceptin infusions left (so, about 27 weeks), but compared to everything else, those are nothing. Even the Victory Center doesn't consider someone doing just Herceptin to be in "active treatment."

So far, radiation has been pretty easy. I've had minimal skin discomfort. Mostly itching, which so far has been easily dealt with. Just today I noticed some chafing on the back of my arm pit, where my arm rubs on the armholes of my shirts.

The biggest issue has been fatigue, and that gets worse by the day. It's normal for it to increase for as long as 6 weeks after radiation therapy ends and last for up to 12 months. In several places, I've read that sometimes people never fully recover from it, even years after radiation therapy has ended.

This simply is not an option. I will get my life back. I will feel better than I did before.

However, I'm so tired of feeling tired. Lately, I've been faking it pretty well, but I really am dragging. I've gone to soccer games, exercised, had dinner guests, and even done some housework, but really I'm dragging. And I can tell it's getting worse by the day. I still feel the cognitive functions of chemo, and fatigue is not a Good Thing to tack on to that. I really am forgetful, and organizing even the most simple things is quite the challenge. For instance, remembering to get frozen food out out and then to actually get it cooked frequently eludes me. Exercise really does seem to help. I suppose that is because exercising increases the oxygen in the blood. Ironically, the only time I don't feel like I'm dragging or tired is during and briefly after periods of exercise.

Because I so enjoyed those few weeks of feeling really good and because I'm so tired of feeling tired and yucky, I'm thinking of delaying my reconstructive surgery until after summer is over. Summer should be a time to feel good. I meet with my plastic surgeon in June and will discuss delaying it with her then.

As far as my skin goes, it's redder, I've developed more freckles, and it's dry. So far, no peeling, flaking, or burning. No blisters or sores, and the skin isn't tight or contracting. I'm hoping for very few permanent side effects and minimal complications.

Regardless, I really feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it's getting bigger and brighter every day.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Dawn... I hope you have turned that final corner on the road to complete recovery. Your attitude has been amazing, and I'm sure that has helped your healing process. I hope I'll get to see you this summer if I am forced to make that annual trip to the Midwest that I try to avoid every year. LOL. If I can see you, maybe it won't seem like a total waste of a week of my life. <3 <3 <3

Anonymous said...

I am so excited about the end of your radiation treatment! Be kind to yourself, don't expect too much right away. In my case, the couple weeks following the end of radiation were pretty difficult, but by 3 weeks out, I began to see a slow, but definite improvement in my energy level. It does get better.

Pancake Goddess said...

dates asap, cee, so we can all be together together! dawn, you will feel better, have normal energy, and totally recover <3

grilledcheesegoddess said...

Yes, Cee. Dates asap. I'm busy the first week of July and the second week of june....oh, and a few days the first week of August.