Breaking up with Tamoxifen

(Two in one day.. I know; I’m sorry! But PLEASE read this one 🙂 )

 

I am very seriously considering no longer taking Tamoxifen.

I never thought I would say that.

I never thought I would say that because I do whatever my oncologists tell me to do. And I honestly think that if Dr. Howard (my Childhood oncologist) told me to take it, I would NEVER consider dropping it.

Let’s be honest, he is a better doctor than my current oncologist.  (No worries, she doesn’t read my blog. Not even sure she would recognize me on the street or remember that I was about to get married the last time I saw her.)

I am kind of shocked at myself for even considering dropping the drug. I love modern medicine. Really.

When people insult chemotherapy I take that personally because I went through it in all of my glory and it was WORTH IT. I won’t let anyone tell me it was not worth it and green tea would have done the job much easier.

And well, I knew all the statistics when I started taking Tamoxifen and I kind of knew what to expect and I knew it wouldn’t be pretty. I told myself ‘it ain’t chemo’ and got on with it.

So, in a week I set the date for my second mastectomy. The stats are still the same this month as they were before. After my second mastectomy, chances of reoccurrence are 1%, with or without the Tamoxifen.

I’m not really feeling listing why I want to drop it from my regimen after surgery, but I do want to know how you all feel about this. If you have not taken the drug, the side effects are insane. Feel free to do some research, because it’s not just hot flashes and butt expansion. The unlisted ones are also insane (for example, lightening fast stabbing headaches up to 40 times an hour. I counted this morning. I know it is PROBABLY the Tamoxifen because of previous conversations with my medical team and because I left my meds at home when I went to the beach with Camp… and they stopped. They came back about 2 weeks after I came home and resumed meds.).

 

So, tell me ‘bout it. Pros and cons from your vantage point? Any experience??

(yes, I know I need to talk to my medical team about it. I will. But I’m talking to you first!)

Silicone

The thing about my current fake boob is this:

I am confused about cleaning it.

I cant wait until the silicone is inside my body and I don’t have to open my browser and Google, “how to clean prosthetic breast”

But I just did that and now that I’m sure I’m doing it correctly, I won’t have to Google it again.

Also.

Mastectomy bras offer absolutely no discretion when it comes to the nipple. However, my fake one doesn’t HAVE a nipple so I have walked around for months now with lopsided nipples. Im sure people think I just have one nipple that is over active. On the other hand, when I see a woman with one active nipple, now I just assume that she, like me, has a dumb mastectomy bra on and her fake boobie doesn’t have a nipple either.

Do they even make them with nipples?

How many times can I type that word in one post??

Anyway, Im off to wash my fake boob.

 

PS If you need a good strapless or multi-way bra for your prostetic boob, and- like me- you cant find a good mastectomy one, Victoria’s Secret‘s new Body by Victoria line has a really great multi way bra that holds the boob in really well and curves around it naturally. There is no ‘drop off’ effect and I have no worries that the boob is going to go flying through the air, like it tends to do when Im not wearing a mastectomy bra!

What’s Your Pain Level

How is it that our doctors don’t scour the internet to read forums and see what people are saying about our treatments? How is it that I have heard and read (even on the packaging for my lovely Tamoxifen) that certain side effects might just happen to a number of women but my oncologist says that is not the case?

There is nothing more irritating than knowing something is not normal and having a doctor or ANYONE tell you that it has absolutely nothing to do with your treatment and then STILL not help you figure out what it is. When the response is, ‘It’s not the meds, keep taking them.’ And you ask, ‘What is the issue, then?’ and they can only answer, ‘I don’t know’ and go no further to help you, there is a problem.

A very serious problem.

I don’t care about that the fact that the ‘issues’ are probably not life threatening, it is just that I know there is something up and I want to know why. I want it acknowledged that something is not right.

I mean, I haven’t complained to my oncologist about the silly things:  the acne (I have NEVER had acne in my life but this hormone blocker is making me break out like an 8th grade boy), the expanding hips (Ill just keep up my workouts and complain to Blake and all of you about that one), the cracked and peeling finger nails, etc… But I have told her about the things I think she can either help or reduce and the things she may want to know about as they are considered abnormal or serious on the packaging.

Those things include blurred vision and trouble focusing and constant sore throat, bone pain and severe uterine pain.

My cycle has moved from a solid 28 days to 30 days, to 34 days, etc. It hung in there for a while but recently it went all the way to 46 days. On day 43 I doubled over in pain while taking a shower and freaked myself and Blake out. The next morning I called my oncologist and she told me to go in to the ER to get checked out.

I did, of course. I do everything they tell me. I can’t help it.

I  wasted 5 plus hours of my life only to leave the ER with no information. The doctor did not tell me any of my test results or give me copies as I requested. Instead, he came in and said that he had talked to my oncologist and had decided that it was all in my head.

Of COURSE I was making up the horrible pain and absentee period! (Sorry if that is TMI, but bodies are strange creatures and that is actually relevant)

Completely logical explanation.

The next day I received a call from my oncologist’s nurse and she told me that they did find a cyst. This is not abnormal to me, as there are cysts in every ultrasound I have ever had. I even told them there was probably a cyst there, but this was not normal pain for a cyst. Nor was it located in a normal cyst pain area. Anyway, she told me it was probably the cyst I was feeling when I experienced the pain- the pain that I informed her had dulled but was still present. I inquired about the, now, 44 day cycle. Her response was that my doctor said it had nothing to do with my estrogen blocker. That’s it.

Up until last Friday I experienced that pain constantly and I had absolutely no idea what to do about it.

My positive thought is that I go see my surgeon two weeks from today and he and his staff seem to know more about the treatment of premenopausal women than my oncologist does. They prepared me more than she has, for sure. I fully expect to leave the surgeons office with answers or at least an idea of what is going on and I know they will help me if they can- if it is possible.

Because dang it! It hurts!

Maybe it wouldn’t be so annoying to me except that I DO NOT complain about pain. I just don’t. Not until it is ridiculous.

My mother used to stare me down when a nurse asked my pain level after surgeries. My answer is always 3. I think any pain that is not making my want to kill things is a 3. I have gotten screamed at by my loved ones for refusing pain meds more than I can count. Going to the doctor and asking for help was really tough for me to do, but I was really in that much pain. And I was scared.

So. Do you guys have any info you can share? And advice or links to advice? I’ve read every forum and popular medical site that addressed this with little luck.

Bald on the Inside

I feel like I should regularly have more updates for you all. I mean, the exciting life of a breast cancer patient is never ending, right?!

Well. Not so much.

I have pretty much the most boring life ever, right now. But I’m okay with that.

And most days I worry or think about normal life junk more than breast cancer junk. Stuff like money. Where the hell does it all go and why don’t we have any? And my dog. Why does he shed SO MUCH? What if he secretly hates me? If I ever have babies will he hate them?!

But breast cancer is occasionally a part of these worries.

For instance, I wore the foam boob the other day because sometimes it’s just less.. hot. I went to the pet store to buy dog food and look at cute animals andsomeone got to witness my prostetic falling out and onto the ground. In the PET STORE. By the gerbils. He handled it well though. He was crouched down next to where it fell and just kinda did a double take at it on the ground, picked it up and handed it to me. Then we continued on with our conversation.

It was a beautiful moment, really.

But on the drive home my brain went haywire.

I’m wearing the foam boob for lots of boring clothes related and comfort related reasons. What if I lean down to hug an adorable child or seated adult? What if I go all sorority pose for a photo op and lean down a little too far?! What if I do these things and that boob just flies out?!

Well.

It’d be a memory…

But really. Sometimes it’s just hilarious.

The hot flashes are funnier, but I wont get in to that.

I wish the other side effects were as funny as the hot flashes. But I have yet to make a memory out of the joint and bone pain, the uterine pain or my constantly growing rear end.

Okay, that last one is just funny on its own.

But really, I know I’ve got it easy.

I had my check up the other day, and while I was the youngest and I got some pretty ridiculous looks… I was also the ‘healthiest’.

It’s okay, though. I didn’t feel left out.

98

I think Ive posted this before, but I thought it was fitting to post again 🙂

I know we are all bald on the inside.

I like big butts and I cannot lie?

Tamoxifen. I know you all are probably SICK of hearing about Tamoxifen.

But listen, it’s new for me!

And it’s freakin’ crazy what it does to me and my body!

Obviously, by body is a little wonky for a 27 year old woman, anyway, but this sure doesn’t help.

I mean, with Tamoxifen, I may as well be going through menopause. I’m not even kidding.

Just a few short weeks after I was diagnosed with my Breast cancer, I was given my fertility ‘diagnosis’ from my TLC doctors (Taking on Life After Cancer – I go to keep up with my side effects from the year of intense inpatient chemo and such from my Osteo) and it was on the really low end of the normal spectrum, but there was still a chance. To me, that would mean that my body’s on a cusp, right? It’s a precarious situation! Like balancing a see-saw at the playground!

I went from living as a seemingly normal 27 year old, pre-manopause, to something else.

I am not used to these insane, monumental body changes!

So, sure. We all know about the EPIC hot flashes it causes. Man they are epic. I feel like I’ve been dropped in a deep fryer on a really regular basis. The muscles in my legs and my abdomen are the worst- they burn from the inside and I literally think I’m going to cook! Haha It gets intense, especially in this Alabama summer heat!

(These Hot flashes ARE SO INTENSE that I have woken up in the morning to start my day with my pajamas all over the floor and hung up in the sheets… I have done so with NO memory of stripping them off in the night! My brain is so upset by them that it won’t even wake me up to take off the clothes! It just makes me do it!)

And you all know about it causing me to be exceptionally exhausted every afternoon, no matter what I do (unless I drink a spark!). You know that it’s not just normal tired, but crazy headache, wobbly eyed, pms-y tired. And some of you are probably experiencing these same exact things.

But here is what is currently weirding me out: I have not gained a pound, but my hips are growing!

The men have always joked that the women in my family get a little bigger down there as we age… but this is crazy. I have no aged, yet!

I was warned that I might gain weight, so I needed to keep up with my exercise and healthy eating- that hasn’t been an issue at all. I get hormonal weight changes and bloating- sometimes up to 5 lbs- and that;s new, but only lasts a day. My waist is still the same it was the day I started the meds (maybe an inch smaller, even), but my butt… that’s a whole other story.

I had no intention of going through any of the physical changes of menopause at the ripe age of 27! Since I am, I guess I will just embrace my butt and do some extra squats! Let’s hope nothing too weird happens to my body before this is all over… and let’s hope my butt doesn’t get too much bigger, I have a wedding dress to fit it into!

PS Please don’t let me start growing random hairs just yet. Please. I am not ready for that, not yet!

Over Compensating (or Tales of a pretend wonder woman)

Sometimes I like to completely over compensate and try to be wonder woman. For real.

Today, for instance, I had to run a few errands- one in particular. I really needed to have my oil changed and my tires rotated and such. So, I did that. Then I went grocery shopping.

A lot of people that are helping me really hate when I go alone, but sometimes I really like to- because I’m wonder woman.

So, I pushed my buggy around while using my crutches and worked off some of my anxiety over the day (my family is crazy) and got stuff for dinner and breakfast for the week. It was fine. No big deal, just a few weird looks, per usual (That girl on crutches is pushing her own buggy and not using a motorized cart! It’s insanity up in here!!).

Then I got home.

And I had to carry the groceries in.

Up the stairs.

Why do I do this to myself?

I put the milk in my purse and everything else into a big reusable shopping bag and threw both over my shoulder. Once Id made it up the stairs, my purse broke.

I couldn’t even be upset because I was so satisfied with what I had done! Not to mention, my AdvoCare distributor packet was waiting for me on my doorstep. Hooray!

(I decided to sign up as a distributor because, what do you know if they don’t make the one thing I have found that pulls me out of my slump! The product I fell in love with is Spark- you can find the ingredient list and info here: http://www.advocare.com/products/active/A2094.aspx and my website here: https://www.advocare.com/13055182 This stuff is seriously awesome and packed full of vitamins and good stuff!)

Anyway. I am not wonder woman.

But I sure did enjoy pretending to be, today.

Let’s talk about boobs

Seriously.

Breast cancer brings up two subjects that most people aren’t comfortable talking about openly: Cancer (and therefore mortality) and boobs.

Okay, some people talk about boobs pretty openly, but only with certain people they know. But I don’t want to talk about boobs in that way.

For some girls, breasts are a major part of their identity. This is particularly the case for those of us who were blessed beyond the norm for our size, and sometimes we don’t even realize how much of our identity is put into them. I really mean identity, here- not self worth, though, that is occasionally the case as well.

Well.

In the last year to year and a half, I went from a DD to a small C and now I’ve only got one of ‘em!

I’d be lying if I said this hasn’t taught me a thing or two about myself and my identity.

I started eating healthy, working out and making an overall effort to be healthier near the end of 2011. It was super gradual until the beginning of 2012. Obviously, as the pounds shed, the boobs shrank and I was amazed! I’ve never been a big girl, but I’ve been curvy for as long as I can remember. I really loved that they shrank, and when I realized it—I found that shocking.

Fast forward to being diagnosed with breast cancer.

In the short time between diagnosis and mastectomy, I got really concerned with how much my body has changed and how my identity had already BEEN affected. Not how it would be affected (yet).

It hit me like a ton of bricks and I was ashamed of myself for being so upset about things that ‘are so petty in the face of cancer’.

I kept it to myself MOST of the time and it nearly drove me mad.

Post mastectomy, here I am.

I have 3 breast forms and I only know where one of them is right now, because when I get home I toss it like I do my shoes. I put it somewhere and hope I’ll find one before I walk about the door again.

And LET ME TELL YOU. These things SUCK.

I am 27 years old. I’m starting to get wrinkles as the elasticity in my skin gives in to being overly expressive. And, since I have been spoiled with good skin my whole life, I tend to do the minimum when it comes to creams and cleansers.

This does not just apply to my face, guys.

Skin sags!

Especially after you lose 15 pounds! (So far, I don’t have saggy arms, and for that, I am thankful.)

Let me get to the point.

Breast forms are solid. And I mean SOLID. While I may have the correct size equalizer/breast form, it is one perky little boob when compared to a normal human breast. It does not need lotion to help with elasticity or sag to the side when laid on its back. It does not mold beautifully into a favorite bra. It just… IS.

And it’s kind of plastic-like, so this humidity coupled with my body heat means that thing basically becomes a suction cup to my perfectly flat and sculpted pectoral muscle.

Taking off a bra will never feel as good as it used to, because I can compare it to taking out a breast equalizer.

Some days, particularly hot days (which I have a LOT- thanks Hot flashes caused by Tamoxifen!), I curse myself for listening to my surgeons nurse. The surgeon asked her, while we were meeting one final time to plan surgery, “Are we giving her an expander?” To which she replied, “No. Not at all.”

I had done a good bit of research on my own and saw no real reason for one, but wasn’t opposed to it, either, if they thought it would help in the long run.

So, my surgeon leaves the room and the nurse says, “I’m sure you just heard him ask about giving you a breast expander. I felt like you wouldn’t need one- and by that I mean that medically, it will be more trouble than it is worth for you. It won’t help when we reconstruct (meaning they will have to transplant tissue with or without it) and they can be really painful. We usually only give it to women to help with confidence—some women just want to wake up and still have a something there.”

I told her I didn’t really care if anything was there. Because I didn’t.

I don’t.

But boy do clothes fit weird. And if it meant not wearing these horrid breast forms and equalizers?

Well. Yeah. Sometimes I really wish I had acted like I really cared about waking up and feeling like I still had some semblance of a breast. But I didn’t.

(I would like to note that this is the case for me, not everyone. An expander can be very helpful for some women. I’m also not knocking wanting something to be there when you wake up from surgery. Totally get that, too.)

And now I have 3 breast forms.

Two are what they call equalizers and are heavy latex type things with plastic coatings. Of those, one is a size too big (::cough cough:: a size too perky) and the other is the correct size, but incredibly dense and heavy. Also, Albus just found that one and ate part of it, rendering it useless.

I also have one that is called a breast form. It is foam and not weighted, so it slides up my chest and occasionally out of my bra all together. Can you imagine your fake boob falling out of your shirt in Target while you look at shoes?

I can.

I have experienced that.

It was like I had been caught stuffing my bra or something… well, I guess I HAD been stuffing my bra, hadn’t I? Anyway, this one is super comfortable because it is light and has a cloth covering. It is usable in a bathing suit, which is why I got it (trying on bikini’s is going to be so much fun!).

In all seriousness, though. These things are rather important! I have left the house only a few times without a prosthetic, usually because I couldn’t find one and my shirt was loose enough or my bra was formed enough (or both working together) that it was just not noticeable, and as soon as I remembered it,  I got a little panicky.

I get panicky because I DO have an identity that involves my gender norm. Not only my gender norm, but I have seriously always had boobs. Realizing that takes the guilt out of caring about it and makes me see that I am not petty to care about them.

I am a woman, and I want to look like a whole woman. That is totally not petty! I am officially putting this all on the table because I think that if someone had told me this, I wouldn’t have let it get to me so much. Now that I’ve accepted it, I’m obviously okay telling you guys that my boob fell out in Target and all sorts of other things.

So, I guess I need embrace my love/hate relationship with my breast equalizers and schedule an appointment to replace the equalizer that my dog ate, huh?

Here’s a photo of that, by the way:photo(6)

A Return to Normalcy

Though, for America and Harding that was WWI. This is my WWII.

Isn’t that comparison so strange? War and Cancer. I think I may have read something about in a blog not too long ago… maybe? I don’t know. But it is oh so weird sometimes… (but I use it when I talk about my support system- or as you guys know them, my ‘cancer army’).

If compared to war, it’s more like the days of the draft and less like now, where we can choose to enlist. I had no choice. I never made any decisions that led to my disease (either time), which I constantly want to point out when people compare cancer to things that, at some point, involved a choice.

I had no intention of this post going in this direction, but my choice in title led me here. Oops.

The word of the day is choose, I guess!

I have chosen to return to work! My body says go for it on a few levels.

Ill explain.

I went back for a few shifts and completely ruined recovery from surgery. I became a swollen achy mess. I wound up back in the wheel chair and it was really unpleasant for me! That little taste of my previous routine was wonderful.So, I sat and sat and sat and MADE FLOWERS for the wedding (as many of you have been pushing me to do to get my mind off of things) and learned to relax again, despite pains and swelling and cancer junk.

Over the last two weeks I have added more and more activities to my day or week. For a while, all I was really doing was going to the bathroom by myself! Slowly, I started going up and down there stairs by myself. Then we stopped using the wheel chair at grocery stores for short trips, then longer, bigger trips. Then we took the chair out of the car! It was incredible. Im still jubilant over that (Why don’t people say jubilant more??!)! Then I started walking Albus every now and then (by that I mean… 2 times a week) and eventually every morning. Now I walk him every morning and sometimes in the afternoon, with only a little help from others when i am not able.

Over time, my activities could increase because the swelling stopped being so extreme and about 2 weeks ago, it became almost nonexistent. I won’t say it’s gone, because this past weekend I really did quite a bit and have just the littlest bit of fluid under my skin.

I have no idea why this much time was necessary. From my start over point, it has been about a month and a half, I guess. Now that I don’t have any pain, it was totally worth it.

My only issues with returning to daily life are due to my exhaustion. I think part of that is due to my lack of activity, so, I’m starting off slowly at work. I have 3 half shifts this week and they are on light days. Hopefully we can build them back up and I can build back up in my work outs, too. Right now though, this will be me ‘taking it easy’.

Is anyone out there on Tamoxifen? Are any of you experiencing extreme fatigue?! I think mine is worse at about 2 hours after taking it, then it does not get better.

Do you know how bad I want to do a push up? I really want to do a push up. I never thought I would say that.

No worries, though. I’m being good and building to that point in my work out.

Now it’s time for some photos from my huge weekend!

The first two paper flowers I made. These are about as big as my head

The first two paper flowers I made. These are about as big as my head

Most of the family at my grandmothers surprise birthday dinner.

Most of the family at my grandmothers surprise birthday dinner.

Me and my cousin Ella

Me and my cousin Ella

Me and my cousin Audrey. Showin off tattoos and crutches.

Me and my cousin Audrey. Showin off tattoos and crutches.

The next two are of me and two of my best friends in the whole world, at a dinner for young adults that have survived childhood cancers. Amanda and I have known each other for about 15 years and Tina and I have known each other for about 12 years.

Me, Tina and AmandaAmanda, me, Tina

And that’s it!

I was so exhausted after the weekend that it took me about 2 days to recuperate! I looked so tired that people even told me I looked tired! haha

783 worries and a few cliche’s

Mither (1 of 2)

Mither (1 of 2) (Photo credit: Brett Jordan)

This past weekend got me thinking about my mortally, to be frank.

It got me thinking about it because well, there’s the obvious. But also because before I was diagnosed I’d joke about and say, “I’ve already had cancer once. I don’t think I’m going to get it again for a long, long time.” But here I am. 14.25 years of remission and diagnosed again. All before the age of 30. My body is so freakin’ fancy.

This is actually something I meditated on a lot when I was first diagnosed with my new friend, breast cancer.

But that’s another post.

Thinking about that this past weekend, I realized that I really DON’T think about it as much as some would assume.

I worry about alllllll of those other things.

I’ve probably mentioned most of those things in other posts. But really, I worry about some seemingly petty things and some things that I never thought I’d be worrying about.

My first worry is my job. I have had to take off quite a bit of time because of my set back with recovery and this new pain that popped up a month later. I worry that I’m disappointing my boss, the managers, the people that pointed me in the direction of the job, etc. I worry that it won’t be my job when I can go back.

I worry about money (duh) because I’m not working and because in parking alone, we have spent about 100 dollars- and I’m not even done yet! They never prepare you for that freakin’ parking, do they? Hah

Those are normal worries, I think.

Relationship worries are huge. I’m sure this is something a lot of people relate to in one way or another.

As I’ve mentioned, I‘ve lost a friend or two since diagnosis.  But let’s go further…

I worry that old friends or people I have had failed relationships with have come back because they pity me. That new friends are only nice to me out of pity. I really hate pity, and it makes me really upset to think that- but I can’t really stop those assumptions or worries sometimes.

I have no idea why I’m putting this in print and will be posting it to the internet, but I am. It’s like I think that if I confess all of these worries, I’ll purge myself of them. Then I can surrender to life again and just feel a lot better about my situation, which is really not bad. Worrying is, though.

Anyway, relationships.

I worry that people are scared of me and what will happen to me because I’m going through cancer again.

I worry that people will get mad over my blog (self caused worry, there, but still a worry)

I worry about all of these things because at some point or another, I have known people who have had all of these feelings about a situation.

‘Oh I have to call so-and-so or invite so-and-so because they are sick/having a hard time/etc’

‘She’s only with him because she doesn’t have the heart to break up with him’

‘I had to take some time off of work because of an injury so they found a loophole to use to fire me’

The list goes on when it comes to relationships. I can literally lay in bed for hours and hours and dissect every relationship I have convince myself that it has changed or is only in existence because of the news I got on December 28th of 2012. It makes me feel absolutely psychotic! But I know it’s all really insane for me to worry about. However, I also know that I’m not the only one that thinks those things sometimes. And I only know that… because I know so many people that had cancer as teenagers. And I was their friend when they were going through it… and I know that they told me they had those worries. Sometimes we still talk about that sort of thing. So, at least I know I’m not so crazy that I’m the only person to worry about those things.

More serious worries are about my health and how it will affect my future. Not the mortality stuff… but the other stuff.  I already have quite a few side effects from my chemo and have to watch my heart because of the Adriamycin. I may not be having chemo THIS time, but I know that there will be things to watch again just because of the cancer. For instance, breast cancer is related to a few not so fun cancers and my ovaries and thyroid will need to be monitored. And sure, I’m having a mastectomy on the right breast next year, but do you know how thoroughly I check it for changes? I’m sure you do if you are a patient or survivor.

Oddly enough, I never worried about anything coming back with my first cancer, and it was actually aggressive. This time, my cancer is kind of a wuss comparatively. I know that. Doctors know I know that, and they have said almost exactly those words to me. It’s not new knowledge. But here I am. Poking already biopsied lumps and bumps just in case they change before they are removed.

I promise I haven’t gone all negative Nancy on you guys. I’m just a mildly obsessive person and when insomnia strikes or something triggers a thought, my brain can just take it and run until I catch myself. Then it’s back to meditating and deep breathing so I can laugh at myself later. And you know, tell you guys how absolutely insane I can be.

So, hopefully that purged my worries and my brain can be all footloose and fancy free for the rest of my days!

Mass decisions

“It is important to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated.” A. Dumbledore

What an appropriate quote, huh? A Harry Potter version of ‘Run to the Bear’.

Now, the post:

The good news is that I do NOT have to have radiation.

What?!

I know, right.

I have been told since January 2nd that my tumor was just SO HUGE that I would need radiation. There was not a single appointment in which I was told otherwise… Until last week.

I went in to see the radiologist on my team, and she said I didn’t need it. The side effects would do more harm than the radiation would do good.

I KNEW this would upset my surgeon, so I waited for the call from his office. I got it the very next day. My team had decided to send my case to the tumor board and let them decide. They would look over my case as MY case, not as one of the masses with my type of breast cancer. I became an individual when they decided what to do. They looked at my personal history with cancer and the side effects I have or will likely have from my previous treatments, they looked at family history, and they looked at my tumor’s personality… and they said no radiation is needed, apparently.

Would you believe me if I told you this scares the shit out of me? That I’m not that big of a fan of the decision?

I mean, I feel better now that a whole board of people looked at my case. But I still have the lingering feeling from the first day my radiologist threw me that curveball.

When I had cancer at 12 years old, I had a really aggressive treatment protocol. Like, crazy aggressive. I was in the hospital every other week for a week of intravenous chemotherapy. I lost my hair in about a day (ok, really it was about two weeks- but still).  I’ve said it all along, my curse and my advantage in this is that I have done it before. While I look forward to the arrogant surgeons and decisive oncologists, I have expectations for what will happen. And aside from that, I’ve lived in this world of cancer for 15 years. And as stated before, I’ve seen it cause some damage. From that perspective, my thinking is… “What the crap?! No! Blast me!”

However, this is better. I mean. No radiation?! Heck yeah no radiation! I wasn’t looking forward to it; I’m just programmed to think I need to be treated aggressively if I want to live, when it comes to cancer.

So heck yeah, no radiation!

My skin and my heart are rejoicing! No damage will be done to them!

I’m still not done, though. I’ve still got to meet with my oncologist and start this little pill since my cancer is hormone receptive. But hey, I can take a pill every day. Just pass it to me with a diet coke and we will get this done.

Otherwise, this weekend was a bit of a fuss. I ended up at the UAB emergency room because of an exposed stitch that became infected (EW) and some fluid buildup out of NOWHERE. Turns out, I’ve totally over done it and that is what caused the buildup. I am to sit still (don’t use my crutches) and slow down on stretching and such for a while. No more work for a bit and not for long shifts when I go back. Apparently, I jumped back into that a little sooner than my surgeon would have liked.

Oops.

I just really wanted to go back to normal. And since I have been numb up until this weekend, I haven’t been able to tell if I’m overdoing.  I’ve also had some fat necrosis in my side and around the incision. Kinda disgusting, but it has all either gone away on its own or it was taken care of today.

Plans are to get this pill going at the beginning of next month and recon in 11 months. Now, who wants to tell me about their implants??