Monday, December 26, 2011

Cancer changes you

I am almost over the Radiation and even if I will be doing Herceptin all next year I think after January 11th I will consider that my bigger cancer treatment is over after 6 months: Surgery, chemo and Radiation. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but I will lie if I say that Cancer has not changed me, it has changed me in many ways, some good and some bad.

I eat much healthier than ever before, I do more exercise. I enjoy each day with my friends and family and I am thankful for each day. I have decided to do big changes with my professional life and I am super happy and excited about them, can not wait to go back to work!. I know who my real friends are and I know they will be friends for ever!. I have touched based with family that I have not spoken in years and really happy about it. I have met really special people who are going through the same as me, both here and in Spain these people are the strongest you will ever find, it is an honor to be part of their fight and life.

It has given me also many bad things that hope will get better. I do not have breasts anymore and the scarfs remind me of it every day. My body is not the same any more, I am still too sensitive to changes and do get tired very easy but I guess things will get better. I heard my son talking to a friend one day saying :" my mammy does not have hair but I like it", you probably know what I did when I heard that...I cried!, now the other day he come to me and he said.."mammy, your hair is growing"!. I also get really anxious about any symptom my body gives to me: a headache, a muscle ache anything...I know I am going to have a hard time dealing with it in the coming years as everytime something hurts I will think cancer is back.

But despite everything I am fully aware that I have got a good chance of being ok for many years and that I will not learn from this situation if I do not do real changes in my life and in me as a person. I am just really grateful for having this second chance and being able to enjoy it with the people I love the most who are my friends and family.

Radiation - More update

This is specially for Ainara as she wanted to see the machine where they do radiation. They will not do a photo with me on it but they told me that they will find a photo for me and they did. This is the place where I spend time every morning, the machine is called 2100 IX Varian and does both X ray and radiation.

You lay down in the bed and they move the bed up and back to meet the machine. The top screen has got like laser beans that are align to the 5 tattoo dots around my left breast. Then they have got a computer in front of the machine that tells them what position I have to be located exactly. The front of the machine rotates around and the top has got like metal teeth that closes and opens depending how much radiation they do. All radiations are on the left breast but with different angles. They radiate 3 times in different positions on the right, one on the top and around 4 other positions on the left side. They are targeting my left breast, my underarm and the left chest all the way up to the shoulder as that is where the next lymph nodes are located.

I have now done 17 sessions and so far so good, I have not had any burns but my skin colour is different from the right breast. The cream that Dulce sent me from Spain has been really good and so far it is really working. I do feel tired but I am not sure if it is radiation or just the busy schedules that we are having during Christmas. Around 10 days ago the machine broke and they went through the list of who was high risk and who was not high risk, the ones high risk had to be back in the afternoon, the ones with the low risk had a free day. I was given the day free which was great, meaning low risk, however it means that I will be finishing now on the 11 of January vs. earlier. I had a conversation the other day with my doctor to do double days so I could finish earlier and he told me again that I do not gain anything good with it, the only thing I might gain will be a skin burn that my plastic surgeon will not like. So we will not be doing double days and we will be finishing on the 11 of January, almost there....

I did go last week to do Herceptin as well, nothing to report that way. One hour connected to the IV through the chemo port and no side effects so really happy with it!.

Merry Christmas

Happy holidays to everyone!, It has been two weeks without writing anything but I am just having such a great time that I have got no time for anything. This Christmas are really special for us as my parents, my sister and her family are spending Christmas with us. It has been probably 3 years that we did not have a proper Christmas together as two years ago we decided to stay in California and last year only Ethan and I made it to Spain as Alberto was working and could not make it.

My parents arrived two weeks ago and I have really enjoyed them, last time they were here was back in July when I had the surgery and when I was doing Chemo and I was not up to doing much with them apart from laying down in the sofa and going for a walk. This time my mom will come with me to radiation each morning and after we will go shopping, or for a walk or just cook lunch together. Last week my sister, her husband and my two nephews arrived as well, last time they were here were 6 years ago. They have been here only for a few days but we have not stopped since they arrived, they have been bowling one day, skating another, Vasona park lights, San Francisco and they have already gone to see the Golden Warriors first NBA game!. And....during all these busy activities we had Christmas eve and Christmas day when we did not stop eating as you usually do. This Christmas we had special people staying with us for dinner and lunch which was Damaris and her family, I do not know them for a long time but they have been like family to us for the past 6 months.

The next 10 days are going to be busy, we have got a party arranged at home, a Sharks hockey game to go to, lots of shopping to do and two New years eve parties. During all these time I also have to do radiation and try to take things easy where I can as I do feel I get tired quicker than before.

Hope everyone has had a great Christmas, specially all the people who are fighting for their life, hope this Christmas has brought to them the strength they need to win the battle.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Radiation update

Hi all, have not written at all as my life is too busy lately, I guess that is a strong sign that I am coming back to normal. December is always a busy time with social events plus this one I am trying to make special effort to make it as special as possible.

So far radiation is going well, no burns, no pains, some of the appointments are really short. Mondays are X-rays to make sure that everything is ok and the radiation is happening in the right place. Tuesdays are doctor visits after radiation appointment. But the rest of the week is just the radiation appointment and you are literally in the machine for short of 10 minutes. Last Wednesday they said they were doing more X-rays and I asked them why, they explained that the doctor had added a new blocker on my radiation which could happen if there are symptoms that some areas are being radiated more than wanted, like heart or lungs, the doctor reviews X-ray every week and might modify set up if needed.The machine that they use here is different from the photos that I saw in Eva's blog, the room here is super dark and the machine is like a big screen that closes and opens depends where they radiate, the big screen rotates around you to get different angles as well. I will ask them to make a photo one day... it is called Intensity Modulated radiation and they do X-ray and everything there.

I am using the cream Aquafor which is doing great but it is so oily that is leaving marks everywhere in my clothes...The doctor said I could use Nivea, the one of the blue box but he thinks will not be as strong as Aquafor so using Nivea during the day and Aquafor at night. One of my friends from Spain who had Breast Cancer 5 years ago recomended me another cream called Biafine but it is only sold in France. She was really nice to go to Bayona and bought me two of them that my parents will be bringing with them this week. I am hoping that all these creams will help to avoid any unwanted burns for the Christmas time...

I decided that I was going to buy presents for everyone that were important to me this Christmas, so I have been busy getting presents ready and shopping like mad. I have used also the time to meet friends and have the great time shopping, eating and having a great time with all my friends. These days are busy, from lunches to cookie exchanges to Christmas parties, I think I will have around 6 parties before Christmas but I am picking up and choosing some of them as need to be realistic and can not go to all of them.

Also have got the house ready for all the Camino visitors this Christmas, have two trees in the house, all decorations up and all presents under the tree (well...except Ethan's ones that are hidden). I can not wait to see my parents in two days and looking forward to enjoy a very special Christmas.