An update is way overdue but it pretty much is almost the same as last time in “Second Chemo” post with the pointed note that while the effects were expected and on time, they lasted longer than the first two times, particularly the fatigue and joint and/or muscle pains in my hands, arms and legs. I really can’t tell if it’s joint or muscle pain, or maybe it’s both. I noticed something else about the fatigue. I always assumed that the fatigue punctuated by loss of breath when I walked from one room to another or got up too fast, was caused by not eating when the side effects started; but this time I made sure that I continued to eat even during the first day. I did spend a lot of time sleeping, but I forced myself to eat and drink during the day if even just a small amount. SO…. I came to the conclusion that the cancer, itself, caused my fatigue and loss of breath. What else could it be? This was supported by my radiologist who said that cancer cells use a lot of calories to maintain themselves and grow. Huh. Side note: I can’t seem to get my weight below 200 lbs. Anyway…..
So after my 3rd chemo treatment I went back to the GYN Oncologist Surgeon to get myself re-evaluated for surgery and she concluded that the tumors did not shrink in the area they needed to in order to do a successful surgery and advised me to get radiation which is more localized and will be focused on the pelvic area and at the parametrium which is the part of my uterus that cannot be cut into because the tumors are in that and also in my vagina… AND I’m willing to bet that is the point where the cancer left my uterus and infected the lymph nodes (which is where the pain originated from). At least the chemo treatments got rid of the pain. One day I woke up and noticed it was gone, but recently, I’m feeling it again albeit not nearly as severe as it was.
Today I go for the CT scan that helps plan the radiation treatment and focuses it exactly where its got to be directed in my pelvic area. I will get tattoos of dots at the spots of entry. So I get a tattoo out of it, and for the record, I am okay with this permanent reminder of this experience in my life. I’m sure they will not be very noticeable anyway, but I wouldn’t mind if they were. When the actual treatment starts, it will be on a much different schedule than for the chemo. The treatment will be for 5-6 weeks, and every day for 5 days a week. So yeah, an inconvenience but the office is not very far at all from us. My son will have to come and wait in the waiting room, but my time in treatment will only last a few minutes once I am positioned correctly, as opposed to 5 and 6 HOURS that the chemo required. I’m sure my little man will be happy to get his Minecraft game back and that will more than make up for any of HIS inconvenience!
So there it is. I was told that the side effects of the radiation will not start until I’m around halfway through the treatment and that when they do, they will be less severe than from chemo. I’m still apprehensive because while the effects will be localized, that means total effects “could” be: diarrhea, fatigue, hair loss only on the part of the body being treated (already gone), nausea, sexual and fertility changes, skin changes, and urinary and bladder changes. Of course, these are all “possible” side effects and not written in stone, BUT with chemo, I did get the diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, and of course, hair loss; so I’m pretty sure I can expect those but radiologist says not to assume that.
So I want talk about unexpectedly getting down in the dumps. This was last Thursday during and after my appointment with the surgeon. I felt it coming on as she was giving me the news that those tumors did not shrink enough for effective surgery. I understood that, but the light I had seen at the end of the tunnel went black at the thought of more treatments coming my way. That Saturday, this past Saturday, the weather was SO nice that I decided to just take off on my own and that I did. Very cool that day so I decided to try on a pair of jeans that had been very tight last year and with the abdomen pain as subsided as it was, I wanted to see how they fit… and fit perfectly they did! Just that, alone, got me in a great mood. I left the house so fast that I forgot my head scarf and didn’t care, I never looked back. Went to a not-so-local Sears that is closing and spent over an hour in there just browsing every corner of the store and made a few really great purchases. One sweater got scooped up for $1.99, original price: $32.00–Ker CHING~! Then found a black/white scarf, which are colors I don’t have, for $5.00, original price: $20.00–good deal. Of course, I had Sears points taken off my total purchase and only paid $5.38, saving an additional $12.00. Was disappointed that the Housewares Dept was totally gone. In the parking lot chemo brain wouldn’t let me remember to hit any other places… plus I did have to get home so hubby could get to work. On the way, my GPS went down, losing satellite reception, “forcing” me to hit a yard sale happening right in front of me, with the hope that I’d regain reception because I was in uncharted territory at the time. Scooped up a large Pampered Chef stoneware cookie sheet for $10.00… roughly 1/3 the price and it was only used once… woo hoo!
The day before yesterday was another day that I ventured out and totally enjoyed my little excursion with both windows down in the car. Went to a craft store which was good but I had the wrong day’s coupons so I had to put off my purchase till a later time, Friday. No biggie.
You know, it’s really important to keep your spirits up and keep your life as free of stress as you can. So important yet seems impossible to do. Isn’t that always the way it goes? Remember through those rough times that it will pass because both the hard times and good times will pop up unexpectedly. This is a challenge that is key to survival. I’ve got to admit to you that I have been unemployed for years and this is a hardship for our family; but it’s been a blessing because if I had to work, I would not have the luxury of focusing only on myself to keep myself calm and in a good place. I have to always remind myself to take care of my needs, physical, mental and emotional. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, working on my fiber arts, and even picking up a new art for me, working with pastels. I do not feel guilty. Never feel guilty for taking care of yourself, no matter what form that takes, and it will not be the same for everyone, and not everyone will understand that necessity and/or the form it takes. Well, too bad because in the end, you’ve got to do what you have to and nobody will do it for you. You need no one’s permission, remember that.
I’ll let you go now. Thank you for reading my long posts. They could be longer but not today.