What Does October Mean to You?

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October is here…it’s always been my favorite month in Texas.  The weather starts cooling off, the sunsets are amazing and there’s just a freshness in the air.  Now it also brings something more…PINK. Yep, pink is EVERYWHERE for Breast Cancer Awareness month!!!

The NBCF ribbon

  Every survivor/fighter/conqueror has their own opinions on it and there isn’t one that’s more right than another…they’re all personal.  For me personally, the pink itself totally doesn’t bother me.  It makes me feel seen and heard and that others really do see the urgency in fighting this disease. 

What DOES bother me are the ‘cute’ slogans: 

  • “Save the Tatas”
  • “Save the Girls”
  • “Save Second Base”

Sure the intent is 100% pure and I completely understand and appreciate it.  But I ’m here to tell you…there is NO saving the breasts.  They are never the same.  Whether it’s a lumpectomy or mastectomy the a woman’s breasts are NEVER saved. 

Breast Cancer Awareness is about saving a LIFE. Saving the WOMAN.

Rather than spread more pink, last year I decided to share the nitty gritty of my personal journey with Breast Cancer.   I started sharing here on this page last October and made it through my process up to the point that I was finishing chemo.  

This October, I’m taking you with me on the next phases of the journey. From radiation to ‘survivorship’ and what that has looked like.  So join me…this is Breast Cancer awareness.

February 2019 ended on a high note…

IV chemo was DONE!!!!!  I  felt better finally and was ready to take on the next steps which included Radiation and a pill form of chemo called Xeloda. 

Kaleb and I  met with our radiation oncologist and got TONS of information…

02.26.2019 “So much information and yet I  still really don’t get it all. I ’ll do 28 actual treatments-before that we do a planning session and trial run.  Most people seem to tolerate it well but of course I’m nervous because it seems like I  haven’t tolerated very many things well on this journey.  He said I ’m not just getting treatment to the breast but also the chest wall because there was suspicion there at one point.  I ’m worried about burning and also any effects to my heart and esophagus . With it being on the left side, it can cause heart issues down the road.  Such a hard thing to grasp, you want to do all you can to eliminate disease  but then never know what can happen down the road”

Before we embarked on those next steps, it was clear that the past chapters were something that were worth celebrating.  On March 1, my husband and I  were headed to a company dinner with some of his coworkers (or so I  was told!).  I  was excited to actually get dressed and feel good and get to go out! It was kind of a big deal for me! I  remember texting different outfits to my friends and getting suggestions on which wig to wear so that I  could feel normal for just one night.

I had NO idea what was in store for me.

We walked into a restaurant to ‘meet his coworkers for a drink before dinner’ and what I walked into was ASTOUNDING!!!!  A group of friends there all to celebrate…to celebrate that chemo was over and we were moving on.  

It was unreal the amount of support that was there…some of my closest friends and then some who I just knew from our community.  But there were all there to support and it was incredible!  It was a night I  will never forget and that I  will forever be grateful for, but I  almost felt guilty.  It’s a strange feeling. 

I felt so loved and couldn’t be more thankful but for some reason I  felt so bad about it at the same time.  

04.08.2019 “I started radiation…I’ve done 10 sessions so far.  It’s easy and like getting an x=ray.  The first day was terrifying thought.  I  walked into a hall with all of these inspirational quotes which should have made me feel great and reassured.  But it actually got me all choked up.  It was a very uneasy feeling.  Then I laid on a table with laser beams going across the room to line up with my tatooed markings.  My hands go above my head and I hold onto bars (which doesn’t feel great since I  don’t have full range of motion).  I  turn my head to the right to keep my throat out of the way.  Then 10 minutes later I ’m up and ready to walk out.

Getting to sport my radiation fashion gear!

I  haven’t started to burn yet, but my throat hurts terribly, it’s like I have strep throat but more down in my neck.  It’s almost like having something stuck in my throat 24/7.  It’s painful to swallow, to drink anything, to eat, it all hurts.  Today my Radiation Oncologist said he would call in liquid hydrocodone and a liquid numbing medicine to try, I’m hoping it brings some relief because I  don’t know how I  can do 4 more weeks of this. 

The same day I  started radiation, I  also started Xeloda. 

I  take 3 pills in the morning and 3 pills at night.  The worst part so far is remembering to take them and just being tired.  I  mean the combo of chemo plus radiation is pretty rough on the energy level so I ’m TRYING to make myself nap or rest everyday.  It’s not easy but I ’m really trying.

My hair is slowly coming in! It’s not like it did when I  had the break before starting Taxotere, but it’s there.  It’s much finer and more gray than last time but I ’m really hoping it will start to thicken up a bit.  I  can even deal with gray, just give me some hair please!!!!”

My morning routine with chemo pills and vitamins

Looking back, I remember the exhaustion…it was awful. 

There was no way around it, regardless of what I  did and it was so frustrating.  I just wanted to feel normal again.  I  think since I  wasn’t getting my infusions, it seemed like life should be going back to the way it used to be. But it wasn’t.  

I did start to get pretty anxious and fearful of the whole ‘what next’…I  had written this in my journal:

“Sometimes I  wonder what’s next? My primary focus has been to beat cancer. But when this is all over, what will I  do? Without appointments and treatments and everyday facing something? Praying I  can start to hear God’s voice for what to prepare me for.  To prepare my heart and mind for the next steps, to be wise and follow His guidance.  To have confidence in doing His will.” All of the Breast Cancer Awareness doesn’t prepare you for any of this.

Talk about a frustrating way to feel!!!!  I  should have been so happy that I  was nearing the end, but I was still so dang fearful.  

Here are the posts from last October that led to this point in my journey:


Discovery

Diagnosis

Waiting For Treatment to start

Chemo #1 Starts

Life During Chemo

Life During Chemo Part 2

Starting Chemo #2

Big Bump in the Road

Home at Last

Surgery

Starting Chemo #3

Going into the New Year

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