Fight like a girl

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

8 Days of Radiation left ......

I only have 8 days left of Radiation therapy and I have to say that what I am going through was NOT expected.  This past week has really been hard..... a my testimony.  Although I still have STRONG faith, I have lost something.  I have lost my positive attitude.

Sunday in church I had a wonderful friend come back and pray with me (she is also our pastors wife).  She knew I was hurting. Although I couldn't hear her words during that prayer with all going on in church, I felt the holy spirit in her.  I poured my heart out to her telling her that I am just so tired of being positive all the time.  I told her how everyone was watching me and watching to see how I react to this cancer.  She assured me that they were watching, but they were watching to see my faithfullness, which I have never lost. She told me that it was ok to not be positive and it was ok to feel this way.  Just because I was not positive, didn't mean that I lost my faith.  She was (and is) so right!  I do have faith, more than anyone could ever know!  Honestly, at this point, my positive attitude has been trampled to death.

Before you read on, I want to apologize for the picture below.  It is graphic.  There is nothing wrong or sinful with showing this picture, I am covered.  I want you to know that I am not posting this for any other reason than to tell my cancer story.  So if you are offended, I do apologize.

So, I mentioned that I lost my positive attitude.  This is why.  

This is my 23'rd radiation treatment.

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I cannot express the pain, soreness, itchiness and discomfort of wearing clothes at this point.  The word 'sunburn' has a whole new meaning.  But unlike a sunburn, which feels better each day, a radiation burn gets worse after each treatment.  Not just because of the obvious - the getting burned over the current burn...... daily - but because of the powerful radiation rays that continue to burn you weeks after (so I'm told).  So even though I have only 8 treatments to go, I am told I will continue to have these symptoms and burns for a few extra weeks.  If it wasn't for my youngest son still living at home, I'd be topless all day in the house.  A nudist colony never looked so good!  Haha, only kidding!  If I don't make jokes and laugh, I will burst into tears.

The good news is that I only have 3 more treatments to the area that is pealing and raw (under the arm) and around the nipple (not shown of course).  The last 5 treatments will be to the scar area where the cancer was removed.  Those last 5 treatments are more directed to that area so I will have some relief.  I hope.  The dark spots in the picture is where the skin is drying out and dying, and will peal.  Underneath my breast (where the skin touches skin) is raw.  I try to place the 100% cotton T-shirt in there so there is no skin on top of skin.  That helps.  All day I am constantly (every few hours) putting some kind of ointment, aloe gel or lotion on the entire area.  This whole situation makes leaving the house just not worth it.  Just in case some of you are wondering why I've been a hermit.  ;)

For those just starting this radiation process, you MUST get the following things and have them.  

You will need:
Eucerin lotion (moist)
Aloe vera 100% (NO other additives like alcohol, etc.)
Triple Anti-biotic cream with pain reliever

All of these can be found without a prescription at the local store or pharmacy.

Everyone reacts differently and not everyone may have the same amount of treatments.  I had 31 treatments ordered due to my Oncotype score which was 22 and may have to do with the fact I declined chemo.  Your Radiology Oncologist will discuss the number of treatments with you.  You have every right to discuss this number (and ask why) with them.  Please don't feel like you cannot ask questions.  Even the WHY question.  You have every right to know all you can about what kind of treatments and how many.

Yesterday I spoke with my Radiology Oncologist and told her what was going on with my skin.  She told me that if I started experiencing any oozing, she would let me have a few days rest from the treatments.  They do add these on at the end, so you don't get out of them, just postpone them.  I only have one small / tiny blister forming so I am pressing on.

I am not looking for sympathy.  Like I mentioned above, a testimony must have a test and boy, am I being tested!  I could not have gone through all this without my prayer warriors!  You know who they are.  ;)  I have some amazing family and friends who really pray for me daily.  Thank you!  I needed them and STILL need them!

I do still have my strong faith.  My God has blessed me!  I did not have to go through chemo. and this cancer was caught early.  I am very blessed.  I have almost beat this cancer!   Next Friday (if all goes as planned) I will be ringing that bell and I will be that OVERCOMER that God claimed me to be!

Friday, September 18, 2015

21 Radiation treatments down, 10 more to go.

So I only have 10 more radiation treatments to go.  I wanted to keep you updated on what is going on and how I'm feeling.

I am exhausted.  One of the side effects is being tired.  Well, week three came and I felt it.  I can come home after radiation and take a nap and still feel like I haven't slept in days.  Mentally, I'm not tired.  It's my body.  I am also experiencing radiation burn.  It's like a bad sunburn.  

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(I'm going to be graphic here for a minute because this blog is for information and connection for those who are going through this or know someone who is so they can understand what they are going through.)  The area having radiation is itchy, very sore, red and swollen.  Of course this is over then entire breast and a small portion below the breast.  My nipple is VERY sensitive, sore, swollen, red and getting to the point where wearing a bra is very uncomfortable.   Thank God for stretchy tanks and cotton T-shirts. This picture actually looks really good than it does in person.  It seems to get worse as the day progresses.  Since today is Friday, I have 2 days of rest from radiation before Monday comes again.  By Monday, it'll be feeling a little better, then I get to start all over.  :(   Nothing I can't handle though.  But some days it does take it's toll on me; like today. Today was the first day I was extremely tired while driving. I have one hour drive to the radiation treatment center daily.  So I'm in the car 2 + hours, when the radiation only takes 10 minutes.  I've had several people offer to take me, I may take them up on that offer.  My hubby is off on Monday & Tuesdays right now so he takes me on those days, which is nice. 

Ok, back to the radiation experience.....every time that radiation beam starts and that red light comes on, I pray...  

"Lord, please place your hand between my lung, heart, skin and the radiation beams.  Protect my organs and skin.  Please don't allow blistering or breaking open.  Thank you Lord Jesus for healing me and protecting me".

My daily routine is as follows: 
When I get up, after my coffee of course, I shower to get all the lotions off my breast for radiation.  (I use a natural / pure soap with no dyes or scents.)  I cannot put deodorant or anything on before my radiation.  I eat a light breakfast.  I don't drink much due to the drive I have.  I don't want to have to stop to go pee.  ;)  Then after radiation is finished, while still in the dressing room, I put deodorant on and put a thick layer of Eucerin lotion over the radiation area.  (For the radiation, I must wear a top, kind of like a scrub top, so I have to undress from the waist up.)  When I get home I make a plant based protein shake (meal replacement) called PHOOD.  It has gluten free, soy free, no animal products, no dairy, etc.  It has 18 grams of protein in it with < 1 gram of sugar.  I add almond milk, a banana or fruit to it.  I also add a teaspoon of local raw honey with 2 teaspoons of flax seeds and some ice to get it cold.  

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I buy this on Amazon.  (Note:  I am not getting paid for advertising this.  I am just sharing what I am taking during my breast cancer treatment and experience.)  I also take 4000 iu of VD3, 500 ml of VitC & 5000 mcg of Biotin, all orally.

It is important that you do let your Radiology Oncologist know what you are taking, if anything.  Some medications effect radiation.

After I drink that, I try to rest for a few hours.  I also try to drink lots of water in the afternoon and evening since I don't get much down in the mornings.  I know my body, and I will start getting headaches if I get dehydrated.  I usually drink a water bottle on my way home from my treatment.

When people ask me how I am holding up or how I am doing, I don't like to complain.  There are so many people with ports in their chests going through chemo. right now, those who have a later stage of cancer than I, and some that are in worse shape.  So I feel guilty about complaining really.  I am blessed.  God has blessed me by healing my body.  He is still healing and he is still my protector. 

I hope this blog has helped you or someone else in some way.  I am getting closer to the end of my journey. 

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Only 10 more treatments to go!  Amen!  

God is good, yes, all the time.