“Rads” part 2

7/15/16

I will send a bulkier message soon, but wanted to shout out to all of you that we are leaving Seattle today after 27 radiation and chemo treatments and 5 weeks living away from home. We are going to ride the ferry for the first time in what feels like forever and I am so excited! City life has its perks, but I am so ready to slow it down and enjoy summer on Orcas. Matt, baby and I will be returning to Seattle for my last 3 treatment days Monday-Wednesday next week, and it will be more likely monthly trips back and forth after that. For now, I am anxious to get to a place of healing and building my body and health back up. Radiation burns and blisters in the armpit are the worst, especially in summertime, but I am so close to done I can taste it. I have had to wear super soft tank tops/t-shirts against my skin that I don’t mind getting creams all over. All my shirts have been tainted with Aquaphor and dead skin. I have been using these cooling gel pads in my arm pit regularly and really try to let me skin air out. I can’t even imagine taking a hot shower right now. I hope I can get back to some sort of regular schedule when treatment is done, as I have struggled with sleeping at night through this phase a lot. I tried some prescription to help, but I just hate taking anymore meds! Not to say the all-night binge watching is better or even good for me, but it is my therapy and escape, and I am giving myself that pass.

Laurel will miss all the great toys and books and space at the “big house,” and I hope she will adjust to life back at Bonnie Brae with ease. Daphne will appreciate being back in the cool forest as her eczema has flared up with the heat in the city. Matt is hoping to get back to work on a regular schedule soon and get out on his bike more. Baba, she continues to just go with the flow, taking care of pretty much everything from day to day. We have missed all the friendly faces on Orcas so very much and look forward to seeing you soon! I am full of gratitude for all the continued support in all shapes and sizes. I always appreciate getting updates from you.

 

August-September 2016

Once we got settled back on Orcas, done with the last of my big treatments, I really just focused on enjoying the summer with my kids, family and friends. My raw throat improved as soon as I stopped taking my chemo pills, but my skin got worse until 10/12 days post rads, then started to really improve. I do have lingering swelling and discomfort  under my arm, but I am hoping time and getting back into regular physical therapy routine will remedy that. I have to keep my chest covered in the sun b/c it just can’t take any more. The summer makes this a challenge, but luckily it doesn’t get too hot on Orcas and I am in the habit of only being out in the direct sun with the kids in the morning or evening. I went through a lot of Calendula cream and pure Aloe Vera gel, even had to use some numbing and itch creams at the end because I was so uncomfortable. I couldn’t use the baby carrier for a couple weeks after, either, my skin was too raw, but my energy returned more quickly. We had visitors and took day trips. My sisters came to stay and gave each other matching pixie cuts to mine.It was refreshing to be returning to something close to normal life. I had my first couple monthly Lupron shots to suppress my hormones and put me into menopause (since chemo didn’t do it already) and some follow up scans. I was already moody and impatient, so don’t really know if I am experiencing side effects or just the new me. I will be having my Power Port removed next month, because, well, it is annoying, it bothers me, and I just want it out. My oncologist said fine. Woo hoo!

My girls help pull me out to go walking in the sunshine, and that is never bad, after the 45 minutes of battling to get out the door.

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