7 weeks post radiation, updated.

and I’ve had a potpourri of  12 medical-type appointments in those seven weeks.  So understand my bemused look when I am asked by my friends and co-workers, “Oh, so you’re all done with everything, now, right?”  Actually, I’m just beginning to realize that I’m not at the end of anything, but I have a feeling that this is more like the beginning .  Of a new life.  A different one anyways.

The life I am living right now feels 10 years older than even this past summer, while I was having so much fun drivng up to Ann Arbor every three weeks for hours and hours of chemotherapy.  Little did I realize then that my trip was only beginning.  Having had the opportunity to sample lots of waiting rooms and tell and retell my name and birthdate countless times, I somehow realize that this now IS my life….for this little phase of time anyways. 

So today was infusion #3 of Zometa, of the Bisphosphonate Clinical Trial, and my “graduation” from the NIA clinical study, too.   The “Zometa” is one adventure I’ll be on for three years, if all goes well.  So this was my first ‘Christmas’ in an infusion chair at Flower Hospital.  To the unsick that must sound awful, but it’s not that bad really, even though I was getting tired of being in a hospital today.  Perhaps the worst part for me is waiting to meet the nurse about to stick me, and wondering, “hmmmmnn, this a one poke nurse or is it gonna be two?”  Not even that I am squeemish or anything, but quite recently, I’ve become kind of protective of my veins.  Since I had a village of lymph nodes removed from my left side, I can’t have anything done in my left arm.  Not a-n-y-thing.  No blood drawn, not even a   cuffblood pressure…which seems like a little overkill beyond what is necessary.  Apparently,  the threat of lymphadema, (which I don’t really understand) is too great to ahve nay type of interference in that arm.  So I follow the rules.  No pokes in the left arm, the right side veins have to do all the work.  How do you build up the stamina and strength of your vein walls?  That, I’d like to know.

gotta go now.  i’ve fallen asleep twice while typing.  I’ll finish it otmorrow, or maybe by the light of hotflashes during the night.

Now it’s “tomorrow”  (12/22/09)

I can barely get anything written in one setting anymore.  I could talk in great detail about the new friend I have “fatigue”……but who cares about her.  I’m trying real hard to “ditch” her (unsuccessfully at this point in time.)

Quick paragraph here…yesterday I “graduated” from the NIA clinical study.  Nia is a form of exercise that is being evaluated in its effectiveness for breast cancer patients after radiation.  It is a combination of yoga, martial arts, and dance, all with big sweeping movements and a hefty dose of improvisation thrown in as well.  I thought it was really cool at the beginning of the study, but as time went on, I realized that I am  not the type of person who likes to exercise at home with a DVD alone in my room.  I need to get out with other people, or do something that is more interactive.  Somehow it just didn’t seem cool to be doing this beautiful meditative exercise program upstairs in my bedroom when the boys were downstairs screaming/ fighting/crying and threatening to kill each other over a Lego set or other “toy of the moment””.   Kind of ruins the mood.  So I barely did 15 minutes of Nia a week, mostly my exercise was listening to the music while I was getting ready for bed at night.  Working fulltime made engaging in an exercise program when I came home….just not that important.  or possible. 

But, an interesting part of the study is measuring your upper arm flexibility and exercise stamina (by walking) before radiation, 6 weeks into the program (that was one week after the end of radiation for me) and at the end of the 12 week study time.  Predictably, I was in pretty poor shape in the middle of the study.  Once again, I’ll go on record saying that (for me, anyways) radiation really sucks.  Flexibility on the left side, cancer side, radiation side, was quite low.  And walking…just…hurt.  You don’t know how much the skin on your torso is involved when you walk until something happens to compromise its’ flexibility. 

Suprisingly though, my measurements yesterday were good.  I actually walked a tiny bit further in the 6 minute test, and the flexibility measurements were almost exactly what they were in the baseline data.  So, all the effort I am putting into getting back into “routine” has at least helped in some measure my physical self………..even if I don’t feel at all as good as I did before radiation.  Still really not used to my freak-like chest.  Scarred and ribs showing on one side, blown up like a balloon on the other.  When I put my “specialspecial” cream on my chest everyday in front of the mirror, I still think  “I can’t believe this is me“.

Wonder if there is a clinical study that evaluates a better way to wrap your brain around this new reality.


One Response to “7 weeks post radiation, updated.”

  1. Cheryl Deutsch Says:

    Dear Kaylynne, Your posts are wonderfully written; you illustrate the ups and downs of life in “cancerland”; and, no caps for that word; don’t want to give it any strength.

    How you manage to do everything AND work fulltime AND raise Louie and Charlie is beyond me. Oh boy.

    Know that you and Lou aren’t ever faraway from my thoughts. You deserve to have the most wonderful Christmas in the world. Love and xxs, Moi

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