Yes it can be. And there has been a LOT of it lately around here.
My hair is growing back in and although it’s a bit frizzy in the morning it is looking pretty good and I don’t have to cover up bald spots.
I finished chemo on October 8th. I finally healed up from surgeries about a month ago. Of course the oncologist and surgeon were after me to start radiation as quickly as possible. I had clear margins and the hormone positive tumor was only 1mm when they removed it.
My feeling is that chemo did it’s job and I have been through enough. Besides the 2 opinions I got were quite different so I really am not to confident that they really know what is best for me or if it’s all just guess work. I prayed a lot from November through March and decided I will not be doing radiation. Now before you go thinking I am nuts about this decision please know that I am looking at the big picture here. Yes radiation is recommended. This is based on a study over 20 years old that did not take into account every woman as an individual. Some women may have had small tumors or large ones after chemo was done. Other than age and type of tumor nothing else is taken into consideration in a woman’s treatment. NOTHING.
Radiation can also cause burns on the skin, lung damage, heart damage, bone damage and more. It is not easy for some to do. Some go through it without many side effects but there is no guarantee of anything. As is with any medical procedure no one can predict anything. I am still quite irritated over the fact the MRI was wrong so this is really making me doubt other things as well. So know that I have made this decision after much thought.
I have also decided not to take the hormone blockers that they recommend for the hormone positive tumor. There are 2 reasons for this.
1. I am sailing through menopause now thanks to the chemo and it looks like it will not reverse since I am 51 now anyway.
2. I don’t believe that the answer is to just block hormones like estrogen and progesterone to possibly prevent the cancer from returning. I like the idea of finding out why my immune system didn’t control this in the first place rather than just blocking what my body is normally supposed to be producing. I firmly believe one main reason I had cancer to begin with was the fact of messing with my hormones for years using birth control. On top of this the medication they use can have very serious side effects. Side effects that I do not want to chance at all. And with my luck with drugs and side effects I think it’s best not to try it.
Plus they originally said the hormone positive tumor would most likely not respond to this type of chemo I had because it typically didn’t in studies. It started out at 2.5 cm (at least if the mri was correct that is) and after chemo it was only 1mm.
Understand that I have lost so much during this year in this TRIP. I am done calling it a journey. It’s like a bad trip more than anything. Plus I have no idea if I will develop side effects down the road from the chemo. I have recently had to close my office where I did hands on services like reflexology due to the fact that after 2 months in a recliner after surgery I have now developed frozen shoulder and I still have occasional bouts with neuropathy in my hands which causes numbness and tingling. So it just wasn’t possible to keep the office in hopes of recovering soon enough. My landlord was very generous with me in allowing me to have a break on rent while I was off and I could not expect them to continue to do this as they have bills too. So, even though it broke my heart, I cleaned out my office over the weekend leaving behind only the mural that my daughter painted on the wall. I think that bothered me the most because she spent so much time on that for me.
We have fallen behind on bills and are dealing with debt up to our eyeballs. Our marriage has had a lot of stress and it’s hard on a relationship when one spouse has to take care of the other like they are a child. The only thing I could do was go to the bathroom by myself. Everything else I had to have help with and there were no at home health care facilities to help me. At least nothing that insurance would pay for. So Tim has to take off nearly 2 months to care for me. I still feel much guilt over all of that. I miss my family and my friends as I have been too exhausted and in so much pain from my shoulder to do much with them. Yes, I still have days where I feel exhausted and they tell me that this could go on for a year or more after chemo. Fun huh?
The steroids during chemo helped me to gain 46 pounds so I have been working on changing my diet and doing the things I NEED to do in order to stay healthy. Creating new habits is never easy but I am down 20 pounds since the first of the year so I am on my way. Every day of chemo they offered lunch so I ate a chicken salad with this vinaigrette dressing with spinach greens and other greens. To this day it makes me want to vomit just smelling that dressing or looking at salad greens other than just lettuce. Makes me sad as I used to love it and it was good for me. So salads are a bit of struggle right now.
I have a ton of counseling that I will be doing to help get through emotional blocks and work on me. I am so tired of dr appointments. It seems like that is all I ever do anymore. Hopefully the orthopedic doc will have some good news about my shoulder this week. Doing PT and massage therapy but of course insurance will not cover massage even though I think it is one of the best things for my shoulder.
Using lots of oils yet and supplements that I know are helping so much. Hate to think how bad I would feel without it. I am still teaching classes and educating individuals on the benefits of essential oils so at least that gives me some time to enjoy without seeing a dr. I enjoy helping people and hopefully will be able to increase my work with oils sooner than later.
On a plus side of closing my office I brought home some black out shades I had on my windows there and Tim is enjoying them in the bedroom so he can sleep during the day when he works 3rd shift. I still have the task of rearranging my room upstairs and getting all of my office items put away in their proper spots. Yes there is still a LOT in my car. Today was a very slow day and I just remembered I forgot to have Tim help me put on my tens machine before he left. Not sure I can reach the spots on my shoulder blade. Oh well. Guess I’ll have to get it as close as I can.
Not sure what HIS plan is for me but hopefully I will figure that out. Until then I will just keep praying and trying to love on others like I am supposed to do. And keep reminding myself to not be sad. Easier said than done I know but I will try. Hopefully the counseling will help. I see a specific cancer counselor plus I will be learning some EFT tapping to retrain my brain and I have joined a cancer group through church where I can share some of this trip with others who totally get what I am going through and help remind me to rely on God for this.
I would much rather take a vacation with my husband but that is just not possible right now. It’s not in the budget.
Have a great night everyone. Thanks for keeping tabs on me and for your prayers and positive energy. I am so thankful for all of it. I could not have made it through all this without you.