I really couldn’t believe that the same radiation oncologist that treated me 10 years ago, is still here and is treating me again. I’m glad, because I adore Dr. J. He is one of the best doctors ever. There is no question that he cares for his patients’ well being, not just physical, but mental as well. 10 years ago, I saw Dr. J. on a weekly basis while doing daily radiation treatments for 7 and a half weeks. I looked forward to every appointment. This time, I only need 10 treatments. It sounds so easy, relatively speaking. I go in on Monday, April 9th for the simulation and set up, and then they’ll begin daily “nuking” on Wednesday the 11th. I’ll be done on April 24th.
I’ve also begun taking a drug called Tamoxifen. Hopefully it will keep the cancer in remission for awhile. The possible side effects are long and sound horrible on paper, but I had a pretty easy time with this medication when I was on it from 2002-2006, so I’m hoping it’s the same this time. Whatever the side effects, I would rather deal with them than the side effects of cancer…….such as…….you know……death! So I will happily take my meds and deal with whatever side effects come with them.
One really great thing about living in 2012, is the amount of information and support that is available to me just a few clicks away. I’ve connected with so many women who are “veterans” in dealing with chronic breast cancer, and they have really helped me cope with my diagnosis. They are wonderful, courageous women with such amazing and inspirational stories. There is nothing better than reading about their full and happy lives, in spite of cancer. In fact, the name of a book and author kept getting brought up in numerous conversations. The author’s name is Katherine Russell Rich and she wrote a book about living with Stage IV breast cancer. This woman survived an amazing 18 years with the disease. Ironically, she passed away on Tuesday, April 3rd at the age of 56. But, this was after being given, at most, 2 years to live. I can’t wait to read her story.
I still have a long road ahead of me. I have lots of decisions to make and adjusting to the new situation is a slow process. Physically, I feel great. Emotionally, I have good days and bad days. I can go from happy and positive to crying and upset at the drop of a hat. I’m not even sure what triggers it. I am sure that I have an incredible husband who has been by my side every minute. My mother has dropped her life in Florida to be with me and is another source of strength and support. All of my friends and co-workers have supported me in every way possible. So, on the days when my strength is questionable, all I have to do is lean on someone else. I’m so lucky!
In the mail yesterday, I received an incredible gift. My cousin, whom I haven’t seen in at least 20 years, sent me a beautiful note, along with our grandmother’s rosary. I was very close to my grandmother (father’s mother). She passed away in 1993 while I was in college. She was a woman of incredible and unshakable faith, and I know she is with me through all of this as well. It’s been a long time since I’ve prayed the rosary, but I think I might just give it a try.