Friday, August 28, 2009

What Cancer Looks Like...

August 27, 2009

I got to spend a fantastic day with some fantastic ladies today.

I met Penny and Wanda in the chemo suite. They are such wonderful women, everything you expect from a cancer survivor (strong, vivacious, wonderful, kind and of course beautiful!)

Thursday was there last day of chemo and I wanted to celebrate it with them. It was truly a party!! Everyone brought in food for lunch, sandwiches, turkey roll ups, chips, pretzels, soda, deserts. I brought some white butterfly sugar cookies (homemade) with breast cancer ribbons on them.

The boas were out, the glasses were on and the disco music was playing!!

Three of us had already finished and showed up just to show our support and love!!
And as the music was playing (I believe "YMCA" or "Brickhouse) I teared up, and thought... This is the face of Breast Cancer. Not the sick, the lonely, or sad... It is friendship, support, prayers, love and beautiful baldness!!!!

So to the people who have supported all of us fighters, Thank you.

And to those that are just starting the fight? We might be the good, the bad, and the bald, but we are always the beautiful!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


August 18, 2009

I need to write this day down in my calendar...


Oh and I have one better for you than that.

I had my first cancer follow-up mammogram today (I will switch between mammograms and MRI's every six months for the next 5 years) and I am clear!!! You read that right baby!! I am clear!! No more cancer in these Ta-Tas!!!

Oh I am so excited!!

On Monday (after returning from the lake in PA), I had my treatment and my skin was so raw between my breasts that Sharon, the tech recommend that I see the Doctor. This was a different doctor, she was very nice and invited my two little ones (Chris and my 13 year old were in the waiting room) into the room with me (they were crying for me). Since I have second and third degree burns between my breasts (it is completely raw meat) she changed me to a aquaphor/lidocaine cocktail (a cream for my ta-tas) and as soon as radiation was over I received a prescription for Silvadene (that is the stuff they use on burn victims in the hospital). So at least my pain was relieved.

Today I had my mammogram done at 1:30pm. I was okay until they brought me in a waiting room to wait for my results. I was the first one in there and then 3 more women came in. When they all got called before me for their results, I got scared. But then I was brought in and the Radiologist said I was clear, that there were no malignant changes that they could see!!!!!

Oh my gosh the relief!!

Then I high-tailed it to my radiation appointment, I got there early and they brought me right back. So within five minutes I was done. Yes, done. The nurse gave me a certificate of completion. When I got in my car, I thought how stupid (at least for chemo I got a tiara), and as I read it out loud, I started to cry.

Certificate of appreciation

Be it Declared That

Laurie N____

Has Completed the Prescribed Course of Radiation Therapy

with the Highest Degree of Courage, Determination and

Good Nature. We Appreciate the Confidence Placed In Us

and the Opportunity To

Serve You

Shady Grove Adventist Radiology Oncology Center

Then it has all the doctors names and staff. (Yup, teared up by just typing it).

After nine long months (from finding my lump on December 5 until now) it has been such an emotional roller coaster, with highs and lows. Then end was rather anti-climactic, but if feels so good to be done.

I am putting all the cremes on my burns and I hope that I will be doing better in about a week. But what is so important is that I have eyebrows, and eyelashes again. My hair is growing in... and I am ALIVE!!!!

Now don't fret. I will still be updating as I go along. I have a follow-up next week and the week after with my Radiation Oncologist, a 6 months surgical check up on Sept 2, a 3 month chemo checkup on Sept 21, and then another MRI in February some time. So I will keep updating as I go and we cannot forget the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in October!!

My thanks and love to everyone that has followed me, supported me and prayed for me while on this journey. Words cannot describe how much I appreciate everyone.

Thank you

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

5 More To Go!!

August 12, 2009 (morning)

I guess I was wrong again. Yesterday on the table at radiation I found out that I am done with my full treatments (I thought I had one more day left). Which is good, cause my poor skin between my breasts is KILLING me (it is completely just raw)!

Tomorrow will start my boosts. It will be a really short appointment since it is only on electron field. I can do this!!!

Almost done, almost there!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Your Down By Two!!!

August 11, 2009

After my treatment yesterday, the techs were getting me set up for a simulation of my boosts (which should start on Thursday). It was another excruciating long day on the table, but there was a high point.

After they had matched my mark to the CT, they asked Dr. S to come in and check it. She did and while she was, I talked to her. She checked on her prescription and it turns out that I will only have 5 boosts instead of the original 7. So... 33 treatments not 35.... So I am down by 2!!!!!

I am so excited!! Dr. S said after looking over everything she is confident that the five boosts will get everything that they need...

So next Wednesday is my LAST DAY OF RADIATION!!!! Can I get an AMEN???!!!!


The worst part of the day was the marking of my skin with markers (again) and they were trying to clean up the original (now wrong) mark and took alcohol to clean it. Oh my gosh it stung every where she touched!!! My cleavage is just raw. But 7 more days. I can do anything for only 7 more days!!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back To The Drawing Board (Literally)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Every 5 days, the radiation techs are suppose to take Xrays of you so that the doctors can verify that they are still radiating the same areas. Last week, I had a set a films everyday I went in (Dr. orders) So today, when Erin (the CT tech) came to the waiting room to tell me that I would be going to see her today after my appointment I got really worried.

"Oh my gosh, something is wrong huh?" I asked her. I just knew that something else funky happened with my body and they were going to have to stop treatment or re-map me or something!

"Nope, she said, you have only 12 more sessions left, so we are going to map you for your boost." then she smiled at the relief in my eyes.

Oh my gosh... only 12 more?? Oh my gosh, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!! I don't know if you remember but I have 28 full treatments (with photon and electron radiation around my entire left breast, under my arm and collarbone) then 7 "boost" treatments which are only on my tumor bed (the location of my tumor). Wow!! That means only 5 more full treatments!! And they couldn't come too soon. My skin has been (according to Dr. S doing wonderfully) but that is because she was expecting burning, peeling, blisters, and a bloody mess. My skin is so burnt and I have one small blister that has popped, and a lot of tiny blisters in my cleavage, but we have not had to stop treatment, so to her, I am doing great!

After my treatment I went to the CT room and laid down on the board to the CT machine. I was flat this time and had to raise my hand over my head. Erin had set down a head and neck rest down for me and a couple of cushions to rest my arm on. Then she did the CT for a few minutes and marked a big black cross where the new treatment would go. She was going to cover it with tape, but I have opted to having it re-drawn everyday. I have a slight reaction to tape and cannot handle anything else on my poor boobie.

Then I had to see Dr. S (it was a long day). I even got more of a surprise to find out that I might even cut off the full treatments early and add a few more boosts! When they designed my protocol they could either under-lap the fields or over-lap the fields. Dr. S decided to over-lap the fields (this would have been my decision too). So she is worried that I may have a few hot spots (where the fields over-lapped) and she might stop me early and do the boost to make up the difference. WOW!!! I should find out next week what she wants to do.

I am so excited, this is almost over!!!

  • I have thin eyebrows, but they are now brown and I don't have to draw them in!!
  • My hair is still growing in, it still doesn't cover my scalp, but it is coming back (I wish it was coming back as fast as the other hair on my body though). hahahaha
  • My port is finally healing up (I had the chemo nurses take out the remaining stitch that was hanging out)
  • My left breast is BRIGHT pink and burned, but my cleavage is burnt with tiny blisters all along it (but I guess since there are no open sores, I am still considered "good")
  • I am still tired, but getting through the days pretty good. I am still running in my couch to 5k. I figure that maybe the sweating helps get rid of all the radiation and chemo that might still be coursing through my body.

I will post more once I find out exactly how many treatments I will have. Oh, I can see the light!!!