Friday, December 28, 2007

reclaiming my body

Before all this cancer crap, I was in good physical condition, was the slimmest I've been my whole life, was eating well without a lot of effort (took a lot of effort to get there, though!!!). I had recently achieved my personal goal of a 5K (3.1 miles) in less than half an hour.

Three weeks in the hospital, followed by chemotherapy, didn't allow for my usual workout routine (5 days/week, 1 day/week with a trainer). While I have been able to do a bit of exercise in various ways through the course of things, my body just ain't what it was. While frustrating, this is certainly to be expected, given the circumstances.

I've been starting to eat better again (will jump completely back on that wagon once there aren't any more holiday parties), and I've been jogging/walking almost with regularity.

Today, for the first time since May, I was able to jog two miles without walking. It felt fabulous :) :) I feel like I am taking my body back. The cancer tried to get it, the meds did a number on it, and it's my turn again. There is a significant chance that the radiation will take its turn, but I'm not worried about that now. If it happens, I'll deal with it.

In the mean time, I am reclaiming my body, and it feels wonderful :)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

first radiation treatment

Well, I was imaged yesterday and had my first treatment today.

Yesterday, they showed me what to do when I arrive (more on that in a moment), and took me in to the machine. I laid down, they lined up all my dots (I had to point out one of them - they didn't see it, as it's very small and has some freckles around it), drew on me with a magic marker (why are they called magic?), took pictures with the machine (one from the top, one from the bottom) and took a picture with a digital camera. The explanation was that they do this to make sure that everything is lined up the way it should be. If it wasn't, when I went back in today, they would have fixed it.

Today, I followed procedure: parked in the special parking lot (they gave me the gate code), went in, swiped my card (no need to check in with a nurse or receptionist). When my name was (badly) called over the PA, I went back, took a gown out of the heater, took off clothes above the waist, put on the gown, waited. They came back to get me, checked two forms of ID, asked me my birth date, lined me up on the machine, and did the treatment.

It was easy.

I was mildly disappointed with the treatment itself — I was expecting to be able to see a laser or beam of light or something. The only way I could tell that the machine was on was because it buzzed. For maybe 10 seconds, if I round up. Then it rotated around and did the same amount of time on the back. And that was all!

In between getting changed and waiting to go in to the machine, the nutritionist (whose name I forget) came in to say hello. While we were talking, the counselor came in to say hello. I know that she was specifically looking for me - I don't know if the nutritionist was or just happened to walk by and see me.

The massage therapist is there on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings, so she was there. When I was done, I got a nice shoulder/neck/scalp massage :)

The whole thing, from the time I walked in to the time I left (including the treatment, chatting with the two ladies, getting my massage), took half an hour.

One down, 16 to go.

Yesterday, I also saw the doctor. I asked why they do both chemo and radiation. He explained that the chemo is systemic, so it kills cancer cells all over the body, should there be any anywhere else. The radiation is a "backup plan" for the area where there was known tumor. Makes sense.

And that's my story for today. I don't suspect I'll post about every radiation treatment, as I expect them all to be the same, or similar, but if there's anything noteworthy, I'll be sure to let you know :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Craigslist post re: cancer

I was just tipped off to this post at Craigslist. While my side effects weren't as bad as hers were, and while I generally wasn't as angry as she is, a lot of what is written here rings really true...

Saturday, December 15, 2007


Well, this is what I've decided to do with my hair:

Since it started to grow back in, I've been keeping it buzzed, #2 all around. I'm going to get it trimmed this weekend, I'm going to trim it on December 31, then I'm nto going to cut it at all in 2008, and see where it is next Dec. 31. I'll post monthly pics here, for anyone who is actually interested in watching my hair grow LOL Beyond radiation, I'm hoping there isn't much else to report in that year's time...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

welcome, "dance is life" listeners!

Hello to anyone who has come poking around my blog as a result of Dance is Life, Life is Dance!!

It's been an interesting journey. I am happy to answer questions - just leave a comment and I'll get back to you.

If you live in Arizona (or if you know someone who lives in AZ), I would appreciate it if you'd take a moment to click here and read about tax credit donations.

the decision

Well, I decided, after talking with people (some doctors, some not) and thinking and sleeping that radiation is probably the best way to go.

I had an appointment this morning to get my tattoos; I have four. They’re the size of one needle-point, so they’re pretty teensy, which is good, because they’re black dots. (I don't want to be covered in big black dots...)

I have an appointment on December 26 to get “imaged” (I don’t know what that means), and I start radiation treatments on the 27th.

I also had an appointment with Dr. Oncology today, but there’s not really any news from it. I have another in four weeks and expect equally as little news from it.

Friday, December 7, 2007

radiation or no? that is the question...

I'm deciding whether or not to get radiation. There is a 90% chance that the cancer is dead and gone forever. The radiation's job is to take care of the other 10%. But there are some nasty potential side effects from the radiation, including but not limited to heart failure and decreased lung capacity. The doc said they are less likely than the cancer coming back ... but I know that that's only relatively short-term. They have used chemo in conjunction with radiation only for about 20 years to treat Hodgkins, so they can't know yet what the effects might be in 30 or 40 or 50 years.

Then again, they have used radiation for longer than that overall. I don't know if everyone gets the same kind of radiation. There are hundreds of different chemo drugs. Not sure if radiation is as ... diverse.

If the cancer comes back, we go back to square one and do the chemo thing again. While I don't enjoy the prospect of more chemo (and losing 6+ months of my life), I don't enjoy the prospect of heart troubles, either.

At this point, I know there's a substantial family history of heart disease. I also know that they all had other risk factors (diabetes, obesity, smoking) ... so is it really genetic?

Getting radiation doesn't guarantee that the cancer won't return. It just reduces the risk. By how much? I don't know.

It's a lot of information to process. If you have thoughts about it (or more questions to ask), I am open to them.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

the video is done!

The video from the hospital is done :)

Let me know if you want to see it, and I can e-mail it to you...