Tough to Swallow

It’s been a while since my last update because, while there’s not much going on, there’s SO much going on that it’s hard to find the time write a post.

I am going every weekday to Bryn Mawr for radiation treatment. At first, it was only supposed to take 5 minutes or so of getting laser beamed (VERY technical term) and then I could be on my merry way. They would shoot once or twice down on my chest and once or twice up through my back. However, after the first week, that changed. The doctor changed the process so instead of a couple of deep beams (for want of a better word), I am receiving a bunch of shallow beams so my lung isn’t as exposed. It takes longer, about 15-20 minutes, but if it keeps my lungs healthier, I’m all for it.

Because the trek back and forth to and from Malvern is such a pain in the butt, Mondays and Wednesdays I’ve been going home after treatment. It makes life a little easier, so that’s always nice.

What isn’t so nice is that my throat is getting sore from the treatments. It hurts to swallow, so I’ve been eating a lot more soup and dissolvable or mushy food. However, I suffer through if there’s a nice steak or some french fries around. It doesn’t hurt THAT BAD!

I’m not sure my last treatment date, but I will shout it from the rooftops when it happens, so you’ll probably hear me.


The Beginning of The End

The Friday before last, my port was removed. Apparently my body had grown accustomed to it because it was reluctant to let it go. They wheeled me in, draped me so I couldn’t see what was going on, numbed the heck out of the area and then began. It didn’t hurt, but holy cow did they have to work to get it out! In my head, I imagined the doctor was standing on a stool with one leg on the operating table for leverage as he pulled and tugged on the thing to get it out. Again, it didn’t hurt, but it was awkward.


I went back to the radiology oncologist on Thursday. They did a “dry run” which entailed making sure everything lined up and that what the computer said matched up with reality. I got two more tattoos and was sent on my way. I start the real deal tomorrow.


Bring it.


Not so fast…

Tuesday, I met with my Radiology Oncologist and we discussed “the plan”. I have to get radiation every weekday for a month. It wouldn’t be so bad if they could see me in the morning or late afternoon. Unfortunately, I am going every day from Malvern to Bryn Mawr at 2 PM. UGH. Like this wasn’t a pain in the butt before. Oh well.

It is a very interesting process, this setting up for radiation therapy. I had to lay down on the machine bed and the cushion is full of bean baggy material. They bolstered the beans to mold to me and then turned on this doo-hickey (very technical terms here). It kind of set the mold so the beans wouldn’t move and they held me in place. Then when they were done with the initial scan, they pulled me out and marked where the white light criss cross marks were on my body. THEN THEY TATTOOED ME! They put a dot in the middle of the criss crosses so they know where to line me up next time. There are six dots in all.

Wednesday, I had my final oncology appointment for a while. I don’t need to see him till January! No need for another PET scan till then too. I as going to have to go back in November to get my port flushed out, but that won’t be necessary. You’ll see why in a minute.

This morning (Thursday) I had an early appointment for my echocardiogram to see if the last bit of chemo affected my heart. The technician was very complimentary of my heart health, so I think I’m ok in that department. On my way out, I had a voice mail from the radiology oncologist asking me to stop by. Luckily I was right there so I went immediately. He wanted to check where the lymph nodes they removed and biopsied had been located. Funny thing… that’s where my port is now and that is a bad thing when they want to radiate the area. Sooooo, tomorrow morning I have to get my port removed and I will start radiation next Thursday instead of Monday as was original plan.

I need a nap or a very strong margarita… or both.


Done and DONE

NO MORE CHEMO!!!! (Why bury the lead?)

I had my PET scan today so I wasn’t expecting a call from my doctor till tomorrow at the earliest. But he called with my results and the long and the short of it is that I don’t have to have chemo anymore. My numbers are good enough to safely stop chemo and move on to radiation.


I have an appointment with the radiology oncologist on Tuesday to see what the plan will be. It’s been 10 days since my last treatment and he said they like to wait 3-3.5 weeks before starting radiation to make sure all the chemo is out of my system.

I know that I’m not done with this whole thing yet, but this nasty, debilitating and plain old awful part of it is done.

Hopefully forever and ever… Amen!


Fingers crossed

And we’re done with chemo (hopefully)!

Monday was my last treatment and it knocked me on my butt something fierce this time. I have spent very little time off my couch this week, but as long as I never have to do it again, I’m fine with it.

I have my PET scan scheduled for next week and if I’m where my doctor wants me to be, then it’s on to radiation. If I’m not where I should be, then we have to reconfigure some things. My doctor thinks I should be ok though, so here’s hoping he’s right.

I’ll keep you posted and you keep your fingers crossed.

Have a fun Labor Day!


One Down… One to Go

Hi everyone,

Not too much to report this week. It went much more smoothly this time because I told my doctor that I was going to need to be drugged ASAP and put in a private room. He totally understood, so I was set from the beginning and didn’t have to wait to get my nausea drugs.

I DID have to wait for a tetanus shot though. WHY did I need a tetanus shot? Well, a funny thing happened the day before my last treatment. I stepped on a board with a nail sticking up. It went right through my sneaker and stuck in my foot. There was little blood spot on my sock, but it didn’t continue to bleed. It was a new board and a new nail, but I needed a tetanus shot because I couldn’t remember the last time I had one. They don’t normally keep that at the chemo center, so they had to go down the hall to the Infectious Diseases office to get me one. It was really nice of them to save me a trip.

I have ONE MORE CHEMO TREATMENT!!! I am so ready for this part to be done. It’s taking longer to recover after each one and I am literally sick and tired of the whole thing.

Seriously… Let’s get this over with.


Two! Two! Two updates in One!

Hi everyone!
Sorry I haven’t updated in a while. It has been a crazy July. Work is insanely busy, I just got back from a week down the shore, and I badly sprained/chipped a bone in my left foot after losing my footing on the bottom basement step on July 3. Sigh… onward and upward though!

Since last I wrote, I’ve had 2 treatments.

July 9: The results from my Echo and Pulmonary Function Tests both came back fine. No damage is being done to the heart and lungs that we can see… SWEET! The PET scan also came back encouraging. The mass in my chest shrank another centimeter to around 7 and is flashing at 3.2. Flashing 4 and above is bad while 1 or 2 is where we want to be. So, we are still progressing in the cancer cell intensity department which is good news.

Treatment was uneventful, but I had to get everything ready for the shore week. I think packing and organizing took a bit out of me, so it took longer for me to get back on my feet this time around. Luckily I was down the shore with my amazing family and they picked up the slack in the baby wrangling department. I can’t say enough about how thankful I am and how lucky I am to have a family like mine.

July 23: No news for this week in terms of cancer progression. It was pretty much a go in and get treatment kind of day. Unfortunately, I got REALLY nauseous right off the bat this time, so they injected the Atavan right into my line. WHOA! It hit me right away and I fell asleep for the whole treatment. When I got home, I pretty much just ate dinner and was in bed for the night by 8. I am still feeling it today. It packed quite the punch.

That’s it for now. I hope you are all having a fun summer!