Thursday, October 10, 2013

LIFE IS A HIGHWAY



My Kids & I - Manitoulin Island, ON
Summer 2007
So after the radiation was finally over at the end of June, we promptly packed up our stuff and headed up to Manitoulin Island for a much needed vacation.  We were long overdue for a road trip and a visit to see my family and the island that we all love so much.  It is about an eight hour drive but totally worth it.

I was finally done with radiation!  Although the radiation itself didn't bother me too much, the traveling back and forth to the city each day really wore me down.  I also had some tiredness and fatigue and my skin was pretty burned.  However, it wasn't as painful as I thought it would be.  It was more just really uncomfortable.  

Enroute to Manitoulin Island
I was still experiencing post-chemo effects including the neuropathy.  Although I was starting to just live with it and sort of got used to it, I decided to try some acupuncture to see what positive effects that might have.  I went for a few sessions and it did help.

Later in the summer I knew that I was going to get a shot of Zoladex.  This medical treatment (translation: big scary needle in the stomach!) was going to be administered because the breast cancer I had was hormone receptor positive.  The Zoladex causes "ovarian shutdown" (sounds like a code word for some kind of covert military operation).   This shot was going to shut down production of estrogen and is very effective in stopping cancer cell growth.  It was going to make me become post-menopausal and perhaps turn me into some kind of psycho lunatic monster due to side effects from that.  I was hopeful that my husband and children would stick around though.

There were a series of doctor appointments scheduled over the summer and I was also going to find out some more information and confirm details for the surgery.   Having had breast cancer I was in a high-risk category for possible development of cancer in the ovaries and/or uterus.  So we were going to get rid of those.  I asked my oncologist if they could also take my appendix and tonsils since I didn’t need those either.  He offered to take my gallbladder too.  This was my weight loss plan – removal of body parts!

Once the surgery was done I knew that I would need to have some sort of medication for a number of years.  Also, the side effect of this medication is osteoporosis so I was going to need to have bone density testing done frequently and take calcium and other vitamins to combat that for the rest of my life.  Whew!  Did you get all that??  It's a lot to take in but I had some time to think about it and I was okay with all of it.  Whatever it was going to take to ensure the cancer never comes back was okay with me. That summer the focus for me was on rest, recovery, recuperation and relaxation until the next surgery was to come up in the fall.  Although the journey was not over quite yet, the worst was now behind me.
Carter Bay, ON - Summer 2007

Throughout all of this, I was so very thankful to my friends and family and colleagues for reading my email updates.  Their many kind prayers, positive thoughts, and encouraging words were always appreciated.  At that point I knew that I was truly blessed with the best friends, family, and co-workers that anyone could ask for.

So now I was just going to sit back and enjoy this road trip and soak up some summer.




Life Is A Highway - Tom Cochrane


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