Friday, April 29, 2016

Cancer Surgery & Recovery, and misc life updates

Wow, it has been a long time since I posted anything!   A lot has happened since then, which is probably one of the reasons I didn't post!  
On February 10th I was admitted to OSF Peoria to have my surgery.  I had a total radical mastectomy with reconstruction on the right side.  The surgery was long, but uneventful.  I was in surgery for 5 hours.  When I woke up, I was in some pain, but the meds kept it under control.  It wasn't as bad as the pain I had with my colon surgery.  I had a room full of people with me all day.  A HUGE shout out to my 84-year-old Dad.   He was there by 6:45 am and he stayed the whole day, until he got to talk to me after surgery.  He said he wasn't going anywhere until he knew I was okay.  What a long exhausting day for him!  I was released from the hospital the next day and went home to recover.  It was uneventful, also! (Uneventful is very good in the cancer world) When my surgeon talked to me afterwards, she told me that they would send the tissue and lymph nodes to be checked for any cancer cells.  She said that it would be foolish to think that there weren’t some living cancer cells remaining, and that I might need a few more chemotherapy treatments before I started radiation.  Well, guess what?  This girl has a COMPLETE RESPONSE to the chemotherapy.  There was not one trace of disease in the breast tissue or the lymph nodes that they removed.  Woo hoo!  No more chemo, on to radiation.

I was off of work for four weeks.  Luckily, I don't have a physically demanding job, but driving around all day can wear you out!  My work family has been very supportive and I'm truly thankful for that, also.
I started physical therapy 6 weeks’ post-surgery and started radiation the week after that.  I was scared the night before, and my sister-in-law Lori went with me.  It was a piece of cake.  You are literally in and out in 15 minutes.  It takes longer to change into the gown and get positioned on the table than it does to have the actual treatment.  I was prescribed 35 treatments initially, which was revised to 33 due to my complete response to the chemo.  As of today, I have 9 left.
Today I went for my first acupuncture appointment.  I have a slight case of neuropathy in my feet, a side effect of Taxol.  This has helped many people, so I am giving it a try.
Well, that pretty much gets me up to date, as far as my cancer treatments go.  I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I am thankful for that.  This experience has definitely changed me.  I appreciate the little things in life so much more.  I've learned to be still.  I was always so busy.  I felt I always had to be doing something.  I have learned to appreciate just being in the moment, surrounded by your loved ones.
And, on a very positive note, my baby girl Stephanie and her husband Austin announced that they are expecting their first baby in October.  They told us on Easter, but I had to keep quiet.   Boy, that was hard!  I'm glad that cat is out of the bag!  I have a feeling that 2016 is going to be a very good year!