Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cancer Treatment Recovery Update

I am now a week past radiation, and my skin is healing very nicely.  Here is a photo from today:

This probably doesn't mean much to you unless I share a photo from 2 weeks ago.  Ouch (below)!

Once my skin peeled (it is still in process of peeling in some areas), the new skin looked great.  Also, although my energy is still very low, I feel that every day it increases a bit.

Yesterday, I visited my plastic surgeon for expansion of my right "breast" (tissue expander).  My plastic surgeon had to remove 60 cc of fluid from that side the day prior to my first radiation treatment in order for my radiation team to be able to fully radiate my internal mammary lymph nodes (located in the sternum area).  While I was there, he said my skin looked excellent.  So, he went ahead and added all of the fluid he removed from my right side (60 cc) and also added some more fluid to my left side.  After that, we scheduled two more weekly appointments to see if we can add a little more fluid to both sides.  This will help preserve some space for reconstruction, which will hopefully occur in about 6 months.

I have a funny story from my visit there though.  The nurse, who I have seen a LOT since my first visit there back in February, came to the lobby to call me back to my exam room shortly after I arrived. She smiled at me, and I smiled back at her, thinking that I would be following her back to my room.  But, since there were other patients in the waiting room, I stayed seated in case she was coming to get someone else.    She walked right by me, looking all around the waiting area.  Then, she proceeded to ask the receptionist where I was located.  The entire time she was doing this, I was staring at her, again while smiling with that "hi, it is me, Heather--I am ready for my appointment" look.  She finally said, "Heather?"  I guess she was looking for a blonde or red-headed Heather, since they had not seen me without a wig. The lack of wig really confused her.  My hair is naturally very dark, but because I wanted to have fun with a hair color very different from my own, I wore a strawberry blonde or a blonde/caramel bob-style wig most of the time during my "bald" days.  Here is my hair today:

terrible photo, but you can tell my hair is really growing fairly rapidly
I'm so thankful for all of the little blessings in this life..including hair.  When you have no hair, you really begin to appreciate the hair that God gave you.  I remember thinking so many times before cancer that I wished my long, thick, wavy hair was a little thinner and straight so I didn't have to go through the long hair-straightening process.  Now, I really appreciate the hair that I have!  Thank you, Lord, for the gift of life (and of hair!)   :-)

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