Tuesday, May 27, 2014


Today was my first radiation treatment. It took a little longer as they had to x-ray me before we started to ensure that the tattoos were accurate.  The actual radiation treatment took about 5 minutes and left my left chest area a little sensitive. I have 24 more days to go.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A New "Normal"

This week I went back to work for the final 8 days of school. My students were thrilled to see me and I was thrilled to be somewhere other than home!  I found out on Monday afternoon that I got the job I had applied for the end of April. This has been my "dream job" for the last few years as it involves working with teachers to grow and refine the AVID program in our district. The woman who previously held the position was a fabulous role model for me and I hope that she absolutely LOVES retirement!!!

I must admit that by Thursday I was completely exhausted and my left arm had started to swell indicating lymphedema. Friday I started wearing my compression sleeve and have seen some improvement but will be asking my oncologist about it next Friday.

Friday I also had my appointment to be tattooed for radiation. This involved me getting six freckle sized tattoos to outline the area that will receive radiation starting the 27th. If you look at the middle of the picture below you can see the tattoo that is on the middle of my sternum.

Next Friday I see Dr. Miller, my oncologist for my one month follow-up. I can't believe it has already been one month since my last chemo!! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Radiation Treatment Plan

This morning I met my Radiation Oncologist, Dr. Ong. She is awesome! She seemed genuinely interested in me as a person not just someone she was treating.
Because of my node involvement, I will receive radiation to my axillary area (armpit) and because my tumor was super close to my chest wall I will receive radiation there as well so basically if you put your thumb on your clavicle (AKA collar bone) and stretch your hand as much as possible down it would be that whole area. 
There are three stages to radiation
Stage 1- the CT scan- this is to get a clear picture of the area inside. The goal of the radiation is to get the specific area and minimize exposure to any organs. As of right now the top part of my left lung will get some radiation as will the bottom left ventricle of my heart. 
When I left this morning this was scheduled for Tuesday 5/13 at 8am, which would have been my second day back at work. However I lucked out and Dr. Ong called me (yes she personally called!!) later and informed me of an opening today at 3, so I went! It was much like my other scans with the added bonus of being marked on so they can line me up in the exact same position next time and a special contraption so I could be on an incline and have my arms up

Stage 2- the Tattoos- My next appointment on 5/16 at 3:15 will be to get little dot tattoos so they can line up the radiation lasers properly each treatment, they will also go over the whole procedure and any and all side effects I may experience.
Stage 3- Radiation- Beginning on 5/27 and ending on 6/30 I will go Monday through Friday for radiation to the targeted area. I should be in and out of Kaiser Ontario with in 30 minutes, with only 3 of those minutes actually being the radiation. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Clear Scan!!!! And what is a PET scan?

I got the call earlier this afternoon that my PET scan is all clear!!!
This means we will monitor the spots on my liver with regular CT scans. I will know more about that schedule when I see my oncologist for my one-month follow-up on the 23rd.
Tomorrow I have a consult with my radiation oncologist to determine my timeline for radiation so will post another update tomorrow.
Now for a bit about the PET scan I had on Monday...
So I outlined in this post the rules I had to follow the few days and hours before the test. Kaiser Fontana only does PET scans on Mondays and I found out why. After they called me back they led me out of the hospital to a loading dock where this truck was waiting.
As soon as I walked in I kinda felt like I was involved in a S.H.I.E.L.D. operation, everything was in the trailer. They lead me to a small room with a comfy chair where they tested my blood sugar and then injected me with radioactive sugar from a lead syringe. 
I then had to rest for half an hour to ensure the dye was properly distributed throughout my body. Next they let you go to the restroom, which is back in the hospital and then have you lay down on the table for the CT type scan. 

After that it was just like the CT scan and bone scan I had the tube you see is about 2.5 feet thick and the table slides you in and out according to the pictures they need. In my case I had pictures taking from the base of my skull to the middle of my thigh. The radioactive sugar causes any cancer cells to "light up" on the pictures giving the Dr.s a very clear picture of where the cancer may be in your body. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happy 4th Birthday Elisabeth Marie!!!

Four years ago this little peanut came into our lives and completely turned them upside down. 
While she is 4 going on 13, and has regular temper-tantrums and screaming fits, I can not imagine life without her. When she comes up to me and says "Mama, you're my favorite girl in the whole wide world" it melts my heart. Just like it does when she kisses her sister good night and says "I love you Cora" and then looks at me and says "she's so cute Mama" 

We celebrated her birthday yesterday with family and a few friends. It was a pretty mellow party as a week after chemo, I have little energy and lots of nausea. Ellie had a blast and says her favorite part was lollipops (she got to eat two in one day) and that her least favorite part was cake (though she likes to look at it and likes the idea of it, she doesn't like to eat it)
Look at her hands!
Making a wish
 This morning Ellie got into her new make-up and decided that we needed to make pancakes, so we did!
Beautiful in her new make-up
Making pancakes!

I love you Elisabeth Marie!! You are my favorite 4 year-old!