I have 2 radiation treatments left and as I went in today for my 28th and saw women and men still with many remaining, I do feel grateful that I’ve gotten this far. I actually had to wait a while, for before me was a woman starting her first. I’ve seen several others on the street, around the hospital as I come and go and we smile and acknowledge one another as if we’re a part of a secret club. Before treatment, I probably would have never thought about how we could possibly be connected, but how can I not now?
Over the weekend, my skin will have time to recover and heal before I come back for the final two. I think I’ll start making a list of all the things I’ll want to do as soon as the skin heals. I can take bathes again. I can wear deodorant (stuff that actually works), wear lotions that smell, use my French bath wash. I’ll be able to let my girls climb all over me without worrying that they’ll hurt me. I’ll be able to give hugs with my right side again, and not just awkwardly lean in with my left. And as soon as the skin heals, I can wear normal clothes again. I’ve ruined about 10 shirts because I’ve worn them over and over. I can only wear soft shirts that don’t rub up and irritate my armpit area, but can still be ruined by the vaseline type lotion that I have to apply now nearly four to five times a day.
I didn’t start to feel pain or any uncomfortable irritation until I had about5 treatments left. But it was enough. Imagine a sunburn in your armpit. And it’s not like a normal sunburn, it’s a weird darker, skin transformation that is hot to the touch. I definitely can’t wear any bags or straps over my shoulder. Can’t wear any tight clothing that will irritate the skin. And since my mornings are spent at the hospital, I can’t travel outside New York for work. I’m a hostage to my own disease.
But come Tuesday, it’ll all be over. I’ll get back on tamoxifen, the estrogen blocker that shrinks tumors, and stay on that for the next five years. I’ll have follow-ups with each doctor in the next coming months. I’ll have a full pet scan, at my own demand, to ensure the cancer is gone. Then I’ll have my exchange surgery, sometime at the end of July or beginning of August.
The road of battle isn’t over, but continues. At least I can start getting back to normal, or at least what normal will become for me. Much love to you all.