September 20, 2018
I had my 30-day follow up after completing my 7-1/2 weeks of radiation for my breast and chest today. My skin looks mostly normal again. The Radiation Oncologist said that she can hardly tell they did anything to me. Believe me when I say that I can. Radiation affects the muscles, ligaments and tendons under the arm where the lymph nodes were removed, so I’m still doing a lot of stretching to get and keep my range of motion and prevent lymphedema. I’ve still got about 10 days of recovery from the Cisplatin so I’m still tired and working through the side-effects from that as well.
The follow-up PET scan will be scheduled in about 3 months. They don’t want to do it sooner because there will still be a lot of inflammation from the chemo and radiation treatments, as well as the radiation needing time to complete its work, so it’ll be harder to tell what’s going on. I’m good with that. I’m not a huge fan of the prep for a PET in the first place. There’s a pretty strict high-protein diet that excludes all carbs, sugar and caffeine for about a week before the scan. Before all this started, I could drink a gallon of black tea a day and not have a problem sleeping. That’s all changed. LOL All the chemos make sweet stuff mostly taste bad or be really rich, so that’s less of an issue. The real problem for me is making sure there’s no sugar in anything else, like salad dressing, or making sure I’m not eating starchy vegetables like carrots or peas. And… the one thing I can usually drink has a little bit of sugar, so I have to go back to plain water for that week, which on chemo is hard.
So far I’ve had no really good news from any of my scans. I am working on visualizing myself healthy for these new scans in December. This is really hard when you’ve done all you’re supposed to do and the treatments aren’t working the way they’re supposed to. New tumors aren’t supposed to show up in the 6 weeks between between surgery and radiation. The 2 targeted chemos I’ve been on the past 7 months were supposed to prevent that from happening and they didn’t. Not happy with that at all.
Now I’ve got a pile of issues that feel like they’re related to chemobrain and not healing right after finishing chemo and radiation, and my oncologists want me to have a brain MRI. I don’t need any more bad news.