Saturday, July 5, 2008

Tattoo's, Hot Flashes & Resilience

I really need to start blogging more often because each time I sit down to do it, I can't believe how much has happened! We attended Talyn's orientation at his new preschool and he was one of 3 kids getting a 10 minute tour of the classroom. He found it extremely difficult to hear about all of these great things and not play with them, so we had to redirect him back to making a good impression on his new teacher a couple of times. At the end of the tour she said that Talyn seems very outgoing. Which must be the new polite way of saying "I will have to watch him closely!".

Last Wednesday I attended my radiation simulation appointment. It was a room exactly like the real one I will be using, but the green beams it projects aren't radiation. They got me to lie in a bunch of different positions and took pictures once they got the angles right so they could mimic it the following week. When we were all done, they said "ok, we just need to bring in the tattoo lady and then we'll be done". I naively asked what she was needed for and I got the response "oh, didn't anyone tell you about the tattoo's?". So, 15 minutes later, I now feel much edgier than the old Tasha with 4 blue freckle like permanent tattoo's that they use as markers for my positioning.

I met with Dr. Webster on Thursday to review the latest episodes I had experienced and again review why this might be happening. His theories, which usually prove to be right, are that these are either because my second type of chemotherapy is again trying to put me into menopause and the drastic change in hormones is hard on me or that my body is just really tired.

After radiation, I am going to be taking a daily drug to stop the hormone production in my body so that my specific cancer that likes hormones, won't latch onto them. Because the drug they normally give pre-menopausal women didn't work on me the first time, they are now trying their second weapon which requires that I am post-menopausal. To do this, they inject me every few months with a needle in my stomach of Lupron. It acts to temporarily shut down my ovaries - science is definitely advanced in some areas!

The goal is that I go without a period for 4-6 weeks following this injection and then we start the drug. I of course asked what happened if I still got my period. Dr. Webster said that this is unlikely and we would cross that bridge if we came to it.

Later that night, the lupron injection created a reaction of its own that included hot flashes, dizziness and an internal infection. I started on antibiotics later that evening and started to feel better within a couple of days. But my Canada Day was mainly spent in bed and I have been off of work this week, letting my body recover from the latest of its reactions. With my body continually sending me signals that it needs a break, I was very anxious to start radiation!

On July 3rd, Ryan took my to my first radiation appointment. I was quiet and Ryan kept asking me what was wrong, but I was concentrating on "staying calm" and not thinking about what adding another component to my weak body was going to do to me. The appointment went way better than expected! It was very quick and the ladies on my unit - Unit #1, are really sweet. They cranked the music when they left the room to help keep me calm.

I am now 2 down, 18 to go and it has been going well. My body has actually been feeling a bit stronger for the past couple of days and I couldn't figure out how that could be. Until last night when my ovaries decided that they really wanted to be the exception and cross that bridge that Dr. Webster said was unlikely. My body was clearly not going into menopause and that's why all of the symptoms had ended. In one way, that part was a nice break, but why do I always have to be the exception? So, next week I will call into Dr. Webster and find out what's on the other side of the bridge.

The energy from the past few days is exactly what I needed to feel some mental strength to push through the remaining 18 treatments. Although my body is fighting everything that is foreign to it right now, maybe that means that is is more resilient after 2 years of treatment. If the cancer does decide to strike back again, this time my body will know exactly what to do! Fight, Fight, Fight!!!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tasha,
    We have read and re-read your latest posting which is packed with events, information and emotion.

    We hope that your radiation treatments are continuing to go "better than expected". Thank goodness that the appointments are quick and that the ladies on duty are sensitive to your needs.

    When we first read about "radiation simulation" and "blue tattoos", the account sounded to us like a piece of science fiction. Now, your blue "freckles" are probably serving you well as you move into position for each succeeding radiation treatment.

    Dr. Webster's review of your scary episodes seems quite open-ended. Even HE cannot say for sure why the episodes might be happening. Different chemotherapy, hormone changes and tiredness have probably all had a part to play in your adverse reactions. As ever, you are having to wait and see what happens next!

    In fact, Tasha, you must almost have to force yourself to take that next pill or have that next treatment or try that next drug. Your latest experience with the Lupron injection is a good example. It caused disturbing symptoms and an infection ... and still did not do what it was supposed to do. You're right, science has definitely advanced in some areas but it seems that YOU are part of the research that is leading to new discoveries and to improved treatment options. You are a pioneer, and it is clear to us that breaking new ground is really rough at times.

    By contrast, Talyn's preschool orientation session must have been a refreshing view of things to come for him in September. I had to laugh at the prospect of his "hands-off" tour around a room that is supposed to say, "touch me, touch me" at every turn.

    I am also amused to see that you are already wise to "teacher talk", too. Did you know that teachers are actually taught to put even the negative into positive terms whenever possible? However, over the years, I have learned that parents just as good at reading between the lines as teachers are at buffering their comments.

    It will be wonderful if your energy level continues to go up as the number of remaining treatments goes down, Tasha. You are necessarily in fighting mode right now. That has to be a drain on your body, mind and spirit. Keep your sights on August's beach retreat and the family care that will help to replenish the amazing inner resources you are drawing on right now.

    You are such a determined fighter, Tasha and we are so proud to be in your corner.

    Sincere well-wishes,
    Louise and David