I now only have one more fill left in my expanders and then I can begin the radiation part of my cancer treatment. I went and met with the Radiation oncologist thus past Friday. I like her she seems very thorough. She did give me the realization of what I kind of already suspected that I’m not actually cancer free yet. While my oncologist told me that my tumor had shrunk from 6 cm to 1.5cm and that they were able to get the cancer and my margins are free, the truth is there are like a billion cancer cells for every cm and the fact that 9 out of the 14 lymph nodes that were removed during my original biopsy there is still a chance that there is cancer still present in my body. It does seems like a downer hearing that after another doctor has given you the your free from cancer speech, but like I said I kind of already suspected this to be the case, why else would I need to have that side nuked? I am confident that whatever is left if there is any that it will be killed off in step 3 of Cancer Treatment. I will go in Friday and they will do a body scan to calculate where they will need to point the laser and then they will tattoo 3 dots on me so they will know where to place everything. At first I wasn’t sure about the tattoo dots, but she said they would look like freckles and I already have a bunch of freckles anyway so no big deal, plus if it makes sure that they are able to line me up correctly and not accidentally radiate my heart or esophagus I’m absolutely ok with a few dots.
It’s been about 2 ½ months since I finished chemo and I finally have full coverage of hair on my head. It looks like a very short buzz cut, but I like it and I don’t feel the need to where wigs or headwear anymore. My eyelashes and eyebrows have come back too, which is also nice. The crazy thing about hair growing back is before it comes back you get bumps all over your body where your skin kind of looks like a plucked chicken. I didn’t know about that one and thought I was having some sort of weird skin allergy from either surgery or chemo, but then I finally realized it was from the hair follicles. Once the hair would come in it would go away. The face was the worst because it looked like I had acne. I don’t know if it was because I started taking vitamin C, started washing my face with surgical soap, or if it just worked itself out but it went away on my face. My legs still look like a plucked chicken though.
Another side effect from chemo that I can’t seem to shake it that I have osteoarthritis in my fingers and knees. When I wake up the joints in my fingers feel really swollen and stiff and if I bed down to get something it is hard to stand back up because of my knees. I am hoping once I get back into my exercise routine that it will help. I have also come to live with the fact that my short term memory is pretty much gone and multi-tasking isn’t quite as easy as it used to be. I have to keep written lists now, instead of just mental ones. I imagine this would have eventually happened with age anyway; I just got the fast forward version.