Surgical Drains Removed
The surgical drains were finally removed on July 1, 2009. To put it in perspective, my first surgery was June 3, 2009 and my second surgery, margin revision, was June 16, 2009. So for almost a full month, I had surgical drains. I was so glad to be done with the drains! Goodbye drains…Hello radiation! During July 2009, I continued Herceptin weekly and asked to be changed to a treatment plan of once every three weeks because I would return to school at the end of July. As an Assistant Principal, I had to report to work a couple of weeks before the teachers.
Wedding Plans Continued
Wedding plans continued during July. I was trying to get all of the details together such as: programs, invitations, wedding favors and menu cards created or ordered because my eldest daughter was going to be married the following January.
Kelsey Goes to UF
July 2009 was also full of preparation to send Kelsey, my youngest daughter, off to college. She was preparing to join the Gator Nation at The University of Florida (UF) in August, 2009. In retrospect, July 2009 was the last month that we were all in the same house as a family unit and yet excitement for the girls future was the focus.
I met with the radiologist who was also a female doctor along with all the doctors on my team. As she reviewed my chart, she said something along the lines of…you should do well. You had a ‘complete response to chemo’ to which I replied, “I call it my miracle”. She smiled politely and went on to tell me that’s when the chemotherapy completely attacks the cancer cells. Then we discussed the radiation plan. I would have 35 rounds of radiation. That ends up to be 7 weeks, 5 times a week, give or take a holiday with the center closed.
I was scheduled for radiotherapy. At that appointment I got two small pencil dot tatoos. Those markings would be used to line me up under the machine so that the radiation would most effectively target the right area. The next day, I came back for a walk-through so that the technicians could set the machines and the following day radiation began. I will admit that I was scared but as I drove there and laid there, I prayed continuously that it would work.
Once the preliminary visits were completed, it took me longer to drive there than it did to receive the treatment. I was back at work and the Cancer Center scheduled me at 6 AM or 6 PM. I drove myself to and from radiation. If it was the early morning appointment, I went straight to work from radiation. I would joke every now and then that I was ‘glowing’ to ease the awkwardness in the office. When I was about 3/4 into treatment, I started to get sensitive skin but they gave me some cream and it was not a significant problem. I was a little tired but as a school administrator in August and September, it is expected. I could not differentiate if it was caused by radiation. I just kept going…one day at a time.
People always ask me…How did you do it…work through chemo, port complications and radiation? My answer is…I was not alone. I have a personal relationship with the ‘Great Physician’ who is God. I trusted God to direct my doctors and to give me strength. Long before cancer my life verse was Jeremiah 29:11, For I know the plans I have for you…
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