A long year

radiation-23899290.jpg Karen left this morning. I miss her already. She was so helpful in making everything go smoothly after my surgery. I wish she and Bill lived closer. They are so wonderful. I was really blessed by her presence. I love you Karen.

Cindy took me to see the surgeon today. He entered the room minutes after we got there. I was so stunned by his punctuality that I was rendered speechless. “Why am I here? Ugh…the nurse she said come in.I have pain.” I sounded like an idiot. He pressed all over my incision and commented that fluid was building up in there and he was going to DRAIN IT! In the office. He got a couple needles, tubing, and what looked like mason jars and sucked the excess fluids out of my chest. I thought Cindy was going to puke in her lap. He commented that it looked like beer. Gross. I will likely never drink beer again.

It is Halloween. Bailey is trick or treating with Tavi. The twins are with friends. My older boys are doing homework and intermittently passing out candy to the neighborhood children. It is quiet around the house. For better or worse.

As I sat down to write I realized on this day last year I was in the hospital with Clayton. He was having some medical problems after he was born and we spent 5 days in Jefferson Hospital. It has been a rough year. Clay’s difficult pregnancy/birth/newborn period was followed by his refusal to breastfeed after he was 5 months old. And by then of course I had cancer and did not know it. I have cried and prayed my way through this year. Cancer ravaged my body. Cancer has stolen away my precious time with my baby and children. I have been a crisis mode for a year.

Some hard times are ahead of me as well. While radiation can be rather easy for many, my radiation will include my neck since I still have a tumor there. When the neck is radiated it often burns the throat making it difficult and painful to swallow. Usually after two weeks on radiation patients report a number of symptoms that may require pain medicine and drinking lydocane to diminish them. In rare cases people need IV fluids or hospitalization. Dramatic weight loss is a common side effect. I will be undergoing radiation for 7weeks. I am afraid. I feel like this is a huge challenge both physically and emotionally. I grew accustomed to the feel bad feel good cycle of chemotherapy. I looked forward to the good days. Radiation is every day, 5 days a week, for 7 weeks. No time off for good behavior. Not that I am likely to exhibit any good behavior.

I keep trying to do one day at a time. I am really focused on the past and the present lately. Look I have endured all this….and I still have so far to go….this will never be over. And that is true to an extent. This is a long road. I expect that a year or so after ending this series of treatments my cancer will spread from my sternum to some other place in my body…liver, lungs, brain. That’s how cancer rolls. But I have to try to not spend my time living through these treatments of tomorrow. It is really enough of a burden to get through the ones I have today.

8 Responses to “A long year”

  1. alaina says:

    Hello Andrea,

    Whats up with this???

    ‘I expect that a year or so after ending this series of treatments my cancer will spread from my sternum to some other place in my body…liver, lungs, brain. That’s how cancer rolls’

    GET THAT OUT OF YOUR HEAD WOMAN!!! That does not have to be the case. I pray that all that you are going through will oneday be a distant memory to you! There are many of us who after our mastectomies and radiation are either NED or stable. Yes, you will live with the unknown and you will always wonder about every new pain etc but you will be alive! You will wait like the rest of us for that new medication or treatment that will aide in your healing and your longevity. You will contine to live and wait for the cure! And you will be a testament to Gods love and living your faith.

    As I was told a few years back, even now that you have cancer, you will not pass from this earth one minute before you were supposed to! Remember from the moment of your conception your entire life has been part of Gods Plan and Infinite Wisdom.

    I love you!!! Love, your sister in this battle, alaina

  2. ruthie says:

    i love you!

  3. Andrea says:

    Alaina, I know you are right in what you are saying…but that is because they were able to get rid of all your cancer. The spot in my sternum is active and was not effected by chemotherapy. They are not radiating it or giving me more chemo to treat it.I will never be stable or NED ( no evidence of disease) since this will show up on scans. My “feelings” about the future are just based on the reality that I have active cancer…that will hopefully be kept at bay for several years before I am confronted with a recurrence. I know that your bone cancer is gone.Your body responded very well to chemo and herceptin. My cancer did not respond as well…they called it a partial response. I agree with you that I will be here as long as God wills it. And I have no idea how long that may be.I look forward to new and more effective treatments to be discovered But for today I assume that my disease will likely come back. If only because that seems to be the norm in these situations.

  4. joshua says:

    what a year. you’ve been through a lot and are learning a ton. i learn a lot from you. i’m glad to know you.

  5. the bad hippie naomi says:

    i had the most beautiful dream about you last nite. you were going out with kelly and i was hanging out with all the kids. (imagine that).
    you had a short curly cap of black hair that looked really cute, kinda punk flapper (which if anyone could pull it off, it would be you.) but you had these boob mounds under your black minnie mouse (don’t ask me it was a dream) sweater. and the back of the sweater was cut low, you know the kind that we couldn’t wear unless we used duck tape, and you looked gorgeous and happy. you were thin, too. it was my dream version of a happy after radiation time.
    i really hope that my dream come true for you.
    i love you lots

  6. Lhianna says:

    Shit!!!! 3 weeks since your surgery!? I do not visit you enough!!! I want to come come over everyday, and instead it is like once a week. This is stupid. I wish sometimes I could come over in the middle of the night. Or just call or something. But I am afraid to disturb you most times. I miss you! I miss your breasts too. But really I just miss you. And it is my own fault for being such a hermit. I love talking to you, and we should just hang out more often from now on. I know this is kind of a self-centered email too, but I just want to let you know that I am thinking about you and it is one of those times when it is too late to come over or even call really.
    I love you. Lhianna

  7. Callie says:

    Andrea its been awhile. I heard from the kids that you were ill. You are in my prayers. If there is anything I can do please send word through the twins to Pharaoh.

    Keep your head up. God is good.

  8. melanie says:

    I know everyone handles treatment differently, but I have heard from various people that radiation is actually easier than chemo. We have decided against doing radiation in my treatment (I don’t know if that is a good or bad thing) so I have no personal experience, but I wish you the best luck with yours. I think I’m at my worst when I can’t eat, and I generally measure my health level by how much I can eat, so I hope you can continue to eat tons!