Friday, February 26, 2010

Some of my new friends

Here's a pic of some of my new friends. Six of us met in the summer as part of a 6-week support program, and have continued to meet weekly (usually 4 or 5 can make it each week). It is so great having each other just a phone call or meeting away. We can talk about anything, including our hair, our aches and pains, how we are dealing with our relationships, our kids, our plans to go back to work (or not). All of us had the same chemo, but different surgeries and radiation doses. Here you can see 3 post-chemo hairdo's and 1 wig (and our Tim Horton's coffees).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mammogram (already!)

I went for my mammogram today. Hard to believe it's been a whole year since this mess started. I'm feeling confident I am fine, but it will be good to hear the results next week. Next week will also be a year since surgery, so it will be a good time to declare myself a 1 year survivor!

Side note - I recommend taking tylenol before the mammogram, it definitely helped!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

First Haircut! 6 months post-chemo

Okay, there wasn't much to cut, but it's much neater now! And while you might think all of your hair grows in at the same time after chemo, it doesn't. It was getting long over my ears, and still just coming in at my bangs and the very back.

Monday, February 22, 2010

1 week until I start work...

A funny thing happened last week. I was feeling pretty good, I stopped to get groceries on my way out, chatted with the cashier, helped bag the groceries into my reusable bags, and just as I'm ready to pay she smiles and says 'do you get the seniors discount'? Really? I don't know what the cutoff is for the discount on Safeway's seniors day, but I'm pretty sure it's not 44. I know I don't look like a senior, even after a year of battling cancer treatments, but it still managed to get me down.

I'm off to the doctor today to get my note giving me permission to go back to work. Later this week I have my mammogram. How much is that going to hurt? Definitely taking tylenol first. It's already been a year since my diagnosis. Unbelievable.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Countdown to going back to work (< 4 weeks)

A busy week... I met some friends for lunch. We're wearing our beaded bracelets made to support our friend's mom when she was diagnosed with breast cancer (and now it shows support for me as well!)

After lunch, I had my followup with the radiation oncologist, who says all looks good. He did say I need to get a compression sleeve to wear if I'm flying, since there is a life long risk of developing lymphedema in my right arm, where all the lymph nodes were removed.

I went for lunch with my support group. We meet weekly, either coffee or lunch, or sometimes at someone's house. This will be hard to fit in once I'm back to work, but will definitely be a priority.

I went for a walk with Nancy, who is my running partner and is training for a half marathon here this month (in the snow). We ran it together a few years ago. I miss running, but I'm just not ready yet. I've tried a couple of times, but am sticking to walking for now.

I talked to Jan, my friend in Vancouver who calls every week or two to see how I'm doing. In addition to her regular job, she has a dog walking business, so she is usually walking through some forest or along a beach when she calls. She always asks me to come out to visit, hopefully I'll get out there in the summer with the kids (we missed our planned BC trip last year which was to include biking down the mountains at Whistler - them, not me).

I watched a webinar on 'Healthy Lifestyle Choices for Breast Cancer Survivors'. The main message is to eat low fat, maintain a healthy body weight, and exercise. Unfortunately, all the studies were on postmenopausal women. There were also discussions on alcohol, soy, and flax, which can affect estrogen sensitive cancers (mine is not). Vitamin D was the last thing discussed, the recommended range to take is 200 to 1000 IU. It's disappointing not to hear that there is something significant I can do to reduce the chance of recurrence. The one change I have made is drinking green tea everyday. Green tea is shown to lower the risk of cancer in general, not necessarily the recurrence of breast cancer. It is a healthy drink since it's a rich source of antioxidants.

I'm thankful again for what a strong support group I have - so many people that check in on me or I just know are there when I need them.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

5 months post-chemo

And almost 3 months post radiation (followup with radiation oncologist tomorrow). I'm definitely feeling stronger and thinking more clearly. My new exercises from the physiotherapist have really helped my right arm. My fingers are no longer going to sleep so much.

I'm planning for starting back to work March 1st. I think I will feel much more normal once I'm back at work.

And the 5 month hair update...