Sunday, March 29, 2009

Radiation Week 3

Amoret flew home Sunday morning and all I could think was how nice it would be to have some time to myself, but it would only be the afternoon since my mom, sister, niece and nephew were diving down to visit. Becky had mentioned on Friday how she looks forward to the weekends now since they are days off radiation, which I hadn't really thought of but they sure do make a difference a couple days to recuperate and sleep in.
My mom called me after they had left home the second time to let me know that Wyatt was sick and could not handle the car ride down state. Sad, I really wanted to see the little guy. So it turned out to be a ladies trip. I spent most of Sunday cleaning, preping and decorating a bit more in my apartment. Being home bound has also created a little Suzie homemaker in me, I enjoy cooking meals and baking these days. Its even more fun to do it for other people who are use to cooking for me.
When my family arrived I noticed they all sounded like they had a cold, oh yeah! I am suppose to stay healthy through radiation, stay away from people that are sick, tough to do when your drivers are sick. My family filled my apartment up and we had fun talking and watching tv.
Monday morning I combed my hair and noticed that more hair was coming out than usual, yippie! hair loss on the left side of my head. And more fell out while washing it, kinda depressing but signaling to me that my radiation is working. I haven't hunted for the bald spots though cause I don't want to see them and the burnt skin. Monday at radiation I noticed Becky was looking stronger yet and walking better. I again got x-rays done for the doctors and enjoyed the fireworks. I tried working after radiation and actually got a bit done, while my family went out shopping.
On Tuesday the nurse said he needed to get my vitals before I saw the doctor and then only made me get on the scale. Apparently my only important vital is my weight and I got rid of my scale so I didn't have to know what I weighed. I always thought of vitals as your heart rate and blood pressure, not your weight. Well fyi, my weight has not changed since starting radiation, which is what they want. My ear ache was gone and the doctor acted surprised when I told her I notice hair loss, but she is the one who told me to expect hair loss.
After radiation my Aunt Marlene and cousin Joanne came up to have lunch with my family. We went to Olive Garden and I ate tons of salad and bread sticks, what makes their salad so delicious anyways? I know their bread sticks are tasty from the garlic butter on them. After lunch my older sister and I went shopping, yeap more shopping, and had fun shopping together again.
On Wednesday we had an appointment with a geneticist after my radiation. The geneticist appointment was set up since I am the third person in my family diagnosed with cancer and there are several other members in my extended family that have or had cancer. I felt that there must be something doctors can test for to see if we have a gene mutation that causes us to be more susceptible to having cancer. We ended up waiting about an hour past my scheduled appointment time to see the doctor and he was very confident that there was something in the Blumhardt side of my family that allowed so many cancers occurrences to happen.
The doctor performed a physical on me and then spoke with my mom, sister and I about what syndromes/ gene mutations they were going to test us for. He said that even if those tests came back with no mutations he would still keep my family in mind as far as future studies as to what causes cancers to develop. Early cancer detection has been one of my biggest concerns even before I was diagnosed, because oddly I knew I would get cancer one day, just not at 26. The geneticist said that if a family is diagnosed with a cancer syndrome any offspring or members who have not had cancer will be checked for the gene mutation. If they test positive they will have yearly screenings for cancer, where there blood is checked and they have a full body CT scan or MRI to check for tumor growth. This oddly seems like the appropriate way to handle a family that is cancer prone. Some people may say why would I want to know if I am going to get cancer one day, that would only make me worry even more. But to me early detection is a crucial aspect to surviving cancer. I really starting to think that I need to look into what types of advocacy groups are out there for early cancer detection in families with a history of cancer.
My mom and sister stayed through Wednesday and we decided to celebrate their trip by having ice cream for dinner and it was fun. On Thursday morning I was sad to see them leaving but at the same time knew that some alone time would give me time to relax after all the company. Thursday I had my second MRI for the research trial and then just made it to my radiation on time. The rest of the day I worked and enjoyed my empty home and alone time. I found that I need alone time regularly and can not always have people around me trying to take care of me. I am fully capable of taking care of myself, except for the need to have someone to drive me places, which I have tons of family around offering to do.
Friday I had my 14th radiation treatment, only 16 more to go! Oddly it is more exciting counting them down rather than up, it must be the feeling of completion. Becky and I exchanged numbers so we could talk outside of radiation since our appointments seem to be on time leaving us with very little time to talk.
I tried to work on Friday, but again the network wouldn't allow me to connect and I wasn't going to let it frustrate me so I did other things around my apartment. My cousin Mark's band was having another concert and I naturally made sure I had the energy to go and see him play. He did so well, singing and playing the guitar. He amazed me with how talented he is. Afterwards my cousin Carolyn and her boyfriend wanted to play a game they recently bought, Things, which is hilarious with the right group of people. I think I might have to get it to play with my friends.
I again have enjoyed another weekend of sleeping in, cleaning, relaxing and watching movies. Oh and of course updating my blog for hours. I am going to try and update this thing a bit more often so I don't have to spend a full day remembering what I have done and then type it up.
Thanks for reading these long posts.


  1. Beth, not much on here for almost a month. I hope and pray all is OK - but I expect the radiation is exhausting you. You do know Sarah and Ben are in Ann Arbor, I assume. Camille Kempke

  2. Hey Beth,

    I just noticed you had a blog. I really admire your strength in going through all of this. About a year ago, I watched my good friend and co-worker go though breast cancer. Her name was Becky too. It's an extremely tough battle. Please know you're in my thoughts and prayers. Since you're last post was in March, I hope things are alright for you.

    Julie (Hazzard) Lafferre