Sunday, November 13, 2011

Finished Radiation and Hopefully On To Remission

I apologize for not being able to blog for a while.  Aside from tiredness from the daily radiation, I have been anxious about what's next after treatments.

On October 10, I finally graduated from radiation.  Daily doses of 200 cGy (Centigrey) of radiation made me very tired but generally well.  I tolerated the treatment better than Chemotherapy.  I had 25 rounds of daily treatments , Monday through Friday and 10 days of treatments of booster, high doses of radiation.

Only my right breast was radiated because it is where cancer was and because cancer has invaded my lymph nodes.  Radiation was meant to kill remaining cancer cells that has travelled through the lymph and the local areas (breast tissues, skin, chest and armpit).

I did not feel any pain during treatments.  In fact, it felt like I was getting xrays for longer periods everyday.  The effect of radiation started along the 4th to 5th week of treatments.  My skin started to itch a lot which were not alleviated by scratching.  Once I scratch relentlessly, the skin started to come off and bleed.  It was like a third-degree burn.  I took a lot of pain medications, benadryl, hydrocortisone cream  and radiation cream to ease the side-effects.

(warning: actual picture of breast after surgery and radiation)

Two weeks after I finished radiations, my skin started to heal.  I still feel the itching and pain until now (one month after the last treatment session) but it is subsiding little by little. I'm still feeling the side-effects of chemotherapy, like nausea and bone pains.  But I was told that it can take up to six months for the side effects to totally go away. 

This week, the first week of November, I saw my doctors for follow up.  My oncologist took a blood test which will determine my tumor marker CA27.29 and other blood levels.  Most important is the tumor marker because this will indicate if the treatment has been effective or not and if the cancer has spread to other organs. 

Depending on the result of the blood test, I may go for further tests (PET Scan, MRI and CT Scan).  For now, my oncologist's diagnosis/impression is NED (No Evidence of Disease).  This is one of the better news a breast cancer patient wants to hear!

I will regularly see my oncologist, breast surgeon and radiation oncologist every three months to monitor my condition.

My oncologist has put me on hormone therapy Tamoxifen, an estrogen blocker to prevent the spread of breast cancer cells and prevent recurrence. I will be taking it for five years.

With 5 years of being NED, I will be considered in remission and with 10 years of NED, I will be considered, "cancer-free"!  I look forward to that day!

I will have my 2nd stage of reconstruction surgery on November 22.

The battle continues but life goes on... with more prayers and a lot of courage and faith, I am hoping for weeks to turn into months, into years and finally be free from the "C".

Help us in this fight against breast cancer. If you can , please help in raising funds for Krissy's Breast Cancer treatment: