I have just recently realized how sick I was last year during my treatment. I know that was probably pretty obvious to others- and it sounds almost silly saying it out loud, but for me, I just did my best to get through each day no matter how horrible I felt and tried my best to convince myself I was not sick. I would get up in the morning and try to look as if I had eyebrows and eyelashes by putting on make up. And I would then wrap my bald head in a bandanna. I would try to work at least half a day, attempt to ride my bike and even on the very rare occasion socialize- Cancer can be pretty isolating. All these memories have hit me hard over the past week. But the good news is, I have rapidly begun to start to feel like myself before I got sick. I think I remember what it feels like to be me again- Here I am!
Now, don't mistake this for "I'm over it or that I'm cured", but it is a fantastic feeling to wake up in the morning and not feel like my body has been completely taken over by aliens.
As I mentioned in my prior posts, I am back to training for the bike racing season. My legs are starting to remember what fatigue through fitness is all about. We have lucked out with two great weekends in a row of fairly mild temperatures (anything above 35 degrees is ideal for winter road riding) and we have been able to get the miles in our legs. This past Saturday we added more miles (46 to be exact) and with a couple more hills. Sunday was a bit shorter with a few less hills, but my legs were still screaming by the end. It felt great!
While work and training are keeping me really busy, I have not been without my share of doctor appointments. Since my last entry, I have had my biweekly physically therapy appointments, a routine Eco- Cardiogram ( I have them ever 3 months to make sure the Herceptin is not damaging my heart) and a brain CT scan. Oh, right....I forgot to mention that. Frankly, I debated whether or not I would blog about it at all. I hardly told anyone I was going in for this scan. I figured the less energy I gave it, the more likely it would just be another nuisance and not one of my biggest fears. Plus, I did not feel like worrying anyone.
Why the brain CT? I had been having these horrible headaches. Every time I go in for my Herceptin treatment I see my oncologist first. She gives me a health survey to fill out. It's more like a two page check list to see what my side effects are. It ranges from bloody noses, itchy skin, vision problems, bone aches, etc. Thankfully, most of my side-effects have slowly moved from the Yes column to the No column. Headaches and the random bloody noses have remained in the Yes column. About 2 months ago my oncologist asked me about these headaches more in depth. She casually suggested a brain MRI but unfortunately, I can't have an MRI until my tissue expanders are removed. They have metal in them so it doesn't mix so well with the MRI machine. Anyway, the next best option is a CT scan. After a small discussion about when I should get this scan, we decided collectively, that if in two months the headaches were still there, I would get the scan. So, two months were up.
All in all, it was a pretty uneventful trip to the hospital. But with any of these scans or tests I have had to go through, they are all none the less very nerve wracking. I only had to wait 24 hours for the results and it was a relief to hear back from my nurse- "It's confirmed, you have a brain".
You may be wondering what the doctors were looking for. Once a patient is diagnosed with Invasive Breast Cancer, it is just that- Invasive. In my case, it had left the breast tissue and entered my lymphatic system. This is reason number 1 for having all the chemotherapy treatments and radiation. My biggest fear is that my cancer will come back in an organ or in my bones. The most common metastases for breast cancer is to the bone, lungs, liver or brain. The scan was to rule out the obvious and according to the results it appears to have just been a headache. I have my own theories on what is causing these headaches. Hercpetin can cause headaches, but it could also be the tension I have had to hold in my shoulders and back since my surgery last May. I would not be surprised if that was the culprit behind my headaches.
Of course, none of this will stop me from training, working or living my life to the fullest.
It is now March and while the snow is melting quickly, spring is still a little ways away. G and I planned a quick getaway down south. A little spring training and RnR seemed in order for both of us, especially my guy. Maybe when we get back all the snow will be gone and the woods will be all dried out.....a gal can dream can't she?!