Monday, May 25, 2020

Summer after treatment

I did my best to enjoy the rest of the summer after I was done with treatment. Josh and I did our usual of going to his dads house for the 4th of July. I usually like to spend the day at the beach, but I wasn't feeling up to even wearing shorts.  I was still bloated from all the treatment and didn't really feel all that great about myself.  Also that weekend, his cousin was having a bachelor/bachelorette party that we went to.


Later in July I went to the Oregon Coast with my family. We stayed in a house with my dad, step mom, step sister and her boys, my brother, and my oldest cousin and his family.  It was a nice enough house. It had a lot of steps, which normally wouldn't bother me at all. I enjoy that kind of exercise. But this time, I wasn't fully recovered from treatment so the steps were kinda hard for me. They were also small steps. And I mean that by the steps themselves were only about as big as my feet and I have small feet.  I told myself to be careful, I just knew I would fall down them.  And I did. Really hard on my tailbone. I gave everyone a scare because I passed out after for a few seconds. It probably wouldn't have been as big a deal if I hadn't just finished treatment a month prior.


The rest of the trip was fun. We spent a lot of time at the beach.  I probably should have waited to go on a vacation so soon after treatment, but I didn't want to put anymore of my life on hold. Here are a few pictures from that trip:






















In August, Josh and I took his little brother Cody to the jet car races. We went the summer before and it was fun. I love that kind of stuff.  His dad and cousin showed up later to join us.  I have some pictures from that as well:














Friday, May 22, 2020

Getting through it all

I had taken a leave of absence from work the last 4 weeks of treatment and one extra week after my last treatment. I am still incredibly grateful for the company I work for. When I was first diagnosed, I didn't tell a lot of people what was going on. I am pretty introverted, and I also didn't want to be treated any different.  After learning all I would have to go through, I knew there was going to be a time when I would need to take time off work.  Not just because I thought I wasn't going to feel good, but because with the schedule I had to do my treatment. I had Chemo on Mondays, external radiation Monday through Friday. And then in week 4 I had brachytherapy on Fridays. So it made it difficult to work full time.


I wasn't sure how I was going to manage taking time off to get through all this. I started looking into what kind of financial help I could get. There wasn't much for living in Idaho. If I had lived in Washington, there were quite a few.  Then the most amazing thing happened. My amazing boss' had put out the message that if anyone had wanted to, they could donate sick time to a fellow co-worker that was in need. They had only done this one time before, for a woman going through breast cancer.  It brought tears to my eyes. At that time, I let everyone know it was me, and how incredibly thankful I was for that. I still don't know how to repay them. They helped me get through this awful time.


I was donated a total of 11 weeks, but I only used 5. I felt I only needed to get through the remainder of treatment with a week after my last brachy just to try to feel a little normal before coming back.  It was nice when I came back, but also hard. I probably should have used a few more weeks to recover, but I managed.



Monday, May 18, 2020

Brachytherapy

I want to go into more details about brachytherapy.  The first one I had, I got to go under anesthesia and while that took a long time to get through, I didn't feel any pain.  The four I had after that, I had to take a anti anxiety pill a half hour before I got to my appointment, and once I was there when I got called back, they set me up with an IV and gave me some morphine for the pain. And it was a lot more painful that I had expected. Even having the lorazepam and the morphine, it was probably the most painful thing I've gone through so far in my life. I'm not sure what to compare the pain to, but it was like this sharp, stabbing pain when the doctor would insert the rods.

I'm not sure what the rods looked like, I didn't want to look. I have it in my head that if I see it, it will hurt more. I never look anytime I'm getting blood drawn or an Iv put in.  I'm not going to put a picture of the brachytherapy in this post as anytime I've googled it, its pretty much a picture that doesn't seem appropriate to post.




The last four brachytherapy still took a while. I would say we were at the doctors office from about 12:30pm to about 3:30-4:00. What took so long was each time after I would get the rods put in, the doctor would have to come up with a plan to perfectly administer the radiation. They would scan me in a ct machine and see what the tumor looked like then decide how to set up the radiation.


I had my very last treatment on June 14, 2019. After that I was told that I would not get my post treatment pet scan until September because there was a lot of inflammation in my body from the treatment and it would be better to wait so we didn't get any false images back.




So I tried to enjoy the summer as best as I could. I still had a lot of symptoms hang on for a while after treatment was done. The biggest was the fatigue. The part of the fatigue I didn't realize would happen was whole body fatigue.  I had trouble going up stairs and climbing small hills. It was like being extremely out of shape.  It literally took the breath out of me. It was one of the weirdest things I ever experienced. I still have a little trouble with that now, but not as extreme.



Introduction

Hi, my name is Amanda and I started this blog to share my journey through cervical cancer. I wanted to share my journey because when I was f...