Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Ending the Story


This will be the last entry on this blog. I never thought it would end, but it has! Krista's cancer blog is finished. I have started a new blog, called Krista's Recovery, that I hope to write over the course of the summer as I recover from the last year. The address is:


My plan for the new blog is to post pictures (as long as I can remember my brother's technical training on using the camera with the computer!) and write about the first three months after completing cancer treatment. I hope to start it off with pictures of my upcoming trip to Vancouver, BC with the girls. I'm excited to be getting my old self back! I'm at about 60% normal energy level. So, we'll still be taking it easy, but also having some fun.

My medical stuff is like my in box at work- never quite empty. I had a visit with Dr. T on Monday and the mole is not cancerous (yeah!) I had blood drawn to check my vitamin D level, and I had a chest xray and a bone density scan scheduled. The chest xray will happen every 6 months (not sure if it's for the rest of my life or what) and the bone density yearly (I think) to see if the arimidex is wiping out my bones. I see Dr. T again in September, and then every 3 months for the next few years. The good part of all this is that I'll be watched very closely and hopefully have early detection of any problems. The bad part is that I'll be watched very closely and it will be a constant reminder that the cancer could be lurking in some corner of my body. I'm tied in to the cancer medical system for life.

I'm hoping over the course of the next few months (or perhaps for the rest of my life) to start identifying some of the things I've learned from the cancer experience. The big lesson I believe I got was that I don't need to do anything too different with my life to be happy- I don't need to wait for anything to happen or change. Instead, I am practicing BEING in my life more and I am becoming aware of all the little wonderful things that I never noticed before. Like today I went for a long bike ride and I had such gratitude for having the energy to do it. The bike ride was a pure joy- just a simple thing, but I got great pleasure out of it. And tonight I was reading the paper and Karina was telling me something about school and I put the paper down so I could give her my full attention and as I looked at her, I realized what beautiful eyes she has, in a way I never noticed before. I feel kind of like I'm waking up from a long, long sleep and experiencing my life with a heightened sense of awareness. It's pretty cool and I hope I get to hang on to it!

So, thanks to all who have read this blog and who have cheered me and supported me along the way. I hope that my next blog will be filled with joy and fun!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More Fab 40!

All the best pictures from my unforgettable 40th birthday party this week with friends and family in Eugene, Oregon -- taken by my brother Steve and good friend Deanna.

- Click the little speaker icon at the top of the slideshow to hear a cool song play while watching.

- Double click on the slideshow and select "Full Screen" to see the pictures nice and big.


Friday, June 12, 2009

I'm Done and I'm 40!


I'm done and I'm 40. Last radiation was today. I did cartwheels (in my head) on the way out. The doctor tells me that for today I am cancer free.

I didn't get a call this week about my mole, so that means that it is not cancerous (they would have called if it was).

I'm off to do some more celebrating, more later.

An ending and a beginning.

Fabulous Party With Fabulous Friends & Family!

Pictures from my fabulous birthday party with fabulous friends and family in my backyard yesterday. In the slideshow below, if you want to see the pictures bigger, just click here!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

ONE MORE TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I got two radiations done today, so I only have one more!  It didn't really register with me until I was leaving the cancer center and the therapist said, "See you Friday for your last one!"  I have no idea how I have gotten this far, but here I am!  

My car is still in the shop, so I biked with the girls to school, then biked to radiation.  I had that wonderful free feeling again and it felt really, really good to be biking to the cancer center.  On the bike I notice little things that I miss in the car, and today it left me feeling so alive.  I usually walk into that center feeling half dead.  I guess I should have been biking all along!  I had the grand idea that I would use the bike all day, but a few minutes after leaving radiation, I realized that I was too tired to make it home.  Luckily my back up plan was to borrow a car and I was able to quickly ride to where it was and get myself home.  I had a hot bath and rested on the couch for awhile, tired but happy.  

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

30 Down, 3 To Go


Wow, I couldn't imagine making it to radiation 30 times when I first began.  30 times.  That's a lot.  I am so ready to be done!  I go in twice tomorrow, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, take the next day off, and finish up on Friday.  Then I'm free of doctors until my 3 month check up (aside from waiting to hear  back about the mole and getting those stitches removed next week).  I will have a check up every 3 months for the next few years, then it will go down to every 6 months.  The end is in sight.  Thank God.  It's getting increasingly difficult to keep going in there.  I am so excited to be done and to begin the recovery process and to get my strength and stamina back.  

My car is in the shop today so after I dropped it off, I rode my bike around town a bit then back home.  It was so fun!  I got a little too enthusiastic with the freedom and fun of it all and ended up getting over tired.  I will be on the bike again tomorrow as the car is still not finished.  I'm thinking of using the bike for exercise until my breast gets less painful.  Biking didn't bother it much today, and there is something so fun and exhilarating about being on the bike.  

Ok.  I can do this.  Only 3 more.

Monday, June 8, 2009

29 Down, 4 To Go


It's interesting the deeply personal conversations that can take place in the waiting room of a cancer doctor's office.  I was once again in Dr. T's office, waiting for my mole to be removed.  I was getting anxious, thinking about more needles and cutting into my breast, when a youngish man across from me struck up a conversation.  I noticed him right away because he's one of the few young people I've seen during this time.  During the 10 minute wait I learned that he had been in the army and at 21 got diagnosed with colon cancer and had his colon removed.  He wasn't able to stay in the military and wasn't able to celebrate his 21st birthday in the usual way. He was in the office today for a check up after a "suspicious" test.  This conversation put things into perspective for me and I went in to have the mole removed feeling not too anxious after all.  I thought about what I was doing for my 21st birthday and I felt very grateful for all the years of good health I've had.  

There was a quote on the wall I read while being sliced into today.  It was by Emerson and said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”  

Got my first day of boost radiation today, then went home and got stung by a bee- much more painful than a needle!  I sat in my lounge chair on my back porch for lunch and didn't get up for 2 hours.  I didn't exactly fall asleep, but I was able to get very relaxed.  I'm hoping for a good night's sleep tonight.

Friday, June 5, 2009

28 Down, 5 To Go


Today was the last day of regular radiation.  Thank God.  It's been a hard morning.  Still having breast pain and feeling very tired.  It was hard getting my arm up over my head for radiation today- the pain has spread to my arm and shoulder.  I thought I'd feel better if I got out for a walk afterwards, so I got the walking clothes on and headed to the river.  Started walking but couldn't do it- not even a slow walk.  Any movement at all increases my breast pain.  I've taken some pain killers and am waiting for them to kick in.  Back home now resting.  

It's like the amount of radiation is just enough to bring me to my knees, then it'll be done.  Kind of like with chemo.  I know I'm almost there, but enough already!  

Thursday, June 4, 2009

27 Down, 6 To Go


So close to the end and it's getting hard.  Lot's of breast pain today and my skin is starting to peel a bit, like with a sun burn.  Only ONE more day of regular radiation, so it will be ok.  Never really had much energy today, so I'm trying to rest a lot.

I had a check up today at a doctor's office located at the hospital.  His waiting room had the same view that I had from my hospital bed the night I stayed there.  I don't know what happened, but my pulse started racing and I got a horrible sick feeling in my stomach.  By the time I finished and made it back to my car, I felt light headed and like I was going to pass out.  I think I was having fear flash backs or something.  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

26 Down, 7 To Go


What a hot day- I sweated and sweated and the bright blue circle on my breast is fuzzy and faded now, but still there.  Only 2 more days of regular radiation, then 5 days of the boost, then done!  I've been riding my bike and it's been the best exercise for me- gentle and fun and I'm not exhausted afterwards, just regular tired.   Still not sleeping too well at night, but having some fun dreams.  I dreamt that I was eating smores in a beautiful back yard in Rome...I did not want to wake up from that one!  The nice thing about being off work is that when I run out of energy, around 1 or 2 or so, I don't have to keep going.  I can lay down and rest for a few hours, then get up and continue on with my day.  Rest is good.

25 Down, 8 to Go


Got drawn on yesterday with a bright blue paint pen and told to stay out of water for the next 2 weeks.  It marks the spot for the "boost" radiation.  Also was told that I'd be wearing eye shields as this radiation can "scatter".  Can't wait for this to be over with.

Monday, June 1, 2009

24 Down, 9 To Go


I'm in the single digits!  Yeah!  I am so very happy to be so close to the end.  My first day off of work was today and I spent it at appointments- 3 different offices and 3 different gowns.  Oh how I hate those gowns!  Dr. T looked at my "suspicious mole" and said he could remove it next week.  He didn't seem too concerned and he'll have it checked for cancer.  He said my skin is holding up good and it was a good check up- short and sweet.  PT continues to go well.  Thank God I'm getting strength and range of motion back.  I had to swim this weekend for the first time since my operation, and I had the strength I needed.  Of course, most of it was adrenaline and God I believe.  I'm still freaked out about it, so not ready to write about it much.  I ended up jumping into a very cold, very deep swimming hole, with a strong current, to get to Kaycee, who was floating away down river.  I had a struggle getting us both back to shore.  My arm came through for me and although it was very sore afterwards, it's ok now.