Leanne, Ryland, Kaitlin, Jeff & Maryn

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

We're back...and onto radiation!

We took full advantage of my break between chemo and radiation and made a mad dash to Idaho to be with our family. It was a wonderful and eventful two weeks, and as usual, passed by way too quickly. The kids were both pretty good on the 12 hour drive each way, although Jeff and I got a little tired of hearing "Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy" 1000 times in the car. I think I would rather hear "are we there yet?"

We got back last week, just in time to do all of the preparations for radiation. I went in last Monday to do the dry run for treatment to ensure that everything the Radiation Oncologist planned for my treatment was in alignment with the x-ray and CT scan. I started radiation on Tuesday and was pleasantly surprised by how quick actual treatment is!

I go into the Radiation Oncology Department at the hospital, check into the front desk to get queued in the system, then change into a gown for the top only. If the techs are running on schedule, I'm only in the waiting room for a moment. Once it's my turn, I walk back into the radiation room, verify that I am me, then lay down on the radiation table. The techs line me up with the machine (using the three dot tattoos they put on my chest). Once I'm lined up, they leave the room and I get zapped for a few minutes while holding very still. The radiation machine moves around me as I lay on the bed, and after it's over, I am done. On Tuesdays I meet with my Radiation Oncologist to discuss how I am feeling and the following week's radiation plan. For the first three weeks of radiation, I shouldn't feel any different. Weeks four and five, I may start to feel more tired and may get a sunburned affect on my chest as well.

Today would have been treatment #7, but the machine went down this afternoon. They are expecting it to be fixed, and then I'll go in tomorrow as planned, and tack the extra day of radiation on at the end of treatment. So, I got Halloween night off! We had a neighborhood Halloween party at the end of the street and hung out with the neighbors. Maryn did get to trick-or-treat on the way back up the street and found it pretty exciting that she got to go door-to-door asking for candy. She dressed up as a fairy and Ryland was a little chicky. We let Maryn break into a couple pieces of candy before bath and bed tonight, so she was able to stay up a little later than usual. I'm sure we'll pay for it tomorrow, but it was well worth it.

Happy Halloween!
Leanne, Jeff, Maryn and Ryland

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The last couple weeks...

Once again, time has gotten away from me! It has been a couple weeks since I last updated everyone, and so much has happened. I completed my last round of chemo on Wed, September 26th! It feels so good to have that chapter of my life complete, and to be moving onto the next step in treatment...talk about light at the end of the tunnel. I also celebrated my one year anniversary of the right mastectomy on October 3rd. I remember sitting in my hospital room after the mastectomy last year, at five weeks pregnant, hoping that my little baby would make it through the tumultuous remaining six months of my pregnancy with the start of chemo on the horizon. Now I have two amazing children - and still can't believe that Ryland made it through the anesthesia of the mastectomy and five months of chemo while I was pregnant with him.

Things continue to be busy around the Lusk household...Maryn has amazing energy that I wish I could bottle. She is starting to be more aware of her actions, and as a result, we don't have to watch her every move as closely. Ryland is cooing, smiling and laughing - he is a blessing, and is such an easy baby. I think he is the perfect compliment to Maryn's mischieviousness. Ryland rolled over from his back to his tummy today - something he has been trying to do for weeks. He has gotten almost all the way over, but couldn't figure out how to get his arm out of the way to get to his tummy. That, and he would roll over enough to see the tv, and would get sidetracked with trying to watch the television.

We found child care for Ryland during the daytime, while we continue to be on the waiting list for Maryn's daycare in the infant room - it shouldn't be too much longer until we can get him in, but we were a bit worried about finding affordable infant care in the meantime. Maryn's daycare had a book fair last week, which I was in charge of coordinating. Jeff and I did a lot of juggling with the kiddos in the afternoons so I could be at the book fair, but we made it work. Last week was also a rough week - we all came down with varying forms of a cold. Ryland started with a dry cough, then Maryn woke up on Thursday morning with a fever that lasted three days. We made two trips to the pediatrician with both of the kids, and Jeff and I have been fighting something off since the beginning of last week as well. My blood counts were low the previous week (hemoglobin was at 10.4 and white counts were at 1.2), so I had procrit and neupogen shots to try to boost my immune system. If it wasn't for them, I don't know that I would've seen the upward slope of this cold...and I've been feeling kind of sick for almost 10 days now.

The insomnia and neuropathy continue. I am having a really hard time with the insomnia - especially given the fact that both of the kids wake up by 7:30am each day, and I normally can't fall asleep until somewhere between 1am and 3am, and that's with some type of sleep aid. I don't know if my body is too used to them now or what, but I know that I could really use a full night of sleep! The worst part is that Ryland sleeps through the night, so I should be taking advantage of it and should be getting some rest. The neuropathy has a lot to do with it...even though I feel varying levels of numbness in my hands and feet every day, the nights seem to be when it bothers me the most. I've gotten used to the feeling of having decreased sensitivity to touch, and have adapted...at first, typing became more difficult because I couldn't feel the keys as easily, and my fingers seemed to stumble a lot. I just type slower now, and it seems to work better. Lately, I have also been getting a sensation on my right hand on the knuckles, like I am being stung by a bee. I'm not sure if it's the nerves being overloaded, or maybe repairing, but it makes me look at my hand every time. The neuropathy in my feet still takes some getting used to. Shoes don't feel like they fit right, but I really like having tight fitting socks on...I don't know why, but it feels more comfortable.

I start radiation in a little less than two weeks, and am hoping to get back to more of a normal life. My mom will be visiting for the first week to help out with the kids, while Jeff has a business trip planned for the middle of the week. My first week of radiation is jam-packed with doctor's appointments, and a Herceptin infusion, but I am hoping to start going back to work the last week of October. My plan right now is to go in for a normal work day, but to have radiation in the late afternoon, so I can leave work a little early. Tuesdays I'll have an appointment with the Radiation Oncologist as well, and every three weeks, I'll have an appointment for bloodwork on Tuesdays, and my Herceptin infusions on Wednesdays. By my rough calculations, I should be done with radiation around the middle of December though.

I will try to be better about updating over the next couple weeks. We are taking it easy and are enjoying my appointment free weeks in the meantime. We hope this finds you happy and healthy!

Leanne, Jeff, Maryn and Ryland