Archive | November, 2009


20 Nov

That’s it, that is all I wanted to say. That, and thank you to everyone who is, and has been, praying for me. I greatly appreciate it.

Okay, I guess there is still a little more to say:

Today was the completion of two weeks of radiation. Friday’s are the hardest as it has been five days in a row of mega doses of radiation each day. My skin looks sunburned is all, but feels quite tight. Mostly I am just tired. I slept most of the day today. My doctors tell me that weekends are intended as a time for rest to recuperate from the week of treatment. By Sunday (if last weekend was what is to be typical) I should feel at my best and ready for the next week of treatments to begin. BUT, I am so thankful for Thanksgiving because it means that I will have only three treatment days next week (Monday through Wednesday). I will then have Thursday through Sunday off. As I said earlier on my blog, I had the option of coming in on Friday (as the Cancer Center is open). But, I decided to take them up on their offer of having Friday off.

I am told it will not change the effectiveness of my treatment – it will simply extend my treatment by one day. So, instead of my treatment ending on December 18th, it will end on December 19th. All I know is that it will be over before Christmas and that is truly a blessing.

So far my physical symptoms (other than exhaustion) have not been too bad. I am practicing meditation and relaxation techniques and this has been extremely useful.

My blood pressure prior to my cancer diagnosis was about 104 over 55, sometimes lower. So I did not have high blood pressure. But, having now been in treatment for nearly 8 months – a great deal of that time my blood pressure was much higher (sometimes still in what is considered a healthy normal range, but many other times, way too high).

Well, ever since I incorporated the relaxation and meditation, I have seen my blood pressure return to normal. That has to be a good thing. I know it is not a cure for cancer, but it means that at least my heart is under less pressure and that has to be a good thing. Still, it takes a lot of effort to keep it up and to actively avoid stress. It is working though and so I just have to keep it up.

I will be going to bed soon, as rest is key.

Thank you for your continued prayers and positive thoughts – please keep them coming my way.

Much love,


1/4 of the way done with radiation!

18 Nov

Hello All,

It is a little after 4:00 am on Wednesday morning. No, I am not an early riser this morning (although prior to radiation – I really was). I just haven’t gone to sleep yet. This is radiation – it messes with your clock.

Anyway, I am awake and so I wanted to write a few lines here.

First of all, thank you for your continued prayers and positive thoughts as I know this makes a difference in my recovery. Second, I am now officially 1/4th of the way through my radiation treatment! There are 28 treatments in all, and I have – as of yesterday (Tuesday) completed 7 of those treatments. Now I am no math genious, but that’s 25% done! I am thrilled. 

I am, admittedly, a little scared too. The first part is supposed to be the easier part of the radiation treatment and then it’s cumulative effects cause more pain and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I am NOT going to let that possibility rob me of the relief I feel to be 1/4th of the way through radiation.

Besides, I am choosing, choosing, choosing, choosing, choosing NOT to have horrible side effects from the treatment. And, if it does get worse in that department, so be it, I will get through that too.

So, with at little bit of fear, I go back there tomorrow for my 8th treatment. But, I am also celebrating having so much behind me.

And, one last thing, I still have not returned calls and so I am still very sorry and a bit embarrassed. I will, I promise, as soon as I can. My hours are really weird right now and so that is why. Please know it is nothing personal and that I am so appreciative of your support. I seriously doubt anyone wants me to call them at 1, 2, 3 or 4:00 am. Yet, lately that is about the time I seem to be awake, coherent maybe? I don’t know about the coherent part, you be the judge, reading my ramblings here.

Thank you for your prayers and your positive thoughts, please keep them coming my way!

So good night and  . . . good morning.

I am going to sleep until the last minute that I need to wake up and get ready for radiation tomorrow. That should still give me about 4 1/2 hours 🙂 Woo-hoo!

Second week of radiation starts tomorrow . . .

16 Nov

Hello all,

Well, I feel much better today than I did Friday, that is for certain. I think so much of the anxiety I feel (when I feel it) comes from the unknown. And last week was definitely a week of unchartered waters.

But, on the upside, I have one week behind me and about four and a half more to go. The weekend did have some restorative effect for me and I am hoping each weekend will provide the opportunity to recover from the week. Still, there is unknown. But, Saturday I hit a turning point, I think, with respect to the radiation treatment. I know the drill now. I know it is painful (not during the treatments necessarily, but afterwards). I know that for most women the discomfort and pain increases, over time, due to the cumulative (and intended cumulative) effect of radiation treatment.

But, some women get through the treatments more easily than others. And, attitude DOES make a big difference. So, like I said in my previous posting, I am choosing to get through the radiation treatment feeling as well as I possibly can. I plan on getting through it well.

I am excited about upcoming work (my busy season will begin soon) and I am a little leery about it at the same time. But, this is no different than my feelings about my busy season every year – it is just that this year it had cancer in it. I will simply do what I did when I was going through chemo – take fewer clients and be selective in those clients that I do take.

I really would like to change the name of my blog to cancerfree, instead of cancerfree2b. But, I will just look at it (the blog name) this way now: cancerfree2b – meaning to be, as in forever. I pray for that and know that others are praying for that too. Your prayers are so appreciated.

I did a small amount of work this weekend (very small) and mostly spent my time trying to relax and get the equipment and machines from the radiation treatments out of my head.

And, I blogged a little too (obviously) 🙂

I also finally had the energy to check my voice mail on my cell phone. I want to thank you for calling me, it means a lot, so much, even though I can’t always call back as quickly as I would like. I apologize to everyone for not calling back this week. But, it was just a really draining time. So please forgive me for not calling, but know that your calls mean a lot to me and do me a great deal of good.

Well, I should be sleeping. So I am off to go do that now. 🙂

Weekend off . . .

14 Nov

Note to reader: this post was supposed to post Saturday morning and for some reason it did not. Anyway, things have improved since Fri/Sat. But, since I wrote this post and intended to post it, I am doing so, even if it is a few days late). So here you are:

What a difference a day makes . . . I hope 🙂

Not having to do radiation today or tomorrow is such a relief. I am grateful for these two days of not having to go in for treatment. And, over the weekend of Thanksgiving (which is also my birthday over that weekend) I have the option of having four days off! Hoag’s radiation cancer center will be closed on Thanksgiving day, but will reopen the next day. However, I was told that I had the option of taking that Friday off or going ahead with treatment that day. I think I am going to take the day off – which will mean a four day break from treatment. Since I would be missing a scheduled treatment (they have scheduled 28 treatment days) they would tack on an additional day at the end of my treatment to compensate. Of course, I will see what my radiology oncologist says about it as the date gets closer.But, right now I am leaning towards taking that day off.

All I want now right now is peace and quiet and rest. This driving around (or rather being driven around) from treatment to doctor’s appointments all last week has exhausted me. Yesterday was especially stressful. Some people do not always understand my limitations when I am in pain – and as a result they have the same expectations of me as they might have had a week prior. This radiation is so different, so draining. I don’t know what next week will bring, but I know that I have to take more control over how I spend my time. I have no energy for extensive discourse or disagreements. One argument or heated discussion and I feel as though I am set back days and days. So, I will just not allow any more of that to happen in my life.

I just need to create more space and peace in my life. I need calm, I need to meditate, I need to pray and I need to get my self back. The self that has somehow been stamped out here and there by this ugly disease. I plan on doing whatever I can to make progress on that his weekend and next week.

My busy time of year will begin soon with my work and we shall see how that goes. I haven’t decided how to handle that.I know I am getting better. I know that the radiation will be over with relatively soon . . . I am just about 20% of the way done with my radiation treatment. So that is something I guess. 🙂 And, by the time I would need to perform on any of the contracts that I would enter into in the next 30 days, I will have completed the radiation treatment. The trouble is that I have no idea how I will feel at the end of the radiation treatment. Some women recover pretty quickly – women who are in seemingly worse physical health than I am – women who eat poorly and use cancer as an excuse to have milkshakes everyday and things that they might not ever eat otherwise. And then there are women who take months to recover. I wish I knew which woman I was going to be. Maybe I just need to choose. I mean really, maybe it is that simple – just choosing to not let it take your energy and choosing to recover as soon I am done with it.

Or, maybe I need an occasional milkshake 🙂

First week of radiation is done!

13 Nov

That’s really all I had to say: first week of radiation is over with . . . yahoo! Now I am going to try to get a few things done and then rest. Sorry that I don’t have anything exciting to say. Although, I am pretty excited to be done with my first week of radiation.

I am getting through this, step by step. Keep those prayers coming my way, I know they are working!

Much love to you all!

4 down 24 to go . . .

12 Nov

I just got back from my fourth radiation treatment and also a doctor’s appointment (which was a follow up for the hospitalization I had in October).

So now I am home and will hopefully have very little more medical to deal with today, that is my hope anyway.

The first three radiation treatments were scheduled in the mornings – until they could get me into the time frame that I preferred. So, today was the first day of getting the new time, which is now 12:15 pm. I am not sure how that will work out. I probably should have asked for a time that was later in the day so that I could accomplish more in the earlier part of the day. But, I think it will work out.

After today’s treatment, they sent me over to see Dr. Cox, my radiation oncologist. He looked me over and said everything looked fine. He also told me that they need to get my skin to a certain amount of redness. It is all kind of strange – they tell you to put aloe on your skin to help take the redness away, but they also want your skin to get red. I don’t really understand it. I feel so much less informed about this stage of things than I did about the chemotherapy and the surgery. But, I am sure it will all work out. I guess I am uncomfortable with the lack of research I have been able to do on the radiation phase of treatment. And, the little research I have done on it pretty much suggests that there is a real divide amongst oncologists as to whether radiation should be given in certain circumstances.

But, I am pretty certain that radiation is warranted in my situation (with the kind of cancer I had and the rates of recurrence that go along with this kind of cancer) it just seems to make sense to do this. I just don’t want to leave any stone left unturned and I don’t want to skip anything that could lessen my chances of having a recurrence. So, that is where I am.

I am frustrated though because I was able to pretty much do most everything that I wanted and needed to do when I was going through chemotherapy (well,  I take that back, I was able to do the work that I needed to do, but not everything else that I wanted to do). My time was pretty much limited to working (which I did full time) and the treatments. But, as of now, I have not been able to do much of anything work wise since the radiation started. And, the time since surgery has also been pretty much just resting and getting out when I can, but never really enough time or ability to focus to accomplish much work.

Still, I am determined to change this. I have to be able to work . . . and not just to pay my bills (which I am pretty much all behind on now – but people  are working with me and I am grateful for that) but I also need to work for my sanity. Spending days in bed because I am too weak to do anything but sleep or lie there, is far too depressing. I am not a good tv watcher, sleeper or lay arounder. I need to feel productive and I really hate that I am so dependent upon everyone else to do even the basics.

I have burdened my friends and family so much. And, it seems endless.I still can not drive a car, so simple errands become complicated. But, I am deciding that the treatments will become easier and less tiresome and cause less fatigue from here on out (regardless of what “they” tell me). I don’t have a choice. And that is that. Just the fact that I can type right now without falling asleep three words in – well, that is a huge improvement over yesterday.

I know I need rest and I know I am supposed to “listen to my body” and sleep when I am tired, etc., etc., etc. But, I need to clean my house, I need to work and I just plain need to feel better. It has been like having my life hijacked. Well, I am done with that. I can no longer exist that way. I have to and I will get to work.

The chemo was supposed to be the hardest part, yet I worked through it. So, I will do the same now. I still feel the need to take a nap and I will . . . just a much shorter one (setting an alarm today).

Tomorrow will be the completion of one week of radiation! And, while I wish I could have completed even an hours worth of work during this week, I guess getting through the first week of treatment is at least some kind of an accomplishment.

Here’s to maybe adding in some work tonight and tomorrow.

Please keep me in your prayers.



Three down, 25 to go . . .

12 Nov

This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but I fell asleep while writing it. So, here it is now.

I had my third radiation treatment today . . . so there are 25 left! Woo-hoo! I am very, very tired. I am hoping it is just my body adjusting to this new treatment. Then maybe next week I will perk up (or perhaps before then, that would  nice).

I don’t know if it is normal or not, but, after my radiation treatments I pretty much go to bed and sleep for several hours, sometimes 5 or 6 hours. But, like I said, hopefully this is just my body adjusting to a new treatment. Maybe once I get used to it, I will not be so tired after.

What I would give for a cup of coffee . . .

11 Nov

I have not had coffee in about six months. Eliminating coffee was just part of my change towards a healthier diet. But then, after reading that it reduces the effectiveness of Herceptin (the mono-clonal antibody that kills the kind of cancer I have), well, let’s just say I was relieved about having eliminating caffeine a few months earlier. 

My oncologist never told me to avoid caffeine, and studies clearly indicate that regular use of caffeine makes Herceptin less effective. He still doesn’t tell his patient’s this even after I brought the UCLA study to his attention.

It is awful to see women coming into treatment  carrying some kind of Venti coffee drink. Granted, not all of the women treated there are getting herceptin,but some are . . . and doing so with caffeine in hand.

Anyway, of all the things I have given up to improve my diet and health – coffee has been the toughest. I used to make a cup of coffee early in the morning, take it to the park across from me and read the paper (and, of course my 15 year old puppy, Molly, would accompany me). Somehow taking the paper over to the park without a cup of coffee (and without my dog) just doesn’t have quite the same appeal.

I look forward r0  having a cup again at some point – probably in late May or June.  But, until then, I will just have to wait. It is no big deal really. But, today is one of thoe foggy mornings where a cup of coffee would be really nice. 🙂

Hair, eyelashes and eyebrows . . .

11 Nov

Enough of this talk about the radiation treatments (I am even boring myself).

For those of you that have not seen me in a while (and that is pretty much everyone), I should let you know that I am no longer bald and actually have a head of hair. It is not long, but it looks like a hair cut someone would choose (not this someone, mind you). But, it does look like a chosen hair style – sort of like Jaimie Lee Curtis (except not a silvery color). My eyebrows are back completely – although I never completely lost my eyebrows. And, my eyelashes are back as well. Thicker I think, but still growing (not quite as long as I remember them to be before the chemo).

The hair on my head started growing back after my fourth chemo. I am not sure why. But from what I understand it sometimes happens that way. Just like some women never lose their hair. Although, I am told with one of the chemo drugs that I had, you pretty much always lose your hair. I never really lost all of my hair on my head, but since I couldn’t stand it falling out all over the place, I buzzed it all off. So after I did that I noticed that right away it started to come back through in some places (so I guess if I had left it alone i would have had some hair, but it did not appeal to me to run around with bald spots, no thanks). Bald was far better. And, it really did not bother me to go out without a hat or scarf (except for the sun – that I could not do – have the summer sun on my bald head). I found it kind of empowering to go out bald. I rarely got a weird look from anyone and I just chose to smile at people and they pretty much always smiled back.

I will have to get some pictures up here of how I look now. Maybe I can do that over the weekend.

I still haven’t decided what to do about work. As I have  no idea how I will react to the radiation treatment, I don’t know what I will be able to do client wise. But, the radiation treatments will be over before the end of the year (assuming everything goes as planned). So that would mean I could go about business as usual (and in case you haven’t noticed – I have not, nor do I intend to make mention of the kind of work I do here on my blog – so please help me out and do not mention it either – the last thing I need is for my competitors – some of whom are not very nice people – using the fact that I HAD cancer to their advantage). And, I am sad to say that there are a few competitors out there who would do just that – disgusting as that is.

I have made some revisions to my business so that I can have a lot more flexibility – something I have been meaning to do for a long time. And, if I can stay awake long enough to work on it :), I will finish a book that I have been trying to get done for some time.  Otherwise, I am not sure what all I will be doing. But, I definitely plan on continuing to work. Just probably a scaled down version of things.

Well, it has probably been enough for one night/morning.

Please, please, please keep praying for me.

Thank you 🙂

Love, Lisa

Radiation: 2 down, 26 to go.

10 Nov

So today was my second radiation treatment. I am really impressed with the staff and clinicians at Hoag’s Radiation Oncology Department. I feel really lucky to be getting treatment there.

I slept fairly well last night, but was again, completely exhausted today. I attempted some work and fell asleep while I was at my computer. So, I decided to take a nap – since my body was deciding to do that for me anyway. I went to bed and slept from about 12:30 pm until 5:30 pm when a friend called and woke me up. It is good thing too as I have no idea when I would have gotten up otherwise. My Dad is here now with Chinese take out (no soy, of course for me) so I am going to go downstairs and join him for dinner. I am hoping we will take a walk after dinner and then it is probably back to bed for me.

My hope is that I will adjust to this treatment and be less tired. The pain – so far – is not terrible – just unpleasant. But, aloe vera helps a lot – at least in these early days. I am praying and hoping that this is manageable and that I become more “with it” so to speak. I have been pretty out of it for the past few days.

Well, wish me luck in the coming days.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

Much love,