I keep meaning to write a post to give an update on my cancer situation, and I keep not doing it. So here it is, although I’m sure it will end up being more abbreviated than if I had done it months ago. Sorry 😦
It has been a little over 7 months from when I finished my radiation therapy. When I completed therapy I wasn’t feeling the greatest, but I assumed it was from the pain that I was having. My heart rate was very high (about 100-110 at rest and 160-170 when I walked anywhere or went up the stairs). I was having some shortness of breath, palpitations, insomnia, racing mind, etc. Eventually, I couldn’t take it any longer, so I went to the emergency department. Once again I was thankful for having all my care at Duke, because I waited less than 10 minutes before I was taken back to the triage area. At that time, my resting heart rate was over 130. Long story short – my thyroid was out of control. I was started on medication to slow my heart rate, as well as help, decrease my thyroid hormone production. After about a month I was feeling much better and when I had repeat lab work done, my labs showed that my thyroid was now on the downward swing and I was becoming low. Instead of having Graves disease, I have Hashimoto hypothyroidism. So, I have been started on synthetic thyroid hormone and I feel pretty good.
Towards the middle of February, my family and I traveled to Jacksonville Beach, FL to participate in the Donna Marathon. If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw me requesting fundraising help on for my race. I successfully met my goal and then some more. Next year I’ll be increasing my fundraising goal. My sister, my cousin, and a friend from high school walked the half-marathon with me. We finished in 4 hrs and 20 minutes. Lots of pics were shared on facebook. We also sported beautiful t-shirts that were designed by my good friend Lauren Sebastian, an artist who lives in England.
On the last day of the month of February, one day after my one-year cancer diagnosis anniversary, I was one of two patients who were asked to speak at Duke Cancer Institute for their first Inflammatory Breast Cancer Consortium. I told my story about my cancer experience – from the short time leading up to my diagnosis, to the battery of testing I underwent to determine my staging, to my experiences with the treatment I went through (chemo, surgery, and radiation), and my life after the acute treatment period. It was an incredible experience and was also the first time I met another person who has inflammatory breast cancer.
Since then, I’ve been getting better and better. I started the Livestrong at the Y program at my local YMCA and met new friends and got stronger and more flexible. That was a wonderful experience – I wish more people knew about the program, because it is life changing.
Most recently, I had my prophylactic mastectomy on my left side. It was a little over two weeks ago. My drain was removed last Friday and I am much more comfortable without that rubber tube sticking out of my side! Most importantly, I received my pathology report yesterday and we saw that there is NO CANCER in the left breast. We didn’t suspect any, but it is wonderful to see it in writing!