I couldn't remember if I had a previous post with this same title, but it doesn't even matter if I repeat it because there is no better phrase to describe how I feel lately. I am exhausted. Wiped out. Completely drained. I don't think all the effects of radiation hit me until the very end, and now that they have, I am reminded of what true fatigue really is. It is much more than feeling a little sluggish, having heavy eyelids, or wanting to kick your feet up for a few minutes. The fatigue I feel is the kind where I could fall asleep at a red light. I wake up with my eyes burning as if I never slept because even 9 or 10 hours of sleep isn't enough. It's a level of fatigue where I arrive at the gym feeling like I already worked out for over an hour even if I just woke up. It's hard to explain unless you have experienced it. I will admit, however, that I have also been doing way too much and trying to live my life like the "pre-cancer" Meghan did...and I guess I am realizing that I am just not ready for that yet.
Thankfully, Monday did end up being my last day of radiation. Yahoo! It is so nice to have this phase of my treatment behind me. Although I do love Karmanos and all the people there, it is really nice to not have to wake up each and every morning and drive there for treatment. Of course, I am still there a few times each week for other appointments, but the fact that radiation is now over is a huge relief and weight off my shoulders. I was a little fearful throughout all my weeks of treatment that my tissue expanders would rupture (a 20-30% chance), or that I would have a terrible skin reaction. Aside from what now looks like a pretty good sunburn, and of course the fatigue, I faired well through the entire process. I will continue to apply my topical steroid and Aquaphor on my skin three times each day and will have to wait and see how it heals. Dr. R (my radiation oncologist) informed me that the normal course of healing is that the skin will stay red for awhile, then turn darker and almost tan looking, until it finally peels off.
It worked out great that my last day of radiation was MLK Day and Mike had the day off. He came with me and snapped my picture as I got to finally ring the bell signaling the completion of radiation. All of the staff and patients clap, hug and celebrate you once you reach this milestone.
Instead of things calming down a bit once radiation ended, the exact opposite happened. I guess subconsciously I thought I could return to my old habits of running around like a mad woman, accomplishing a million things in a day. I succeeded at that for a couple of days but the reality of what my body is dealing with once again set in like a huge smack in the face. I doubt I will even get off the couch today.
Between Monday and Wednesday last week, I had 6 appointments to go to! I swear, you would think I have all this time on my hands since I am not working right now but managing my appointments and medical care is seriously like a full time job. But I also got to do fun stuff too like the weekly Monday take-out and reality tv show night with Katie, a lunch date with Elizabeth and her little Luca, and I spent the entire day on Thursday in Ann Arbor with Julie, Will, and sweet 6 day old baby Mae. Check out this cutie....
Last night we had a great family get together at my Aunt Erin's house with my brother, cousins and their spouses. It was so nice to spend time with members of my family that I don't get to see nearly enough. Before we knew it, it was after midnight and I was finding myself struggling to stay awake.
This week will include another few doctors appointments and my two monthly injections into my abdomen - fun times! ;) But most importantly, we have learned that Mike has to have a surgery of his own on Tuesday. It should be a very straightforward outpatient procedure to remove a cyst on his tailbone that he has had for a few years but has really started to become a problem. In true Mike fashion, my selfless husband has not really been honest with me about how much pain he has been in and how much this was bothering him, until recently. The surgeon said it will likely continue to get worse and that it needs to come out. Due to some travel plans and Mike's upcoming baseball season, he wanted to have the surgery ASAP. So it looks like we are going to have a little bit of a role reversal for awhile....Mike will get to be the patient and I get to play nurse. To be honest, I don't like it. I am so grateful that normally I am the one that's the patient because I would be such a nervous wreck if I had to watch Mike go through what I have been through these past few months. Even though this procedure should be smooth sailing, I am worried and don't want to see Mike in pain. The surgeon said that these wounds almost always get infected so rather than closing it up all the way, the site will be left open and I will have to pack it with gauze and keep it clean. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers for a quick and easy procedure and complication free recovery. Although Mike is hoping to return to work after one week off, his surgeon said a full recovery should take 4-6 weeks, which means no running! If you know Mike and how many miles he runs every week, you know this will be a huge sacrifice for him. Say an extra prayer that he doesn't lose his mind, or drive me crazy with his restlessness. :)
ps - I forgot to mention that I did see my oncologist, Dr. F for my 6 week follow up since my last blog post. No huge news to report except that my scans are now scheduled for the end of February. I would appreciate all the prayers you can muster up that my scans continue to be as great as they were last time - progression free and healing taking place in my spine. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
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