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Kathryn_in_MN's picture
Posts: 1258
Joined: Sep 2009

#36 of 36 radiation treatments finished! I am done! I get a 6 week break from all treatments until we scan again.

I haven't been on the boards much during radiation. I just haven't had time. It has been easier than chemo for me, but way more time consuming. Having to get ready and travel to radiation each day since the second week of October, when I normally only leave the house a couple times a week (I work from home), has been a big change. I've been stopping to see my stepmother every day after radiation. And since I'm out, I've been running a lot of errands - instead of sending others to do them, or doing everything all on one day, I just stop for one or two in a day. By the time I add up getting ready, driving time, radiation time (I had two separate areas done, so it was more time consuming than most), visiting my stepmother, and many days running errands, there wasn't enough time left in a day for me to keep up with work and things around my house. So I've got plenty to write today...

Radiation has been a nice break from chemo. Isn't it odd how we get so used to cancer treatments that getting radiation can be a break? I did have a lot of trouble with nausea and diarrhea due to the areas I received radiation. We discovered that I can tolerate Zofran when I am not taking all the other drugs. With chemo I get Emend, Aloxi, and Decadron pre-meds. If I take Zofran then, I get headaches so bad that I cannot tolerate them. But taking only Ativan and Zofran, the headaches still came, but were not as bad. I'd rather have a headache than uncontrollable vomiting like I was dealing with. And the Zofran had an added bonus - it stopped the diarrhea too. I've had to deal with a little constipation, but again - constipation is a nice break from the diarrhea of the last year. I got terrible early and late onset diarrhea from Irinotecan. Sales are way down for Imodium now that I haven't been buying in bulk, and popping them like candy. ;)

Two weeks into my treatment, my stepmother was hospitalized, and then the next week moved to hospice. Lupus has destroyed her body over the last 20 years. It is so bad that she is very cripled up now and shrunk from 5'6" to under 4'8". Her two bottom ribs are sitting on her hip bones and protruding. Her organs are smashed and she has a lot of trouble breathing due to this. At the hospital she said she is done - no more surgeries or drugs. So she was moved to hospice. She is ready to die. All we can do is keep praying that she can leave this world and her pain soon. She has had enough.

While I was typing I got a call from the oncologist office. So I had to re-write. It is good news! I got my CEA results from yesterday. They are expected to be slightly elevated from inflammation from radiatiI'on. A month ago it went up to 6, and we were not worried at all because a small rise like that is likely from the radation inflammation. I was very nervous to hear what it is today. Whenever I'm off Irinotecan I have growth and spread. I've been off Irinotecan and Avastin for a couple months now - neither one was allowed during the radiation I needed. If my CEA had gone up a little more, I wouldn't worry. I was told it could. CEA has always been a very good indicator for me. For two years it has corresponded directly with what is going on with my cancer. My CEA dropped to 5.7! I am very confident of no new tumors during radiation! I can't even begin to explain how excited I am right now! This really could have easily gone either way, and for once it went my way!

I get a nice break from all treatments until we scan again. We can't scan for at least 6 weeks because there will be inflammation from radiation. And instead of a PET, the next scan will just be CT. My oncologist says that he has seen things light up on PETs up to 2 months later. So I'm free (other than INR checks and one more port flush) until January 25th!

I'm really taking advantage of this break. I have things on my must-do list that I will finally get done, and I am traveling. I'm off to Mexico with my husband on Thursday, to my Mexico office - I haven't been there since April. The last two years have been tough - I'm used to being there every 2-3 months for 2-4 weeks. But cancer treatments have kept me away. We'll be home for the holidays. Then the beginning of January I am going to a different area of Mexico with my daughters. I'm going to pretend I'm in my 20's again for a few weeks, before I turn 50 next year and can't get away with it any more. ;) We are flying into Puerto Vallarta and backpacking (staying in hostels) through Guadalajara, Tequila, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Morelia. Then we'll split off. My daughters are going to Mexico City and some other stops and on to Oaxaca. One is meeting up with her boyfriend there. He is from the Czech Republic. They met in Oaxaca originally. He is attending Spanish school in Guatemala right now. My oldest daughter will split off from them in Oaxaca. She is going on to San Cristobal and Palenque, before going on to Guatemala where she is joining a tour group for Central America. Then she has another tour in South America and the Galopogus Islands before she returns to start her next season in the US as a tour leader for Trek America and Grand American Adventures. Ahh... to be young again! She has a dream job for anyone that loves travel. During season she leads tours all over, and off season she gets incredible deals to go on tours to other areas.

I started a new support group for colorectal cancer patients and caregivers in my area last month. It was much harder than I thought to find a location (that we could keep on a regular basis). We have a meeting tonight. I'm excited to go and share good news!

Sundanceh's picture
Posts: 4408
Joined: Jun 2009

Good news all the wsy 'round:)

Enjoy the treatment break - know you've waited a while for this...


Posts: 753
Joined: Apr 2011

Been thinking about you and hoping radiation has been kicking cancer's butt. Apparently it has. You seem to have the best doctors, too. Hey, you can still act and feel like you are 25 even in your 50's.
Have a great time on your trip. So glad you can get a change of scenery, and beautiful scenery at that.
Check back in as soon as you can. Thanks.

jjaj133's picture
Posts: 869
Joined: Mar 2011

Wonderful, I am thrilled for you. Act 20 for as long as you want. You have earned it!
i think i need to do a happy dance!!!
Hugs, Judy

Annabelle41415's picture
Posts: 6715
Joined: Feb 2009

So glad that you are finished with your treatments and with the CEA dropping - what a nice Christmas present. Hope you have a wonderful vacation as you deserve it. Be safe.


pepebcn's picture
Posts: 6352
Joined: Aug 2010

Enjoy your deserved holidays in Mexico amiga mia! Hope one day will be there at the same time!.

Posts: 1428
Joined: Feb 2011

Sounds like you have a wonderful plan in place, enjoy your holiday :)

Kathleen808's picture
Posts: 2361
Joined: Jan 2009

That is wonderful news! I love that you are getting a break and it sounds like it is a great break. Enjoy!!!


pete43lost_at_sea's picture
Posts: 3908
Joined: Nov 2010

enjoy mexico. good luck with your support group, its a wondeful initiative.


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