Soon after my last blog post, I went on vacation with my husband to celebrate our 19th anniversary, relax, and try to make more progress in my recovery from radiation. We had a wonderful trip, but it was unseasonably hot, so the heat affected me much more than usual because I was nowhere near 100% during our trip. So, when we arrived home, I wasn’t any further along in my recovery than before we left.
Two days after we returned from our trip, I had an appointment with my medical oncologist for my regular 30-day blood panels and injections. I was happy that my blood panels showed that my white and red blood cell counts had improved slightly and that my ANC was in the normal range for the first time in a while, recording at 1.7. My numbers did not match how I was feeling, but it showed me that I was making progress.
We discussed my next PET scan and when I should have it. Because I could have extra tissue where the tumor was located on my back, the tissue could look like the tumor is still there if we scan too early. I also had very intense radiation, so he did not want to expose me to more radiation so soon. So, we are delaying my scan by one month, meaning I will have it in early August vs. early July. It’s hard enough to wait every four months for my regular scan, but adding in a month makes it even more difficult, so I do my best to stay busy and not think about it.
Because of the timing of my trip, I went to my appointment a week late, so we discussed where I was in the month with my meds and what made sense as far as getting me back on track. Because my blood panels looked good, well, at least for me, they were good; my doctor decided I could wait and come in another six weeks. So my next appointment won’t be until July 10th. As usual, he reminded me that I could call at any time and come in to see him if I was having any issues.
My next appointment during the same week that we returned from our trip was a few days after seeing my medical oncologist when I saw my radiation oncologist. She looked at my back to see if I had any indications of skin irritation and at the location of my treatments for the same. My skin looked normal and clear, so that was good to hear. She couldn’t help but joke about the tan line on my back, saying everything looked great, especially my tan line.
I told her I still had some irritation in my esophagus when I drank liquids but that the pain from eating solid food was gone. She explained that my esophagus would take a while longer to heal and to take pain meds if needed, but I was definitely toward the end of feeling the discomfort. She asked when my next PET scan would be so we could see the results from the radiation treatments, and I let her know that it would not be until early August. I told her I would call her office once my PET scan is scheduled, which should be when I see my medical oncologist on July 10th. And with that, my appointment was over, and the only reason I would go back to see her would be if I needed radiation treatments again.
I am expecting things to be pretty quiet while I continue to recover and wait for my next appointment in July. I am feeling better as the weeks go by, and time has been flying by, which also helps quite a bit. I can’t believe it has already been seven weeks since I finished radiation. I was told that it could take up to six to eight weeks to recover, so I am near the end of that time frame now and feeling better with each passing day.
Once I am through my recovery, I hope to post more often and go back to not only updating about how I am doing but also passing on valuable information to everyone interested and especially to both cancer patients and their caregivers. I have found many articles that have helped me get through my challenges with stage 3c breast cancer in 2019 and, more recently, in 2022, stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. As always, thank you for being here, and take care!