Sunday, December 8, 2013

Catching up on the important things.....

Even though it has only been two short weeks since I finished radiation and just over two months since finishing chemo, thankfully both feel like distant memories.  Sometimes I love that my short-term memory is poor!  Seriously though,  there is so much (that I want) to do and even more to look forward to, that I hardly have time, energy, or desire to dwell on the past and am instead focusing on the future.  That said, I don't want to downplay how difficult these past five months have been.  Anyone who has been there, done that knows what I am talking about.......

Moving on.....Since finishing treatment, the past two weeks have been filled with catch up.  Not the bad kind of catch up like cleaning the house, running errands, or doing any of the other life tasks that have taken a backseat since I started treatment in July.  That can wait.  Instead, I have been catching up on FUN!  First up, was a trip to St. George.  I have been looking forward to this trip since, well, July.  It was to be my first trip out of town since starting treatment last summer, however as my skin reddened, burned, and became painful from radiation, I was concerned that I would not be able to mountain bike as planned on our trip.  Fortunately, my poor, radiated skin healed quickly and just in time for me to throughly enjoy our trip and feel "restriction free".

The human body never seizes to amaze me with its capacity to heal.


Above: my burns (almost) at their worst.  A few days after this photo was taken it blistered and became so tight that when I raised my arm it felt like my side would split open....fortunately it didn't!
One week after finishing radiation, my skin was healing beautifully.

Our trip was amazing.  Five fun filled days of mountain biking and visiting with friends.  Needless to say, I came home very satisfied.....and tired.  and unfortunately practically photo-less.  Here is one sweet video of me finally cleaning a techy downhill on Zen.  I proceeded to do it 4 more times!

video



This weekend, I was back at it, spending three consecutive days riding/racing my BMX bike.  It started with a race Friday night, clinic Saturday, and then another race on Sunday.  Lots of my mountain bike race pals came out to join in on the fun.



I'd consider myself closer to a beginner than pro BMX racer, but I somehow walked away with a trophy and.... lots of muscle soreness!



Giant trophies make me feel like a kid!


If you remember from my last post, this was also the week of me going into ovarian shutdown and starting a new medication.  Well, recent lab work indicated that two rounds of chemo have put my estrogen levels at nil, so no Lupron (ovarian suppression) shot was needed.  Apparently my body is already essentially in menopause.  Although this makes me want to say a giant boooooo, on the upside it is also reassuring because I seem to be tolerating low estrogen levels fairly well (i.e. I haven't gone (too) crazy yet).  Additionally, I was given the go-ahead to start my new long-term medication (Arimidex) and am happy to report that I have not noticed any significant acute side-effects.  On the downside,  I did receive some bad medical news this week.  My recent Dexascan (bone density scan) revealed that two rounds of chemo has resulted in osteopenia (bone weakening).  While I find this quite annoying, especially since one of the primary side effects of Arimidex is further bone weakening, I am taking action.  Research shows that high stress weight bearing activities can reduce and possibly reverse osteopenia.  Bring on the plyometrics, jump rope, and trail running!  All in all, I continue to optimistically look toward the future and a return to the life I so desperately want.

Up next, oophorectomy (ovarian removal) scheduled the end of January.  Even though my estrogen levels are low, my oncologist wants insurance that they remain that way.

You can bet I will be overdosing on fun until then!



3 comments:

  1. Overdose away on fun! You deserve it :)

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  2. Hi Jen,

    Hope you are enjoying the break! I am still doing my radiation now and found your posts very helpful :-)
    Just wondering, did you think about ovarian suppression the first time you were diagnosed? did any doctor recommend it? I find it really unnerving that my period is already back (and my tumor was strongly ER+). Of course, I will start taking Tamoxifen, but still, it's annoying...

    Best wishes,
    Maryam

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    Replies
    1. Maryam, No. Back in 2011, ovarian suppression was not discussed. I suppose it is always an option, but at that time, with the information we had, the repercussions of early menopause outweighed the potential benefits. Now, with the axillary recurrence and knowing that tamoxifen didn't stop tumor growth in my case, ovarian suppression along with an AI is the best option. Good luck finishing up rads and I hope things are going well. Jen.

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