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My final chemotherapy visit was complete the last day of February. My shirt:

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My brave face as I walked in the office:

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It was just as lame as the other infusions–they had trouble finding a good vein in my wrist so they had to use the inside of my elbow, meaning I had to sit for four hours with my arm perfectly straight. Comfy! Like the other times, I could feel the poison medicines coursing through my veins and I felt tired and worn out sooner than ever. The good news is that it was my LAST time and I got a Certificate of Completion, suitable for framing:

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And it is signed by the doctors and nurses at Texas Oncology. Nice touch. But I never want to walk into that chemotherapy room for any reason. Dr. D and the nurses are so nice and so caring, but honestly, I hope I NEVER have to be under their care again.

After I broke free of the IV and poison medicine, we went out to celebrate. I was so tired, but NOBODY was going to keep me from champagne and chocolate cheesecake.

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The docs told me that I should wait three to four weeks after chemo to begin radiation, so I am beginning at EXACTLY three weeks. The sooner I start, the sooner I can be finished!

The road to radiation has been a little bumpy though. When I initially visited Dr. C, the radiation oncologist, I left certain that I would endure radiation. However, as I went through the agony of chemotherapy, I began to be convinced that radiation was not for me. I could not fathom how chemo couldn’t kill every last thing in my body. I began visiting the darker corners of the internet, discovering people that had heart problems due to radiation on the left chest area and people who were convinced that radiation caused secondary cancers. Radiation causes issues with skin at the matectomy area, so it puts off my reconstruction surgery for four to six months after completion. It might even cause complications with the final surgery such as a more serious procedure that involves creating a breast out of a flap on my back. I didn’t even know that was an opiton. Sounds gross.

So I visitied Dr. C again, ready to refuse radiation. She greeted me, asked how chemo went, and said that they would “map me” that day for radiation. I countered with this: “The last time I met with you, I was convinced that I needed radiaiton, but now I’m not so sure. Can you explain why this is necessary?” She is a good doctor–she didn’t look annoyed or upset about my plea. Instead, she calmly explained why radaition is indicated for me. Normally, radiation is not needed for a woman who undergoes mastectomy, but in my case, there are three big reasons why it’s a good idea for me:

1. Positive margin: The tumor didn’t quite get cut out all the way. There are still microscopic cells lurking in there.
2. Tumor Grade: There are three grades for tumors, from 1-3. Mine was grade 3, which is the most aggressive.
3. Age: Radiaiton increases the chance that cancer won’t recur–by like 20 or 30 percent. That’s pretty big.

So now begins the next part of this process: six weeks of radiation, Monday through Friday. The office I will visit is about 30-40 minutes from my house and so far my options are 5:45 IN THE MORNING or 3:15 every afternon. Neither option sounds good, but the thought of this stupid cancer taking over my life again will have to be enough to keep me going. Radiation Ready!

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