Chipmunk face but no neck brace!

I have been delinquent in my updates, and I apologize. It has been a busy couple of weeks. I finished my radiation on the 17th of April. I did not notice really any side effects until the last two days. Then I started to have a sore throat, especially when I ate. It was not a horrible sore throat; it felt like a bad allergy throat. That sore throat lasted up until this past Thursday. At that time I realized that what I thought was surgery related swallowing issues was partly radiation-related swallowing issues. As my throat improved so did some of my swallowing issues. I was very happy to have my early afternoons back, as during I had to get into town everyday at the same time and then as it was so early that I was usually killing some time until I picked up my oldest. When I say picked up, I mean I rode with my lovely driver, my mommy usually, to go pickup since I had a neck brace on that prevented me from driving.

    That week I also traveled with my family team (my husband, mom, and brother) to Philadelphia to a metastatic breast cancer conference. It was an intense three days. We learned more about what I might be facing and how other people have dealt with various issues. The main takeaways were that everyone is different, that treatments have come really far, and there are a lot of good treatments in the pipeline. There was so much information, and we have been so busy since we got back I don’t think I have had time to process all the information. In fact, as I was writing this I was thinking it was two weeks ago, when in fact it was only one week ago.

    I got a call last week informing me my follow-up with the surgeon was moved from April 30th to May 2nd. It may not seem like that big a deal but when you are sitting around unable to take any of your four kids anywhere without asking for help it gets old really quickly. I convinced the nurses that I could get my x-ray earlier than the appointment day, and I went right out and got it. This weekend my dedicated doctor called and said the x-ray looked good, and I could remove the brace unless I was doing something adventurous. The levels of elation as I got behind the wheel for the first time!!! My husband rode with me to be sure that I was actually comfortable and could manage it. It was glorious. I have been driving for a few days now, and it is so nice to just leave when I want! By the time I was able to see the doc on the 2nd I had been loving driving for a few days, and I had found that my neck would get a little sore just from being used after two months of not being used. The surgeon was not there but I did see the PA who cleared me for all exercise as long as I start slowly. They even said I could start easing into running as long as I wear my brace while I run. So I am off to the races!! Just very slowly and with a brace.

As I my picture suggests I am still on steroids which is causing the chipmunk cheeks. I have been working with my oncologist to wean myself off those, and hopefully, I will be off them soon. I am down to one every other day and getting a horrible headache on the off days which I will have to discuss with my doctor. I am doing great in terms of my other medications, and I have a lot fewer side effects than they expected, which is awesome for me! I have been increasing my protein intake which has been helping my overall energy level, and I have been taking some walks around the neighborhood which helps not only my muscles but also my mood. I love living in the mountains, and I feel so much better when I can get out and enjoy them!

I am still planning on doing an organization post as some people were interested in seeing how I wrap my head around all the kids’ activities and my medical stuff with my chemo brain. So that will be coming hopefully soon. I hope you all have a chance to go outside and enjoy some nature today!