Well, imagine my surprise when I got back to this site and realized there were 7 comments! It’s funny; I have this blog out here because it seems helpful, yet it rarely occurs to me that people actually read it.
One person asked how things are going now, so let me tell you: I celebrated two years cancer-free on March 20, 2014. It is a happy coincidence that my surgery date was also the first day of Spring. Now, each year I get to celebrate my cancer-free milestone as a new beginning. I like that. My health continues very well, and at two years, I don’t get tired like I did for the first year after chemo.
Today, I had my first haircut since April 2012. I decided to go back to Joanie, who cut it short for me when it started falling out two years ago. She remembered me and was happy to see that I was doing well. (She also gave me a great trim, hair is evened out, and she left as much length as she could. yea!) My hair came back well; as curly as it ever was, and the same shades of dark and grey, yet much thicker and healthier feeling. It is now shoulder length, and I can almost pull it all back into one ponytail.
I’m wearing my lymphedema sleeves religiously. I’ve become un-self-conscious about it. People do sometimes stare, but I think they are mainly trying to sort out whether I have a sleeve tattoo. I’m still working to strengthen the muscle that was so damaged from the contracture I had. This is the muscle than runs across the top of the chest into my shoulder. It is weak still. My plastic surgeon says that muscles can continue to improve for 3 or 4 years, so I still may be able to get more strength back. Having said that, I can kayak, lift boxes, weights, etc. I only really notice it if I try to lift something heavy over shoulder-height. That and my push-ups are pathetic.
I take Tamoxifen daily, and my oncologist says I am a good candidate for a 10-year course of estrogen inhibitors. The latest studies show that, for women who tolerate Tamoxifen well, 10 years has increased benefits over 5. I’ll take it! I do have the classic side effects of the drug; hot flashes, and dryness. I’m getting pretty good at dressing in layers and sticking with cotton. I can whip a sweater off pretty quickly now, even while driving.
For dryness, I am a believer in Replens every 3 days! This has made a huge difference in my life, Ladies.
Seeing that folks are reading this blog, I will think about writing more, and maybe I will finally get back to my lessons learned from radiation. Now, though, my garden is calling….