During my last entry of the blog I was talking about the beginning of the pandemic, having to go to chemo, and embracing the new normal with face masks and sanitizer. I had spent my three weeks of downtime between chemo and radiation treatments learning to cook, learning a new way to socialize on zoom, and just keeping a positive attitude to begin the second half of my treatment journey.
My chemo ended on March 19th and my radiation was about to begin on April 7th. Knowing I would be traveling back-and-forth by car for a month to my treatments and going to a medical facility during the height of Covid-19 in the EPICENTER of the world, NYC, I wanted to make sure I was completely protected! Talk about a scary combo! So to feel safe I wore an N95 mask and then my beautiful bestie Michelle from Livyandcompany sent me more of her handmade cloth masks for my everyday trips to wear over top of my N95 to make sure I was close to 100% protected and to also try to look “Cute to Boot!” 😂 I mean come on ladies, just because we’re going to treatment, doesn’t mean we can’t feel “ON FLEEK!”💅😷💄
I would like to start by explaining radiation from my point of view. Basically after getting lumpectomy surgery and going through chemotherapy my doctors recommended that I do radiation in order to eradicate any cells that may have been left after surgery that could go into my bloodstream and cause cancer to metastasize in the future. So for me, my decision from the start was to do anything necessary to make sure I kicked Cancers ARSE!!! So of course I said YES!! 💪🎗
It was finally time for my first day of radiation. What I didn’t realize is that the first day is actually the day they set you up for your treatments. The first thing they did was mark the area for radiation through teeny tiny pinpoint tattoos on your chest and around the breast area. It really doesn’t hurt at all, but now I can say I have several tattoos! 😂 LOL What a Rebel!!
Then they take you to the radiation room where they make a kind of “mold” for the placement of your body each day. In other words, they move pieces of the apparatus to conform around your body and mark it through the computer, so every day when you come in you’re in the exact same position to get precise radiation during each treatment. It’s kind of fascinating, and it made me feel at ease and that they really knew what they were doing to get the best result. Thanks radiation team!
For good luck that day, I wore the very first face mask that Michelle sent to me for my first chemo treatment that said “Loved”❤️ on the front and I also wore my favorite sweatshirt that says “Love” as well. And I couldn’t forget to bring my Unicorn Pin to keep my theme of feeling like a Unicorn going. 🦄 I posted these first three photos that day on Social Media which sparked an idea.🤔
Once I saw the photos on social media I realized while pointing to the love sign on my mask it represented my first radiation day! (Light bulb over my head!💡) I knew I had 20 more days of radiation Monday-Friday for a month to go, so why not make it fun and see where I could take the creativity. So I decided to start a series called “Breast Cancer Kicking Butt Radiation Countdown!!”every day on social media through photos.
When I came home that day I saw these beautiful pansies that had just been planted in my neighborhood so I posted this on Facebook, I felt like I had Angels with me that day.👼👼
The second day was actually my first day of radiation, but I had already started the countdown so I called this is my second day of radiation. No need to confuse everyone. 😉
On my second day to the center I realized that they had an eraser board at the front desk where they had put up a quote that day, so I took a photo.
So once I ran out of fingers while doing selfies for the countdown I realized I needed to get creative again. So I had little signs at home that I had made prior for a friends birthday on Zoom. SO…. I laminated them, so I could just flip them around and write with an erasable marker the number for each day of the countdown and I also used chopsticks for the handles. Martha Stewart has nothing on me,or maybe even MacGyver! LOL😜
When I came in for radiation on day number seven I realized they were posting up different quotes almost every single day at the front desk, so I continued taking pictures of them and I would also read them as encouragement for every time I went in for treatment.
To keep it fun I would also add extra photos of my day and show the beautiful and ironic things I saw all around me even while going through this craziness. It’s the little things!
Number 10 was the halfway mark and I was so excited! The quote of the day was perfect and had to get creative again with multiple signs. Ironically I used my cleavage to hold one of them in place!!🤣
So at this point I’ve gone to 10 treatments and of course taking car rides every day with “interesting” drivers to say the least. I posted a couple photos from having a large van pick me up with one seat and feeling a little freaked out,
To this!!!!!😳🤡 That moment going to treatment when you ride in a car behind plastic with creepy clown horror movie music playing!!!
In the midst of everything going on in my life with radiation , the entire world was going through changes and of course we were all honoring our essential workers almost every day by clapping out the window at 7pm. But on the day that the Blue Angels were flying over the 5 boroughs I was coming out of treatment to find most of the nurses and doctors waiting for the flyby, and I was able to get some footage. Although not everybody agreed with the fly over that day, it still was really awesome to see it live. Of course I am the one WOO-HOOing in the background! 😂
Since the day my job was furloughed on March 11th because of that pesky little virus, I had only left my apartment to go for treatments, and I never took my mask off outside the entire time. After making those trips back-and-forth so many times and having my mask on for many hours a day, I needed to breathe fresh air! I was actually craving it! Luckily my building has a beautiful rooftop. I waited until I could be up there alone and of course I wanted to document the moment. I couldn’t believe how good it felt. It was like coming up for air after being underwater too long. We take it for granted every day. And when you cannot be free to breath in fresh air whenever you want, it is stifling and quite simply….sad.
The Countdown continued!! And even my sweet babies Chicken Bird and Chester got involved!🦜🦜
#20, SO CLOSE I COULD FEEL IT!!! Don’t you just love the quote? So appropriate!
It was finally here. The Last Day of Radiation! It was the GRAND FINALE!! Multiple signs for my selfie and time to wear my final warrior Armor in all pink!!
Time to “FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!!!!
SIDE NOTE: For all my pink warriors and all cancer warriors out there, I just wanted to pass along a little information about some of the products that I used during and after my radiation treatments that helped my skin immensely. I found out about this product from a group page on FB from other ladies going through the same experience and I’m so glad I took their advice. Every day as soon as I got back from radiation I would apply Aquaphor, which the nurses will suggest.
However, every night before I went to bed I religiously used this product that the ladies on chat suggested called Bee Bar Lotion by Honey House Naturals, it comes in this little tin and it looks like a bar of soap. You basically rub it between your hands to warm the bar and apply it to the area where you had radiation. Both my radiologist and oncologist were astounded by how good my skin looked after radiation. My Oncologist actually told me that my skin looked better than 90% of her patients after treatment. In the beginning of using it I looked like I had a sunburn, it peeled and then I kept using the beer bar lotion and now you would never know I ever had radiation. I cannot recommend it enough! I Believe in it so much that I would love to be there spokesperson. 🤷♀️ LOL #honeyhousenaturals
Here is a link to make it easy: https://tinyurl.com/yyydph3c
I loved all the nurses at the front desk at Maimonides Brest Cancer Center, they were so encouraging every single day and also told me that they made sure to put up a new quote everyday because they knew I was using it for my social media posts. So to celebrate my last radiation of course we had to take a live photo to say goodbye!
It had been a long road of radiation and traveling during the pandemic but it was finally over and there is only one thing left to do and that was……..
And the last sign that the nurses had posted that day was a print out of my favorite quote. It couldn’t have been more appropriate for the end of my treatment. It was right on and expressed exactly how I was feeling that day.
I want to give a shout out to all of my friends and family who kept commenting and encouraging me through every single social media post during my radiation! It made it easier to keep going! I Love you all! ❤️
And for all of you out there that are about to start your radiation journey and you are feeling a little scared or unsure, Just remember YOU CAN DO IT and it can save your life!! And while you are going through it, positivity is the key! And if you need encouragement come back and read this again!! Or write to me on the blog, I get it, and I am hear to listen! Cheers to LIFE! Good vibes only!
FIGHT LIKE A GIRL!!
I FOUGHT LIKE A GIRL! #Ifoughtlikeagirl
I AM A SURVIVOR! #breastcancersurvivor