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It’s been a while since my last update. Now that I’m not spending as many days at doctor’s offices or in the car running to appointments, I am back to doing all the things and that means less sitting and writing. I still have a lot to say about this journey and things I want to return to and write for those who may be interested but for now I will just write and catch up the last three months.

Month 1 post radiation treatments was full of unpleasant skin issues. It wasn’t ever as bad as they said it would be but it was still unpleasant. My skin was peeling off my body much like a sunburn for nearly the entire month. Some days the itch was intense. Some days not so much. The lotion they gave me helped little so it was mostly about just managing and remembering not to itch. As soon as one spot would clear up it seemed another surfaced. Despite the peeling, I did decide to get away to a women’s retreat for a few days. It was a much needed time of learning, reflection and fellowship. Being in a place where I felt I could go was gift enough but then God continued to open my eyes and show me His kindness and faithfulness while I was there.

Month 2 post radiation brought the beginning of hormone therapy. Making a decision about what route to go for this part of the journey was no small feat. In the end, I chose to give tamoxifen a try. The dosage I started on came in a huge pill and I was regularly choking on them. I eventually, at Andy’s prompting – he takes such good care of me, asked the doctors if I could possibly have a lower dose pill and take more than one of them. They agreed and since it has been much easier to swallow the pill, literally. The second month post radiation also brought the celebration of a big birthday for me – 40! We celebrated for two whole weekends by the time both my parents and sibling and Andy’s parents and siblings felt I had been duly celebrated. Over the course of those couple of weekends, I do not think I can count the number of times people asked if I was okay with being forty. And every time I could honestly answer, yes, I am more than okay with it. Age has never bothered me much and I was quite ready to put 39 behind me.

Month 3 post radiation brought all of the holiday craziness, a push up challenge and my first two follow up appointments. Shortly after my birthday, my boys were challenged to do 1000 push ups by the end of the year. Their prize – a trip to Golden Corral or as Andy calls it “The Golden Trough.” Andy asked if I was going to join. The prize was absolutely of no interest to me but I decided to see what I could do. I mean it was “only” 22 push ups a day. After a few days, I was shocked that my left arm and shoulder that were still a little wonky from surgery felt better than they had in months. That was all the motivation I needed. I quickly made push ups a regular part of my day so yes, I made it to 1000. Half way through the third month post radiation came my first follow up appointment. The idea of walking back into scans and appointments was quite anxiety inducing. It had been two and a half months since I had seen a doctor and more than six weeks since I had spoken to one. I wasn’t sure that I was ready. Andy graciously offered to go with me but I knew I needed to do it on my own, especially the first one since he would have only been allowed as far as the waiting room. My first follow up was an ultrasound of my thyroid. Shortly after my diagnosis one of my scans showed some nodules on my thyroid that could maybe be problematic but since I had already started chemo, they wanted to check it again post chemo before making any decisions. The results from the follow up scan were great. The doctor was thrilled to see that most of the nodules were gone, my thyroid was a more normal size and the nodules that remain are smaller than they were. In other words, there is no reason for concern. With that appointment under my belt, I was more comfortable going into my next appointment. The only hesitation I had was it meant walking into the Thomas Center – the cancer center I had done all my treatments at – by myself. I had walked in each day of radiation on my own but hadn’t been back since ringing the bell. To my surprise, despite my anxiety leading up to the day of the appointment and while driving there, walking in wasn’t hard at all. I was ready. This second follow up was with the radiologist. I walked out of that appointment with a glowing report – my skin looks healthy, my range of motion is good and everything feels the way it should. As long as nothing changes, she’ll be able to release me from her care in three months.

So as you’ve read, I’ve walked back in. Back into buildings. Back into offices. Back into appointments. The first two follow ups are finished. So far, everything looks good and the doctors are quite pleased. When will they do more scans, bloodwork, etc.? We have no idea. Maybe we will learn more at one of the two follow up appointments I have with different specialists this month. Please continue praying for us. This road is long and the journey hard. We’re still walking one step at a time.