Friday, November 30, 2012

Radiation Done! and Mini Life Updates!

I apologize yet again for my lack of posting in the past 3 months!!! I've actually missed blogging and hate when I fall behind in updating!!!! I've been kinda going through a complete mental block that I can't really explain...kind of like Carrie sometimes does in SATC or maybe even Stephen when you just take such a long break - you don't even know where to pick up and begin again...Or how to write something decent after pouring out most of your secrets!

Partially it's been due to complete laziness and the other half I honestly have just been dealing with a lot of other external things on my plate since the summer ended. I also started a part time job at the Boston Ballet which has been nice since I haven't been too physical or really worked in about a year.  My other real excuse is that I have just been recovering and healing from all the radiation poison that has been zapped into my asian flesh! I have literally been using my couch as a fainting couch and have been hibernating for most of sept-oct....Much like a bear, I only come out to eat my storage of food! 

Anyhow no more lame excuses, let's just get to all the goodies!!!!

If you don't want to read all of this, I made a new video that does a recap of everything with all my updates....sorry for the distorted sound....I recorded it the same way as I always have but for some reason it just sounds gross LOL...Also, please excuse my drag queen eye makeup I was too lazy to fix it and I actually did this video all in one take and just couldn't sit through another re-do again. Hopefully I've minimized my use of the word "um"! 

What an attractive thumbnail! Sexy Beast. Rawr.

Radiation was all very bizarre to me. As you all know I had to go 28 days straight which wasn't a huge deal in the long haul. At first I was all gung ho about getting it over with, but as the days progressed on, it just became tedious and I kind of just got annoyed that I had to physically go in everyday. I mean they couldn't make it easier for me. They gave me a nice parking pass which was in the outdoor lot was was cool and when you went in, all you did was scan your special little card and change into that sexy johnny and have a seat. Next thing you know they call you in, poke and prod you for about 15-20 minutes and then you are done. It's almost like dating...D'OH. I just said that outloud...HAHAHA. 

But all jokes aside, the machine I had to lay on was similar to this picture but not quite: in fact the layout was almost exactly like the room I was in-only my machine was a little more old fashioned and it was smaller and had more gadgets surrounding and the bed was closer to the machine itself. Also there were stir ups for the hands! Kind of like a reverse gyno exam. Ugh.

Typically when you get into the room you are already in your johnny...this johnny really pissed me off ( you all already know my existing hatred of them) because to me, it would make more sense to wear it so the open side faces out so you can just take it off easily when you get into the room, but they prefer you to tie it the other way around and then put ANOTHER johnny on top of it as a robe so while you are sitting  in the waiting room your back isn't exposed.
Anyhow they like for you to come in every day at the same time and use the same machine with the same group of radiologists so once they call you in, there are usually 2-4 Radiologists helping you. One of them is usually outside in the control room watching you. Not in the Phil Collins creepy way, but  there is a camera facing you towards your feet so they can see you the whole time and a speaker so you can hear them....Is it awkward for you yet?
For me, I usually came in and they placed a pillow thing for my knees and they help me get my hands over my head in the stir up things. Again, I had 2 guys that were my age so it's all types of awkwardness for me at least. They are so used to seeing boobs everyday so they are super funny and professional but it's just always weird to have boys your own age like right up in your face, staring at your boobs ( or lack of one in my case) and just measuring and taking pics like we were at the company picnic - all casual and calm like they were just doing math problems in the side hahahahahaha! Occasionally the cuter one would talk to me and ask me things here and there but I get so weirded out and feel so dumb that I don't ever make eye contact because it's just a weird circumstance. The women Radiologists are hilarious. One was really short and spunky and sweet as a cupcake and the other one was all business and always stressed out but she always complimented me on my jewelry. She lit up after she saw my Alex and Ani bracelet and from that moment on all we did was talk about jewelry. The other 2 women that I didn't have as often were equally awesome. Just funny and witty and smart so I really got to enjoy their company when I saw them every day which was nice. I also felt bad since it seemed like they were all workaholics....but it made me feel good that they actually care about their clients and they want to get things right and I appreciate that they take the time to double check things. When I went back for a follow up appt with Dr Nedea about a month after I was done, I said hi to the ones that were working that day and they were so happy to see me and they gave me a hug and it was so genuine I almost burst out crying.

Anyhow, my routine went like this: every week they would take pictures of the breast area for my main radiology doctor ( the lovely Dr. Nedea) to examine so essentially all it entailed was just a click of a button and took an extra minute. The machine just is all set up and calibrated to my measurements prior to my first appt so everything is exact and on point. Every other day was my "spa treatment" or "bolus" as they call it where they basically put a hot towel over my breast area to reduce the inflammation from the felt good but as soon as the towel got wet it was gross! After all of that was out of the way, the machine gave me radiation from 3 different angles. The first from my right side, then over my left side and shoulder/clavicle area, and then the final over the actual breast area. The breast part is where they would measure it out ( since it was close to my heart) , double check, ask me to breathe in and out and mark the area near my tattoos they gave me from the planning phase to mark my breathing and heartbeat. They then place a device over my heart that measures my actual heartbeat which the light beam catches in another machine in front of me. Ah the things you learn. I also thought that this would be a great career path and commendable profession and I wondered why I never thought of it as a job earlier in my life. These are the random things that pop in my head all day!

When that was all set they would leave the room and I would hear a prompt telling me to "inhale....hold your breath...exhale and relax" I swear to god I heard that voice in my sleep! That process is repeated at every step of the radiation. 

And all this took all of 15 minutes.
Also, once a week, Dr. Nedea would see me when I was done to make sure the area was healing properly. 

As two weeks progressed I was starting to feel fatigued from the back and forth. I have heard many survivors tell me that radiation is where most everyone gains weight since it makes you so mopey and tired and I was determined that this was not going to happen to me. Over the summer I was pretty active, went out a lot and started running a little bit and I wasn't 100% happy with my weight but I felt like it was passable for the time being. As soon as the last week of radiation came by. I was EXHAUSTED. I literally would go home, sleep allll day, get up to eat really badly and then spend the rest of the night on my couch and this was repeated the next day...ugh. Next thing you know 2 months have passed since summer and obviously it's getting colder which makes me eat and snack EVEN MORE. The thing is, I knew I was eating badly and felt gross but I just didn't care anymore and kinda just ate what I wanted with no restrictions. Pasta at 2am? Why not. Endless bags of gummy worms? Sure. Next thing you know I totally gained like 8-10 lbs extra since the summer. Ugh. I know I am like obsessed with weight and maintaining a certain number but it also makes me feel totally gross when I don't like the way my clothes feel after I gain weight. Girls just KNOW. And when I gain weight it doesn't stretch out generously to any other body part- it freakin' goes RIGHT to my damn stomach. UGH. I decided I am detoxing ASAP so I can regain control again and look cute for my bday in Jan. LOL... No more sugar and carbs for me for awhile!

The physical healing on my skin has also been tough. I didn't see much of a change during the first half of radiation but as soon as the last week rolled around....OMG, my skin all of a sudden was purple, sore, disgusting , peeling and GROSS. I really could not even look at myself in the mirror. Here was where I got somewhat depressed and hibernated a little more. I was just in pain and miserable to say the least. Looking in the mirror was like seeing a messed up deformed part of myself that was hard to accept still today. I know it's all to help me get better and more myself again, but I already feel spliced and I will never really be the same Jen again. 

So I had to say goodbye to the old me to make room for the future new and improved me that I will see someday again.

What I'm about to post is pretty graphic and nasty so if you don't want to look just scroll past it- but it was important for me to document it for my own sake....this is what I looked like after the radiation was done, and what my actual surgically removed breast looks like- or as you may call it - my fake boobie....please be gentle:

After about 2 weeks of radiation this was what my skin was starting to look like....


Then it progressed to this: a little darker and more defined:

yes this is after surgery...gross I know and I have a missing part.

Then it gets even more nasty :(

This was so uncomfortable and painful! 

Then at the worst before it started peeling this is what it finally progressed to:

Bet you don't wish you were me!

Right now, it's almost 100% healed which I'm happy about but I'm sore as all hell:

See, no worries, getting better :)

 I still have to wait 6 months before I can start on any of the reconstruction or resume with the saline fills again(since it most likely shrunk during radiation)...Don't forget I still have to get rid of my right breast so that will be nothing but fun on the morphine when the time comes! LOL I'm sincerely sorry if these pictures grosses anyone out. It is absolutely not my intention nor am I trying to just show off my out of shape gross body.  I know you are all prob. wondering why I would ever post such private pictures of my sacred body (haha!) but like I said, this is my blog and it's a forum to  document my progress- good and/or bad. What would be the point of having somewhere to vent if I couldn't do it 100% ? This is stuff I don't make up folks, this is my life and this is the pain and the ups and downs that I deal with on a daily basis. I merely choose to share it publicly to help those who might be going through the same thing but don't have anyone to relate to. I'm a young survivor and I'm proud of it :) AND anyways, technically I'm not "naked" since there is really nothing to see. HAHA. Trust me. LOL.

I hope all of you understand that there are just so many steps in healing...not just physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It's a totally cleansing of EVERYTHING. 
Breast Cancer was def. not the rocky  road I wanted to travel on but hey,

 I'm still here in one piece, even if it's 8 lbs more of me :) 

*Also, if anyone has an app that can do all my hospital johnny pics and make them into one picture (kinda like all lined up- let me know! )I would love to post it here but don't want to upload all 27 pictures!...I have zero patience as you can probably tell!

"HHHHHHere's Johnny!!!!"

Thank You ALL for the continuing amazing, awesome, 
kickass support!!! <3
Without friends and family, I am nothing.
hugs from ya girl!+ humbled,


  1. You're clearly a ROCK STAR. Thank you for posting the pictures - I think it's important to show what these treatments really do to the body. You are healing up nicely! :)

  2. Thank you for sharing your story and posting these pics. It helps others who are on the same journey (like me! I started radiation last week) feel better knowing what to expect. Hope you are doing well :)