Friday, March 14, 2014

I Did It! Done with Radiation!

I posted a photo of me on my first day of radiation so I figured I better get the same photo on my LAST day of radiation!  It was an emotional day, I started crying before we even left our house and cried the whole way to the hospital.  Jamie was asking why I was crying, why I wasn't happy.  I WAS happy, I wasn't even sure exactly why I was crying.  It's so crazy when you find out something as life changing as "you have a large brain tumor" how quickly your life changes but it soon becomes the new normal for you.  I had gone to Froedtert every day for six weeks at 10am, it had become my normal and today was the last day of that, so I was crying about that.  I think I was crying partly in fear of if radiation didn't work, now that it's over the next thing will be the MRI to check my tumor, see what radiation did to it.  I am confident that I kicked this things butt, however I would be lying if I didn't say there was a small part of me that is scared as hell to go to that MRI in April, to hear the actual report on if it shrunk, stayed the same size or grew.  I was crying because I am tired and exhausted and feel like I have been through more in the last few months than most will go through in a lifetime.  But I think the main reason I was crying was because I had become so close with everyone that had been there for me in the radiation-oncology department, even the women at the reception desk.  Everyone up there is amazing!  

I want to thank Braden.  Although I joked with him on the first day about how I didn't want to look like him when I was done with his big bald head, he was SO sweet through out the entire process.  Always having a nice warm blanket to lay over me during treatment and the way he would usually touch my shoulder on his way out of the room.  Something so small and stupid as touching my shoulder, I was laying there in my mask, unable to see anything and just that little touch was always so comforting.  Today was his last day too and I hope he loves his new job and he better stop at Ski's on his way through Point! 

I want to send a big thank you to Angie.  Angie was always the first to ask me what was going on in my life and had the sweetest smile.  If Braden was gone, Angie would always come through with the warm blanket for me.  She was crying right along with me today.  It's amazing how you can know someone for just a few weeks but feel like they are family.  Angie is expecting her first baby this summer and I will be sure to pop over there every time I am at Froedtert to see her adorable bump and I can't wait to see photos of that sweetie pie once he is born!

A big thank you to Katie.  Katie started with me around my 4th week but was so sweet and genuine. Every day I went to radiation I always had someone knew with me and Katie would always take the time to explain what was happening and what all the machines were doing.

And finally Natalie.  Natalie got moved to a different machine about half way through but would always pop in to check on me.  Natalie is such a sweet heart and always has a smile on her face.  Although I definitely missed her my last few weeks I know all the other patients that got to work with her at the other machine were so lucky!  She was such a caring person and I will definitely miss her!

So my treatment today was kind of funny.  I walked into the room and immediately started crying again.  It was just Angie and Katie.  They got me all set in my mask and they all left the room and I was just crying like a baby as I lay there for my last time in my super tight face mask.  I have NEVER cried during any of my treatments, you would think I would have held it together for the last one.  So when it was over and they came back into the room and took the mask off I sat up crying only to see that all four of them were there, Angie, Katie, Braden and Natalie!  I was so happy to see them all but started crying even harder.  They all came with me to ring the bell.  So crazy to think that I am DONE with radiation.  I am so lucky that I had such great support, such a great team working with me at Froedtert, such amazing family and friends!  I know my journey still has a long way to go but it sure feels good to have this six weeks of radiation behind me!

Here are some photos from today.  Don't mind the ugly cry face.  :) 

In the mask one last time!

 Outside my room where they do the scans to make sure everything is lined up and start the radiation while I am laying on the table inside the room.

Ringing the bell!!!  I turned this to black and white to hide how red and puffy my face was at this point!  :)

 Leaving Froedtert with my creepy mask!  :)

Celebratory lunch at Harbor House downtown with Jamie!  I even treated myself to TWO beers, I haven't had a drink this entire time.  I was told drinking could lower my seizure threshold so this whole time I have been scared to death of having even a glass of wine because I am deathly afraid of having another seizure.  Well I had two beers and I am still alive and haven't had a seizure so it looks like I can maybe add a drink or two into my diet once in awhile!  Speaking of diets, hoping now that I am completely off steroids that I might loose some of the 20 lbs I have gained in the last 6 or 7 weeks and that the swelling in my face might go down.  If I don't loose weight I guess I will have to face the fact that I may need to start watching what I eat and maybe even throw in some exercise but I sure hope it was just the steroids so the weight comes off with no effort on my part.  I won't hold my breath on that one.  :)   

It's been a rough ride since my seizure on December 15th but overall I still feel great.   I still feel like the same old Alison, except now I am fighting a brain tumor, I'm gained a few lbs, I wear a wig, I am exhausted all the time and without my wig I have the world's worst mullet ever. (in case you think I am lying see the photo below, well technically i have a mullet AND an amazing patch of bangs as an added bonus, it's bald like that on BOTH sides)

BUT non the less I am still the same Alison.  Sometimes I even need to remind myself of that.  That even with all the crap going on in our lives right now, I am still the same goofy mom and dedicated wife that I was before this all started.  Nothing can change that about me, I may be tired and run down right now but Jamie, Owen and Jacob love me just the same that they did before all this crap happened and I love them a million times more than I ever imagined I could.  Jamie has been my rock, Owen has pulled on my heart more than I thought ever possible and made me love him even more and Jacob has continued to be his same old spunky self, never leaving me a free minute which is actually kind of a good thing.  It's hard to let your mind wander to bad places when you have a 19 month old that is trying to swing from light fixtures in your house.  I wonder where he gets that from???  :)  I am so lucky to have those three guys in my life, SO lucky!  I love them to the moon and back!

I am excited for the next month of having NO doctor's appointments for myself!  It will be amazing!  Tomorrow we have Owen's fundraiser at Karate America which we are so excited for and then Sunday I can drive again!  My three months of NO driving are OVER!  That means I can drive Owen to school all by myself.  Jacob and I can go to the zoo while Owen is at school.  I can drive to the grocery store and to Target.  I take the boys for a breakfast date at Panera on Friday.  It will truly be like my old life back!  I can't wait!  

So a HUGE thanks again to everyone that has supported us thus far.  Radiation DONE... one big thing checked off our to do list.  Next up chemo for me, possible brain surgery for Owen.  I know we will handle them with the same great attitude and positive outlook as we did my radiation because that is the only thing you can do and staying positive makes everything easier!

Well that's all for tonight, thanks for reading! 


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