Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Psychological Support

Last weekend, David and I participated in the Hopewell Cancer Center's Annual Fundraising Walk and Run. It was joyous to see my new Hopewell friends with their families and to see some of my old treatment buddies, now being active and looking healthy!

The Hopewell Center has really been a terrific place for me. It is a non-affiliated non-profit grass roots organization that provides supportive services to anyone with cancer. Services are all free of charge, and they rely entirely on donations. They recently purchased an old comfy home where their meetings take place and built a barn on the property for their spiritual classes in yoga.

Every other Monday night, they have a Breast Cancer Support Group. Last night, I went for the second time. The women change each visit, because it is a networking group, and attendance is not mandatory. It's so inspirational and freeing to talk about the cancer and learn from others' experiences, fears, etc. And it's not all cancer either...it's the fallout from the experience that is discussed as well. I highly recommend this type of activity for support.

Last Thursday, I also started weekly support group sessions at the Hopewell Center. This includes people in all stages of cancer with all types of cancer. Again, another opportunity to talk freely about cancer and never worry that someone will run away from you because you have that need. The reality is that none of us who have been through this want to burden others who have not with all the details, but sometimes there is a personal need to do just that. The weekly group is diverse, but we all connected. This will definitely be helpful for me.

If my Mom had not had breast cancer and died from it when we thought she was cured, I don't think I'd be so fixated...but it is what it is and I have to live my life with that knowledge. I feel certain that these groups will help me get over the psychological hump. How lucky I am to live in a community with so many fabulous resources!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Six Months Follow-Up

Today was six month post-cancer diagnosis visit to the oncologist. Since the radiation ended, I've been having swelling in my left armpit every morning. I realized, through all my reading, that pain in the breast after radiation was really quite normal, so those pains have not scared me. The oncologist was not concerned at all. She palpated my armpit and told me that my lymph nodes were NOT enlarged, and that it is really quite common to have axilla (armpit) pain after radiation.
My blood work came back normal in all areas, and she is pleased with how I'm doing with the Tamoxifen. My breast is still a little red and a little warm from the radiation, which she says is also common, and no, it is NOT IBC. That was a relief.

My next appointment is scheduled in 6 months, one week after my next mammogram. Lots to celebrate...all is going as good as it can get!