Radiation therapy home stretch

by Monday, July 7th, 2014Breast Cancer21 comments

It’s just about 11 months since my breast cancer diagnosis (8/14/13 3:45 p.m.), and I’m coming into the home stretch on my treatments. I feel fortunate that I haven’t had too many terrible side effects along the way. I just now — after 27 treatments of radiation therapy — am having some uncomfortable itching episodes on the skin around my neck. But that’s about it. Having had the mastectomy and the removal of my lymph nodes, I don’t have a lot of feeling in that area, so I have to make sure to keep the skin moist so it’s in good shape for my final reconstruction surgery.
Tie-dye T-shirts at northern Wisconsin log home
My sisters and great nieces and I had a fun time together for our annual trip up to Pembine, Wisconsin to see my sister Donna. Last year we started the tradition of tie-dying. My sister Laurie has become the expert at it and has shared her techniques with us. I love having this time together with my sisters and the girls, it’s fun to see how creative we all can be.
Bob & Bridgett on Paddock Lake in Wisconsin
Our friends Bob & Bridgett ride Kevin & Karen’s pontoon boat on Paddock Lake.

We had such a wonderful Independence Day celebration with family and close friends. These moments mean so much more to me now. I love to see the excitement on the girls’ faces when they get to drive the boat or see the beautiful fireworks. It’s nice to share those times with them and make these memories together.

In putting this video together, we went back to when I was first diagnosed to get some footage of when I had my hair. I can’t believe how I felt seeing that person who was just given this news. It really made me feel sad for her — what feelings she was going to go through in the months to come, how chemo wasn’t as bad as she thought it was going to be, and then how her body was going to change. I never once questioned having a double mastectomy, it’s something I wanted since I was told I had cancer. Sometimes I miss how my chest used to feel, but now I am getting used to the feeling of my new breasts. But when I look back at the old Amy it just brings tears to my eyes. I guess the sad thing is there is no going back. We have to move forward and I feel grateful that I have had the best care and that this part of the process is about to come to an end.

I want to thank all of you for your constant love and support. All of you keep me going with your encouragement. I just hope that in sharing my story it’s helping other women, their partners, families, and friends.



21 Comments
  1. gloria

    So glad you are doing well. It is a long ride. I still have some numbness but just have to deal with it. Keep up your good attitude.

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      God bless you Gloria. It’s women like you who have gone through this that are an inspiration to me. :)

      Reply
  2. Janet Dahl

    You are right about no going back- and you inspire us all by your forward facing journey.

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Thanks Janet, your words of encouragement have always made me feel so empowered.

      Reply
  3. lynn erickson

    So glad you’re in the home stretch with the radiation treatment! It looks like you had such a fun 4th, made me smile! I like your hair short and sassy, it suites you :)

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Thanks Lynn,

      I always loved it when you had short hair, but you look beautiful no matter what length your hair is.

      Reply
  4. Donna Flannery

    Wow ! Radiation burn looks like it would really hurt. It’s great that you show us what you’re going through. We can all learn and not be so afraid of cancer treatments.
    Amy , I enjoyed our family weekend. Love the picture of all of us in our tie-dye. Fun!! Miss all of you. Love you sister and stay strong.

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Donna I guess the burn looks worse than it feels. Still the only real pain is the itching in my neck and collar bone area. I know the radiation has some residual effects even a week or two after my last treatment, so fingers crossed I don’t get worse side effects.

      I loved being with you. It’s been great over the past months face timing with you but there’s nothing like being together in person. I love you so much.

      Reply
  5. Nancy

    Oh Amy, I’m so glad you aren’t in any pain! That red area looks like it hurts! You are almost done! Woo Hoo! You have done such a good job and have stayed so positive. You inspire me….you really do! Your garden looks great! Thank you for sharing your journey!

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Thanks Nancy for your comment, it’s nice to hear from you. I am having a blast with my garden, it’s fun to harvest my veggies only minutes before I cook them.

      Reply
  6. Sarah P.

    Amy,

    You are strong and beautiful and have grown through this process. Some day, and probably sooner than you think, you will help someone else instead of being the person helped. Welcome to the other side.

    Sarah

    Reply
  7. Julia

    woo hoo! Keep your eyes forward – you are on the home stretch!

    Reply
  8. Jennifer DeCristoforo

    Hi Amy,
    Thanks for your inspiration and update. I am so impressed with how you are able to enjoy family, friends and festivities no matter how you are feeling or what you are going through. That is challenging for me (chemo #9 this week) ….. but you remind me how not missing out on summer fun can help get you through! Congrats on almost being done with radiation! Jen from Maine

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Jen I wish you the best with your treatments. Wow number 9 this week, the count down continues!

      I know it gets hard sometimes. I went through my chemo during all of the winter holidays and for the most part avoided people because my immunity was low. That was hard because I am such a social person. But I was able to stay healthy and not have a delay in my treatments. With the summer months you have to be careful about sun exposure and all the outdoor festivities. We just all have to try and keep some kind of normalcy while going through treatments. You have to take it in little bits and pieces and do what you can.

      I am keeping you in my thoughts and sending good vibes out to Maine. :)

      Love,
      Amy

      Reply
  9. Bridgett

    Love All these Comments.. And all so True! You are such an Inspiration to Many and Loved by Many More! Woooo Hoooo Home Stretch Baby ;-)

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Bridgett you are such a beautiful person. Our family just loved having you and Bob at our Independence Day celebration. Thank you for being such a wonderful loving friend.

      I love you girly.

      Reply
  10. Sue Cummings

    Amy, thank you for sharing your courageous story! I love the commitment you’ve had to blogging throughout your journey – it’s amazing. Bruce and I really enjoyed connecting with you and Mark on the F.L.Wright tour; I’m really glad to have met you and best to you going forward!

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Sue, we too were glad to have met you and Bruce. What a great adventure the two of you are on, traveling across our great country. I sure hope you found your stay in the midwest hospitable and intriguing.

      Maybe some day Mark and I will follow in your footsteps. We wish you both the very best.

      Reply
  11. Sherri

    Dear Amy,

    I came across your video on youtube, I hope you are feeling better, I too am a BC
    savivour, was diagnose last year Jan 2013. You have been blessed with a wonderful supportive Husband. I will keep you in my prayers. xoxo

    God bless,
    Warm regards, (from BARBADOS)
    Sherri

    Reply
    • Amy Czerniec

      Dear Sherri,

      Thank you so much for leaving a comment. It always makes me happy to hear from new friends. I am sorry that you have been through BC as well. I hope you are doing well. Are you done with your treatments?

      I do feel very fortunate to have Mark by my side. He has been the best husband a woman could ask for. I knew he loved me before, I didn’t think he could love me any more. I am truly blessed.

      Wow Barbados, sounds like paradise. I will be thinking of you when we are freezing here in the winter.

      Take care and keep in touch. :)
      Love,
      Amy

      Reply

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