ThankFULL…

Ugh. MY SKIN IS SO SENSITIVE!!

My skin is driving me crazy. My chest is sore. My shoulder blade is sore. My armpit is so painful I can hardly brush my teeth or lift my arm up. My armpit skin is SO tight. The skin is SO sore. I’m doing everything they tell me. Saline soaks, burn cream, Tylenol, resting.

I don’t have one single item of clothing I can wear that doesn’t make me want to scream. I’m laying around topless feeling useless. I do EVERYTHING with my right hand. Can’t make dinner. Can’t walk the dog. Can’t even play the ukulele.

This last week of radiation has been really hard. Poor Gerry is wiped out and frustrated that he can’t do anything to help me feel better. I’m not sleeping well because I’m in constantly uncomfortable.

Do you want to see my burned armpit?? Click HERE if you do. If not … read on.  :)

I went in to talk to the nurses to make sure that everything was ok and I saw one of my favourite nurses from the chemo ward. She’s a old-school nurse. She’s been doing her job for a while and because of her wisdom she made me feel a lot better about what I’m going through. She assured me that my armpit wasn’t infected and that the burn actually looked good!

I was like “GOOD?” She laughed and said “I swear. You’re doing really well. I’ve seen much worse and yours is doing really well.

She gave me some more tips about how to keep my arm from chafing the sore in my armpit and the best tip she had was to do a MacGyver and cut up a pair of hospital underwear into a tank top for me. Not only does it hold my bandage in place (to protect the sore) but it keeps my arm from rubbing up against it.

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I’m still uncomfortable and feeling shitty but not like I was before. I love nurses.  :)

We are so close to the end of this treatment that this week has been torture. And it’s not like it when I finish radiation everything suddenly gets better once I’m done. The after effects of radiation last a couple of weeks or more and the nurse told me the pain/soreness in my armpit could get WORSE! :(

The chemo is still messing with my body too. My skin is all weird and bumpy as I process the chemicals. Two of my fingernails are hanging on for dear life. My big toe nail looks like it’s a zombie toe and I know one day I’m going to take off my shoe and it will have fallen off.

I’m just so over it.

One positive thing this week is that I looked in the mirror and saw a Sarah I recognize. She has eyebrows and eyelashes and doesn’t look like a sick alien creature from a far off planet but boy-howdy she sure does look tired.

I did my last radiation yesterday. It was weird to say good-bye to everyone on the radiation ward. I’ve been going there every single day for the last month and a half. I feel like I work there.

It’s going to be weird to have some free time … although it’s not like I can do anything because my skin is still SO sensitive that it makes wearing clothing torture. I’m hoping my vegan superpowers kick-in and my skin starts healing up quickly. I have a Go-Go’s show on New Years to attend damn it! :)

I hope my armpit heals up enough so I can clap my hands during Head over Heels. Ha ha. I need to get my dance on!! Everyone needs a goal right?

The biggest bummer was that I woke up with a sore throat. This entire year through all the surgeries, chemo and radiation I managed to avoid getting any bugs … and here I am on my last day of treatment and I catch a wicked sore throat.

Dang it!! So I’ve been sleeping and drinking juice hoping it will go away and not turn into something.

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Everyone keeps asking me if I’m excited that it’s all over and truth be told … I don’t know what I feel. Right now I don’t feel much of anything because I’m just trying to deal with this armpit burn.

I also know that it’s not over. I have to heal from radiation (and that’s going to take a while). I have to heal from what the chemo did to my body. I have to have surgery to remove my Power-Port. Mentally I have to heal from all the trauma. Plus we still don’t know if I have the breast cancer gene and will need surgery on the other side – so we’re waiting for those results.

So it’s not really over … lots left to do. Still focused on now. Gotta focus on healing and that’s going to take some time.

This time of year I usually like to do a 2013 YEAR IN REVIEW but I can look back. I can’t. 2013 has been as raw as the skin under my arm. It’s too sensitive to touch…

But even though I’m not feeling 100% yet and I am literally uncomfortable in my own skin – I know it’s only temporary.

All year. Through the surgery, the chemo, the radiation … Gerry would rub my head and say “It will be better tomorrow…”  and sometimes it was and sometimes it wasn’t but whenever he said that to me it gave me hope.

I am hopeFULL that 2014 is going to be better.

I am also so thankFULL for all the love that was showered on me this year. I have so much love from my family, my friends who are like family and all of you out there in internetland.

Thank you for all your encouragement. At any time day or night I could hop onto social media and ask for support and you were there to provide solace for me. I never once felt like I was alone during this … I am so blessed to have all of you in my corner cheering me on.

I love you guys.
xoxo
SARAH

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16 Responses to ThankFULL…

  1. angela says:

    We love YOU Sarah! What a year. I hope your burn/skin feels better by NYE! You more than deserve to have fun at the Go-Go’s concert <3

  2. Rebecca says:

    One day at a time sweetie. Just take it one day at a time and I am positive that you will be able to ROCK the New Year. I have had a bad week this past week you however have just had a rotten year and thankfully it is almost over.
    Have a Great Holiday!

  3. Judith says:

    Saw you on the street couple of days ago and your eyes are still very bright and lively. Hang in there Sarah, you’re lookin’ good!

  4. Heather johnston says:

    I love you!
    You are strong, and soft, and brave… So brave! You are a beautiful inspiration.
    Xoxoxo

  5. Lisa says:

    I had 30 radiation treatments on my head and neck in 2011 and your burn looks pretty good! And yes, the next two weeks will suck – just get plenty of rest, drink water and eat lots of protein – and you’ll be on the other side of this soon

  6. Anne says:

    Sarah…you are such a brave and inpirational woman. It has been such an honour to witness your journey through the tears, rawness, vulnerability, laughter and love that you share in your blog and tweets. Thank you for being so whole hearted and authentic. You are in my thoughts, prayers and heart. Wishing you healing and peace so you can ring in 2014 with the Go-Go’s!!

  7. Claire says:

    You have been so brave to share your story and in honest words. The reality should not be sugar coated. You have so much love coming at you from all over the world. Hoping next year will be a good one for you xxx

  8. Gloria says:

    Hi Sarah – you have been so very brave this year and an inspiration to all of us. I just hope that 2014 is a great year for you both.
    Take care.

  9. Healing is a big, big part of this experience. But still, good on you for getting this far. The physical stuff is HARD work. You are getting there. For me, there were (are) so many mixed feelings in recovering and many of them were surprising. But, probably the best thing I did post treatment was go on a trip. It was a beautiful splash of normal, and I was sunk into what I love – sun, travel and beautiful places. I hope you find your splash of normal soon too. ~Catherine

  10. Liz M says:

    You’re such an inspiration Sarah! Wishing you the very best of 2014! Happy New Year to you and Gerry!!! XOXOXO

  11. Taylor Erin McNally says:

    Sarah,
    I’m so sorry to hear about your armpit burn. But just think: this MAJOR annoyance is NOTHING compared to the overwhelming, all-encompassing fear your were feeling (and rightfully so) a few months ago. I have been there with you on the interland watching you break and grow. You are such a beautiful, brave, wise bird if I’ve ever seen one. Perhaps one of your purposes in all of this was to lend the rest of us some more inspiration we couldn’t muster. Maybe you took one for the team…but for whatever reason, we are still gratefull to you too for sharing your experience so vulnerably. But most of all: I hope you made it to your GO GO’s show! I am happy to hear your fond memories of nurses. I am in the throes of nursing school and sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it. But to offer a kind word, a gesture, a look in the eye to ease the pain of others: sign me up, baby! I would have loved to have been your nurse, Sarah. I know you brightened their days as much as they brightened yours. We are all so very present and proud of you. Draw upon the strength…this well of love…that everyone has offered you. Drink up to become nourished and healed. I know 2014 will be better 2013 was a year of loss for everyone, in a way. I know this year will be better for you, for me, for all of us. And so it is. Love Always, Taylor

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