Monday, February 15, 2010

Done is Good!

I started my radiation therapy on December 21, 2009 and received daily treatments, except for the weekends, for 6 ½ weeks, totaling 31 treatments. My last treatment was administered on Wednesday, February 3, 2010. The first 23 treatments were delivered to my upper right chest stretching from the center of my sternum to under my arm, then from about 4 inches below my collar bone to about 4 inches above the bottom of my ribs. The last 8 treatments, referred to as a boost, were delivered centered over my scar and a surrounding area of about 6 inches in diameter. Every Tuesday I would get an X-ray taken to make sure the swelling wasn't going to interfere with the position the doctor had chosen, and the therapists would measure me with calipers. Every Wednesday I met with Dr. C and the oncology nurse, Connie, so they could look at my skin to make sure it was still “intact”, always asking me if I had any questions and re-assuring me I was doing great. “Keep doing what you’re doing” Connie would say.

When I first started radiation treatments, my skin was slightly pink and slightly irritated everyday when I would go home. I would apply lotion over the treated area being careful not to rub off the ever present ink markings the therapists made. By the next morning the pink would have disappeared although the irritation never did. However the discomfort was not bad. The hardest part about the first 3 weeks was trying to maintain the ink they marked me with from Monday to Monday. I questioned myself why they tattooed me if they were just going to mark me up every week.

About halfway through my 6 ½ weeks the pink turned to red and the color no longer disappeared. The irritation became very uncomfortable and a constant soreness crept in. At the same time I noticed myself starting to drag. About halfway through the day I would feel the need for a good nap and getting up in the mornings to go to work became much harder.

The last 2 ½ weeks my skin was unquestionably red, tight, itchy, and sore and started to take on a plastic feel. My skin started to peel in some places that peeling should just never occur, and my underarm was a constant source of irritation. It doesn’t help that I am right handed and I was being radiated on my right side. Every movement I made would cause my skin to stretch, or cause my arm to rub tender skin. By this time I would wake up tired and remain tired throughout the day. Often times I was ready to go to bed by 8:00 at night. Nurse Connie gave me gel pads to apply to the areas that offended me the worst; however these were hard to keep on under my arm where the constant movement would make the pads buckle and itch my skin even worse.

My last treatment was bittersweet. I was glad it was over, but I had come to look forward to seeing the technicians I saw everyday. The “girls” gave me an Award of Achievement and ½ dozen carnations with baby’s breath and fern on my last day. I also got a hug from each one. Connie, my nurse, said more than once that I had come through radiation treatment with phenomenal results. She had told me that she expected me to have a rough go of radiation as I had just come from chemotherapy and I am fair skinned. She asked me more than once what cream I was using as my skin held up so well. I shared with her the new cream my cousin Ron had suggested. Thanks Ronnie, it really did help. BTW, it was SBS-40 OTC hand cream. I didn't start to experience fatigue until the last couple of weeks and even then it was tolerable to still work everyday and function somewhat normally.

I was told by many people to celebrate my last treatment. I took Thursday and Friday off to get some much needed rest. Celebration took energy I just didn't have. However, My dad and sister sent me a giant card signed by family and friends down south, as well as a gorgeous pink crystal necklace with the design name of “Celebration”. How appropriate! Thanks Daddy and Laurie. Jenny made me a Pineapple upside down cake done the old fashioned way, in an iron skillet. Yum! Dave took Jenny and me out to dinner at Thyme, The Restaurant, in Medina to celebrate being done with the major treatments. That was a treat. Can I just say, between the Pear and Parsnip Soup and the Crème’ Brule’, and not failing to mention the Spinach and Mushroom gnocchi, it’s now one of my favorite restaurants in Medina! Try it if you live anywhere close by.

Even though my treatments are over, I still have residual affects that I need to deal with. My skin is peeling, but healing, and for now I am still a bit tired. But, like my friend Chris says “Done is good!”

I go back to the cancer center Feb 18th for a port flush and an appointment with Dr. Coffman, my oncologist. I expect at that point he will talk about starting me on the drug Tamoxifen and possibly some follow up tests. I intend to pin down a commitment to arrange to get my port out. It has served its purpose and now it’s time to have it removed.

Looking back, I should have told Connie the nurse, that it was prayer that sustained me so well through radiation. Where have I heard before that I breezed through treatment? Was that chemo? Yes, and was that radiation? Yes. Thank you to all who have been praying for me. I am a living testimony of the power of prayer. I thank God that He keeps meeting me where I am and providing for me there.


  1. Oh Mindy Kaye, parts of your blog makes my eyes water! YES! Celebrate life! Celebrate Dave and the kids for you have alot to be thankful for. Be humble and know you are truly blessed. I wouldn't say that you 'breezed' through everything but you did stay focused.

    My hat also goes off to Dave and the kids as well (clap clap clap)! Their support and attitude through this has been amazing! Talk about a Valentine's Day present.

    Well done Mindy, well done!
    Love me

  2. Mindy, thank you so much for sharing your story! I sit her crying as I read it....your beautiful strength, trust, and gentleness shine though.

    God is so favorite part was the "Celebration" necklace. And, don't fret about Connie and not telling her it was prayer that got you through. I know exactly how you feel about has happened to me as well. God will give you more opportunities to share about the power of prayer! And, what a beautiful testimony you have right here on your blog.

    I am so glad that you commented on my blog and so glad to "meet" you. I love what you said in your comment "I too want to always look at God and not my circumstances. This comes as no surprise to God. I can honestly say I have been blessed to have gone through this trial because I have grown so much closer to Him through it all."

    I wish you could have been in my Bible Study group last night! We were talking about just this same God uses our trials to bring us closer to Him, AND to grow and mature our faith. We talked about Peter and how in Matthew Peter rebukes Jesus and says that He should not suffer. Jesus goes on to say that each will carry his own cross..... Then, studying the book of Peter, we see that Peter learned this "lesson" as he so beautifully encourages those who are suffering tremendously. We are finishing up Joyce Meyer's "Battlefield of the Mind" and she talks about how very important our attitude is as we walk through the trial. It reminds me of what you shared about Paul in Philippians.

    Mindy, I am so glad you stopped by and commented. Please know that I, too am praying for you. Thank you for so openly sharing your heart with us.

    Father God, we come before You and adore You. Thank You that You crossed my path with Mindy! She is a beautiful reflection of You. Lord, I lift her up to You. I pray that You would continue to heal her body. Father, I thank You for the healing You have done in her spirit as well. Continue to strengthen her faith as well as her body. Continue Lord to pour out Your Spirit on her. Father, I pray Mindy will rest in You, trusting Your Sovereignty and Your goodness. Lord, I pray You will draw many Believers around her, encouraging her in the faith. Father, I pray You fill Mindy with such a peace, the peace that passes all understanding. Lord, thank You for her. Father, thank You for all You do and Who You are. We love You, Lord. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.

    Many blessing, sweet friend. And, feel free to to email me personally anytime!


  3. Hallelujah!

    Mindy, I echo those who thank you for sharing your story, your struggle and your walk of faith through this blog. You are a true inspiration.

    Praise God that you are now at the end of this journey; praise Him for the lessons he has taught you and the faith he has strengthened and grown in you and those around you; praise Him for your beautiful family and the support they have been and continue to be for you.

    Heal well, my friend!

    I love and miss you.


  4. Dear Mindy, was so glad to read your blog today and hear that you are doing well and that the radiation is finished. I will continue to pray that the cancer is gone for GOOD and that you will recover from the burning completely.
    Love you Mindy,