Monday, May 18, 2009
One of These Will Go Away and One Will Not (Or, The Long Post with Bad Photos from my Cell Phone)
Chemo went out with a, well, not a wimper, more like a bang. It was the toughest treatment to date, but it is in the past. The only part of it that remains is anemia, hand and foot pain, and cankles. Hopefully all of those will be distant memories soon too.

After chemo ended I had a PET/CT scan. After nervously awaiting the results for four days, I was relieved to hear "all clear" from my doctor last Wednesday. No sign of cancer anywhere in my body (or no evidence of disease - NED). I could not have heard sweeter words, but rather than revel in it very long I am preparing for the next phase of treatment.

The catheter in my chest will be removed on Thursday (this is the one that will go away). With no more chemo, there is no more need. Although I don't look forward to the procedure, my skin looks forward to the lack of adhesive. It is aging my delicate decollete. I also had my radiation simulation and was tatooed (this is the one that will not go away). Although, after a shower, the mark has been reduced to the size of a freckle. I don't know what to think. I'm no longer a tattoo virgin. It seems once you start with the body art, you can't seem to stop. What is next? For now, 33 radiation treatments. I should be glowing by the time I finish on July 7th. AFter that? Perhaps more body art. Who knows?


I'm not going to let this go.... The hearts -- I'm still seeing them.

My doggies and I were walking to my sister's house (which is just about four doors down from me in the same development) for coffee early one morning and it had either been a little drizzly or the sprinklers had already been on and I see this:

Pretty clear, isn't it? Also pretty remarkable since I have coffee with my sister nearly every morning at nearly the same time (usually after the gym weekdays, in my pj's on weekends) and I have never seen it before or after this incident on April 4th. It is as though someone somewhere is follow me around with a little life graffiti.

At first I found the heart thing a bit unsettling. It was as though I was hearing something in a foreign language. What did it mean? Who was sending me the message? Sheesh! Who is afraid of a heart? It's not like it was daggar or a skull or anything. Now when I see them I smile.

The most recent heart came just after me PET/CT. I had the scan on May 8th and by the next day I had a sign. A PET/CT involves an injection of radioactive sugars (as it was explained to me) which allow the detection of the metabolic signal of actively growing cancer cells in the body. I haven't been an easy "stick" as the lab folks like to tell me. I always end up with multiple attempts to access the vein followed by bruising. Saturday morning when I looked at the bruise, I saw this:

It may be hard to see it clearly on this hastily snapped crappy cell phone photo. Maybe this will help.

Why did worry for four days until I got the results? I need to believe the signs that are sent to me. Everything from the egret to the hearts have been telling that everything is going to be okay. And I belive it. 100%.

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Written by Jeannette Vagnozzi
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Name: Jeannette
Location: Southern California, USA

This is my story about being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 39. I thought I was out of the woods, but four years late it came back. This is my quest to be a two-time survivor.

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