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  • Heather Love

Hair, Vacation, Radiation and more


It has been a little over four weeks since surgery, the incisions are healing, and I am getting more energy back. I started occupational therapy and am doing that once a week for another month while doing a set of exercises twice a day to help increase the mobility in my right arm and help prevent lymphedema.


My hair is starting to come in (not as quickly as I would like it), but it is super soft. It will be interesting to see if it develops the wavy "chemo curls" many women have stated happens as it grows longer. I am working up the courage (on occasion) to take off my scarf or beanie when in public. I am unsure why it makes me so self-conscious, but I definitely felt more confident with an entirely bald head. Weird, I know. This current look makes me feel like a middle-aged G.I. Jane....without the amazing Demi Moore body to go with it.


Greer has particularly taken to my new super soft hair and keeps petting it while we are snuggled on the couch watching a movie or show. Here is a sneaky photo I took without him seeing.



Rick whisked me away for a little oncologist-approved road trip over the weekend. It was amazing to escape the hamster wheel that we have been on and be able to lay in the shade by a pool, have a few cocktails, enjoy a few dinners out and simply relax. It felt as though the rest of the world didn't exist and was a much-needed opportunity to celebrate how much we have been through and give me the energy to push through this final leg of this damn marathon.

I started back to work this week at a 50% capacity while continuing to stay remote. Although I am not sure I was 100% ready to come back with radiation around the corner, I needed to return to maintain health insurance benefits. It does feel good to be back and see so many familiar faces via Zoom, and I can't wait to see more. It's crazy to think that my first mammogram was in August when we had just started back as teachers, and now, once radiation is over, this insane roller coaster ride will have lasted until at least the end of June (the entire school year).


I met with my radiation oncologist this week. We learned that I will be receiving radiation to both the right breast and the lymph nodes located just under the right collar bone. They are doing this because if any cancer cells are remaining that chemo and surgery didn't get, those are the places that they would travel to next. My next visit (that I am waiting to be scheduled) will include a CT simulation scan of the affected area. During a CT simulation, you must be immobile. It is a scan of the cancer area that will be treated. The images are collected and sent to a physicist for planning with my radiation oncologist. I'll also get four small tattoos (!) that will be used to line up the machines on my daily appointments.


The radiation oncologist will also give the dosimetrist or medical physicist the prescription that includes how much radiation I need, the targeted area, and the best type of radiation treatment to use. A physicist will use the images to prepare a treatment plan that meets the prescription determined by my radiation oncologist.


My treatment is going to be five days a week (Monday through Friday) for a total of about six and a half weeks. Each session will be around 30 minutes, but the radiation itself lasts only 2-3 minutes. The rest is making sure I'm perfectly aligned, setting up the machine, etc. It will likely start in another 3-4 weeks, pending how soon the planning meeting gets scheduled.


So, we wait. On the positive side, this will give me more time to heal, get more mobility in my right arm, and allow me to get more energy back while getting used to working again. On the negative side, I am so dang tired of this journey, of waiting, of treatments, of not feeling 100%. This has been such a marathon.....and running a marathon has never been something that has been on my bucket list. I am thankful to have such an incredible medical team that has kept me safe, two incredible boys and the love of my life that keep me fighting, my incredible, devoted mom who has been by my side and helping non-stop, and friends and family that support and encourage me every step of the way. I am so incredibly grateful for every one of you.


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carinlwatson
May 02, 2021

Heather - we haven't met yet. I went to college with Rick and we remain good friends. He's told me so much about you...and more than just the cancer part of your story! I do hope we are able to meet someday. I've followed your blog posts and am in awe of your courage and fortitude. I'm so glad you've come this far and that the worst is behind you (I hope!). I just want you to know I think about you and your journey often, and am always sending you good, healthy, healing vibes from across the miles. BTW that photo of your son touching your hair is precious. And you look like a badass. Honestly.

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Heather Love
May 07, 2021
Replying to

Thank you so much for all of your kind words. I hope that we are able to meet someday too.

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kathymeyer7408
kathymeyer7408
May 01, 2021

Heather,

So glad that you were able to get away for a couple of days and relax and enjoy life without any doctor's appointment for a brief period. You continue to inspire your children, friends, family and I, for one, am in awe of your strength and positive outlook. You will look back on this time and reflex on how dealt with so much physically and emotionally.


Your mom is an angel and it doesn't surprise me in the least in that she is there to support you in any way possible.


Thank you for sharing your journey with us and know that you are in my prayers for a quick recovery (as quick as is possible anyway....) and that…


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Heather Love
May 07, 2021
Replying to

Thank you so much, Kathy. 💗

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Jennifer Mavros
Jennifer Mavros
May 01, 2021

Heather-

You are so eloquent, strong and real in your sharing. I love it and admire you for being 100% authentic about it all. I pray for you to have strength, motivation and the tenacity to keep going (I know you will!), and to remember to let others carry you along when you need it. Know there are many of us out here, reading your journey and lifting you up in prayer and positivity.

ITB~ Jenny

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Heather Love
May 07, 2021
Replying to

Thank you so much. 💗💗💗

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jperrywolf
Apr 30, 2021

Dear Heather Your journey and exceptional retelling of it is worthy of a docu-drama! Your courage and vulnerability and integrity communicates so much beyond the words. Thank you I belong to a group that has been meeting on Zoom for over a year now. It is a support group led by a practitioner of NVC (nonviolent communication). Kathy has leukemia and went through a bone marrow transplant last July. It was experimental because they used her sister’ bone marrow but they treated the cells to reduce the chance of Graft vs Host disease. Kathy went under enormously toxic chemo prior to transplant. Of course she lost her hair but they told her it would not come back. Well, it is coming back…

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Heather Love
May 07, 2021
Replying to

Thank you so much, Aunt Jan. Much love to you. 💗

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