Tag Archives: radiation

Peter Devereaux Last Blog: Time to get caught up with Peter

This was the last blog Peter Devereaux sent to us last month.  It is with heavy hearts we share Peter’s last blog again in light of his recent passing at the age of 52 from male breast cancer. 
For us, Peter was a beacon of light and an inspiration to anyone who had the wonderful opportunity to know and meet him.  For me, meeting Peter was indeed a special gift I will hold in my heart forever.
Peter was a true fighter both in the ring and out of the ring;  a hero who not only served his country bravely but …


Time to get caught up with Peter

Lets start off by saying it has been a difficult and challenging year with cancer. We have had 4 rounds of radiation in a four month period. I received a Leptomeningeal diagnosis (which means the cancer is in the fluid of my spine and brain). I received whole brain radiation, which brought me some relief. Due to the Leptomeningeal disease I was having trouble with my speech, swallow and balance. The radiation helped everything.
I am currently at home with open hospice. Right now they only have to be here once a week, I am currently I am on steroids and …


Breast Cancer Time Outs

When you are going through treatment you need to take as many time outs from all things breast cancer as your schedule permits and you can physically handle. You will feel the better for it emotionally.
Even the smallest escapes help; sitting in a movie theater viewing an upbeat movie, or watching  TV without interruptions, or curling up with  a good book for a few hours.
On days that you feel up to it, get out and do something that you enjoy, something you did regularly before breast cancer treatment. If you feel your best when you get up in the morning, …


Hot Summer, Hot Flashes

Last night was the first time I have slept through the night in more than a week. Every summer since beginning tamoxifen in 2008, I have had at least one instance of a week or two where my hot flashes and night sweats are so bad that I can’t sleep well for days on end. The pattern is that I will sleep for about an hour, wake up sweltering and sweaty, kick off the blankets, fall back asleep for 10 minutes, and then wake back up freezing and cover up. Repeat eight times and that’s my night. Sound familiar?
It’s important …


Telling My Family I Had Breast Cancer

Telling my family that I had breast cancer is one of the hardest things I have ever done. I was diagnosed over the phone, on a Friday afternoon. It was almost as much of a surprise to my doctor as it was to me. The call was quick, and I didn’t get much info. I had to wait until Monday morning’s appt to discuss a treatment plan. This left me with the weekend to sit on my news.
Since I wasn’t even remotely expecting a cancer diagnosis as a woman in my 20s (I had already been told it was very …


Unrealistic Expectations

Other than the shock of my initial diagnosis, I would say that the hardest time for me emotionally came when I was about a year out from diagnosis. I spent so much time mentally preparing for my surgeries, chemo and radiation that by the end of my treatment, I was traumatized and didn’t really know how to go on – go back to work, back to my regular life. I felt like a different person – and I certainly didn’t look like myself.
I remember thinking throughout treatment that I could do this for a year. I kept the ‘year mark’ …


The Ghost of Birthdays Past and Future

Today is my 33rd birthday. For me, birthdays have always been a day of reflection, though as a kid and young adult, the reflections included ideas like, I wish I had done better in school last year, or if only I’d had the courage to talk to that cute boy in Psych class, or maybe next year I will try out for cheerleading.
Since being diagnosed with breast cancer almost five years ago, at the age of 28, my birthday reflections have been very different. I think about the future, about how long I will live – how many birthdays I …


Pregnancy and breast cancer: One mother’s story

Rebecca Byrne had waited years for a doctor to tell her, “You’re pregnant.” She never imagined that just a few months after she first heard those words, she would hear four more: “You have breast cancer.”
Byrne still tears up when telling the story, but smiles when her 20-month-old daughter, Emelia, leaps into her lap. Emelia is the happy outcome of a painful period of Byrne’s life, when the joys of pending and early motherhood were shadowed by chemotherapy treatments, hair loss, radiation, and uncertainty.
Every year in the U.S., one in 3,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during pregnancy. …


It’s Not About the Hair!

This guest post is about Debra Jarvis, an oncology chaplain and breast cancer survivor. The post is in Debra’s own words, taken from the Introduction in her book, It’s Not About the Hair: And Other Certainties of Life and Cancer.
I am the general oncology outpatient chaplain at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA). I see patients who are receiving chemotherapy, getting radiation, having their blood drawn, or waiting to see their oncologists.
I was in my fourth year at the SCCA when I received the upsetting news that my mother had been diagnosed with breast cancer. However, I didn’t have much …


Coping With the Changes that Breast Cancer Brings

The biggest change a diagnosis of breast cancer brings is the loss of feeling in control of your life, your body, your future.

All of a sudden we are casting about for ways to feel in control once again. Our fear, our anger, our confusion only compound our feelings of being out of control now that our body has let us down. We are being challenged to find the  coping mechanisms that will get us through the anxiety of diagnostic tests to determine the size, location and possible spread of our breast cancer. We need the presence of mind to get …