Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Breast Cancer Journal - Photos of radiation and effects


Kate's Breast Cancer Journal 
(DCIS with lumpectomy and radiation)

I started taking photos because I was having a hard time finding things that could tell me what I was in for on this journey on line. The pictures were scary, I didn't want a mastectomy, I didn't want to lose my breasts as a sexual organ, i didn't want to be in crisis, I wanted to make good decisions, and I needed more info. Turned out it was good I was documenting, as I have some unusual adverse reactions and luckily some very talented doctors who are checking out the situation. 

Donate funds to Kate's cancer treatment or just say hi, how ya doin' right here: https://www.gofundme.com/killkatescancer



(right) Before lumpectomy and 3 radiation treatments. Lumpectomy removed about 4 cubic cms of tissue. Breast was SMALLER than this after lumpectomy.  (left:) after 3 radiation treatments. Instagram removed this post for violating their terms of service. Because cancer is so titillating. Wait. I mean boobilicious. 


I’m a healthy, active ski instructor, yoga instructor and bodyworker. I have a good diet and am quite fit. I am sensitive to most drugs and have many drug allergies. I ski all day about 170 days a year, both up and down hill, and practice about 3 hours of yoga daily, which I modify depending on my health and intensity of the season.

Early December 2017: Abnormal mammogram, diagnostic mammogram

Dec 19: Ultrasound assisted vacuum Biopsy confirms cancer Low nuclear grade DCIS.

Dec 21: Back to yoga with breast binding and 2 sports bras, slow practice. Small amount of leakage around nipple incision under steri strips. go to ER after class just to make sure, they think it looks ok.

Dec 25 - 31: Back on snow, 2 sports bras, private booking.

Dec 26: Fall while skiing on right breast on firm snow at moderate speed. Arm up, full brunt to right breast (of course)

Dec 28: Breast MRI, no further cancer detected

Jan 1-6: ski trip to Chatter Creek with guests


Jan 9, 2018: Met with team at Shaw Cancer Center

Jan 17 - 19: : exams for PSIA on snow

Jan 22 (aprox) genetic testing comes back negative for all 28 genes

Jan 27 - Feb 4 ski camp and private clients on snow

Feb 5 - pre op


Feb 6: Mag Seed Placed

Feb 7: Lumpectomy: surgery goes well, no surprises, no complications


Feb 10: (aprox) pathology comes back, it is cancerous, it is not aggressive, it hasn’t left the duct, no lymph involvement. Margins are clean, except anterior margin is only 1mm and due to proximity to skin surface. 5 weeks of daily radiation (except weekends) prescribed.

Feb 19: Evening ski in some good pow finally!



Feb 20: CT scan and cradle build at Shaw Wanna see a video of the radiation machine? It's pretty awesome: it's on my Insta.


Feb 24: back on snow: exam training for candidate

Feb 26: Three steroidal facet injections for pain in back and hip because of compromised discs in L2/3/4, flying in the morning.

Feb 27 - March 12: fly to eruope, ski camp for clients. Breast still tender, sore, painful and some swelling from lumpectomy but energy is good. 

March 12: fly home. big trip, hard work, almost miss seeing my kids. stressed to see them.

March 13: Drive to shaw, first set up for radiation, no beam today, 3 hour yoga practice resumes. Fondue indulgence regrets visit momentarily. (this photo is before radiation)


March 14: Radiation Begins, 3 hour practice after class. Breast is tender, red, I use the cream for burns they give me. I’m a little nauseous and a little tired, but not too bad. I assume I should be burned, tired and nauseous as I've heard this can happen and I'm Side Effect Girl. Plus, I assume this is why they have me staying at Jack's place and gave me the cream.


March 15: Feel good in the morning, 3 hour practice, radiation. Breast is sore, red, nipple is angry, swelling increases, I’m nauseous and tired. Throat begins to feel tight and like its constricting, but not sore like sick. Upper chest feels heavy, constricted. I ask again about practice, should be ok. Wonder later in the evening if I should go to ER. 


March 16: Feel good in the morning (but sleeping 10 hours a night, can not stomach sleep because of pain in breast. Pain spreads to right armpit. 3 hour practice, radiation after, no chest or throat issues. Super tired right after, sore, swollen, painful to wear bra. I drive home as it’s Friday. 2 1/2 hour drive back home. By the time I’m home, I’m exhausted and nauseous. I call my cancer buddy. He thinks I might have a cold and it probably doesn’t have anything to do with radiation because I’ve only had 3 treatments. (And people don't get sick like this from radiation this fast, and half my group was sick in Switzerland).



March 17: 90 minute practice, completely ass kicked after. Tired, cranky, in pain, swollen, hot/cold, armpit hurts, red sunburn feeling on nipple and breast. Continue using cream. Rest on couch for the rest of the day. Rally for dinner with clients. Feels good to connect, but exhausted. 


March 18: OK in the morning but not awesome. Leave practice after 45 minutes, dizzy, nauseous. Spend a half hour crying in the shower at the studio, feel much better after. I figure it’s the radiation load after 3 treatments, I have read you can get a sunburn and feel tired. Did not realize this was after 6 weeks of treatment, not immediately. On the couch all day, chest and neck kicking in again, hot/cold.

March 19: Good in the morning, assuming radiation load is easing. 3 hour practice, much more strong, present, happy. Breast still swollen, sore, angry. Armpit hurts. Nipple hurts, sports bra hurts. Drive back to Shaw for resumption of treatment.


Mention to radiation tech that my breast hurts and is red. She looks at it and suspends tx, asks me to see Radiation Oncologist first. Oncologist comes in, is alarmed. Clear delineated line of radiation field worries her. Color of nipple and amount of swelling is not good. No radiation today, come back in the morning to meet wth surgeon and oncologist again. Throat and neck and chest v. bad this evening. Still feeling nauseous and tired in evening. Rally for dinner by myself, bed early. 10 hours of painful sleep. Wonder about going to ER. Wonder if I am going septic. Hot and cold chills. 

March 20: No practice. Met with Radiation Oncologist and surgeon. Both are alarmed with color, swelling, symptoms. Bugs don't draw straight lines, so I have radiation field burns. But all the other symptoms say infection.  Ultrasound guided biopsy to draw off fluid. 6cc s of dark yellow but clear fluid pulled off, bringing swelling down. Breast V. painful, as is whole area. Hot/cold continues. They send me home to Aspen on oral Keflex and wait for lab results, suspend radiation treatment.


March 20, I drive home after meeting with docs, and rest. Throat and chest become concerning. by 6 pm, Radiation oncologist calls to check on me and sends me to the ER due to breathing. Suspend oral Keflex, IV antibiotics every 12 hours, oral steroid every 12 hours. X rays of neck and chest soft tissue show no constriction. Episode of constriction occurs while with ER doc, she gives me valium for it thinking muscle spasm, after about an hour it chills out. Discharge with IV in arm and go home for sleep.

March 21, wake up feeing better after 12 hours of sleep, go to ER, get IV antibiotics and oral steroid. Head home, no practice of course because of recent draw off of fluid. Hydrating and resting. Some but not all labs come back, high white blood cells in fluid, but not too high. (went from 9 to 13) Waiting for further analysis. Start to feel like crap again around 3. Nauseous by 4. Throat and chest begin around 5 big time. Actually looking forward to going in for next dose of antibiotics. Breast still hurts esp lateral side and armpit, but is not as painful or hot to the touch. Redness from radiation diminishing. Feel fluish.

Went into ER at 8, IV antibiotics, oral steroid, torodol, valium. Flushed, fever. 99.4 (my temp is 97.4 normally so that's high for me) flushed in face and neck. Discharged with big improvement in pain and swelling. Slept 12 hours

March 22, wake up feeling really good. Breast still hurts but not as much, radiation mark going down, armpit hurts but not too much. Throat tight but not as bad. Still flushed. Moved onto oral antibiotics, continuing oral steroid. Nothing topical to be applied at all. Spoke to my Radiation Oncologist, who took my case to the RO board yesterday, I will go in and see her at Shaw tomorrow for re-eval. Tom and I go out to the movies and dinner and it feels good to get out. Edible weed for nausea, 10 mg valium for chest and throat after 3. Start to go downhill at 3pm, feel horrible by 5, take meds, feel better.

March 23, wake up feeling much better, pain reduced in breast all over, nipple still very sore, medial lower breast painful, armpit less painful, chest, throat and cheeks flushing, throat and chest tight but not as bad. Swelling reducing. Continuing oral antibiotics and steroid. Headed over to Shaw for check up.

Right now, I'm on BIG rest for a week (not quite bed rest but UUUGH), and we will watch and see. Seems to be trending in the right direction. Once it clears up in a week or two, we will start radiation again and see how I react to it with a close watch.

Depending on that outcome, we will make a plan.

March 23, visit with Docs in Shaw. They are happy with progress. Considering Radiation Recall as a possible reason for reaction. Cleared to do yoga but not to ski (no falling). Felt good all day, moved out of Jack's place (lost my studio wahhhh), started to feel nauseous, throat, chest, sore breast around 3 pm

March 24 woke up feeling great. Home full primary practice, felt really good.  Throat and chest feeling tight and icky after practice. Dizzy and nauseous at 2pm. Walked around ranch looking for studio space, back on the couch, thank god for the Red Sox. Medicated for the rest of the day on the couch, tight sore throat, breathing, fatigue, big nausea.

March 25: woke up feeling throat choked. wondered if moist heat would help. Went to studio with plan to sit in the back of the room and just breathe and journal. Started the standing series, immediately sat down as i became dizzy and throat choked. Left class, showered, straight to the ER. They checked me for clotting (after five sticks ow), and found me positive. CT scan for chest and throat. Nothing clotting coming toward brain, lung or heart. Extreme pain in neck, radiating down left shoulder under collar bone, felt like I'd been punched in the throat on the left side. Scary. Ruled out Lumier's disease. Kept me on saline, steroid, and pain killers. Discharged me without a clue, but at least not in imminent danger of croaking.

March 26: long night of waking up to take antibiotics and new medpack oral steroid. slept in. Spent the morning unhappy and in pain neck and chest, like I'd been strangled the day before. Pain moving to right side. Did nothing, slept, realized I needed help with the boys who are wasting their lives on the computer while I sit on the couch trying not to complain. Ate my weight in sugar. (By the way, sugar is not good for cancer). Natasha came over and made me laugh, fell asleep in the arms of help and compassion watching Netflix, tomorrow is another day, in for another long night of alarms for meds. Hope I don't clot in the night for some reason. Emailed my friends to ask for help with boys, not sure what they will come up with, but i feel like a bad mom at the moment.

March 27: Woke up at 7 feeling rested and strong in spite of taking meds all night (steroid, antibiotic, steroid, antibiotic...) took myself into class, enjoyed a modified 90 minutes of bliss, rolled out of there, downed my water jug, took myself home, and with tom's encouragement, looked at the clock. I had two hours before I knew i'd start feeling crappy. The boys and I rearranged a corner of the living room so TOMORROW when I feel good, I can keep working on some of the integrated story telling projects I started while I was at shaw. Got it almost done before  time to surrender to the couch. Valium at 3 pm, no weed for nausea, it made me crave Jenny's chocolate graham cracker coconut evilness too much. Throat constricted, chest sore, breast sore lateral lower and nipple, but feel pretty good considering.  Liat will arrive tomorrow, making our tiny house even tinier, but thank god she will take them outside. On the couch ass kicked but ok from 3-8, chest and neck relived by valium. Still on oral antibiotics and tapering off steroids. Still sleeping in a sports bra, trying to keep that lumpectomy site together so no more fluid pools in it. Nipple sore, outer lower breast sore at bed.


March 28: Woke up tired but healthy feeling, I think waking up to take the antibiotics has been a bit disruptive but ok. Hauled my ass out of bed at 8:31 and was in the car at 8:33. I was late to class but it was  SO worth it. I never know if I will sit in the back and watch, practice a bit and leave early, modify a longer practice to be super gentle, just join the class, or get after it. I can never really tell that when I'm healthy either, I just have to show up on my mat with no expectations and see what happens. Most of the time its the opposite of what I expect, so I just finally stopped guessing. Today was amazing. Natasha taught a beautifully orchestrated class, and for some reason my body was into it and I felt strong and happy. Alternately laughing and crying through class, I really enjoyed myself, and had the first sort of vigorous practice in a while. Was pretty tired after, headed home to my new art studio in the living room and walked around it in happiness for a while. My pajama ridden children cleaned their room and gave me hugs and eagerly anticipated the arrival of my awesome little sister who is WAY more fun than I am right now. Well, in general, but especially right now. Natasha came over with food, i checked into the Hyperbaric Chamber situation here in Aspen to see if that could speed healing, I bit the bullet and put up a go fund me campaign.

By 1pm my throat was constricting and some chest pain was happening, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. My nipple is sore still around the incision, my outer lower breast also still sore, but no swelling or increased pain from practice. Nipple still feels like I have a sunburn.

Threw all the sugar away in the house yesterday and had a much happier emotional day today, it is so hard to be surrounded by unhealthy food and no way to escape it. Hoping I'll be healed enough to start radiation again on the 2nd, but I can still see the burn, we still have the mystery throat/chest thing, still have fatigue and general ick, no more fever though.

Liat is here, and I am so relieved. I need those boys out of the house and doing something creative with their lives. I feel like a terrible parent watching them play video  games from the couch. Today, Ethan mentioned that he missed his fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Shenck, who died of cancer when he was in fifth grade. This is hard and scary for them and I'm being too intense about them doing their chores and not being emo. Im so glad Liat came. Here's the daily boobie shot:


March 29:
Woke up sore but feeling strong. Went to class, had a good strong class, lots of work on hands, no swelling no pain in breast. After, nipple sore but outer breast feeling better. No fever, no chills. Throat tight and chest tight begin around 11am. Avoid meds till 3pm when chest and throat also begin to throb as well as feel constricted. Valium for constriction. Amazing Natasha brings more soup, about $1800 is contributed to the GoFundMe campaign, this is going to help us pay our rent since I have not worked much this year and help us pay Liat back for her ticket and to feed her while she's here. It is MASSIVELY stress relieving to have her here.

On a side note i'm getting sick at looking of photos of my lopsided boobs, although, there they are, and they've been pretty rad for me so far, so I'm not going to complain.

I over-scheduled myself a bit this weekend because i'm feeling better slowly and some wonderful things are lining up which feel like gifts from cancer, and Ive gotta follow what's out there... and stay balanced in rest and healing.

Im supposed to start radiation again on Monday. I'm honestly scared. I'm totally willing and I no we will learn a lot, but man oh man. I'm just now starting to feel like a human again.

But... I may have found an incredible creative space to work in, large, open, and able to contain the five projects that I'm obsessively sketchng and writing about and waiting for space to magically appear to produce.. Just the possibility made me so excited that I finally unpacked my bags from Shaw and organized my closet. That may seem insane, but for a person who has been moving not just ski stuff and city clothes but also an entire art and writing studio back and forth from home to the cancer center and on the couple of amazing trips we DID get to take with our ski guests this year, it was a big deal.

Of course, we get to pack it all up on Monday and move it back to shaw again!

Today's Pic March 29 end of day:


March 30: Big day planned, we'll see how it goes. I'm back to coaching clients on line, that was great. Sheena at European Skin Treatments had me come in for a facial, which was soooo sweet and lovely. Headed to yoga at noon, although throat started to feel constricted around 11:30 as usual now.  Class was rough. Took it easy. Unhealthy quick sandwich after, not the best choice, but food so... headed to Alya for a run through of Writ Large story, v. low key at her house, but tired, spacey, stupid, can't keep the thread. Headed to KDNK for an on-air interview at 3:30 about writ large, felt like I came alive on air and then wanted to crawl into my car and sleep after. Nurse called from Shaw, stop oral antibiotics. Had finished last steroid this morning, 8 antibiotics left, had already taken 2 today. Drove home at 5, tried to be social on the couch, felt horrible, went to bed and fell asleep listening to opening day of the Red Sox. Woke up 15 hours later to find out they'd lost. No photo today. Valium when throat and chest woke me up around 10pm otherwise slept thru

March 31 woke up at 9:30 am, felt strong and healthy, sore nipple, sore outer lower breast, not too bad. 20 minute home practice. Went with the family to watch the Met Live in HD Cosi Fan Tutte, which I love but UGH the story in the second half. Grrr Mozart. But yay Bodhi for coming and enjoying. Despnia was amazing. Tom is sick. 12:30 throat and chest, don't take anything. Tired by 4 (that's improving), get home, Tom in bed, sick sick and sleeping. 5:40 hoping the Red Sox and some painting can distract me from throat and chest and creeeping tiredness. Two days till we try radiation again.



April 1: woke up feeling great, did a full class and an extra 20 minutes on my own which was heavenly. Did not feel throat till 11:30, and not as bad as usual. Went out to Carbondale for a meeting about creative space and spent a lot of time walking and talking. Felt energy begin to tank at 1, super tired by 2:20, had to get home to get prone. Was able to concentrate and work from home, throat not too bad. Tylenol for pain around 5. Nipple sore, rest of breast feels good. Still V. tired all afternoon. No antibiotics or steroids today. I'm scared to see what happens tomorrow. But I feel like I'm pretty much healthy again. Not 100% by any means, but I don't think my breast is actively reacting to radiation or infection anymore. Cross your fingers!


April 2: Full class, felt amazing in class. 11:30 throat and chest hurt 3 out of 10. Better but annoying. Drove to Shaw, met with Radiation Oncologist, she wants me to wait one more week to get throat and chest to clear up. She suggested I might enjoy yoga ha ha. I'm to reduce stress as much as possible this week, but continue to be active. Possibility of beginning radiation again in one week on Monday just on lumpectomy site but twice a day.

April 3: woke up tight throat and chest but not too tight, big full class, felt amazing, decided not to double dip. Collected my sister, went to get a manicure and go to the hot springs, which helped my throat and neck and chest a lot. No meds till 8pm today, best energy today. Glad we are waiting another week.

April 4: woke up SORE from doing a big full class yesterday, that was a nice feeling! Double dipped today, light tightness in throat and chest still, it's staying the same, going from a 3-4 all day long from when I wake up. Gets worse in the afternoon, but energy in general is getting MUCH better. First class I was moving slow and was sore, second class I was warmed up enough to really dive in and enjoy. First day expending that much energy in the morning, I'm paying for it now, but I'm happy. No meds.

April 5: Woke up with chest and neck sore, have a performance tonight of Writ Large, should have skipped class and slept all day. Made the mistake of going to class. Worked hard for about 45 minutes and then chilled out to about half intensity and then just rested in shavassana for the rest of class. Exhausted and throat/chest intense after. A bit pissed at myself for pushing it. I want to be better so Im behaving like I am. Went home and slept before prepping for Writ Large which helped. Performed ok last night, late to sleep.

April 6: Woke up at 8 anyway, slight throat, slight chest, super tired, skipped class. Coffee, kids, back to bed till I have to drive to Shaw. Gonna sleep as much as possible today. Bodhi is really sick. Worried Ill catch it.

April 7: Better in the morning, full primary practice at home, nice and strong. Throat and tired at 3:30.

April 8: Feel good when I get up, great class, stressed about seeing people who have reached out, clients who are in town, can't get it together and spend the time with the kids. We go to the movies and I see my girls, who I haven't seen since my diagnosis and have a glass of wine. Very happy to see them. Didn't know how much I missed them and our lucky time together. Not tired till 6pm. I'm getting better!

Get ready for boobie pictures, here they come:

April 9: Up at 5:30 to drive to Shaw. Very curious about how this is going to go down. I feel really good, no throat, no chest, healthy and strong. 1st radiation at 8:45 am, move BACK into Jack's place, nap to the Red Sox, wake up to find them behind 1-4, head to yoga. One hour class, feel strong and happy. Begin edits of Drop In Yogi over breakfast. Second radiation at 3:45 feel tired but assume its from an early morning. Plan to go to 5:45 yoga, stop by grocery store, eat a quick meal and go to bed.
By 4:30 I'm ass kicked and glad I have a cliffbar to eat for dinner. In bed by 6:30 nauseous and super tired, sore breast. Use the cream they gave me.


I took pics before an after each treatment because i think the symptoms develop over time.

Before first radiation (second round) 8:45 am April 9


 Before first radiation (second round) 8:45 am April 9 (closeup)


After first radiation  9:10 am April 9


After first radiation  9:10 am April 9 (Close)


Before second radiation April 9 3:45pm


Before second radiation (close) April 9 3:45pm


After second radiation April 9 4:10 pm


After second radiation April 9 4:10 pm


April 10: Slept twelve hours, woke with tight throat, sore armpit, sore breast. 3 out of 10. Radiation at 8:00. Went to the store and then yoga. Went to an intense one hour class, ate lunch, came back slept for an hour before treatment number two. Tight throat. When the beam is on the right side of my breast on one of the treatments, I swear I can feel it's heat. My ribs below my right breast on the side and just below are sore as is my armpit, tight throat esp on right side. Beginning to feel tightness high in chest on both sides. Second treatment at 3;45 pm, came back and rested, took a bath, watched the baseball game, in bed by 7. No valium.


Before Radiation #3 April 10 8 am


Before radiation #3 April 10 8 am



After Radiation #3 April 10 8:20 am



After radiation #3 (close) April 10 8:20 am



Before Radiation #4 April 10 3:45 pm


Before Radiation #4 (close) April 10, 3:45pm


After Radiation #4 April 10 4:10 pm


After radiation #4 (close) April 10 4:10pm

April 11: It seems to be pretty consistent, it's sore and I'm tired and my throat and chest bother me but it's not swollen and I don't have achy skin or fever or fluid or bad swelling, so I stopped posting, not realizing it was indeed getting slowly worse. Good energy in the morning, in bed by 5. Laura came by and saved me, I felt pretty good tonight, asleep by 9 again. No valium. 

Before Radiation #5 April 11 8:15 am

Before Radiation #5 April 11 8:15 am


After Radiation #5 April 11 8:30 am

After Radiation #5 April 11 8:30 am


Before Radiation #6 April 11 3:45 pm

Before Radiation #6 April 11 3:45 pm


After Radiation #6 April 11 4:10pm

After Radiation #6 April 11 4:10 pm


April 12: Tough day. Woke up feeling good in throat but chest sore sore. Radiation, then yoga, strong class, happy, breakfast, nap. Still feeling pretty good until second radiation, after second one today I was immediately sore, throb-by breast, super tired, super nauseous for the first time. Achy skin, no fever. Came back and laid down. Nausea was bad. Stacey came by to visit, short visit. No Valium.

Before Radiation #7 April 12 8:15 am

Before Radiation #7 April 12 8:15 am


After Radiation #7 April 12 8:35 am


After Radiation #7 April 12 3:35 am

Note: Breast is sore ad swollen, throat and chest getting more present and painful. Met with Dr. H. and got a referral to an ENT doctor because throat and chest really bothering me and breast v. tender. 



Before Radiation #8 April 12, 3:45 pm

Before Radiation #8 April 12, 3:45 pm

After Radiation #8 April 12, 4:10 pm

After Radiation #8 April 12 4:10 pm

Note: walking back to room after treatment, breast is throbbing and swollen, hot, skin is achy, I'm super nauseous, throat and chest are tight and chest is burning. Massive fatigue for rest of the day. No valium. Asleep by 9pm.

April 13: Last day of treatment. Woke up with super tight throat, sore chest, super sore breast, inside, all around the bottom and outside. Swollen and angry. Two treatments to go.

Before Radiation #9 April 13 8:15 am

Before Radiation #9 April 13 8:15 am


After Radiation #9 April 13 8:35 am

After Radiation #9 April 13 8:35 am

Note: at this moment, 10:30 am April 13, I am still nauseous, throbbing breast, swollen, hot, armpit hurts, throat tight, chest tight and burning. 

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