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    Getting all my medical expenses together. I had to order a lot of statement summaries from the doctors and hospitals because I had no idea this would be such a massive ride off on my taxes. Also concentrating on getting help from the American Cancer Society for a pre-paid gas card for travel expenses for my radiation. That is going to be such a HUGE help.

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    Decision Point: Should I go back to school now or wait until I'm done with radiation? My mind is feeling better and stronger every day.

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    Radiation (Mostly external but some internal): As I have not gone through the actual treatments yet I do not know what my scales are going to be with pain, side effects and my daily life being effected. The doctor has required that I lose weight before starting treatment so I'm definitely back at the gym. I've been doing good so far but seeing as I have always been a big woman this is going to be a challenge. If I wasn't so close to the required weight they would be finding other options for me but I'm so close that they are trying to work with me as long as I can take some of this weight off.

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    Celebration (Finished treatment): I finished my chemo on December 27th. I was going into the new year chemo free. It felt great. Now I could start recovering and go back to the gym after I spoke with the radiologist to see if that would be safe. I had stopped going when I had the port put in because I didn't want it to move a lot. Three and a half months and finally, no more pain from massive discomfort. It was a baby step but felt like a GIANT step for me.

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    Loss (My mind/Sense of Humor): I never lost my sense because that was the only thing helping me hold on to sanity. I started getting chemo brain. Yes, this is a very real thing. My mother had started to notice and was very worried about me coming back from it. I had temporarily dropped out of college because I couldn't think anymore. I was suffering from short term memory loss. I was saying and doing things I wouldn't normally have done or said. I tried not to drive a whole lot due to my mental instabilities. It felt like I had very little control over myself and my actions.

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    Loss (Lost loved one): During my third treatment I lost a friend that was like family to me. Her whole family is like a second family to me. The worst part of it though was we lost her due to cancer. She had stomach cancer two years ago and had her entire stomach removed. It was doing fine but then it came back and hit her hard. She had lost a lot of weight was down to 70 lbs. She was a small woman to begin with so when the doctors told her that she had to gain weight in order to treat her I didn't know how someone with no stomach was going to gain weight. These were top doctors at Stanford University. These were the best doctors in the field. There was nothing that could be done until she gained weight but they did what they could to keep the pain down. They sent her home when her pain had subsided and made sure she had all medications that she would need. Months later, she died leaving two children and a distraught family. She was a rock for a lot of people in her life and it hit hard. I held a good face for the family but it was hitting me harder than I let on. The reality hit me like raging bull.... That could be me in that coffin.