The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: A kicking-cancer’s-ass and everything else under the sun update

by | Adventure, Cancer, Daily Life, Family, Living Well

I guess it’s time for another update on the whole kicking-cancer’s-ass and getting-on-with-my-life situation.

Let me e’splain.
No, there’s too much. Let me sum up.

The Ugly

I finished up the radiation treatments and my skin is feeling much better, although it still looks dirty and scaly in a big square-shaped patch across my chest and collarbone. It’s not too much of a problem, although I look like I missed a spot while bathing if I wear a v-neck, or anything with a lower than crew-neck collar.  That’s all fine though, and it will fade with time.

I just have a handful of Herceptin treatments left, and I’m done with scheduled treatment altogether!  And my hair has grown back enough for me to have bad hair days frequently! Anna, I’ll be giving you a call soon so you can whip my poor confused locks into shape.

My lymphedema is not really under control, so I’m going to have to get (even more) serious about dealing with that, and find some time (and $) for more physical therapy treatments.  The swelling isn’t too bad at the moment, but the pain is getting worse, and it makes my right arm essentially useless, even for little things like writing more than a couple sentences by hand. One of the best things I can do for my arm is not lift heavy things, but more on that later.  I’ll also need more lymphedema sleeves and gloves (very pricey) as mine are getting stretched out and not snapping back into shape anymore.

The Bad

The side effect that is having the biggest impact on my life right now is fatigue. It just seems like it should have lifted a bit by now, but it keeps getting worse. Part of the problem: I went back to school full time in January, and that may have been a bit too soon. I was determined, and I decided that cancer had sidelined my life long enough. So back I went. Full time. Why? Because I hadn’t been challenged enough lately? That semester kicked my ass, and by the time it was over, I felt like I just wanted to sleep for a month. (I did manage to pass all my classes, but I have never in my life been so happy to get a C.)

But no rest for me.

Aaron graduates with his Master’s Degree at the end of this quarter (that part isn’t bad, in fact it’s awesome!!), which means we need to be out of the school provided apartment, and get one of our own. So house hunting commences. And packing. And job hunting. And how do you get an apartment when you don’t have a job yet?


Mom is moving back to Alaska to live with my brother, and somebody has to pack up her apartment (hi). She wants to be completely out of her apartment by next week, then she will live with us a couple weeks until we hit the road to drive to Alaska.

The Good

Did you catch that “WE hit the road” part?  Yeah, Gem and I are driving up to Alaska with mom!  So Aaron can finish classes (teaching AND as a student), hunt for an apartment if we haven’t found one yet, hunt for a job, and finish packing up the house while the baby and I are on vacation. Then we’ll move into the new place as soon as we get back, just a few days before our vacate deadline for this apartment.

I’m really excited about this trip, and I have so many old friends in Alaska that I dearly miss and can’t wait to see again. Most of them haven’t even met my daughter yet.  Brace yourself for this blog becoming a bit of a travelogue in the near future. I’ve been known to take a few pictures while on vacation.

and the best medicine any girl could ask for:

The Lovely

Judy Schwartz Haley


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