DONE with Radiation! Phase III Complete!!

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Gosh, it’s been FOREVER since my last post!!  That’s kind of good I guess, since there hasn’t been many cancer updates to announce.  My daily radiation treatments are officially DONE after tomorrow!  They weren’t bad at all.  I never had any side effects the whole time, except my skin got really irritated and itchy the past few days.  I think I was allergic to the Aquafor gel they gave me to use.  I never got tired, even though they said I would, so that was good too.  The worst part of radiation was just that it was EVERY day for the past 6 1/2 weeks, minus the weekends.  It was a pain having to get dressed in the morning, drive to my appt, get undressed, have the radiation, get dressed again, drive 45 minutes to work, work, drive 45 minutes home, then repeat in 12 hours.  But it’s over now.  Tomorrow marks the  end of what I call phase III.  Phase I was the chemo (April 1 – July 15), phase II was surgery (August 10) and phase III was radiation (September 21 – November 4).  Now all I have left is continuing with my every-three-week Herceptin IV hormone treatments (April 2009 – April 2010), and I start on Tomaxifen soon, which are estrogen blocker pills that I’ll take for 5 years.  There are no significantly noticeable side effects for Herceptin or Tomaxifen so that hard parts are over. 

Now for an update on our adoption.  Well, first, as a reminder, the Tomaxifen pills that I’ll be taking cause birth defects (since estrogen is an important pregnancy hormone) and it’s not in my best interest to get pregnant anyway since my tumors had estrogen receptors in them (i.e., estrogen makes the cancer grow/spread), so the first time Dan and I would be able to get pregnant is after 5 years, when I’ll be off Tomaxifen.  We have therefore decided to adopt, especially since we had so many years of fertility issues in the past, and even after 5 years, we may not be able to get pregnant anyway.  Although, some more good news to share on that subject is that I had an annual exam with my gynecologist and my fertility appears normal!  I am not menopausal (no more hot flashes either!), which is great!

Well, before I get into the adoption stuff, let me tell you about my latest chemo eve present to myself!  Well I guess this one isn’t a chemo eve gift, but moreso a radiation completion gift.  I got another new car!  Yes, I know, another one?  My last one I got as chemo eve gift #5 I think and it was a two seater Lexus convertible.  It was fun for the summer and gave me something to be excited about for that time.  Our adoption stuff is going much faster than we thought though, so we need to make more room for a car seat.  So last night I got a new (well new for me, it’s a 2006) Acura RL, much more pratcical for a family.  🙂  Our adoption is still underway. 

Ok, now for the adoption stuff……..Our home study is formally approved and we’re signed up with an adoption consultant.  Normally, with an adoption, you sign up with an “agency” and wait to get matched with a birthmother from that agency.  Agency costs are usualy between $25K – $40K.  We decided to pay a little extra for a consultant ($2,500) but it’s definitely worth it because the consulting firm we chose has working relationships with like 30 agencies, networking our profile to all of those agencies’ birhtmothers, usually resulting in faster matching/placement.  Then once you have a match, you sign up with that agency.  The good thing is that the process usually goes faster and you don’t sign up with an agency (and pay) until you’re already matched with a birthmother.  We’re meeting with our adoption consultant for the first time tonight to go through our working relationship, some adoption stuff, etc.  We’ve already been in contact several times by phone and email and have already seen 5 birthmother profiles, which are very interesting!  We get to see much more information than we thought.  They are often fascinating stories.  The process goes like this………

  • Our consultant knows what we’re looking for (domestic newborn/infant, boy or girl). 
  • As birthmothers become available through the 30 some agencies they network with, they are entered into a database that our adoption consultant reviews on a daily basis. 
  • Our consultant tells us about the birthmothers matching our criteria (the birthmothers also have their own criteria, e.g., race, married, age, etc.) and asks if we want to see their profile. 
  • We review the birthmother profiles and decide whether we want to pursue the “available situation”.  The birthmother profiles include information on the birthmother (age, weight, height, health, hair/eye color, etc.), information on the birthmother’s adoption story (why she’s adopting, history with adoption, etc.), her relationship with the birthfather (if any), whether she has health insurance (could significantly impact the cost), which agency she’s with, when her delivery date is, the estimated total costs (usually between $25k-$35K), etc.
  • Our consultant sends our adoption profile book to the birthmother’s agency/lawyer/etc.  I prepared our adoption profile book using Shutterfly and made it read like a hard bound story book.  Our consultant says our book is great and will really stand out, as most are done in Word or PDF and printed and placed inside those plastic business porfolio inserts.  Or they are manually prepared scrapbooks. 
  • The birthmother reviews the profiles books.  She usually gets between 3 and 10.  She decides who she wants to be her baby’s parents.
  • A match is made!  We sign up with whatever agency the birthmother is with, pay the fees and wait for the delivery date!

We got signed up with the consultant last Monday and our adoption profile book is already making its way to a birthmother today!  Keep your fingers crossed!  It could happen very fast!! 

Well, that’s about it I think for an update for now!  🙂  ~ Danielle

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4 Responses to “DONE with Radiation! Phase III Complete!!”

  1. Becky Says:

    Wow! You amaze me! I’m so happy for you! Congrats on having your last round of radiation, your new car and the exciting adoption update!!

  2. Norine Says:

    OMG…I am so thrilled for you, Dan and your parents. I feel a little like I’m going to be a grandma agian! LOL Congrats on the new car! Believe me, you have a special spot in my heart, and Pieter and I think and talk of you so often. Love, Norine

  3. steffen5 Says:

    Hi! So excited for you with the adoption news! YAY! Cant wait to meet her or him! I am proud of your postive attitude and think about you a lot!
    Love ya,
    Ang

  4. Gourija Says:

    Hey

    Our stories sound so similar, I am 31 and was ttc when the whole lump thing happened. was diagnosed with HER2+ cancer last week….still going through the emotional roller coaster ride ..when low, I surf the net for positive survivor stories which always cheers me…:)..and your story has put the smile back on my face…:)..Keep writing ………and Good Luck with the adoption..I am so sure you would make such a wonderful mom!!!


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