Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Maintenance

I'm finished my radiation and I'm glad to have it complete.  It really wasn't all that bad.  I did get one burn on my collarbone that didn't seem to want to heal, but now after a month, it is finally pretty well gone.  Just itchy now.  The areas that were treated with radiation are also getting back to normal.  The skin is very dry and itchy but I guess it could get worse.

I started hormone replacement therapy (HRT) 2 weeks ago.  It's not really hormone replacement, rather it's hormone blocking.  The medication blocks the estrogen production so you can go through menopause if you have not already done so, or you can go through it again if you've already gone through it.  Isn't that special?   In my particular case, my cancer was HER2N which is an aggressive cancer which is fed by my estrogen.  So it's very important to block any estrogen so that it can't feed any remaining cancer cells, which I reaaaally hope there are not!! );

Anyway I'm on easy street right now as the worst part is over.  I will be getting shots every 6 months because the HRT can cause osteoporosis and the shot will reduce the risk of that and recurrance of the cancer so it's all good.

My daughter and I are planning a trip to Palm Springs in September. Looking forward to Palm Springs was one of the things that got me through the last several months so I can hardly wait to get down there and enjoy the sun and the pool.

Life is good!!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The end is in sight !

I'm finally finished chemo....WooHoo!!  I've started on my maintenance which will continue for about a year.  Maintenance is a piece of cake.  I had my first one yesterday and I was in and out in 45 minutes.  Big difference from being there for 6 hours!  And no side effects!

I start radiation next Tuesday ( April 26th) and I have 16 treatments Monday to Friday, no weekends or holidays.  I'm looking forward to starting that, though I will probably not be quite so enthusiastic about the radiation once my skin starts to become tender.  My last radiation treatment, barring any complications or setbacks, will be May 17th,  Once that's completed then I will need to meet with my oncologist to discuss hormone replacement therapy.  I'm not really sure how I feel about that however I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I'm so looking forward to my life coming back to some semblance of normal.  I'm also counting the days (sort of :) until I can get away to Palm Springs in the fall.  I sooooo need that!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New drugs

The last time I posted I mentioned that my oncologist had put me on some new meds - Lyrica - for the nerve pain.  I'm very pleased to advise that they worked.  No nerve pain to speak of which made it so much easier to handle the other side effects, predominately flu like symptoms.

I found that taking OTC muscle relaxers along with a couple of Tylenol Extra strength worked well to manage the muscle and joint pain.  I ended up doing a lot of sleeping which -  not a bad thing - and was able to function quite well all things considered.

Only one more full chemo treatment left - March 29th? - and then I start to get my life back.  I go on maintenance with Herceptin for several months and begin radiation at the end of April.  I can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

WooHooo!

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Cycle 7

I had my cycle 7 treatment today (Tuesday) and all went well,  no surprises there.  I was at the hospital by 9:45 am, and I saw my oncologist.  We discussed my pain and, thankfully, he gave me some meds with one refill.  I'm to take this perscription for 5 days starting on the day of my treatment.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works.

I was getting my chemo meds at 10:15 and finished up at 4:15 pm.  My daughter picked me up and we made a run to the pharmacy to get my persription filled..  As soon as I got home, I jumped into my PJs and got settled on the couch with the big screen and the fireplace to keep me warm.  It was a long day!

As of 4:05 am, Wednesday morning, I feel fine.  I didn't come up to bed until around 2 am and l lay there for an hour tossing and turning because I couldn't sleep which is why I'm sitting at my computer.  I've had this a problem a  couple of times on the night following my treatment so it appears that I also have the pleasure of having a new friend - insomnia.  I know of others who talk about having this same problem the night following their chemo so I guess I'm in good company.

In addition to my usual evening medication, which by the way, usually puts me to sleep immediately, I also just took 3 melatonin tablets.  I figured that they needed time to work, hence why I'm in my studio at this time of night.

It's annoying but a small price to pay for being cancer free -  fingers crossed!!!

Caio

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Catching up - Cycle 5 and 6

I haven't posted for awhile.  I don't know where the time goes.  However between running to appointments and blood tests and chemo, the time has just flown by.  I don't get much accomplished lately.

Cycle 5:

I started a set of new drugs on January 25th.  There are usually no nausea effects and I'm not required to take Neupogen or my anti-nausea drugs from cycle 5 on.  I'm taking new drugs for cycles 5 thru 8   Side effects range from joint and nerve pain, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, and of course my friend, fatigue.  Days 2 thru 5 became progressvely more painful;   I could feel my muscles and joints seizing up - they felt like they were turning to cement.  And then the nerve pain began and became progessively worse for 4 days.  The balls of my feet were very painful and I almost felt weak.  I walked like someone 100 years old.

Generally speaking I would say that I have a high tolerance for pain, however this was worse than anything I've ever experienced.  The nerve pain caused throbbing pain almost like what you'd have with a very bad toothache or a migraine.  I took Tylenol extra strength, T3's and 1200 mg of Ibupropen several times a day.  Very little relief from any of them!  It was brutal! I spent most of the time on the chesterfield trying to get comfortable.  I finally retreated to my bed for a day and a half. Not much fun.  I finally turned a corner late on day 4 and felt much better by bedtime on day 5. The remaining 2 weeks of the cycle were fine, other than fatigue which comes and goes throughout the days.

Cycle 6:

This cycle began on Feb 16th and was pretty much a repeat of cycle 5.  I tried to get ahead of the pain by taking Tylenol, T3's and/or Ibruprophen on day 2 before the pain started however that didn't seem to have much effect.  Again by the end of those few days I had retreated to my bed where I could get more comfortable.  The pain lasted a day longer this time and I didn't seem to bounce back quite as quickly in this round.  However once recovered from the side-effects, I felt good and was able to 
get out a do a few things.  






Tuesday, February 09, 2016

New cycle

I started my new cycle on January 25th.  I had been warned that I would have achy muscles and would feel like I had a bad flu.  Another comment was that I would feel like I had been beaten with a two by four.

OMG!  That was not an exaggeration.  I had  my treatments on Monday and Tuesday and by supper time on Wednesday I felt like my bones were congealing into cement.  By midnight I was very uncomfortable and by Thursday morning I could hardly move.  Walking was a major problem and it hurt to breath - OK so maybe I'm being a little bit dramatic!  Do ya' think?  Seriously though it was very painful.  It hurt no matter what I did.  Finally I resorted to T3's and they helped - a lot.  Thankfully by Friday mid-day the pain was easing and by Saturday morning I was beginning to feel like I "might" actually live to see Sunday.

Not much fun to say the least, however I only have 3 more treatments and then I'm on maintenance so I'll just need to suck it up and suffer through the next three.  I had no idea how painful it would be - not sure it that was a good thing or not - but now that I do know, I'm certainly not looking forward to the next one!

Wah, wah, wah....

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Milestone reached

I've completed 4 cycles on my first set of drugs and I'm starting a new regimen of drugs on Monday January 25th.  Two new drugs administered every 3 weeks for 3 months.  New drugs = new side effects.  I have mixed feelings about this new phase as I'm moving from what I know ie - how I react to known drugs - to the unknown which makes me a little apprehensive.

I've been very fortunate for the last 3 months as I was able to take medication that prevented nausea and most of the side effects. I've been able to do just about everything I would normally do with the only negative thing being the occasional lack of energy and the cumulative effect of fatigue.  All in all a pretty good 3 months.

On the other hand, I'm looking forward to starting on these new drugs - how weird is that? - because it means I've moved to a new phase in my treatment.  It's bringing me closer to ending all the poking and prodding that one endures when one goes through this.  I look at it as being one step closer to getting well.

While I may be a little apprehensive about this next regimen, I don't worry about it.  Worrying doesn't serve any purpose and it's all part of the process to getting healthy and resuming my life.  Just another little bump in the road.

And this to shall pass.

Caio.