Not so Serious Side Effect – Too Much Reality (Television)

I have covered quite a few of the really serious side effects that I experienced. Now comes one that is a little harder to admit to having experienced. The funny thing is, I know I am not the only one who has had a similar issue! I won’t out that person, but I will tell you about me. I will admit, that prior to being diagnosed, I would dabble in a little Kardashian viewing, and That Guy and I were pretty into Big Brother during the summer as a standing tv date. That was my end of reality television though. I did not understand any of the Real Housewives shows, and would out and out tease a friend who watched them and talked to me like I had any idea what in the hell she was talking about. I will admit to watching a marathon of Bethany’s married or having a baby show or something once when I had a stomach virus. I never got into American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, or The Bachelor(ette) series. I was the girl who volunteered to go save seats at the bar during the Survivor finale in college. So very much not my thing is what I am getting at here.

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Still Aching

So while I don’t publish posts “live” very often, for a bunch of reasons, I do try to keep the follow up and information on the same timeline as real life. Just maybe a few days later. Somedays I write them as it is happening and then let it sit. Then I come back and check it out and have That Guy give it a once over. It’s just how it works for me. The day after I had my last lupron shot, I wrote a little about what was going on. And it was published a couple days later. The fun did not end there.

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Achey Breaky Shots

Long story short, late last winter as things wound down, the question of long term treatment options really started to get going. My medical oncologist really wasn’t strongly opinionated on one option over the others, and I went for a “second opinion” even after he consulted with his team and another treatment facility. The decision was to, in part, start Lupron shots monthly for the five years per the protocol in the study and arm of that study that I fall into. That was late spring. Honestly, it was one of the “easier” options for me to go through. I show up and get a shot once a month and take a pill daily. No surgery. Study shows good long term outcomes.

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Finishing up Chemo

As we headed into the holidays, my stomach was going crazy and things were just not smooth. These weekly chemo treatments were a bit annoying to be honest. I did much better mentally with the every three week regiment. Finding friends to go along was getting a little more difficult as well. Luckily, I had someone each time. My mind was racing pretty much all the time. Here I was, nearing the end of chemo, and I really didn’t know if it was working. I wanted to know, but was terrified to find out when I had my surgery.

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Then Everything Went to Crap

(I just couldn’t resist some potty humor. I apologize!)

When I last posted about my experience going through treatment for breast cancer, I hinted that my stomach was starting to be an issue. As I said, we were going into a lot of celebratory events and I was pretty much in a pattern of knowing when I needed to be, shall we say, close to home.

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Lesson Learned… Again

My long term treatment plan has been up in the air. There are constantly new studies released and every nuance makes a difference for what determines each person’s set plan. Literally for the last five months the plan that they said was the absolute best a year ago, was now up in the air and open for interpretation and discussion, oh so much discussion!

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Do Your Job

As anyone who has dealt with their own or a loved ones medical emergency can attest to, sometimes you feel like your job is to make sure other people do their job. There were days I seriously just wanted to scream DO YOUR JOB so I didn’t have to. I have said that I was provided a nurse navigator through my health network system. There were times I could not imagine navigating this process without her. Once the process kept going, she was sort of a last resort to get done what I needed to when I was not able to get things moving. If you don’t have a navigator, as most people do not even though they are becoming more prominent in this sort of setting, it all falls on you and can be even more frustrating. This is where having a notebook, a planner, and a support system buddy at your appointments can really be helpful. You will need to be your own advocate and push people to get done what you need to in whatever time frame is necessary in your situation.

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Slightly Less Than Smooth Sailing

About half way through the Taxol, Perjeta, and Herceptin routine, things started to go slightly less than smoothly. I had some issues with my stomach, a rash, and I was getting more tired each time. Unlike the first set of drugs, these were hitting me each and every week with no time to bounce back. Good for getting the job done I suppose, but not so good for rest and relaxation. And to top it off, we were heading into the holidays. Overall, though, not too bad compared to what I hear from other patients’ experiences.

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I’m Wigged Out

In the last month, through a series of events and slightly warmer weather, I have been leaving the house wig and hat free, much more often. I have gone to medical appointments without anything, which I think I mentioned. Since the SVC Syndrome “incident” I started going to appointments without, since some people theorized that my make-up and wig actually prohibited the doctors from seeing my changing coloring, puffiness, etc. And really, sometimes it is just much more comfortable to not have a wig and hair in my face. I can’t do a ponytail so going bare headed or a warm fuzzy cap in the winter was my next best option.

Now that my hair is coming back I am trying to figure out when I’m comfortable enough that this wig stuff can go. I’m also having all sorts of dreams about my hair. One night I had a dream it literally grew back overnight. That was a disappointing wake up call! Another night, I had a dream this short stuff was falling out again. I am happy to say I have given it a little tug and fortunately it was just a dream. So I guess now that a lot of the “big” stuff is settling down, my brain is having time to worry about the more superficial aspects of what my body has been through as a result of having breast cancer.

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Sidestepping Side Effects – Notes Post Surgery

So a lot of this is kind of unnecessary information, but if you are going to go through the same thing, it is worth sharing with you! My surgery was a lumpectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsy. The surgeon only had to remove one lymph node.

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