So Taxol… you’re not as bad as AC, but I can think of other things I’d rather be doing with my Tuesdays! Having said this, I’m now at the halfway point of the Taxol infusions. Six more to go! Woooo!
I got the results of my September MRI – and Timor had shrunk by 30%. While the Oncologist is very happy with this and I’m trending in the right direction, AND there’s still no spread, I was disappointed because I thought it would be smaller. It’s also really scary that I can barely feel it, but it’s still 21 x 18 x 21 mm (almost an inch around). Ladies, get your boobies checked. Seriously.
I was googling something from my MRI results and came across the forums at Breastcancer.org and signed up. I went down the rabbit hole for a week getting forum posts from women having Taxol weekly, and another forum from women with Triple Negative breast cancer. I unsubscribed from the posts because they were giving me 3rd party anxiety. TN breast cancer isn’t a great one to get and these ladies are REALLY stressed over symptoms, for example, almost every post is like this: “I get headaches – I can’t help thinking, did cancer spread to my brain?”
For the record, I get headaches every Saturday that last until Monday and I never think that it’s cancer spreading! I feel for these ladies and I’m sad that they are traumatized, but I’m out. The posts make me think of things I don’t need to dwell on right now.
So how am I feeling? It’s funny that the side effects have a schedule – Tuesday after chemo I sleep for a few hours, then up all night, Wednesday I feel hungover (Benadryl), queasy (this never goes away), and speedy (steroids). Thursday the joint and bone pains kick it up a notch higher each week. Thursday through Saturday I also get intermittent pronounced aches right in the Timor – I picture this as a chemo jackhammer chipping away at it.
I perk up a bit energy-wise on Friday and Saturday, and then the headaches start up Saturday night and take me right into ‘Sore Throat Monday’. So basically I feel like I have a low grade flu all the time. I just wish I slept more!
I’ve have more frequent episodes of arrhythmia (it’s aggravated by the PICC line and drinking cold drinks but I get them under control fairly quickly. The oncologist doesn’t seem particularly worried about this so I won’t either. I’ve dealt with these episodes before my heart surgery so I know when it’s time to go to ER, and that hasn’t happened yet! Fingers crossed they go away once the PICC is out and that the AC chemo didn’t cause any permanent heart damage!
My left eye is running constantly (annoying) and especially when I have one of my 50-a-day hot flashes (chemopause!). My energy is down, I get winded walking up stairs and inclines. I am following my oncologist’s orders to be as active as possible so I make sure I walk every day and this really does help reduce the aches, especially in the knees (note that Claritin helps reduce the bone pain as well). These side effects are from the Taxol and are expected. This also means that midday naps are becoming more frequent especially if I get too ambitious the day before. And also because I don’t sleep!
I was thinking that neuropathy might be settling in my fingers so I started B Complex and ALA supplements. I never feel any tingling (first sign apparently), it’s more of the sensation of your hands going numb when you’ve fallen asleep with your arms over your head (I’ve done this more times than I’d like). But they aren’t numb. But they kind of are numb. Maybe I’m just holding the iPad too long. The fantastic chemo Nurse says she doesn’t know what it is but it’s not neuropathy, so that’s good news!
I’ve put back on some of the 1o lbs. lost (and more) from the AC treatments. I think it’s mostly in my face (steroids!). This is ok though since the Cancer Centre gets really worried when weight drops. I’m not stressing over it – I have no appetite but eating keeps the nausea at bay. I’ll deal with the weight later.
I’ve developed an allergy to my PICC line dressing. It’s itchy as hell and revolting looking. I would take a picture but I’m not supposed to even breathe near it when the dressing is off, but this is pretty much what it looks like under there:
Guess you’re not having pizza tonight!
They switched me to an iodine solution last week and a different dressing type which has helped a bit, but it’s still weepy under the 2 inch butterfly (statlock) holding the PICC line in place so I now need to go in twice a week for a dressing change. At least it’s not oozing through the dressing like it did two weeks ago which required the dressing to be changed 5 times throughout the week. I have better things to do with my time than go in for dressing changes…
…like watch all the The Disney Movies That Were Big the Year You Were Born, starting from my year, 1967. Bette Davis, I’m sad you resorted to Return from Witch Mountain for a paycheque. Freaky Friday (original) is still great though. But the 80’s movies were awful! Super excited for tomorrow’s movie (1989’s The Little Mermaid) because the movies get better again from hereon in!
Because I’m focusing on the positive and trying to keep all stresses (good and bad) to a minimum, I’ve opted to skip my beloved “31 days of scary movies” this year (though in a moment of weakness I watched IT (loved it!)). Someone recently suggested I watch all the Simpsons Treehouse of Horrors episodes — whoever you are thank you! Brilliant idea, I’m loving it!
Forgot to mention that chemo brain has started, so seriously, whoever suggested the Simpsons let me know who you are, I’ll buy you a coffee!
I’ve been binge watching TV shows that I’ve never seen before and are easy on the brain:
In January I decided to take part in both challenges from the Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge and of course fell horribly behind because I was too busy to read, so now’s my chance to catch up. I set a goal to read one book per week after I started to come out from the AC chemo side effects. I’ve somehow surpassed that (helloooo steroids!) and I’ve read:
I’m part way through the Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen 83 1/4 Years Old. Dragonwyck made me angry and is nowhere near Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca. The Sea of Tranquility was about 300 pages too long. I liked the rest of the books though. Full disclosure: I had to look up the descriptions for some of them because I’ve already forgotten what they were about.
Or maybe those books weren’t that great after all!
I’m keeping busy at home, but I do get lonely and bored (extrovert!) so as often as I can I meet up with friends for coffee, a walk, or shopping at Chapters and Costco (thanks for carrying all the heavy things, Rebecca!). I even ventured into the office one day to see the gang I miss so much. There were balloons (I asked for them as a joke!!).
That’s my desk behind me in this pic, which by now probably has a stranger in it. That makes me sad. This whole cancer thing STILL doesn’t feel real. Must be the drugs they give you. Not a bad thing I suppose because time is flying by. Giddyup!