July 1 – Chemo 16.21
We went to Monterey for two nights to give me a change of scene before radiation starts. Did a lot of walking yesterday (over 10k steps), which left me tired and sore.
Foggy morning https://t.co/p8nE8R5U3i
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 1, 2015
Of course my phone, which rarely rings, decided to ring a lot while we were there. Call from Prudential at 7:40am to find out whether I intend to start work again next week. Then other calls and emails about that, turns out I need a release note that I’m ok to work, even though that was the date we’d all agreed on. If someone had told me this earlier… Dr L wanted to see me before he would sign a note, did that this afternoon. Red cell counts back to normal, not sure what he said about white cells. BP 135/93 – high, for me. Neuropathy seems stable, possibly even improved, so Dr L said he doesn’t think it will get any worse from here. Dr L was surprised I wanted to go back to work so soon, said the earliest he’s ever seen is 6 weeks post-chemo, most people take 3 months. “Your employer must love you!” As I told him, depression is increasingly a problem, and I think it will be better for me mentally to have something besides cancer to think about. It’s likely that I’ll keep feeling better (slowly) until whatever side effects from radiation hit. But it’s probably going to be another two weeks before I even start radiation, and then I should have at least 2-3 weeks of manageable side effects.
Yet another round of antibiotics for the sinus infection that just won’t quit. Preparing mentally to start work again Monday. Today: spa! — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 3, 2015
Starting back to work tomorrow, and I’m happy about that. Though I may not be quite so happy when the alarm goes off in the morning…
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 6, 2015
Jul 6 – 16.25
Started work again today, was fairly productive for maybe half a day, then got very tired. Slept badly last night, which isn’t helping. Feet tingling a lot, sometimes have jabbing pains eg in sole of foot. Twice have had pain in my right 3rd and 4th toes. Is this neuropathy healing?
July 7 – 16.27
Lingering side effect of chemo? = many things I can’t stand touching my skin, including some fabrics. Ugh. Clothing was already difficult. — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 8, 2015
Slept better last night – ambien at night, only one cup of espresso during the day, and no alcohol. Still had hot flashes, but…
July 8 – 16.28
Went to a meditation class today, think it will be useful.
But tonight I’m so tired and so sad. Seems to me I have reason to be. We’re killing the planet. So many beautiful things will be gone. I’d be ok with the human race being done, but everything else doesn’t deserve to die.
Back in the office today, though I may not do this again for a while. Hardest thing is regulating body temp – internal systems still whacked
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 9, 2015
July 10 – 16.30
Radiation tech rehearsal today was long. Monday they start beaming me for real. 33 sessions. Every weekday for over six weeks. — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 11, 2015
Radiation dress rehearsal today – also tiring. Another 40 mins or so of having my body position adjusted with my arm in the cuffs (that hold it in position over my head, to keep it out of the way of the beam to my breast).
July 11 – 16.31 / One Month Post-Chemo
Went to a park, ate a lot of good Indian food for lunch, came home and napped off and on for hours. Perfect Saturday.
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 12, 2015
July 13 – 16.33, Rad 1
Leaving home to home again took just about exactly one hour, and today’s radiation probably took a little longer because they also did x-rays. Now I can feel the surgery site inside my breast, the same vague pain I’ve had off and on for months. Especially if I go braless. No idea whether that is related to the radiation. And I feel tired and depressed.
July 14 – 16.34, Rad 2
The Keflex (antibiotic) is finally getting to my stomach, and I get tired very easily. Also not sure it’s working – there’s still yellow stuff in my sinus, more on the left. Still feel uncomfortable in my skin – greasy and sweaty even when I’m not. And I do get hot and sweaty easily.
One Month Post-Chemo http://t.co/ith64OTnAi
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 12, 2015
First radiation done, only 5-10 minutes actually on the table. But going there and back every day x 33 treatments… that’ll get old. Fast. — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 13, 2015
Tired as I still am post-chemo, I’m glad I started work again (from home) – I’m much more mentally healthy when I’m busy and feel useful.
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 14, 2015
I never cared much about the standard fears women supposedly have about looks, age, or weight. Now… I truly DGAF. Staying alive is plenty. — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 14, 2015
Hot flashes feel horrible in a way I can’t yet explain. It’s worse and much more annoying than just feeling suddenly hot.
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 15, 2015
My hair is suddenly long enough to look like a darker but still indeterminate color. At least some of it. This is all very weird. — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 15, 2015
What I’m going through is hard, but I don’t have to spend long in an oncology waiting room to realize that many have it a lot harder.
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 16, 2015
July 17 – 16.37, Rad 5
Uh… not sure I should be watching this Tig Notaro doc. “If it comes back outside the breast, it’s considered not curable.” Yeah. That.
Jul 18 – 16.38 – Saturday
Can definitely feel that something has been done to my breast. Not painful yet, but… making itself felt.
Full menopause likely means I will no longer look younger than my age (52) – skin drying, fine wrinkles setting in. Sigh. Let it go… — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 18, 2015
I #standwithPP because everyone should have a chance to catch and treat breast cancer early.
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 18, 2015
Sinus infection stubbornly hanging on after 34 days antibiotics. Time for more drastic & unpleasant measures. Dear body: can I get a break? — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 19, 2015
At Nordstrom’s, hoping to find a bra I’ll be able to wear when the radiation really starts to bite. (Yes, I feel it a bit already.)
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 19, 2015
The thing I wanted not to happen, has happened: ripped a fingernail halfway back from its bed. Yes, that was excruciating. Damn chemo. — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 19, 2015
Jul 19 – 16.39 – Sunday
Some pain deep in my right breast, but a similar pain in the left. Maybe this is what hormonal tenderness feels like now?
Updated my post-chemo post with info about “acquired thermal discomfort” – more complicated than just hot flashes http://t.co/ith64OTnAi
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 20, 2015
Staying at SF home of a dear kind friend so I don’t have to get up before dawn to see sinus doctor tomorrow. — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 21, 2015
…just hope tomorrow’s sinus visit won’t involve needles through bone. Been there, it’s horrible: http://t.co/0XfuUIhTud
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 21, 2015
Getting my nose numbed up to be flushed but – no needles! (Yay!) — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 21, 2015
July 22 – 16.42, Rad 8
Radiation is not noticeably affecting me much as yet, aside from an occasional twinge at the wound site. Dr Patel told me there’s inflammation happening in there.
Fatigue is bad, partly because of the ongoing sinus infection. Stayed in SF Monday night, slept at Jeffrey’s so that I could see Dr J Tuesday morning. He flushed both sinuses, is culturing the two sides separately, because I had observed in the last 2 or 3 rounds of antibiotics that the two maxillary sinuses were responding differently. Should have results tomorrow or the next day. Intravenous antibiotics are a possibility we never considered before, because that would have required a hospital stay, but now they could be injected via the port. Dr J may opt for that depending what’s in there. I’d just like to avoid surgery.
I’m also tired because I’m not sleeping well, due to my body temperature being all over the place – not just hot flashes, but also (alternately, or even at the same time) chills.
July 23 – 6 weeks post chemo, Rad 9
Tonight my boob feels swollen on the inside.
New brows and lashes growing. Short and fine, you can only see them close up – but they’re growing! Yay!
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 23, 2015
Today had radiation #9, tonight it’s beginning to sting a bit, from the inside. I guess I know why they ask about pain levels every week.
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 24, 2015
Lost that half fingernail, but the bare nailbed turns out to be not painful after all. No idea whether that is normal. — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 24, 2015
I’m not usually a TGIF kinda person, but it’s nice to have weekend breaks from radiation (and commuting to it).
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 24, 2015
July 25 – 6 weeks post chemo, Rad 10 Saturday
Reading up on the forums, it appears that eyebrows and lashes can keep coming and going on 3-month cycles for a while – chemo resets them all to the same stage so they all fall out at once. Great. On the plus side, Lumigan is probably helping my lashes grow in faster and thicker, and Tamoxifen causes some women to grow thick brows. So far my pubic hair is still mostly light and sparse, though the hairs are more firmly rooted than during chemo. Leg hair is beginning to feel more like sharp stubble, may need to start shaving again.
Worst thing about hot flashes is they often occur just as I’m falling asleep. Argh. Sleep is hard enough without that. And I’m tired. — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 27, 2015
That was news I didn’t need: pseudomonas in my sinuses again. Damn. Damn. Damn.
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 27, 2015
Pseudomonas is an anaerobic bacterium that only responds to one family of antibiotics (ciprofloxacin and levoquin), which I know from experience to be very hard on me. And not always effective. In 2010, after many rounds of cipro, I ended up having sinus surgery. Having pseudomonas again is very bad news.
July 29 – 6 weeks post chemo, Rad 13
As of today, lots of broken capillaries visible in my right breast, and a general pinkness. A bit of burning pain deep at the surgery site. Dr P said I could use ice packs on it.
Radiation 13/33, effects beginning to be visible – feeling a bit sunburned, inside & out. Also tired, but that could be the sinus infection. — Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 30, 2015
July 30 – 7 weeks post chemo, Rad 14
I’d probably be feeling ok right now, but for the sinus infection and the medication I’m taking for it. As it is, I’m feeling sick and dizzy
— Deirdré Straughan (@DeirdreS) July 31, 2015
I’ve been on cipro since Monday – pseudomonas, two strains in each sinus! Can’t tell whether it’s the radiation, the infection, the drug, or all three that is making me tired. But I am definitely tired. Ability to actually sleep comes and goes.
Feeling sick with the cipro – cramps, nausea, dizziness. Better not drive tomorrow.
my breast cancer story (thus far)