Treatment Roundup: July

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.

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.

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

 

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.

July 10 – 16.30

 


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

Effects I’m still having.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

July 30 – 7 weeks post chemo, Rad 14


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)

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