All 4 entries tagged Breast Cancer

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September 18, 2006

chemo after–effects

I was being a bit optimistic when I wrote the last entry. After that it was all downhill. While I did not have the agony of the first time, my legs and arms ached as if I had a very bad dose of flu. By wednesday I could not do a thing. Everything was hard work, I did a lot of sleeping, which was probably a good thing to do. I could not eat much. I ended up with the good old comfort food of Heinz tomato soup, not something I would normally eat. I found it impossible to do the juicing I have to do every day. I know it is good for me to have the juice (raw carrots, beetroot, celery and watercress) but it was just too much to do. It was a measure of how bad I felt that I did not add anything to this blog which is the reason for the great gap.

The good thing is that by thursday afternoon I was starting to feel better, particularly after being able to meet a friend for coffee sitting in the sun. Still tired, came home and flopped on the sofa. Getting to play some really restful music which helps me relax. I enjoy listening to lieder and medieval music, makes me feel good. My energy was still down on friday. I had Qi therapy which works on helping the energy flow within the body. It is very relaxing, but I think my energy was so low I was not responding as well as usual. It took acupuncture on saturday to help the flow. I really feel a lot more energetic now. It is quite an amazing change.

Got to go to the cinema to see The Wind that Shakes the Barley. A film that everyone should see. It is not just about the narrow context of the Irish Civil War, but it demonstrates the wider issues of revolution, pragmatism and idealism. A brilliant experience. Even got to the gym on sunday, although that might have been taking things bit far. I have to be careful to conserve my energy and I may have overdone it.

But I am getting better all the time. I will be fine over the next couple of weeks, I am sure. Although the round of blood tests starts again.

September 11, 2006

Chemo Update

Friday was another long day, having my chemotherapy. We did not start until nearly 10.00am with all the pre-med stuff. Lots of anti nausea infusions and then Piriton to prevent adverse reactions to the Herceptin. My blood pressure went up rather high while this was going on. Not sure of the reasons, it did start to come down to a more acceptable level. The nurses wanted a doctor’s view, but he seemed to think everything was OK. However, it slowed the process down rather. Then it was 3 hours for the paclitaxel. I thought it would be a bit shorter, but I was wrong about it. Finally left the hospital about 6.15 in the evening. Quite tired after what was a long day. However, it all seemed to go well.

I have had no nausea. My legs are not hurting. The Gabapentin is doing the trick there. Just a bit tired, although that should wear off in the next couple of days. Starting to get the pins and needles feeling in my hands and feet. I can put up with that particularly as I have a good massage oil which contains lavender and St Johns Wort.

It is a bit of an effort to do things. I am reading a lot of light books, particularly detectives. I read Andrea Levy’s “Small Island” which is an excellent analysis of attitudes to Caribean migrants in the early 1950s. I found it really stimulating. You can see the ideas refected in all the migrant waves. We need to be more welcoming society.

September 07, 2006

Chemotherapy update

Got the good news this morning. My white blood cell count is back to normal so I can have my second dose of chemotherapy tomorrow. I was getting a bit worried as it was taking so long to get back to normal.

It is starting to be pin cushion time again. The number of blood tests is going up again. At least the last two times the nurses have managed to find a vein. Often they can’t and I end up with bruises in both my hand and my arm. They are going to monitor me more closely to see the response to this chemo. If I still have problems they will reduce the dose to try to get everything onto a three week cycle.

I still find it dificult to think there is a problem as I am feeling really well. Everyone says I look good, even my hair. I have the most amazing wig that is really stylish, it looks quite real, which is great.

I guess next week will be fairly quiet while I get over the worst effects. I hope the capsules I have been given will mean that my legs don’t hurt so much. I am not quite sure what to expect with the tingling in my hands and feet.

At least it is two down and four to go!

August 30, 2006

HER2 recurrence

I discovered a new lump in my pectoral muscle this April, about 4 years after having first had breast cancer. Three lots of surgery later and while there is no more tumour, the breeast cancer cells are lurking at a vascular level. So it’s chemotherapy plus Herceptin. I am one of the lucky 20% of breast cancer sufferers who can have Herceptin as I am HER2 positive. Not a good thing to be as it means an aggressive cancer, but at least Herceptin gives more hope of survival.

I have just had my first chemotherapy, Paclitaxel, with Herceptin and there are five more to go. I have just had the bad news that my white blood cell count is not high enough for the next one, sio I will have ot wait for a week. The good news is that I get to enjoy my husband’s birthday, the bad news is that I have to have yet another blood test. I always end up feeling like a pin cushion after the numerous efforts to get blood out of me.

This all means that the whole treatment is likely to take longer than hoped for. The normal gap between treatments is three weeks, but I am onto four already. I am still off work, Warwick Business School is having to manage without me as I don’t really feel able to come back to work at the moment. This is the first time in my life I have rested and I am enjoying the space to read and relax, when I am not recovering from the effects of the chemotherapy.

It has been a hard few months with all the surgery and uncertainty about treatment, but with the decision to give me chemotherapy, life is certainly less fraught.

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