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Flying Through Chemo

Saturday, March 09, 2013

I haven't posted anything since August of last year. Back then, I felt like my world was falling apart, but now, I have found renewed strength and a more joyous heart. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2012. Since that time, I've had a mastectomy. Both the procedure and my recovery went very well. I later had to have more lymph nodes removed. That was a little harder to recover from, but wasn't too bad, in the grand scheme of things. 5 of the nodes were positive for cancer cells, so my oncologist recommended chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

I had read many stories of people who had terrible chemo experiences, even spoke personally to some who'd been through it, and it made it a very daunting task to undertake. I was surprised, however, of how much I looked forward to my first treatment. I guess I felt that I was diving into the fight with both fists up. I was pleasantly surprised at how well I tolerated the treatments. My first chemo regimen was 4 cycles spaced 3 weeks apart. I had no nausea or vomiting, and what symptoms I had were mild. Next, I started a different chemo drug which consists of 12 weekly treatments. I just had my 4th treatment today. I am still tolerating treatments well, with only mild complaints and no nausea or vomiting. My appetite is good, perhaps a little too good. I've gained a little weight- maybe about 7 pounds. The steroids that are given with the infusions may increase my appetite.

I do struggle with a little fatigue, but I was tired before this journey started, so it's not a dramatic difference. My main complaint lately is dry mouth brought on by the chemo. It wasn't as bad the last time. I really feel like I am flying through all of this. My spirits are high most of the time. I'm in the middle of my total treatment regimen. My PET and CAT scans I had a few months ago showed good news of no active areas (no apparent cancer cells), so I am encouraged by that. I am heartened by all the people who keep me in their thoughts and prayers.

Though my weight loss efforts have stalled while I've been undergoing treatment, I am reevaluating my diet to make some healthier changes. For the last several months diet has fallen by the wayside as I've learned to deal with this whole situation. I've been immersed, you might say, in the whole process of chemotherapy treatments, doctor visits, dealing with symptoms of treatments that, while mild, still need dealing with, trying to catch up on my household chores which always seem just a little bit beyond me, taking care of my kids and husband, etc. We also lost my mother-in-law last November, and that has left a hole not easily filled. How I wish I could call her up. She was a 10 year breast cancer survivor who succumbed to complications of diabetes. As she was bedfast in the hospital while I was in another hospital about to have my mastectomy, her greatest wish was to be there with ME. That's just how she was. We all miss her terribly.

I hope that I can be a breast cancer survivor, also. I want to be a THRIVER! That, to me, includes getting my weight under control. It can make a difference in my life in so many ways. I want my best years to still be ahead of me!! emoticon
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    AGAWRITER, I have 2 more Taxol treatments to go. I just started having neuropathy issues a week and a half ago. My oncologist graded it about a 1 on a scale of 1-4. It's not constant and it's mostly prickly feelings.
    I'll be starting radiation in a couple of months, probably. Hopefully, it will go well, though I'm not looking forward to it.

    Hope you are doing well! emoticon I'm so glad spring is here!!
    1743 days ago
    I am just about your age, and was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage 3a in July, had a mastectomy, and then did 11 sessions of Taxol, and 4 if FAC. I am just about to start radiation, in fact, I need to leave in a little while to make my first appointment. I did find the chemo easier than I had thought-- I had nueropathy issues with the Taxol, but almost nothing with FAC after the first 3 days. Good luck with the rest of your treatments.
    1776 days ago
    NANCYPAT1, thank you for your comment. I'm so glad your mother had such a good outcome and had so many more years to enjoy her life. I would like to do as your friend has done, so I am really striving to make some changes.
    I read the "thriver" term somewhere else, so I can't take credit for it, but it is a wonderful image emoticon
    1778 days ago
    Thank you for your kind words, ELSCO55! emoticon

    I really appreciate it!
    1778 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/9/2013 11:54:13 AM
  • ELSCO55
    My step daughter is a 5 year survivor. Good news about your chemo treatments. Sorry for the loss of your MIL. She is still watching over you while you recover. Best wishes on your journeys.
    1778 days ago
    I have a dear friend who is a survivor - she really became a health food proponent during her treatments. She cut things out and added so many new flavors and textures and new foods to her world to help ensure that not only would the cancer but also other health issues NOT destroy her quality of life. She has moved from the small gains to losing the weight and getting healthier than she had been in years. My mother was a cancer thriver as you put it (and I like the phrase) she had a double mastectomy and then 3 months later flew to Africa and Europe on a mission trip. Her only complaint was that she couldn't easily carry her own bags - my father did it for her. She lived about 20 years after her mastectomy and died of something unrelated to it at age 83. Good health, Great success, and THRIVE - I love that image.
    1778 days ago
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