I don’t want to be negative but I haven’t had a very easy week. I think coming up to Christmas, a lot of social events that I’m not used to plus icky side effects from the hormone therapy. It has been one of my worst weeks’ yet.
The chemo side effects still continue:
– My hair is still falling out at exactly the same amount. I am starting to see patches within my hair. The Oncologist was right though; no one else would notice it. My scalp is a little sensitive but not too bad.
– Bleeding noses – I seem to be getting these every day off and on. Sometimes just for a minute and other times, for up to an hour.
– Fatigue – I still seem to be able to do one outing a day and if I have more than that, I am over-tired and feel unwell.
– I had a whole day migraine on Tuesday. Not fun.
– I’m still not sleeping.
But overall, the side effects are disappearing.
– I have had a challenging time with the Exemestane (hormone therapy). I have stopped talking Exemestane after discussing the side effects with my Oncologist and Oncology nurse.
– These drugs are important as they reduce local breast cancer recurrence by around a third. But I felt terrible.
– I started taking Exemestane around 1 December. Within a few days, I started feeling anxiety, on edge and shaking. I had headaches, numb hands and feet a lot of the time plus felt faint every now and then. It wasn’t good.
– On 19 December, I stopped taking the medication and the shaking feeling disappeared within a day or so. Two days later, I had a full day migraine (very unusual for me) plus what I might call panic or anxiety attacks. It has been a busy week and I am a bit over stimulated especially with the mayhem of Xmas. But it has been downright yucky. Also, during Xmas, it is hard to talk to health professionals as they are on holiday.
– I am looking forward to all of that stabilising and a New Year.
I met with my breast surgeon this week:
– The breast is healing nicely and she said that scars will soften to a white line within a year or so. She recommende continuing with Bio oil.
– I asked her what was the best way to care for the new belly button as no one had really told me: I dry it out after showering with a Qtip/cotton bud and she confirmed that this was right. It is quite a different type of belly button and does take time to learn to live with it.
– We don’t know the date for my third surgery – but I said for now, that was okay as I was hospital-ed out.
– I asked her about genetic testing for breast cancer; she said that I wasn’t a candidate as my breast cancer was triple positive (progesterone, estrogen and Her2 positive) whereas the genetic type of breast cancer is triple negative (progesterone, estrogen and Her2 negative).
– I discussed the hormone therapy with her. She said that my estrogen therapy hadn’t worked in the past as the HER2 positive-ness was stronger than the estrogen positive-ness (HER2 trumps estrogen). So in a way, it didn’t help that much to take the estrogen therapy (my words). I wonder how important it is to take hormone therapy then? I will ask the Oncologist when I see her in January.
– The surgeon told me that it should be my goal to rejoin the world as she is planning on me doing well.
– She told me that there is nothing magical in terms of supplements, vitamins etc to prevent breast cancer. But sometimes people feel that they are in control by taking these.
What has helped me
– Talking to the Oncologist and Oncology Nurse.
– Exercise every day, walking on the beach or biking – getting into nature each day.
– Writing every day – things that have gone well and not gone well, things that I don’t have control over and things that I do have control over.
– Talking to understanding people; seeing the art therapist through the cancer society.
– Celebrating end of chemo and my birthday.
– Planning fun things in the future with friends.