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Top 75 things you can do to TAKE CONTROL during your bc txt

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So you have breast cancer? 
Sucks to be you (and me).  Welcome
to the club.  I’m sure it is one you
really didn’t want to join.  Guess
what?  Me neither.  Yet here we are discussing sentinel lymph
nodes and nipple tattoos.  One of the
things I hate most about going through breast cancer is the complete lack of
control. Research shows that people who
feel helpless instead of in control tend to suffer from greater stress which
can have a direct negative effect on your overall health and potentially
shorten your life span.  I am a control
freak…. I am O.K. with that and can embrace that part of my personality.  So I am going to help you take control during
this yucky mess at a time when you feel at a complete loss of control.  There are many things you can do to help you
get through the treatments, alleviate side effects and help prevent your cancer
from coming back or spreading further.

That being said, I am not getting paid for endorsing any
product, there are no kick-backs and I cannot be held responsible for any side
effects of these recommended products or actions.  You may want to discuss them with your Doctor
and research them online.  No Doctor (or
few) will tell you about all of these products or actions and I had to find out
the hard way… by trial and error.  But
what I did find when talking to other bc patients while waiting for treatments
was that they just wanted to be able to take some control back in their lives
(and could I please write down a list of these products for them).  I even had health care professionals ask for
this information.

So are you ready? 
Then by all means let’s go.

You Have Been
Diagnosed… Now What?

  1. YOU are your best health advocate:  become informed, read, study, follow the
    research, ask questions, keep a binder with all your information.  I was surprised when I met women who had no
    idea what kind of breast cancer they had. 
    Learn as much as you can about your type of cancer so that you can make
    the best decisions for your care. 
    HOWEVER, be careful where you look online because there are some crazy
    websites out there.  I have found
    breastcancer.org is the best hands down.

  2. Get a second opinion and maybe a third.  Boy I can tell you a long story about that
    but I will sum it up by saying I was under one course of action, got a second
    opinion and that took me down a completely different path.  I changed my Doctors, hospital, treatment
    regime… EVERYTHING. 

  3. Be wary of any Doctor that rushes you or doesn’t
    adequately answer your questions.  The
    best approach is a team approach like the Tumor Board at my hospital where
    there are many surgeons and oncologists on the board that review the file for
    EVERY patient.

  4. Be prepared for some of your friends to
    disappear off the face of the earth.  And
    be prepared for the truly good ones to really step up their support.  If a friend or family member goes into a
    montage about an acquaintance that had bc and had “x” complications or died,
    tell them that you don’t want to discuss your condition with them and decide at
    that point to not let them be a part of your journey.  It’s that simple.  And believe me, you will be surprised how
    stupid some people can be.

  5. Have a conversation with your husband or partner
    about who you are going to tell and how much information you are going to share
    because, especially if you choose to use a wig, they will not know.

  6. Have your husband or partner be the person to
    call and talk to your family about your cancer as you go through the complete
    diagnosis.  He (or she) is the gatekeeper
    of info.

  7. Telling the kids pretty much sucked but I was
    upfront and honest and my kids were old enough (9 and 11) to understand what it
    meant.  Let them know that they can ask
    questions anytime about anything during the process or journey.  Take time to also talk to them individually
    as they will have specific questions that they don’t want to ask in front of
    their sibling(s).  I kept my head covered
    (wig in public, comfy hats at home) mostly because it freaked them out to see
    me bald.

  8. Don’t feel like you HAVE to participate in
    clinical trials if they don’t feel right for you.  I turned down 2 but I also am in 3.  Go online to see what clinical trials are
    available to you for your specific diagnosis.

  9. Who do you tell? 
    Close family, co-workers, your church, the kid’s teachers, close friends
    and THAT’S IT!  Nobody else has to know
    if you choose.

  10. Keep sticky notes on your bathroom mirror:  I had one for surgery, chemo treatment and
    radiation treatment and I would put a hash mark to see how far I had come.  Just remember that every step is a step towards
    the cure.

  11. Stay positive and believe in your body’s ability
    to heal and have confidence in the healing power of your medicine.

  12. Cry by yourself…. scream at the top of your
    lungs when no one is around.  It did
    freak the pets out but I spared my husband and the kids.  When the negative, fearful feelings start
    encroaching recognize those as the devil trying to permeate your life, at your
    lowest and send you off track from healing and enjoying life.

  13. Do not be afraid to start any anti-anxiety (such
    as Lorazepam) and/or anti-depressant (such as Effexor) as the adrenaline is
    coursing through your body after your diagnosis and you need to get adequate
    sleep.

  14. Thank your Doctors and Nurses.

  15. Put it in God’s hands.

  16. Try to help others going through it.  A hug goes a long way.  I read this somewhere and it holds true: You can’t stop the birds of sorrow from
    entering your life but you can prevent them from nesting in your hair.

  17. Exercise daily even if it’s just a walk around
    the block.  Use the fresh air to clear
    your head.

  18. Be strong for your kids-show them that you can
    fight with grace.

  19. You can cry with your husband or partner on a
    few occasions but you need to be strong for him too because he will be carrying
    the weight of the world.

  20. You have to let yourself have bad days.  Not every day can be lived like it’s your
    last.  Sometimes you have to do laundry,
    grocery shop and pick up dog poop.  Just
    remember that normal days can be good days too. 
    Just let your family know that you might have a grumpy day every now and
    then and that they may too and that’s O.K.

  21. It is O.K. to hate the color pink and dread the
    month of October (especially at the grocery) since it is breast cancer
    awareness month.  You’ll see…

Surgery:

  1. When you
    go in for surgery, whatever type you are having, you will need a wireless
    mastectomy bra.  These are sold at the
    hospital or you can also buy a similar one for much less at Meijer.  Basically it is a sports bra that hooks 6
    times in the front.  The mastectomy one
    is only different in that it has little internal envelopes over each breast to
    but pads or silicone breast inserts.

  2. Wear a button down shirt.  I bought several nice cotton loose shirts at
    Kohl’s as I had a surgery drain.  You
    will have a drain if you are having your lymph nodes removed, breast removed or
    if your lumpectomy will result in the removal of significant tissue.  Believe me you do not want to be fussing
    around with a shirt you have to slip over your head.

  3. After surgery, there are silicone scar
    treatments you can purchase online.  My breast
    surgeon was not aware of these products but plastic surgeons know all about
    them.  They can vastly reduce the texture
    and severity of any scar and are used for breast implant surgery recovery.  I purchased mine through Biodermis.

  4. You can also use ultrasound and massage on the
    scar tissue to break up its fibroid texture and practically make it disappear.  I purchased the Mendix 1MHz pulse-wave
    ultrasound device and used it for several months once the incision healed.

  5. Get a compression sleeve from your
    hospital.  They will properly fit it for
    your arm. Then you can purchase much less
    expensive (and actually pretty) ones online. 
    My insurance only covered one sleeve. 
    Wear them all the time after surgery, especially when exercising, to
    reduce the chance of lymphedema.

  6. Measure both your arms at several locations BEFORE
    surgery so that you can track any significant swelling and get a better handle
    on possible lymphedema.

  7. START STRETCHING IMMEDIATELY once your drain is
    removed.  You may want to also start
    Physical Therapy.  If you have cording,
    you CAN stretch it out and reduce it significantly.

  8. Start lifting weights once you are cleared to do
    so.  Start around 4 lbs.  Exercise greatly reduces your chance of
    lymphedema.  I bought a set of
    inexpensive weights from the dollar store and kept them next to the couch so
    that when I was watching TV, I could also be stretching.

  9. Attend a lymphedema workshop from your local
    hospital to learn how to avoid/reduce lymphedema and when to wear compression
    sleeves (ex. when flying in an airplane).

  10. If you have had children and have a stretched
    stomach DO NOT HAVE A TUMMYTUCK.  If you
    end up having a mastectomy (single or double) they can use this tissue in a
    beautiful way to completely build you a new breast(s).

  11. If you are having breast reconstruction, you
    will have to wait for several months to over a year past all your treatments
    before the skin is ready for the surgery. 
    Consequently, I had to go through a summer with one breast much smaller
    than the other (and I love the beach). 
    You can purchase a product called Swim Shapers from Braza which are waterproof seamless foam/nylon cups with molded bump pads
    for enhancement that fit in your bathing suit.  You couldn’t even tell!

    Chemotherapy:

  1. To port
    or not to port:  that is COMPLETELY up to
    you.  I had a lot of chemo and I have
    very small veins and my Oncologist didn’t feel like I needed one.  So I didn’t. 
    It wasn’t always easy to get the needle in but there are things you can
    do to help with that:

  1. You must
    stay hydrated all the time especially before a round of chemo.  I drank copious amounts of water and especially
    G2 for the electrolytes, 0 calories and I could stomach it.  I would drink 24-32 ounces an hour or two
    before a chemo round.

  2. As you are waiting to receive chemo (oh and by
    the way you are put in room with about 20-30 other people receiving treatment
    so don’t think you are going in a private room) keep your arm down and pump
    your fist with a stress ball to get those veins nice and plump.

  3. Once you are back in the treatment area, put a
    warm towel around your arm and this will help with blood flow.

  1. Have them
    add Lorazepam to the chemo mixture.  This
    will greatly relax you during treatment. 

  2. To wig or not to wig:  that is completely up to you.  At first I did not but I will tell you what,
    the wigs they have today are amazing and people could not even tell I was
    wearing one.  Many people didn’t even know
    I was going through treatment.  This was
    especially important for my children because I could still be in social
    situations (even go on vacation) with my kids and no one had any idea but
    them.  Many hospitals have programs to
    provide beautiful donated wigs for very little money.

  3. Celebrate when you complete treatment.  I went and saw a beloved comedian with my
    husband and 2 kids following the end of all my chemo treatments.

  4. I had constant diarrhea during chemo partially
    due to my Gilbert’s Syndrome.  The great
    part of that particular side effect is that I lost a ton of weight.  But you have to be careful because if you lose
    too much, your oncologist will get on you because they have to change your
    amount of chemo to match your body weight so try to keep your weight
    normalized.  That being said, although I
    NEVER vomited once, I did still feel queasy most of the time and nothing really
    sounded good.  So here’s the good part,
    if you are losing weight during chemo, you can go to the grocery and eat pretty
    much whatever you want.  Have at it!  Get that Big Mac and have a shake too.  That’s pretty awesome, I don’t care what you
    say.

  5. Find whatever sounds good to you and have plenty
    of it on hand.  I could stomach rice and
    fruit so I ate tons of that.

  6. Keep all the medication summaries when you have prescriptions
    filled in case you have any side effects. 
    I could not take Compazine as it made my vision super blurry.  They can always switch you to something else.

  7. Be prepared for myopathy which can occur from
    surgery or Taxol.  Take Alpha Lipoic Acid
    and vitamin B6 to help reduce or eliminate the myopathy.

  8. You may have something called chemo induced
    menopause.  I was diagnosed with bc at 41
    and once I started chemo I never had my period ever again (and this is a bad
    thing?!).

  9. Be prepared to not lose all your hair and have a
    smooth head.  I had to shave my head
    throughout treatment because there were sparse hairs all over. 

  10. You will lose your hair at 2-4 weeks after you
    begin chemo so before you start the chemo treatment regime, get a cute short
    hairstyle so that when it comes time to lose it, it will be easier to deal with
    (also note, I knew my driver’s license was about to expire so I had my picture
    taken just before my hair fell out so I wouldn’t have to deal with that).

  11. I did not have a pretty bald head like some
    women do.  I was sorely
    disappointed.  Part of the problem was
    that my scalp was super white having never been exposed to the sun while the
    rest of my face was tan.  You could take
    the self-tanner cream and apply it to your scalp and that may make it look more
    evenly toned and prettier.

  12. When done with chemo, the hair that first comes
    in may be “teaser” hair that has no good root system and may quickly fall
    out.  Don’t worry though, it’s coming. 

  13. The new hair that finally starts to come in will
    be white, super soft and fine, almost feather-like which may freak you out but
    it does start to thicken up shortly.

  14. Be prepared for pimples on your scalp once your
    new hair really starts growing in.  Start
    a Nioxin shampoo and conditioner (I found them at Ulta) as these will open up
    the follicles and help with thickening the hair.  You can also use Rogaine if your hair
    regrowth is too slow or thin (they sell it for women or you can get a cheaper off-brand
    pharmacy label).

  15. Remember that you will lose ALL the hair on your
    body:  arms, legs, pubic hair.  You may have ingrown hairs, particularly on
    your legs as the fine hair starts to grow in. 
    Use an exfoliating sponge to help open up the follicles.

  16. Your eyebrows and eyelashes will fall out but
    don’t worry too much about this as you can draw the brows in with brown
    eyeliner.  Also you can use a charcoal
    smoky look on your upper lid and you will barely be able to tell.

  17. After you are done with your chemo treatments,
    buy Latisse for 1 month and use it on both your eyelashes and eyebrows to jump
    start the re-growth.

  18. Take Biotin for hair growth.

  19. If you are not doing a wig, have several hats
    and scarves ready to help you feel normal.

  20. You can color your hair as soon as it starts
    coming in.  I have pre-mature grey hair
    and didn’t have any problems coloring it as it grew in.  In fact, I decided to try a new lighter shade
    of blond and it looked so cute.

  21. When all your hair starts to begin growing back
    in, you will get peach-fuzz growing in on your face and some of the hairs may
    be long (~3/4 inch).  These will grow
    down from your side burns toward your jaw line. 
    Don’t pluck them but you can bleach them if they have any color.  Don’t worry, these will ALL eventually fall
    out and be gone forever.

    Radiation:

  1. ALWAYS
    make sure that they ask the same questions and take the same pre-measurements
    prior to your treatment.  They can make
    mistakes so be on top of it.

  2. Use aloe after treatments.  I liked it better than Alra Therapy Lotion
    and Aquaphor as you can glob it on and it felt refreshing.  I found an organic 99% aloe at a local
    natural food store and a 100% aloe (Made in the USA) at Walmart.  Just make sure they have NO ALCOHOL.

  3. My skin held up nicely until the boost towards
    the end which included my nipple.  My
    nipple cracked after the last treatment. 
    I combated the cracked skin by gooping on tons of Aquaphor and my
    radiation oncologist gave me an antibiotic cream to prevent infection.

  4. This is very important-your burn on the boost
    will get worse the week and a half following the end of treatment.  It may be scary as you see your burn go from 1st
    to 2nd degree but there are things you can do to help and it heals super-fast:

  1. Treat it
    like a burn-keep it moist, covered and clean.

  2. The first week it may start itching horrible so
    have Benedryl ointment on hand and that will make all the difference in the
    world.

  3. Take your pain killers (like Vicodin) and
    alternate with 2 liquid alleve capsules for the inflammation.

  4. When you shower, let the water run over the burn
    and remove as much as the dead tissue as possible but don’t rub it off
    aggressively.  Don’t be upset when you
    see the skin peeling away or the raw oozing skin as it all goes away super
    quick.

  5. Use a product for burns called 2nd
    Skin.  It’s amazing stuff.  This is the sequence I used:  antibiotic cream, Aquaphor, aloe, 2nd
    Skin, non-adhesive gauze, wireless bra (Target sells a good selection of cheap
    wireless bras).

  1. I wore a
    wireless bra for 2 weeks 24 hours a day after my treatment ended.

  2. You can also get Lidocaine to numb the nipple if
    it cracks.

  3. After about 3 months, once everything was
    healed, I used a self-tanner on my body to even out the color because the
    radiation left tan marks on my skin.

  4. After my eyelashes and eyebrows grew back in
    after chemo and radiation, I went through several more waves where they would
    fall out again.  90% of the lashes and
    50-75% of the brow hairs fell out at 4-5 month intervals 4-5 times.  I think it may be that you have a fairly
    regular loss of these hairs but they were all coming in at the same time.  Once they started to stagger in growth, you
    couldn’t tell.  You may want to trim your
    eyelashes as they go through this so they don’t look silly with just a few
    growing in.  You can use Latisse to
    stimulate the growth.

    Hormone Therapy and Supplements:

  1. Tamoxifen
    is great stuff but it does have some side effects.  One of those is weight gain.  I gained 20 lbs. within a year of starting it
    which seemed to make hot flashes much worse so you REALLY have to watch your
    calorie intake and exercise level.  But
    on the same token, please accept and love your new body no matter where your
    weight is.

  2. The second side effect I had with Tamoxifen is
    uterine polyps.  I am in chemo induced
    menopause which is not a bad thing.  No
    more periods.  I had abnormal bleeding (a
    lot of bleeding) and it turns out I had a uterine polyp (lucky me).  They can check for it quickly and easily at
    your Ob/Gyn, and can send it off to pathology to determine if it’s benign.  If you do get a uterine polyp, they will
    perform a hysteroscopy and D&C (at the hospital but usually
    outpatient).  It was pretty easy.

  3. There has been some recent research that shows
    that one baby aspirin a day can reduce your chance of cancer. 

  4. I had triple negative breast cancer, so I take a
    vitamin D supplement which has been found to reduce the chance of reoccurrence.

  5. As stated before, I have Gilbert’s Syndrome and
    I had high levels of ALT and AST during a recent blood count.  I started taking milk thistle to help with my
    liver function and within 2 weeks my levels dropped to normal.  This is important because Tamoxifen can affect
    your liver and cause a rise in these blood levels and I did not want to be
    taken off it.  I think it would also be a
    good measure to take the milk thistle following chemo treatment to help your liver
    flush out all the toxins.

    One
    final bit of advice, if you are not happy with your breasts after all the
    surgery and treatment, see a breast reconstruction plastic surgeon.  They are masterful craftsman that can do
    amazing things.  I ended up losing much
    of my one breast to three lumpectomies plus radiation.  I had fat taken from my hips and injected
    under the scar tissue plus I had my non-effected breast lifted to match the
    profile of my bc breast (all done with one surgery).  There are minor scars but you really cannot
    tell what I have been through.  They look
    perky and amazing.  Do this for
    yourself.  And my final piece of advice
    would be now that you know fear, there will be no fear in your life moving
    forward:  Know fear?  No fear! 
    Take that trip, hug those kids, tell your husband how much you love him,
    try that hobby you have always wanted to try, experience more, bitch and worry
    less.  And by all means, please add to
    the list if you find more products or ideas helpful.  And may God bless you. 

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Comments

  • Gardengirl66
    Gardengirl66 Member Posts: 44
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    sage, that was beautifully written, thank you for all that advice.

  • sage
    sage Member Posts: 24
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    Gardengirl66,

    Thank you.  I actually did not want to post it but felt it might help just one person and was worth it.  I apologize everyone for the numbers being out of sequence.  Happened when I uploaded it from MS Word.

    Good luck to you all!

  • elimar
    elimar Member Posts: 5,883
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    You have created quite a comprehensive compendium of tips and I think reading thru' it will be time well spent for someone just getting started on "the journey."

    RE:   "You can also use ultrasound and massage on the
    scar tissue to break up its fibroid texture and practically make it disappear. I purchased the Mendix 1MHz pulse-wave
    ultrasound device and used it for several months once the incision healed."

    Most of the tips rang fairly true to my experience (that did not include lymphedema,) but when I tried to get ultrasound therapy to break up scar tissue I was told by the PT that therapeutic US was contraindicated for patients "with cancer."   I said I was not supposed to "have cancer" any longer, but she told me that they still would not use it on a former cancer site just in case some tumor cells remained.  Supposedly, the heat from therapeutic US could excite the cells and encourage angiogenesis and metastasis.  I still don't know if this is scientifically proven, but I never did get the US therapy, only massage, to help with my scar tissue at my tumor site.

  • sahars
    sahars Member Posts: 2
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    Thank you sage!

  • BabyRuth
    BabyRuth Member Posts: 107
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    Great list Sage!  I am sure that it will be a great help to  many.

  • BigDBeatingBigC
    BigDBeatingBigC Member Posts: 228
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    Great post, thank you!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,853
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    Thank you for taking the time to compile this list. One thing I would add (and maybe you did ) is that everything you mentioned might not be true for all. For instance, at my infusion center, everyone is in curtained off cubicles, so there was a certain amount of privacy and the nurses try very hard to maintain it.  Not all infusion centers are the same. I also had immediate one step reconstruction, before all other tx, so never was flat or uneven. Ports are also good for blood draws and imaging injections. Anyway, great list!

  • Cozzoli
    Cozzoli Member Posts: 7
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    Thank you Sage!!

  • sage
    sage Member Posts: 24
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    Thanks for the kind words everyone.  I have a few other products I forgot to mention and that should be added to the list:

    1.  For hot flashes, try a product from Earth Therapeutics called Pedi-Jams.  These are sole softening gel booties that you wear to bed at night and, for me, they totally cool me down and keep the night sweats away (I found them at Target).

    2.  Since I am in chemo induced menopause, I tend to get vaginal dryness plus I noticed I am more susceptible to vaginal yeast infections (cannot stand these!).  I try to eat yogurt every morning and that helps.  I also started taking a probiotic specifically designed to prevent vaginal yeast infections.  One is called RepHresh Pro-B and was purchased at CVS in the vaginal yeast infection treatment section.  It's kind of pricey (like $1/day) so I found AZO Yeast Homeopathic Medicine at Walgreens ($10 for 60 tablets).  You may also want to keep a product called Replens Long-Lasting Vaginal Moisturizer on hand to supplement the body's natural lubrication (seems to also help prevent with the yeast infections, especially after sex or hot baths).

    3.  I really miss a beer or glass of wine after a tough day to unwind.  I think it is O.K. on occasion but I have found a much better product to help you unwind.  I use a product called VitaMelts Relax L-theanine by NatureMade (I think I found it at Walgreens or CVS).  It is the same component found in green tea and the tablets are smooth dissolving discs.  L-theanine is clinically shown to help relax the mind.  I also love herbal tea which I drink all the time for relaxation.  There are so many wonderful flavors of tea and it is arguably better for you than plain water.  So drink up!

    It is true that these products worked for me (specifically) and my recommendations come from my own personal experience which may not be applicable to you.  I hope they can help you too! 

  • lgoldie
    lgoldie Member Posts: 18
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    Awesome.  You covered a lot and I feel better.

  • amarantha
    amarantha Member Posts: 330
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    Sage : I really enjoyed reading that. Thank you !

  • mripp
    mripp Member Posts: 40
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    Thank you Sage! I am printing this list to keep on hand, be informed and you are inspiring! I too could be categorized as a control freak AKA planner! So true this is not a journey we picked but we can manage our care and treatment and with doctors, family and friends support we will kick this in the a%$!!


  • 2nd_time_around
    2nd_time_around Member Posts: 14,084
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    Sage, excellent thread! Several other threads on BCO contain bits and pieces, this is a great one, especially for newbies. Mind if I pass the thread along to others?

    Have never heard of Pedi-Jams, will check this out. Similarly, I use something called a Frogg Togg towel (got mine from Bed, Bath and Beyond). It's a thin synthetic-fiber towel which cools skin (I drape it around my neck as the back of my necks sweats the most). B3 carries this usually during summer months. 

  • Iwannacookie
    Iwannacookie Member Posts: 117
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    Thank you for this gift.  I am at the starting line of my treatment.  I will print your list out to have at the ready, as I need it.

  • yensmiles
    yensmiles Member Posts: 211
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    Thank you so much for this post! I really enjoyed reading it, and laughed at some parts too! :) Great information!

  • Imheretoo
    Imheretoo Member Posts: 5
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    Thank you so much, sage, for the caring, time and thought you put into that great post!    Much appreciated!       

  • JeanaS
    JeanaS Member Posts: 1
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    Thank you for taking the time to make this list, Sage.  Lots of good tips and honesty about things the Dr's usually gloss over or avoid.

  • Sopravvissuta818
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    Many thanks for posting.  I'm preferring for radiation next month and appreciate the product information and expectations.  

  • 2nd_time_around
    2nd_time_around Member Posts: 14,084
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    bump

  • zuri43
    zuri43 Member Posts: 1
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    Sage.....thank you so much for all of the info!  I start chemo Nov.4th, then a mastectomy, then radiation and hormone therapy.  You have answered many of my questions and quelled a lot of my fears!  Thank you so much!

  • LauraW68
    LauraW68 Member Posts: 15
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    Wonderful info! Thank you!

  • petaluda
    petaluda Member Posts: 1
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    Sage , I am about to start chemo This is my second time ( the other breast ) The first was 20 years ago I had a terrible time with it At the time there was no Internet and no help The treatment was very aggressive This time I have more information and thanks to you a lot of tips to help me even farther I am triple negative also But , I do not understand why were you on Tamoxifen if your tumor was hormone receptor negative ?

  • sage
    sage Member Posts: 24
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    Petaluma... The first time they tested my tumor it came back slightly positive for ER (PR- & HER2-). My Oncologist thought it best to start the tamoxifen as the tumor could have components that would benefit from the estrogen receptor modulation. So sorry to hear of your second "battle" with this nasty crap. You are right that there is so much info out there and that is a real blessing. I will say a special prayer for you tonight to find the grace and strength to see yourself through your treatment. God bless

  • sage
    sage Member Posts: 24
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    I thought of a couple more items that might help. First, you should know that you will have some pain on the backside under your shoulder blade where the beam exits your body following the completion of your radiation treatment. The muscles will be sore and tight. I used a heating pad and massager for months and today I have zero pain. Second, some have had success with magnesium (250mg) for hot flashes. I use a low dose of Effexor (37.5mg) and it seems to help. Lastly, I used a combination of cocoa butter (with collagen and elastin) and Olay Regenerist on my skin following radiation. I figured if they could be used for stretch marks and wrinkles, they could rehydrate and fix my damaged skin. It totally worked for me! Hope it can help you too

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  • hopeful82014
    hopeful82014 Member Posts: 887
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    Sage, thanks very much! There's a ton of helpful info here.

    My RO didn't mention the pain/burn on the back of the body but I've seen it referred to elsewhere, as well as your comment. Do you know if that's a fairly universal experience? (My RO kept saying things to the effect that since I'm slender I won't have as much reddening, etc. I am beginning to wonder how trustworthy she is - which is not a good thing to be thinking about one's RO, or any doctor.)

    Thanks again for your time in putting this together.