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Help with Abbreviations

Topic: So overwhelmed.

Forum: Just Diagnosed — Discuss next steps, options, and resources.

Posted on: Aug 17, 2019 02:29AM

ARL624 wrote:

This week I feel like I’ve gone through the ringer. After meeting with the surgeon and medical oncologist I have an idea of what is to come and I hate it all. I don’t want to do it but I know I have to do it.

I’m loosing my mind with everyone telling me how I’m so strong and how I can beat this. And comparing my cancer long haul to marathon and ultra marathon running (which I have done). I can’t even deal. I don’t feel strong, or I feel strong enough to handle parts of this and not other parts - not everything at the same time strong though.

I don’t want to have chemotherapy or change my job ( I work as a therapist for traumatized children who friend upon me and don’t respond well to even the simplest changes never mind hair loss, absences, etc.) that puts me with hundreds of germ infested kids each day. I get so sick each fall/winter! Not this year as I go through chemotherapy? I’m the breadwinner though with no energy to go look for and interview for a new job.

I know the beginning is overwhelming. I feel in, in the thick of it.

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Aug 17, 2019 05:11AM AliceBastable wrote:

Do you already know for sure that you'll have chemo?

Endometrial cancer 2010, basal cell multiples, breast cancer 2018, kidney cancer 2018. Cancer's a bitch, but I'm a bigger one with more practice. Dx 5/2018, ILC/IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/10/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 8/7/2018 Radiation Therapy 10/28/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes
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Aug 17, 2019 06:07AM ARL624 wrote:

Yes, Alice. I am in line to get the echo, CT Scan etc to set me up with chemo.

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Aug 17, 2019 08:15AM meeko1452 wrote:

I am a pediatrician and the bread earner (and insurance holder!) for my house, and the possible financial implications of cancer were much more frightening at the beginning than anything else, so I can relate to your fear.

As for working, you don't say where you are, but I know at least where I am, therapists are in HIGH demand.

Are you in the US? Have you talked to your employer? Is FMLA an option for you? Can you cash in your 401K and COBRA your insurance for the chemo period? Can you look into a job that allows you to do telemed? Have you talked to your MO? Maybe a mask and no touching would be an option for the winter.

You don't feel strong, and that is okay, because you are strong even so. And yes, you will get through this and your life will change (especially during the chemo) and you won't have control of it and it is TERRIFYING. But there is a way to get through this, and you ARE going to find that way.

Today---find a yoga class or do some meditation. Breast Cancer is a son of a bitch, but it definitely taught me a lot about letting go.

Hang in there, and I am so very sorry you have to go through this.

47 at diagnosis. Brip1 gene Variant of unknown significance. Onoctype score 8. Dx 4/4/2019, DCIS, Left, Stage 0, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Surgery 4/18/2019 Lumpectomy: Left Dx 5/9/2019, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (FISH) Surgery 5/9/2019 Lymph node removal: Sentinel; Mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy 5/23/2019 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Aug 17, 2019 08:19AM - edited Aug 17, 2019 08:19AM by DogMomRunner

ARL - I'm a social worker at a skilled nursing facility. I'm nearing the end of my chemo treatment and even though I've had to have multiple Neupogen shots to boost my WBC, I've not caught anything from any of our residents or staff members. We even have families visiting with sick kids. Did your oncologist suggest that you change jobs?

You ain't run far enough to say My legs have failed You ain't gone far enough You ain't worked hard enough You ain't run far enough to say It ain't gonna get any better. Nathaniel Rateliff Dx 4/24/2019, DCIS/IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/8 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 5/16/2019 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel Targeted Therapy 6/5/2019 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/5/2019 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 9/21/2019 Whole-breast: Breast
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Aug 17, 2019 09:18AM cgs19 wrote:

I was working as a school social worker when I underwent cancer treatment. Did not stop working, but developed some "sterile technique" behaviors, such as always opening doors with forearms, elbows, never touching face or rubbing eyes and/or nose, frequents hand washing. Never had a problem. Hope that helps.

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Aug 17, 2019 09:54AM ARL624 wrote:

Thank you for the hopeful responses!

How did you handle it when you had to take time off every day for tests in the beginning? I literally am booked four out of five days right now with pre-chemotherapy tests right when I am suppose to return to seeing kids full time. I work as a private therapist so no FMLA, sick days or tolerance for changes in schedules with very young and highly traumatized children who have had to face so many losses.

I followed high level hygiene protocols already and got sick at every turn! I had chronic bronchitis that I worked through last year and strep throat twice and the flu once last year. That was with elderberry, probiotics, vitamins, sanitation protocols and tons of water! I’m a marathon runner and I ran two marathons last year and an ultra marathon so I exercise a lot too!! I’m scared if that was me healthy what’s going to happen with this?!? I just don’t know but my doctor is a little worried too because of how I fared this past year.

In addition during my three pregnancies I was hospitalized with extreme morning sickness. I took anti nausea medication the entire nine months and vomited frequently and daily, lost weight, was so fatigued. I could barely work but had an employer that let me work from home on my own schedule. I’ve been told by my doctors to brace myself because of this history. So I’m scared because I still am traumatized by that level of nausea!!!

So between the expectations of a full case load and no variation in scheduling plus two hour commute and my history with being sick while healthy and pregnant I am scared. But it sounds like some of you had to face these things too. How did you handle it?!?

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Aug 17, 2019 10:43AM arizonaboundgal wrote:

Hey Arl! I haven't got answers to any of your questions, but as someone who cycles 8,000 miles a year, I know that overtraining can make you more prone to sickness. About a year ago, I started measuring my heart rate variability to be sure that I don't over reach. I definitely backed off on days when my HRV was off and felt a lot healthier because of it. Not sure if this is the case with you, but as a hard core exerciser, I think I finally realize that more isn't necessarily better. Anyway, just something to think about going forward....marathons and ultramarathons can absolutely suppress your immune system.

This forum has been such a godsend for me and I'm happy that you found it. I know that you'll find lots of support and solid advice here. Best wishes as you maneuver this crappy path. You'll get through it. We all will.. one step at a time and sometimes one second at a time.

Enjoy every sandwich--Warren Zevon
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Aug 18, 2019 05:35AM ARL624 wrote:

Yes. arizonabound, I had to learn about HRV when training to keep things on level. I love to exercise but I don't like to feel run down or without energy so some management of my heart rate while working out and making sure I pace my activity helped a lot. But, I still got sick a lot. It was very frustrating but I do wonder about my immune system being impacted by the cancer as a systemic issues versus anything else that impacted my health last year.

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Aug 18, 2019 06:21AM cancergirl49 wrote:

First, let me say I am sorry this is happening to you. I was reading your thread and saw that you were in line for your echo and CT scans recently. Do you know what your chemo plan is yet? I am an elementary school teacher and I was able to continue working with very minimal interruptions during my chemotherapy. My onc. and I made a plan. I let her know that I loved my job and really wanted to work through treatment.

The feeling of being overwhelmed passed for me once I had a plan in place. I took it one treatment at a time. Looking at the whole plan at once was daunting. So, I did it treatment to treatment. I learned to relax my standards around my house!and accept some help. We developed a new normal for awhile.

I too am an avid runner. I run in in a group and they were great during chemo and radiation. We slowed down and dropped our mileage. Then, they helped me build back up. Staying active and exercising throughout treatment was very good for my body and soul!

One step at a time and you will get through this.

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Aug 18, 2019 07:35AM ARL624 wrote:

Love hearing your story cancergirl4.

My breast and arm pits are so sore from the biopsy and I have to get more so running has been so hard these past weeks. Did your breasts hurt post biopsy? I’m super bruised and cut up. I’ve been riding my bike instead.

I also run and bike with a group and I know the women will be awesome during chemo once I can run again!

I commute two hours a day, work full time, teach Hebrew school, run the Odyssey of the mind program at my kids school, run, am the breadwinner and the primary parent. I know that things will change, I’ve already started to drop some of those responsibilities but working and commuting seem tough to manage with all these doctor appointments. I have appointments each day this week and probably two over the weekend. How did you handle taking time off every time each day to go to appointments at the start? I don’t have sick days or any room to change my schedule with clients. I feel a lot of pressure. Also hours of commuting are exhausting and limiting my time to schedule care. My work situation is very laborious to me. I’m wondering how I will continue to manage something that has always been so physically and mentally taxing to me

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Aug 18, 2019 05:07PM cancergirl49 wrote:

Hi there. I too had many biopsies. I had 6 total. I had 1 of a lymph node, 3 core biopsies, and 2 MRI guided biopsies. I wore my sports bras a lot. That really helped. I also was given ice packs from the nurses. I was able to run about 72 hours after the biopsies. I did not have all 6 at once. I had one core biopsy. Then, went for a second opinion. I had 2 more while at the second opinion. Then, I had an MRI. That showed more spots of concern. So, that led to the MRI guided biopsies.

Once all was said and done I had a very big hematoma. It took awhile to dissolve. I was able to run without much discomfort after about 72 hours. The tight fitting jog bras really helped. I also take a weight lifting class 2 times per week. I was able to run and lift through treatment.

I see you do a whole lot besides work. I also had a part time job as an adjunct faculty member of a local college in addition to teaching school. I took time off from the part time college teaching. It was too much with treatment and working. My husband took me to chemo. On those days he was able to work from home. Other appointments I took one of my sisters in law. My kids also helped with household chores a good bit.

My general practitioner is a 2 time cancer survivor. She and I talked a lot during treatment. She called me about once every 2 weeks in the evenings. Her best advice was to take it one step at a time. I am a very organized person who plans ahead. Taking it one step at a time for me was definitely a learning experience!

My onc. scheduled my chemo treatments for Fridays. The first round had 4 treatments. They were 14 days apart. The next round had 12 treatments. I went every 7 days. Pretty much just missed on chemo days. Surgery was 4 weeks off. You may not need as much depending on your surgery. Radiation was 6 weeks 5 days a week. That was not bad because I was able to go after school.

New normal.... Let go of what was, take it one step at a time, and be easy on yourself. Some days are good, some days are tough. Do you have family help available

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Aug 19, 2019 02:20AM - edited Aug 19, 2019 06:46AM by ARL624

cancergirl4 I am a little jealous at how fast and easy the recovery was for you! I have had three core biopsies guided by ultra sound and two biopsies guides by mammogram.And I have three more core biopsies they are going to do this week. I wear my sports bra all the time and definitely use ice packs too! My swelling is pretty big. I hardly fit into my regular sports bras anymore?!? And I'm black and blue and cut up along both breasts and where my lymph nodes are - still weeks after. I feel sharp pains throughout my breasts that stop me in my tracks. The doctor's said that is some bleeding from the biopsies. This week I am going to try to run an easy short run of 2-4 miles. We'll see how it goes!

Yes, still wrapping my head around what the normal is. Dropping many of my volunteer gigs and community leadership roles and focusing on taking care of myself. My regular job is emotionally and physically taxing so I am trying to find an alternative with less commuting and done flexibility. Fingers crossed!

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