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Jan 15, 2015 08:17AM
Banderso: once you're through chemo the H/P is a nothing really. I can't speak for Zometa or other drugs as I don't get anything added (I have liver mets, not bone). But at 57 I'd probably be feeling a lot of these "side effects" anyway. And many of them are minimized my taking care of myself (regular exercise, good diet, staying hydrated, not abusing myself physically and not perseverating). Shoot, I've had tons of body aches over the years and I've had knee surgeries and car accidents and falls from horses, skis, bikes, mountain climbing....weird if I didn't have aches and pains, right?
It's not the drugs that are bad about the new normal, it's the anxiety, the anger and despair, the self monitoring (unless perhaps someone was already a hypochondriac : ) ), the going to the Onc. and cath lab and radiology and Being Tethered to the Cancer Care Center! What, I can't go away for a month or two? As CarlaK suggested the rabbit hole is your worst enemy, your mind that can take every pain or weird feeling as proof that the cancer is moving, morphing, and just making light of your life. Your mind which can convince you that the drugs or cancer is making life miserable and impossible when actually the drugs are working well and yes, while you have cancer for now it's (probably) not killing you yet. If you get a chance with cancer (meaning it's not one that does you in right away) then the least you can do I suppose is let it kick you in the butt to get going on Big Dreams. I'm not there yet. I'm still in the recovery of the recovery of chemo. Chemo wasn't so bad for me til #5 & #6 then it took months to recover. Now I seem to be in a post chemo, post tumor funk.
I had scans in December because I was having a lot of pain in my liver area. There was nothing on blood work or tumor markers or anything yet I was convinced the shrunken desiccated non-existent tumors were back just in time for my birthday and Christmas. So my very sweet oncologist ordered scans. And when they came back clear I felt a huge relief. I realized I'd been worried for weeks or more. That's the sort of thing that sucks in my opinion during my first year (of hopefully many) of these drugs.
The new normal is not my before cancer state, I'll never be there again (unless they find the magic bullet for HER2+) and I'm not "blessed to have cancer". The new normal is I guess for me controlling the anxiety and doing what I can to keep tumors from coming back since my Onc is doing her darndest, and taking each day as it comes and doing the things I love to do, and accepting that I might on any day do that thing well, or do it in a diminished state but I can still enjoy being here, wherever that is.
Don't know if that helps. I remember being very angry and in utter despair to be told: you have cancer, likely you won't live long, we'll put you on drugs that make you feel like shit for 5 months of your vastly shortened life. This was just after putting my 89 year old mother in her final resting place.
Just my 2 cents.
6/2012, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+
1/2014, <1cm, Stage IV, metastasized to liver, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
2/12/2014 Perjeta (pertuzumab)
2/12/2014 Herceptin (trastuzumab)
2/12/2014 Taxotere (docetaxel)