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Mar 29, 2018 09:35AM
My BBF from high school and to today is named Dee.
That is great news that your Medical Team is challenging your HR folks. After being HR for years, I can tell you that I found most HR people sworn to find why something won't work instead of how can this work. There, of course, are exceptions. I lost count of the times I would say to a supervisor, "What rule / regulation lead you to that decision?" Usually none.
About chemo ... it really is different for everyone. I made a few decisions about how I would handle chemo after my first session. Cancer had already robbed me of the breasts that I once loved as well as raped my husband of his freedom because he became my caregiver. Chemo was not going to rule my life nor was my Oncology Team. Nice people but not the bosses of this show.
My husband and I worked closely with my Primary Care. He reviewed every lab and every test. My Oncology Team was somewhat reluctant to forward all documents to him. Under my HMO plan, the referring physician must get a report for every appointment referral they make. It was my Primary Care that monitored my thyroid levels. He found the pattern and made a change in my prescription. I share this because I believe the Oncology Team only sees a "cancer patient." My Primary Care saw / sees "me." Please ensure someone is seeing you.
A very dear friend emailed me the day after my first chemo. She wrote that she hoped I was up and walking. I was in bed feeling sorry for me and planning to "rest." My friend told me at her cancer diagnosis many years ago, all she wanted was to see her children graduate high school. She did as well as see them with graduate degrees. I figured she must have done something right. She said you must work with your chemo to get it through your body so it will work for you. Well, I got my fat ass out of bed (I weighed 147 pounds then) and I walked on the treadmill. It was the hardest 20 minutes I think I had ever done and I did not get far. But I walked. I walked most everyday throughout my chemo. If you can move, move. If it is just a walk to the mail box a couple of times a day, do it.
My treadmill broke Monday. I am walking outside now. I never thought walking would be such an important part of my life. In many ways cancer opened my mind an my eyes to a better way of living. I don't know if lifestyle gave me cancer. I do believe, like HapB, that there are some changes each person can consider. If those changes work, do them. One thing my husband and I have done is changed our eating habits. We eat real food and as little unprocessed food as possible. My HDL (good) cholesterol increase 32 points from my last lab this month. Today I weigh between 123 - 125. Hubby has lost 85 pounds since diagnosis (June 2016).
Herceptin can be brutal on your heart. I think walking saved my heart from problems. I have no proof nor a study to back up this belief. My MUGA scores increased during chemo. I have a heart mummer already and was afraid of additional damage. The ladies that shared their Herceptin stories in this forum were a great help to me in understanding how to deal with this drug.
Many YMCAs offer some sort of fitness 12 week course for cancer patients. If there is one where you live, please consider joining it. I joined one and enjoyed it. I also learned some exercises that I have continued.
I also decided to to internally say "bull sugar" every time someone on my Oncology Team told me what would happen. Here are a few of their comments (from the nurse navigator, nurse practitioner, and oncologist).
Everyone gains weight on chemo.
You will lose your hair.
Your eyelashes and eyebrows may not come back.
I am uncomfortable prescribing X for you. Get the Rx from someone else.
It is just fatigue. Everyone gets tired on chemo.
We will deal with X, when you finish chemo.
You don't need a hysterectomy. If your cancer comes back it will be in your lungs and / or brain.
Did we give approval for a dental cleaning?
Here's an Rx for an anti-depressant. Just promise me you'll fill it an take it if needed.
I could go on and on. There is a forum for "stupid comments." I have contributed there!
Anyway, I did not lose all my hair and I lost weight. It was more than "just fatigue." My saturated iron dropped and I ended up with an iron infusion. When that happened, it was the worse part of my treatment. Fortunately, the dietician at my center helped me through this time. Please stay on top of your labs. Know what every value means. If you see something you don't understand, ask for an explanation. Ask here too. SpecialK knows just about every medical thing that can happen on this journey.
I took the advice on my Gynecologist and I had the hysterectomy. Never looked back.
I kept six-month dental cleanings.
Once again, I have rambled on and on. My hope is that you remain in charge of you. Sure there are medical experts but as TonLee wrote 10 December 2012:
"2. This isn't a car, it is YOUR BODY. You will live with the consequences long after the tech/Onc/Nurse etc go home to their families and forget about you. You have final say in what happens and what does not happen to it. Period."
Juli24 ... I am so very sorry about your doggie. My heart hurts for you.
Best wishes to all. I am off to post in "Nipples" about my tattooing experience last week. I got my first ever tattoo and my second and last tattoo. My Primary Care had never examined my reconstructed breasts. He would ask how everything was going with my Plastic Surgeon but never examined me. Well, I had a follow-up on Monday and before I left he said that he wanted to see the tattoos. His mouth dropped open and he turned to Richard saying he could not believe how real they looked.
You know ... if it wasn't for the cancer this would have been an eye-opening, nice ride.
6/2016, DCIS/IDC, Both breasts, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH)
6/7/2016, LCIS/DCIS/IDC, Right, 4cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH)
7/11/2016 Mastectomy; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement
8/21/2016 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
8/22/2016 Herceptin (trastuzumab)
1/20/2017 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant
2/22/2017 Prophylactic ovary removal
4/4/2017 Arimidex (anastrozole)