Today has been a hard day, both physically and emotionally.
When radiation ended, I knew I would be starting hormone therapy that would last ten years. It would be in two segments, each lasting five years. Two and a half months ago I began the first phase.
I would be given a monthly shot, Zoladex and take a daily pill, Letrazole. As with most medications, they both come with a long list of side effects. By far, the worst has been bone, joint, and muscle pain.
Over the past few weeks I have noticed that it’s a bit harder to get up off the floor or roll out of bed in the mornings to start my day, but moving around usually helps. Today has been different. There has been pain and discomfort in both my hands and nothing I have done has brought relief. This is a combination of the Letrazole and the lingering neuropathy from chemo. I do have some medication left over from my chemo days that the doctor said I could take if needed. I took that at dinner and I’m hopeful it will help soon!
That’s the physical side, which led to the emotional side. Today has been one of my lowest days since chemo ended back in March. Knowing this treatment will last five years is hard. I know that if things get bad enough, we can look at other treatment options, but the reality is that these types of symptoms will more than likely come and go throughout the course of treatment. That’s a hard pill to swallow, literally.
I have to remind myself that it’s temporary. There will be good and bad days. I am still in the fight. I have conquered chemo and radiation and I will conquer this as well. God is so much bigger than this!
When I was diagnosed in August the end of treatment seemed so far away. It felt like it would never arrive. Surprisingly, the past seven months have gone quick. I believe the countless appointments kept our schedule busy and I slept a majority of the time on chemo. It probably felt faster for me than those around me caring for me.
May is the month my active treatment finally comes to an end! On Friday I completed radiation 12 of 28. We are almost halfway done. As of now there are no side effects and for that I am grateful!
The effects are chemo are starting to subside. I am still battling neuropathy which has actually worsened over the last two weeks. I pray we are in that, it will get worse before it gets better, stage. Praying it starts to subside as it has become more uncomfortable. My taste has pretty much returned. Yay! My hair is growing (on most spots). My energy level is good and I feel great. God is so good!
I know it’s been a while since I updated so I wanted to share my life over the last few weeks. My days are busy working two part-time jobs, daily radiation appointments, karate and baseball with Isaac, and Eli just being Eli. There are not enough hours in the day, but life is wonderful and I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.
Below are a few pictures of how it’s all been going.
When I had my surgery back in September the doctor had to remove two lymph nodes to determine if my cancer had spread. Thankfully, my lymph nodes were completely clean!
What I never realized was that removing two lymph nodes would leave me with a reason for a medical alert bracelet!
Let me start with a brief description of what the lymph nodes are. All throughout your body you have these bean-shaped nodes. They are part of the immune system and act as a filter. The lymphatic system also contains white blood cells that help your body fight infection. Everyone has a different number of lymph nodes under their arm. The breast empties fluids through what is know as a gateway. One fluids pass this gateway they enter the lymphatic system and circulate through the body. Just like bad cells in the lymphatic system there are white blood cells that circulate through the body to fight infection. The lymphatic system is critical to immune health! It is why when you are sick you might have swelling in your neck, under your arm, or anywhere else that infection is present.
I recently learned that my cancer had spread to within the lymphatic system of my breast, but never made it to the “gateway”. The cancer was in route to the exit and has it gotten through the “gate” could have quickly spread through my entire body. This is one of the reasons my oncology team has been so aggressive in my treatment. They want to make completely sure nothing got through.
With the removal of the two lymph nodes under my right arm, I am at a greater risk of lymphedema or swelling associated with a blockage is the lymphatic system. This can be painful and cause circulation issues. Due to this risk, I cannot have any type of tourniquet on my right arm. They cannot use that arm to draw blood, give shots, or check mu blood pressure. I am able to tell doctors this, but if something were to happen, medical staff would need to be aware. For this reason I ordered a fun medical alert bracelet.
Before my surgery I had no idea this was a thing for breast cancer patients., cancer patients in general. I am not a medical professional and Googled info to write this blog. This is my layman’s understanding!
Did you know this was a thing or did you learn something new? What else would you like me to talk about in future blogs. Comment below and let me know!