Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cutting me loose


Had a oncologist visit yesterday and a blood draw. Got my tamoxifen prescription. Not sure how I feel about that with the host of side affects. Will keep you posted on that. All I need is a few more hot flashes to brighten my day.

The scoop is this. I'm done. Cut loose after one month of taking T to check my liver enzymes. My oncologist does marker tests so I will see him every 3 months for however long he feels I need to. I'll be on the T for 5 years.

One thing did come up with my question about estrogen positive tumors. I asked about my girly parts and why that wasn't being removed too. He said that is something we'll address later but than the body needs some estrogen at my age. Sue, maybe you can help me understand this. Are ovaries typically taken out of estrogen positive patients?

Apparently, these next 6 months will glean whether I'm menopausal or sterile. Sounds like fun.

I get to keep my pain patches, for now. Dr. K is always positive and seems to think this arthralgia will go away. I remembered the name!! Maybe not spelled right but I don't care - it's my blog anyway. Back to Dr. K - he wants me to be comfortable to recover and also wants me exercising. So I am. Good bunny that I am...

I didn't realize the fentanyl is such a strong drug until my visit yesterday. Even at a low dose, it gives serious withdrawal symptoms. Guess that might be why I couldn't sleep last week when I dropped my patches. Learn something every day.

BP was a kicking 90 over 77 - back down almost to normal for me. I did get Dr. K's okay to just hang with him for a long while so I don't need another checkup with my GP. I do have to do a yearly gyn exam in July. The panic monkey sometimes rears her ugly head and worries about errant cancer cells ending up on my cervix. I had dysplasia for about 6 years after Steffie was born but I've had clear paps for the last 5 years.

Head is on straight, focus is coming back. Cranked out 17 articles this week and I'll actually get a small paycheck friday. I did sell a whopping real estate article last week - $200 for an article is very good as a ghost writer. Sure made me happy. I'm hoping my productivity level keeps up. I need to get out of my hole here and back on track with the rest of the world.

I gotta admit, even though I'm done, I'm almost phobic about germs. My counts are doing better but things just SO gross me out now. Like door handles, shopping carts, snotty kids (even my own), public anything. Yuck.

Still wondering if I'm going to get depressed. Haven't seen it yet.

I also get cut loose by my rad nurse on Monday if my tata heals up. The burn is down to 2 x 1 inches and is starting to scab. Airing it out and not using the shower or getting it wet has made all the difference. No, I'm NOT stinky! I'm taking a tub bath instead :)

I conducted an experiment at Vicky's request. I applied Aloe straight off the plant to my burns Tuesday night. Overnight, OVERNIGHT, the burned area began to scab and heal over. It easily improved by 1 cm around the circumference. Since then, the sticky wound feel is gone completely. This thing has dropped from being 5 inches around to well below half that.

My supposition as to why radiation specialists don't want women to use this is that the ointment given for open wound treatment contains antibiotics. I get it but I do know the aloe made a miraculous difference. I'm using it multiple times each day. Good thing the plant is big :)

I didn't get the impression that many people blister as badly as I did. The healed skin looks pretty tan at this point and they tell me it will lighten to regular skin color. Not quite sure if I believe them yet :)

Be well everyone. Have a good day!


Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Removing the ovaries is not typical unless you are BRAC1 and that's to stop from having ovarian cancer that BRAC1 ladies are at risk for. Sometimes an anti-estrogen called Goserlin (not sure of the exact spelling) is given. Even if you didn't have ovaries, your body still produces some estrogen so that's why you need the tamoxifen.
Glad that you are about finished with this too except for the Tamoxifen.

S. F. Heron said...

My BRAC1 came back negative so I really was confused about this. Thanks for clearing stuff up, Sue :)

Kellys Blog said...

Man, I wish I was you. Bet you don't hear that much do you? To have "doctor" and "cut loose" in the same sentence, and have it pertain to me is a DREAM. My granny was in some of the first trials of Tamoxifen 20 something years ago it seems - they kept her on it for TEN YEARS and she did great (they don't do that long anymore I understand). She had "terminal" mets to the bone for 17 years. Think of it as a protective blankie, keeping the boogies away.

I want to know what happened in your radiation, but I'm afraid to go back in your blog and read it :(

S. F. Heron said...

Hi kelly!

Radiation is different for everyone. I have sensitive skin - always have. My doc completely shied away from using anything other than cool compresses on my chest until I started to get really red. I guess he knows best. In any event, I did blister and peel but I understand this doesn't happen with everyone. Case in point is Sue - she just finished and I haven't read anywhere on her blog of blistering. Renee did peel but I don't think she blistered either.

The good far outweighs the bad so please don't worry. But follow their instructions to the letter. If they say compresses 4 times a day, do it. It hydrates the skin very well and relieves the pain from the expanders moving around from internal swelling from radiation if you've had some reconstruction.

A kiss for your granny, paving the way for her sisters in the future who suffer from BC. What a lady, what a blessing.

Kelly, come see me anytime for virtual hand holding of any sort. It will be okay.


Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

This is for Kelly (sorry Sharon)
My experience is based on reading others' blogs and talking to ladies in the radiation room. In general, the ladies getting post mastectomy rads seem to have much more skin damage than those (like me) who are getting it to our breasts only. One of my friends started turning red after 3 visits (post-mast). True, she has very light skin (in general more sensitive). Both Renee and I had the 3 week 'hypofractionated radiation' protocol (more rads per day but in half the time) and came out of it will minimal problems. My rad onc wanted me to use Altri-a mix of aloe and Vit E lotion that was very expensive. I am using cheap Vit E Oil of Olay. The aloe plant is a good idea too.

Holly said...

dear one - the rad burns are horrible. I also had a bad time with that and even had tp postpone a few days of treatment to give them time to stop weeping...I am 18 months post treatment and my affected breast is still as brown as a berry with the 'good' one as pale as can be...