Cancer: The Harsh Story Of Lung Cancer vs Breast Cancer

Thought provoking blog post…

CancerGeek

{I will preface this post by saying that anyone that is diagnosed with cancer has their world changed forever. The clock begins to tick, world closes in on you, and your world is changed in a way that will never be the same. I am being provocative. I am challenging.}

For those of you that I have had the privilege of meeting, and for those of you I have not met, you know and will come to find that cancer is the story of my life. It is what I have dedicated my professional career to try and make an impact. I am fortunate enough to be able to combine my passion, my talent, and my wisdom all into one single focus.

In October I made a commitment to wear a bow tie the same color of the cancer awareness for that specific month. October was easy, it was Breast…

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Rest

Surgery for installing the port went well on Wednesday. Having to show up at the hospital at 5:30am wasn’t so great, but it meant we were home well before noon. I was planning to go to work on Thursday; what was I thinking? As I told my boss, I think I seriously underestimated the amount of pain I was going to have. So I spent Thursday taking pain pills, reading, and napping. I did go to work on Friday and felt better than I have in a while.

I was scheduled for lab work Friday afternoon so got to find out how well the new port would work. I was apprehensive because the site was still quite sore, but it actually hurt less than having a needle stuck in my vein – so score one for medical science. The other thing that happened is my arm suddenly had a big lump on it. The nurse at the Drs. office checked it out  and sent me off to the hospital for an ultrasound to rule out a blood clot. No blood clot so just warm compresses to bring down the swelling.

I am so impressed with my treatment team at the Oncology office; they are on top of every symptom no matter how minor I think it might be. Their philosophy seems to be to make the experience as painless as possible; the staff even goes to bat with the insurance company when necessary.

It seems that so much has happened in the last month – it’s been a whirlwind of activity and information. I’ve hardly had time to catch my breath before the next thing comes along. But for now, it’s the weekend. Time to regroup and refresh.

Reflections

I am tired tonight. I went to work for a few hours and accomplished quite a bit. Stopped on the way home to  pick up a couple of things. My partner has been doing a fantastic job in keeping things together and running smoothly, but I know this has hit him hard. His only comment has been that he thought he would be the one going through the cancer and chemo stuff because of all his years of smoking and working around chemicals. He has never been one to show emotion – it’s hard for him. But there are times I wish he would. He has a few close friends that he has lunch with regularly, and maybe that’s all he needs.

But there are times like now when I want to cry and scream and punch something. For the times we should have together and may not. I try to stay positive, but even that gets worn out. Especially when I’m tired, or sick, or hurting. And I know this will pass.

On a positive note, the follow up visit went well. My labs are holding steady. They won’t recheck tumor markers until after the 2nd treatment in 2 weeks. I’m anxious to know whether the treatments are working. The side effects from one are too severe, so they will switch that one to something else.

I think I’m too tired to write much tonight. Tomorrow I have the chemo port installed so will have more time.

Good night, dear friends.

Lack of stamina

I knew that fatigue would be one of the side effects of chemo, but I had no idea how bad it would be. Feeling run over by a Mack truck doesn’t even begin to describe it. I have felt as if I’m trying to wade through molasses, in January, at the North Pole. But I know this will pass.

Than there’s the intense itching from the fungus – which seems to be spreading. I’m putting the cream on 4 times a day, which helps some, but not enough. I have to keep by hands busy so I don’t scratch.

Bright note for the week; my bestest friend Jenna, who is also my stylist and nail tech not only came to see me on Tuesday, but cut my hair short, did my nails, and gave me a beautiful fleur-de-lys scarf. There is a special place in heaven for people like Jenna. 🙂

On the medical front, the cough medicine I was taking sort of got everything backed up for a good two weeks. I kept taking stuff and drinking water and taking stuff and drinking more water. After 3 weeks, something had to give, and it did, and I feel much better. The best part is that I don’t have to take the cough medicine as often.

Tomorrow I have my first follow-up visit, go over the lab results, and see where we go from here. This afternoon, maybe I’ll be brave and start wading through all the booklets etc. I was given at my first treatment.

Lost Day

What a week this has been. I have felt disoriented and unsteady for most of the time. Most of what I posted yesterday was written on Wednesday; I finished and posted it yesterday. Tuesday was a little strange as I didn’t know what to expect. I diligently drank tons of water so spent quite a bit of time in the bathroom. The staff assured me that the more I drank, the faster the nasty stuff would get flushed out of my body, and the better I would feel. So for two days, between drinking gallons of fluid, peeing out gallons of fluid, and sleeping, I’m not sure what else has been going on.

We went to have blood drawn today, and to have them look at a nasty little rash that popped up overnight. The rash is a fungus – easily fixed – and I’ll have the test results on Monday at my weekly appointment.

 

This seems to be all I can manage for today. 😦

First trip

Monday was an exhausting day. We showed up at the doctor’s office at 9am as requested. I thought I was ready. I was dressed comfortably in sweat pants and a t-shirt, as we’d been told the room gets cold, and I had my power black bear afghan, my Kindle, and my smartphone. Oh, and Steve – can’t forget Steve; the most important member of my team! We met with the Financial person who explained how much that day’s costs would be (humungous!) how much the insurance would pay (some 70%) and how much we had to pay (a pittance!!)

Then back to the waiting room to wait for the Medical Assistant to call me back to check BP etc. Oxygen was good, everything else was good. So back to the waiting room to wait for the Physician’s Assistant. We spent about 20 minutes with her going over everything. She then took us ‘in the back’. There was a large, sunny, room with lots of windows. The room was divided into 4 ‘pods’, each pod containing 15 or so reclining chairs and a ‘visitor’ chair for each recliner. The room was buzzing and almost every chair was taken. We had a short wait for an empty chair in one of the pods with visitor chairs, and yes, the room was cold. Each recliner had a colorful afghan neatly folded on it for patient use – all of them looked handmade – a nice touch.

There were several nurses buzzing around, and the patients ranged in age from mid-20s to the lady next to me who was 90. One of the nurses came over and explained the process then started an IV. First thing is always to hydrate – that means running in close to a liter of fluid. Then the anti-nausea drug(s); then the steroid to ward off mouth sores. And finally, the chemo itself.

They also gave me a bag full of information – called Bag-It! It’s a tote bag containing a binder and several pamphlets and booklets dealing with cancer, treatment, nutrition, other things like acupuncture. I must admit I haven’t looked at everything yet. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. Sort of like being on a roller coaster that I can’t stop. By the time everything was done, it was around 5pm, and I was more than ready to go home. I was told to drink lots of fluids, and I was given a list of things to watch for, and off we went home.