November 10, 2015: Just Breathe

November is a month full of doctors and a scheduling nightmare to get all my appointments in during the required timeframe. So far, I’ve been to see my OBGYN. If you’re a woman, you already know this is anything but fun. Add a breast cancer diagnosis, chemo, tamoxifen, and being positive for a BRAC gene and it becomes a nightmare. The treatment I underwent to kill cancerous cells also destroyed good cells. Chemo also pushed me over into menopause. Not cool my dear friends, not cool! My hormone tests confirm that’s a forever thing and not a temporary issue. It’s not the worst news to receive but not the best either. If you have to take Tamoxifen, please note it doesn’t come without its own complications. Just two months on this little pill and the side effects were evident. My girlie parts are all being destroyed and will be taken out soon. It’s really sad for me. It’s a really difficult time to know in a few months I’ll have lost everything “girlie” about me. Plays with the mind a little. BRAC positive means waiting isn’t the best option either, so forward and onward I go. Marching down a road I’d much rather avoid. The good news in all of this is my tumor markers for all those girlie part cancers came back negative. What a relief! I’m still awaiting news of my pathology report from the biopsy they did, but I’ve learned no news in the medical industry is really good news. They are really quick to call you back and tell you if you have cancer. Trust me on this one. 

I’ve returned to my foot doctor. It took a good 8 weeks longer than the normal, healthy person but the hole in my foot has finally healed. Yay!!!

Yesterday, I went back to TX Oncology. It’s a scary place folks. I’ve tried over and over to tell myself I don’t have to have chemo, but my brain sees all the sights, smells all the smells, and as soon as I walk back for labs – panic sets in. It’s hard to get it to believe we aren’t playing the chemo game anymore. It’s awful! I never suffered from anxiety before chemo. It’s a horrible mental battle I have to fight now! Five vials of blood later I walked out the door knowing it’s another waiting game. Another game of wait-and-see to ensure no breast cancerous cells have decided to reproduce again in some other place in my body. I think the only thing worse than being told you have cancer the first time might be being told it is back. No! Please, no! Holding onto faith that God’s got all this and His will is good for me no matter what the results are. 

This morning, I return to my endocrinologist’s office for my six month STIM test. This is not a fun test. You get your blood drawn. Get a shot of adrenaline. Wait a few minutes. Get your blood drawn again. Wait a few minutes. Get your blood drawn again. Wait a few minutes. Get your blood drawn again. Wait a few minutes. Get your blood drawn again. By the time they are done with you, you feel like a pincushion. This test the response of my adrenal glands. The magic number is 25. I haven’t reached that number without the use of steroids since I was diagnosed with Addison’s Disease in 2012. My doctor tripled my steroid dose two weeks ago in the hopes of helping me cope with the extreme fatigue. From what I can tell, I see/feel no changes in my level of energy. Grouchiness? Yay, I’m becoming a master of that. “The Hulk,” as my children jokingly refer to my steroid character, comes out way too often and I feel bad when I upset the people I love. Not a fan of steroids. I wish I could learn to live without them. Hoping answers for fatigue issues are not in an increase of more drugs. 

****UPDATE: Since I’m back on the heavy dose of steroids, no STIM test today just a cortisol check. Whew!

Thursday, I return to the hospital for a CT scan. Another test to prove cancer is gone and no blood clots have formed in my lungs. This is a precautionary test because of some “spots” found on my scan in August. Before cancer to hear there are some “spots” we want to watch wasn’t really that nerve racking in comparison to just the mention of “spots” after a cancer diagnosis. Oh, that demon called anxiety. I wonder if God gets tired of me calling out to Him to chase that monster away?

Next week, I’ll return to my endocrinologist’s office to receive the results of my STIM and TCH tests. Hopefully, we will be able to figure out a way to combat the fatigue and get my body strong enough to handle all the surgeries coming up without going through this valley of weakness again. 

A week from now, I’ll return to TX Oncology to see my breast oncologist and have my port flushed. She’ll go over all my labs, and we will discuss how we will proceed. I’m praying it’s in God’s will that I go on “watch” which just means I return in 6 months for blood work and a checkup. I’m also hoping we are to a “safe” point where taking out my port becomes an option. As long as this port stays in my chest, I know they fear the risk of a relapse. I don’t like that lack of confidence.

By that time, I could possibly have a new grand baby to celebrate. My car might be out of the shop. And then it’s time to celebrate my favorite holiday – Thanksgiving!

Today as I jogged for the first time in nearly a year, I was reminded of God’s greatness. For this, I am thankful. 

About courage2conquercancer

At the age of 40, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. This is an account of my journey from my discovery and beyond.
This entry was posted in Addison's Disease, After chemo, biopsy, chemo, faith, Remission, side effects and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to November 10, 2015: Just Breathe

  1. Now I must switch to the more expensive Arrimedex instead of Tamoxifen sooner! But with it I have to deal with the lesser evil of osteoporosis and arthritis!


  2. I know another cancer patient who had hysterectomy already but the Oncologist still prescribed Tamoxifen.


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