Monday, March 30, 2009

A tally after third chemo treatment for breast cancer

Today is exactly one week after my third chemo treatment for breast cancer. I still don't know how many more chemo treatments I still have to go through but as far as I know it is either one or three more. Neither do I know which treatment follows this chemo or whether or not I need an operation, or the nature of the op should it be needed, and quite frankly my doctor The Tango Man has not determined it yet. Think it has a lot to do with the fact that I don't have a primary tumour, in fact, no tumour can be seen in the breasts itself even with MRI testing, but the cancer has spread to two lymph nodes below my left armpit.
Thought it might be useful to do a tally of where I stand right now:
* Not feeling great today but not shit either.
* Have not had to take any anti-nausea medication today
* Have not taken diarrhea medication for about 10 days but went to the toilet three times today so not ideal
* No longer have cramps but carry the medication around just in case
* Have lost almost all my hair but there is fluffy regrowth on top which I have told 'peers' through a silk scarf (which I wear only when with close friends indoors, the rest of the time it is hats)
* Have lost most of my body hair but not all; shaved under my arms about a month ago and have not needed to again, the same with my legs, and the latest is my dwindling eyebrows for which my latest acquisition is a R210 Clarins eyebrow pencil which I think I prefer to the R400 pencil I bought which adds hair
* Have sore hands and arms below the elbow - apparently the veins are burnt by the chemo - and rub retrogel on twice a day and scream dramatically if anyone touches my hands or lower arms
* Have a mouth ulcer which keeps moving its spot and am overdosing on the pretty yucky yellow emulsion which treats it
* Am tired if overexert myself, eg, visit five shops in a row in different areas on a Saturday morning - then need to sleep for hours
* Did not eat properly for about five weeks and lost weight, now have not stopped eating for two weeks and have gained weight - overall, no longer have any idea what I like eating or do actually eat
* Have some muscles else would not be able to sit and/or walk but essentially have no mucle tone - my thighs are jelly, my upper arms a mess, my neck is losing its elasticity, even my back is softer as there is no/little underlying muscle and generally I am on a quick pathway to instant ageing.

Next time someone asks how I am, feel tempted to say: "Considering I am on a programme of systematic poisoning, not doing too badly and bearing up, thank you!"

* My nails have developed ridges and my cuticles are a mess

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