Am still relieved that I am ok after this week's tests, the post-herceptin tests. Had a chest x-ray, an abdominal and pelvic scan, a muga scan and a myriad of blood tests. My muga is down. To 60 when it was in the 70s pre-treatment so the treatment has affected my heart but as it is still within normal range, I am fine. Another example of why being healthy and relatively fit is important. As bizarre as it sounds, if you are healthy and get cancer (yes, it can happen, I am proof), then the treatment is easier.
The Yoga Man berated me for my facebook posting. I wrote that I had breezed through treatment and was now 100%. He said neither are true. But really, in retrospect it does feel like I breezed through treatment and only having four chemo sessions was nothing. Well, a little. And compared to having cancer, I am now 100%. Yes, it is a reprieve for three months when I see the oncologist again (and have to have blood tests but no more scans till January). But I feel so much more relaxed inside me.
And yes, have some side-effects from the tamoxifen I am on, and yes, it's all fine when I am not experiencing them (like at this second). but really, can cope.
Less sure about my arm. Yes, will admit that the thought of lymphedema throws me into despair. Will actually go so far as to say was depressed about it last week. And I am not a depressed person. Funny that. Always thought I was a misery till I got cancer. My mom used to say to me - smile, and see if your face cracks - but really, I might not smile a lot but even if I am miserable, and even when I wake up I sometimes feel like I don't want to get up, once I am up I am as bouncy and cheerful and energetic - to the point of driving people around me quite crazy.
Last week was an exception. Was depressed about my arm. couldn't sleep, had terrible thoughts and was pretty uptight right through my birthday weekend in Durban. I feel as if lymphedema is a disability and I don't want to wear a compression sleeve. Don't mind sometimes; but not permanently. Unfortunately, if I develop lymphedema - am borderline now - I won't have a choice.
The Yoga Man commented how it's bizarre that my looks and image are important to me, yet I keep getting illnesses that affect my looks. First got thyroid with thyroid eye disease and my eyes bulged and were puffy, so bad that I often wore dark glasses and once it settled down, had an op to have the excess skin removed. Eye still bulges now but no longer hassled about it. Yeah, I don't look the same but it's ok.(Oh, and hardly incidental, but both the thyroid and the cancer treatment have made me gain weight.)
Now I have an arm problem. The irony this week was that now my 'affected' arm is thinner than my other arm, but that was from wearing the sleeve and from having that special tape on.
Have not been able to do lymph massage all week, but have worn the sleeve for more than a week now and guess what? Have survived. But part of why it's ok is that I am pretty sure that when I see The Lymph Lady again on Wednesday, she will tell me I can take it off. Hope so. She spoke about wearing it one day on, then one day off until I determine how my arm is.
As my blocked nose does not appear to be getting better - not serious, only an issue cos of the lymph and my arm - she has now said (sms-ed her yesterday) that I must do two days of half-the-time lymph massage, then see how I am. Going to wear the sleeve till I see her this week. Luckily it is not too hot here in Joburg - actually surprisingly cold - so wearing long sleeves is not so bad for now. Took out all my longsleeved cotton t-shirts (I never wear tailored shirts although I do have one in my cupboard), and just wearing those. So far ok.
Sjoe - but that was a long stream of consciousness. Still want to write about what The Tango Man said about exercise, but will leave that for another day.