Thursday, April 24, 2014

Slow going

It's been 10 days today since surgery.  I am still not feeling super great.  I was told that it could take several weeks before I start to feel better.  My surgery was Monday of last week.  On Thursday (last week) I called my doctor's office because I felt like I had a UTI.  I went in and they put my on another antibiotic.  (I was already on an antibiotic for the surgery)  On Saturday, I was just not feeling good.  Major UTI symptoms and I was leaking a lot of urine.  Just what everyone wants.  (Sorry, too much information).

I made the decision to call the doctors office and talk to whoever was on-call.  The doctor that answered was not the one that did my surgery.  I started explaining to him what was going on and all my symptoms.  It was like I was just talking to myself.  When I would pause, I would hear nothing.  No sounds of "okay", "yes", no questions, nothing.  He finally said, "I don't understand what the emergency is."  I told him that it wasn't exactly an emergency, but that I wanted to know if it was fairly normal, or if I needed to be doing something about it, or be seen.

When I hung up the phone I was fuming mad.  If you looked closely, I'm sure you would have seen steam coming out of my ears.  The doctor was absolutely no help and just gave me a lame, brush off answer.  I was so mad, and after a minute I called him RIGHT BACK.  I basically gave him a piece of my mind.  I told him that it may not be a big deal to HIM, but to ME it was a big deal.  I said, "Do you think I am just sitting at home with nothing to do, so I decided to call you?"  I let him have it for several minutes.  I did not hold back.  He then started apologizing and answered my questions and offered to go to the office and meet me.  I didn't end up going in.  I felt like he needed to know that he should be a little more helpful and kind when a patient calls in with questions.  It's not like I was wanting him to prescribe me drugs or was asking anything hard of him.

At the end of the phone call I apologized and explained to the doctor that I have been going through breast cancer treatments and that it's been a rough year.  But, I didn't completely let him off the hook.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another Surgery

Yesterday morning I went to the hospital for another surgery.  Reason being, I was put on the drug Tamoxifen after I finished my chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Tamoxifen is an antagonist of the estrogen receptor in breast tissue
  • Some breast cancer cells require estrogen to grow
  • Tamoxifen is currently used for the treatment of both early and advanced ER+ (estrogen receptor positive) breast cancer (I tested ER+)
  • Tamoxifen can hurt fertilized eggs (embryos) so don't take it if you are already pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant, stop taking Tamoxifen and contact your doctor right away. In lab studies on pregnant animals, Tamoxifen has caused birth defects, miscarriage, and prevented fertilized eggs from attaching to the wall of the uterus.
Last time I met with my oncologist he encouraged me to have a permanent procedure done so that I would not get pregnant while on Tamoxifen.  We had a discussion on whether or not I was even considering having more children.  I have always wanted to have another baby or maybe even two.  I have not had any success in that department since I had my last child (who just recently turned 9).  I am also now 42, and will be taking Tamoxifen for 10 years.  I came to the conclusion that it was time to be done, and decided that I better do something about it, before I accidentally got pregnant. 

I decided to have surgery and get 3 different procedures done while under anesthesia.  I had a lubal ligation, ablation, and also a bladder repair.  (Chemotherapy kind of messed me up, hence the ablation and bladder repair.)

I got to the hospital at 10:00 am, and was very nervous.  I feel like I am still trying to regain strength and energy from the chemo and radiation.  I was also nervous because I hate surgery.  I hate waking up from anesthesia.  I wasn't sure how hard this surgery would be on me.  I am still recovering from the breast cancer surgery which took place 9 months ago.  It was SUCH a painful surgery.

The surgery started about 12:00 and took about an hour and a half.  After surgery, I spent time in recovery, and was able to go home later that afternoon.  It was nice to be able to go home to recover and rest.

My stomach has 2 small incisions that are tender and I have stomach cramps, but other then that, I am feeling pretty good.  I am just tired and taking it easy.  This surgery seems SOOOO easy after what I have been through (breast cancer surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation).

I was told to take it easy for 6-8 weeks and not do any heavy lifting, vacuuming, laundry, grocery shopping, yard work, etc.  It is going to be tough to not do those things.  I guess my kids are going to learn some things pretty quick around here.  I have a feeling that this place is going to get quiet messy.  Oh joy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

On the mend

Last week I went to my follow up appointment with my radiologist.  As we talked--he told me that he normally doesn't need to see a patient again after their follow up appointment, but because my skin is still very much in the healing process, he would like to see me again in 6 months.  (You can see a picture of the burn in the previous post).  I still have many scabs and some healing to do.  He once again voiced that he was surprised how quickly I started to burn in the treatment process.

It's been 34 days since I finished my radiation treatments.  I am starting to feel more energy, but still not yet totally full of energy.  My surgery was 260 days ago, and my last round of chemotherapy was 111 days ago.  I still cannot believe that I made it though it all and am now on the other side of it.  What a year of craziness!

There are times that I feel a little depressed and frustrated, because I now have "a new normal".  (I try not to let it get the best of me).  My new normal includes a numb left upper arm and armpit, poor circulation in my left arm, and lymphedema issues.  Not to mention a pill that I have to take for the next 10 years that causes some serious aches and pains.  I'm dealing with the crazy hair growing in and such, it's just hard to be okay with the things that will never go away in this lifetime.  Having said that, I'm HAPPY to be alive and well!

I have learned so much going through this trial.  I have learned things that I could not have possibly learned any other way.  I have fasted and prayed more earnestly and have felt closer to my Heavenly Father than ever before.  So I guess I can say, this trial has been a blessing.