Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Halfway there!

I completed my third round of chemo today and it was my best experience so far -- not that the first two were bad. But today was very special because it started with a Facetime session with my sister Patricia. It is so good to be able to actually see her when we are talking - even if it is first thing in the morning and I am waiting for my chemo infusion. It makes me feel like she is here with me although she lives almost 1000 miles away. It's comforting.

Then I had a good (new) friend join me for lunch during my chemo session. "M" brought lunch from Panera's, we had a wonderful conversation and got to know one another just a little bit better which is always a great thing. She's been there, done that with breast cancer and is a five year survivor. "M," thank you so much! I am so glad that we have connected -- and next time -- lunch is on me. Period. No arguments!

I also met with my oncologist today who gave me a high five for how well I am doing. She was happy to hear that I am tolerating the chemo well and listened to my complaints about the fluid retention. She admitted it was one of the most common side effects of the taxotere and wrote me a script for Lasix (a prescription diuretic) which I will start taking this weekend. She wants me to go slowly by taking just a half of a pill and see how I feel.

Her main concern is that I lose too much fluid and too much potassium. But since I eat a pretty healthy diet which includes a banana almost every day and lots of broccoli, she thought I would be okay with taking it. I sure hope it works!

"Female problems alert" -- if there are any men reading this blog (are there any? I hope not!) -- please divert your eyes. I warned you!

The oncologist expected that my period would end once I started chemo. Everything I've read says pretty much the same thing. I guess I am the exception to the rule. Not only has it not ended, it's gotten worse. Way worse.

I asked the oncologist if it would be possible to shut down my ovaries with an injection of Lupron. She thought it was a good idea and gave me an injection today. I will have an injection once a month until I finish chemo and go on hormonal therapy which is tamoxifen. Tamoxifen is an oral chemotherapy which shuts down the ovaries in pre-menopausal breast cancer patients who are ER positive (me).

I will take tamoxifen until I decide when to have my hysterectomy. Even after a hysterectomy, I will still need to be on a hormonal therapy which is a slightly different class of drug called an aromatase inhibitor. This drug is given to post-menopausal breast cancer patients or those who have had their ovaries removed. It is also slightly more effective than tamoxifen.

Either way, I am really looking forward to not going through a 14 day-plus cycle every month. It is really putting a damper on my (love) life! I already have hot flashes so it can't be that big of a difference. We'll see how it goes.

My hope is that if I lose this bloat and stop having periods from hell, I will feel decent through my next three rounds of chemo. Fingers are crossed. Prayers are said. Positive energy is sent into the Universe. I do believe someone is listening!

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