So, it’s been quite a lot of #waitingroomfeet over the past few week or so…
I had an Echocardiogram last Tuesday, and an MRI scan last Wednesday. I was told the echo was fine whilst in the clinic – but the MRI – I was due to see Dr C on 20th Jan – too long to wait, so I asked when I would know! And the results had already come back yesterday – still stable/NEAD, so likely to be 6 months before I next go into the Smartie tube:
I’m now onto my 11th treatment of Herceptin and Perjeta (or whatever their non-Brand name equivalents probably are!). This nearly didn’t happen on Monday because I looked so downtrodden and tired – honestly am a bit fed-up of all the side-effects (insomnia, fatigue, painful skin breakouts/cracked or peeling skin, bloody nose, impaired concentration, peripheral neuropathy, peeling nails, nausea, aching bones, indigestion, speedy stomach, etc.) but also I want to get on with the treatment, especially as I’m having a break in the Spring (otherwise I’ll be on it every 3 weeks til it stops working – about 5 years seems to be a good run on this drug). After a couple of hours waiting, checking of protocol for the drugs I’m on, blood sugar test, we decided to go ahead.
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Last time we tried a boost of Vitamin B, and some glycerin/almond oil/olive oil mix … this time we’re trying Doxycyxline, and a day later, with much smothering of moisturiser – already some improvement…
I had another Zoladex (to shut down my ovaries) – there’s just one more of these to go before my operation on 12th December to remove my ovaries .. moving from chemical menopause to surgical menopause:
2 weeks after my last appointment I was back in for a check-up, to see if the sleeve/glove I’d been given have been doing anything much to deal with what is, thankfully, mild lymphoedema. I’ve worn both most days, had a couple of days when not worn anything at all, and couple of days where I’ve just worn the glove. I’ve also been remembering to do the cream ‘massage’ every evening.
Whatever I’m doing, apparently it is working. Using that super technology – a biro, a tape measure, and a sheet of paper/calculator, apparently I’ve lost about 100ml of fluid (out of around 300ml), and my forearm is down to its expected size … hand has gone down quite a bit, so it’s the upper arm to particularly work upon. She said that the most important thing is to keep it all moving (which is why long flights are problematic), so having decided I was too busy to stop, I ended up stopping for a shortish walk round Reddish Vale:
I’ll see her again in February to see how it’s doing, but for now, it’s remembering to get up and stretch and move around. Rylan on BBC Radio 2 helping with that today 🙂
I’m thankfully still being given access to counselling (every 4 weeks, at least til the next operation is done), and this one was all about talking through the feeling of overwhelm … trying to fit in treatment, food/exercise, friends, work and all sorts – and with the deadline of the operation flying at me! As always the topic of self-compassion comes up, and the need to ‘prove my worth’ (this time we equated that to grace), and the pressure to squeeze everything in – when I just keep falling asleep!
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.