With breast cancer, women are usually looking out one of three options: either (a) they do not need surgery, (b) they are able to have breast-conserving surgery, or (c) they have to have a mastectomy.
The words ‘breast cancer’ strike fear in a woman’s heart. Once you have a diagnosis of breast cancer, however, comes the reality that at some point, at least one surgery will be in your future.
I’ve discussed previously adjuvant therapy for breast cancer. There are two classifications for cancer treatments: adjuvant and neoadjuvant. Neoadjuvant therapy is treatment administered prior to primary therapy.
While there are many different types of drugs used to treat different types of cancer, the actual method of chemotherapy treatment falls into one of two classifications: adjuvant and neoadjuvant.
Everyone is focused on taking care of you, and for most of us, there is that one person, or maybe two, that really focus on taking care of us. What people fail to realize is that cancer doesn’t just drain the patient, it drains the caretaker, too.
Chemotherapy causes a wide variety of side effects, the specificity of which varies from medication to medication. One side effect that accompanies some types of chemotherapy treatments is headaches that can range in severity from a regular headache to a migraine.
For the three months that I was receiving Adriamycin, I also had to come in the day following each treatment to receive a Neulasta injection. Neulasta is a drug called pegfilgrastim.
Hearing the words “you have breast cancer” is devastating enough, but when you have bipolar disorder, it is a double whammy.
When going through chemotherapy, nausea and vomiting are typically part of the process. As a result, many oncologists will prescribe anti-nausea medications, or antiemetics, as a preemptive measure for managing nausea induced by the chemotherapy.
Although it is not legal to smoke the natural plant form of this substance in many states, there is a synthetic form available in pill form called Marinol (Dronabinol) that is legal in every state by prescription only.
About a week and a half after my second round of Adriamycin, I had a very scary wake-up call. Although one of the side effects of one of my nausea medications was appetite stimulation, I was still not very good at eating the way I should.
As my chemotherapy treatments continued, I began to notice symptoms of menopause appear. I became short tempered, my periods stopped altogether, and I began to have insomnia and hot flashes. This is not uncommon with chemotherapy treatments.
In the two weeks that followed my second chemotherapy treatment, I progressively got more tired and weak. I was still working part time, but when I came home from work, I was so tired, all I could do was lay on the couch and rest.
The Thursday before my second round of chemotherapy, my hair started falling out. I was 16 days after my first treatment. It was emotionally traumatic, even though I had already cut off most of the length.
There are different types of prostheses that come with cancer, and some you may not even realize qualify as a prosthetic device.
I had four types of insurance when I got sick: traditional major
medical, disability insurance, a supplement hospitalization bridge
policy and cancer insurance.
On the Monday after my first Adriamycin chemotherapy treatment, I had a
physical exam from my oncologist. The doctor sat down with me first and
asked how I was coping with the whole cancer concept in general, and how
I was feeling overall.
I didn’t choose breast cancer…it chose me. Now, it was time to fight it. Just 8 days after officially being diagnosed with breast cancer, I received my first dose of chemotherapy. It was a Tuesday.
A port is used in place of a traditional IV for patients who will have to have IV treatments on a routine basis. This is routine for oncology and hematology patients.
In recognition of breast cancer awareness month, I would like to share my journey with breast cancer, in the hope that it might help other women navigate their own journey through this disease.