So many patients have asked why I haven’t sent an update recently. The last of this treatment was the hardest and I just wasn’t feeling positive enough to post. Spoiler alert: this is very long!
I was scheduled after surgery for 30 radiation treatments. Everyone told me ahead of time I was through the worst and it would be a piece of cake. Unfortunately this was not the case. The first few weeks were tolerable minus the fatigue, but by then I had mastered the art of sleeping 10-12 hours per night but by the 20th treatment or so. I developed terrible burns under my arm which were extremely painful. We switched up my schedule and did the direct dose smaller areas for 5 days but ultimately they cut my treatment short. My radiation doc assured me I had received adequate radiation and would be ok. After stopping the burns turned into a lovely infection which was also in a very hard to ignore area.
I took a few weeks to heal and had physical therapy to avoid developing lymphedema and focused on the infection clearing and dealing with the neuropathy I had developed on the bottom of my feet. Not much to do but add large doses of gabapentin which helped a little. I started on my estrogen blocker pill (there are many different ones…I am on Arimidex) and thankfully did not incur too many side effects. I knew I was going to also start another drug called Verzenio which has been used for metastatic breast cancer and in side studies had been shown to reduce recurrence in patients who have had positive lymph nodes as I did.
I took a wonderful week before starting and met my son in Puerto Rico to celebrate finishing treatment. It was very relaxing, a lot of pool
and beach time, tons of sleep and great food and I came home refreshed and ready for life to get back to normal.
Unfortunately, there was a problem with the way this new medicine was prescribed and I was started on a very high dose. I was expecting diarrhea as they told me 94% of patients developed it but I was not prepared for how badly this medicine would make me feel. After 2-3 weeks of what I consider the worst part of my treatment since this started, worse than chemo, surgery, or radiation and many days in bed and many days canceling patients, I am on a lower dose and putting my strength into believing I will start to feel better again and continue my road to recovery.
I cannot thank my staff enough for having my back and sending me home when needed. My patients for understanding the Last second cancelations. My family and friends for their never ending love and support. I am truly lucky to have a practice filled with patients who take care of me and love me as much as I love them. Palmetto Women’s Health is exactly what I envisioned 14 years ago, not just a place to see patients but a family. I am so proud of it and I can never thank all of you for the daily support, cards, flowers, food, and finally now that we are vaccinated, the long missed hugs.
I will continue to get better and I have some scans coming up to show that I am cancer free. I promise to share as soon as I know. And lastly, I finally said goodbye to my wigs and I am embracing my crazy curly hair.
All my love to everyone. This journey would have been impossible without you.
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