Just diagnosed with breast cancer - page 6

Here is one I have not seen before...I am going into my last semester (2 exams, 2 clinicals and 2 weeks to go this semester) of NS and have just been diagnosed with bilatereral breast cancer. I am... Read More

  1. by   Testa Rosa, RN
    So glad to hear you are healing nicely. I've been waiting to hear about you. What a good decision your bilateral was. Be good to your arms while practicing nursing/ADL's as lymphadema can crop up years after a surgery like this. Gentle hugs to you!

    For me, the first chemo was not so bad....but sometimes if things will go wrong they tend to go wrong with the first bout. For me the first bout went smoothly, I developed a port infection the next day and it started a downward spiral from there....but I am a read-head and according to my oncology nurses and their superstitions/lore/myths, red-heads can be the most problematic. Probably not true, but a fun way of putting a spin on everything that went wrong with me.

    Between my breast cancer support group friends, we found that it was the cummulative effect of chemo that drags you down....hopefully with only four dances on your card it won't drag you down so much. I will wish this for you.

    Eat all your favorite foods now. I would get a horrible metalic taste right after getting infused with the "red devil" that wouldn't go away until a couple days before my next dance with chemo. This metalic taste seemed to get worse with each bout and it took a year for it to go away completely. My mother was a professional chef and I have good taste buds, so maybe I am more sensitive than most...but half of my BC sisters reported same.

    So, fill up on your favorites now as they may not taste the same for awhile. I developed a taste for starchy foods like my kids Mac n Cheese and potato chips. It had to be really fatty, starchy and salty in order for me to taste anything. I gained about 30 lbs.

    I found that I did not need a "barf bag" after chemo--with the Aloxi (for nausea) and the Decadron (Steroid taken both orally starting three days prior and via IV before infusion), I was good to go....actually, oddly pumped after my first chemo. It was a couple days after once all the meds wore off that I ended up with nausea and bad constipation. The horrific nausea didn't settle in until my third or forth bout--so maybe you will have smooth sailing. I hope so. I soon found I needed to start with stool softners three days prior to chemo, along with my oral Decadron.

    Also, practice good oral care--and start rinsing with Biotene X3. I even had some Biotene gum. By the time you get to Radiation, you will be home free....well...or so I thought....nobody prepared me for how TIRED I would feel. But better than feeling sick and nauseous--right? Nobody could ever give me a good reason for this tired feeling either. Still wonder to this day why that is. Let me know if you ever get a good answer.

    As you can probably tell. Keeping tabs on you is therapy for me. I am still processing everything that happened to me then (having to wean my baby before we were ready in order to get someone to take my lump that was NOT a plugged milk duct seriously, waking up from a sick chemo daze to find my up to my 15 month old playing in the toilet, my father passing away in the middle of this three years after losing mom, my Ochem teacher nightmare forcing me to show up for a midterm I had no chance to study for with an IV infusion pump, my infected port leading to the Rx for massive amounts of blood thinners which caused me to hemorage when I started my cycle, the infections that robbed my hearing, the uterin ablation to stem the constant bleeding, the constant medical management of my special needs 13 year old falling by the wayside leading him to have a seizure in school, the handing over the yoke of my mothering to my husband who could barely manage working full time and our three kids and my subsequent resentment and anger when things feel by the way side, getting used to my maimed body, sinking so low that I had to rely on having people I did not really know that well preparing my meals and taking care of my kids....whew...could go on but will stop).

    Obviously, I am still recovering to this day. But, honestly, I am better for the experience. It has taught me so much and I value each precious day with my kids and know I must live a life with purpose. The journey to nursing school has been a positive and healing one for me. Stay strong, I have a good feeling that you will have a smooth course. I look forward to hearing from you again soon and promise I will not post this long!

    Many blessing on your journey.
  2. by   survivor08
    Thank you so much. Your posts mean so much to me. I have Biotene on hand and have a mixture of baking soda and water chilling in the fridge. I also had a good teeth cleaning on Monday. Tuesday I went and ate my favorite burger and onion rings that I usually deny myself and plan on having a pint of ice cream for supper tonight, that oughta take care of any constipation! I have stocked up on oatmeal,cheerios, 7-up and things that I like and are easy to eat just in case. I am also drinking lots of water per my oncologist.

    I found an awesome book "Just Get Me Through This! A Practical Guide to Coping with Breast Cancer" Deborah A. COhen and Robert M. Gelfand, M.D. I would recommend to anyone going through this and as a Nurse this is a good one to have on your shelf if Oncology nursing is for you. Really gives it you from your client's perspective.

    I too hope that with only 4 rounds I will make my way out of "the dance hall" without too many problems.

    "Talk" to ya'll soon.
  3. by   Sabby_NC
    Quote from RN2BNTN
    Hello Everyone,

    I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and for those of you in school a much needed break. I have done 5 study guides and have been practicing my clinical skills for my skills check on Tuesday and Med-Calc test is on Monday. My scars have healed nicely and my range of motion is great, if I do too much my armpits swell and my upper chest gets sore but it is so much better than I thought it would be.

    I found out through later patho reports that I actually had 11 nodes taken and that some cells were questionable as were some cells in my right breast..good thing I had the bilateral done.

    Tomorrow is the beginning of a whole new world for me..CHEMO. I will begin with some Aloxi for nausea then Decadron for any allergic reaction I may have followed by Cytoxan with a Taxotere chaser. (I wonder if I get a souvenior glass to take home after my cocktail) Good news is I will only need four rounds and hope to be through by mid March then on to 4-5 weeks of daily radiation. I could very well be done by graduation on May 2. I will keep you all posted on how the treatments go and how this whole thing will work with going to class.

    Happy New Year!!!!!Any body have a barf bag????
    Bless your heart.
    My love and prayers I send to you.
    Never lose that humor or fighting spirit ok? (hugs)
  4. by   Daytonite
    Quote from rn2bntn
    tomorrow is the beginning of a whole new world for me..chemo. i will begin with some aloxi for nausea then decadron for any allergic reaction i may have followed by cytoxan with a taxotere chaser. (i wonder if i get a souvenior glass to take home after my cocktail) good news is i will only need four rounds and hope to be through by mid march then on to 4-5 weeks of daily radiation. i could very well be done by graduation on may 2. i will keep you all posted on how the treatments go and how this whole thing will work with going to class.
    i've been getting aloxi and decadron as pre-medications for my chemo but i am on a different drug regimen because i had colon cancer. they tell me that the decadron is also to allay nausea. i sometimes ask them not to give it to me because it has sometimes made me feel very angry for several days or made me have weeping spells. i think my mother had the same drugs for her breast cancer that you are getting. she seemed to go through chemo without any problems. i, on the other hand, have one side effect after another that has pretty much side lined me. but i'm on 5-fu and oxaliplatin.

    i have to mention that my mother also had bilateral mastectomies. please understand that she had some mild dementia as well. she used to have a lot of fun "flashing" her chest since she didn't have boobs anymore and just laugh and laugh about it. the sad thing, for all who might be reading this, is that my mother didn't follow up on her mammograms like she was supposed to. she had a "questionable" one and waited 7 years before i finally told her, "you're having one done" and 3 tumors were found, two of a very aggressive kind of cancer. although she had bilateral mastectomies, chemo and radiation therapy, a year after the radiation therapy metastatic cancer was found in her lung when she started to have shortness of breath and she died a very short 6 weeks later. lesson:
    [font=courier new]get your mammograms done as recommended
    to be fearful, or aggravated by the discomfort, of the test itself is just stupid thinking compared to being alive.
  5. by   TakeTwoAspirin
    Even though you don't graduate until May, you are already an educator. You are teaching your classmates, and everyone who reads these posts, that there is hope, courage, bravery, grace, dignity, and even humor in illness and recovery. You truly are an inspiration, and you are in my thoughts and prayers.
  6. by   survivor08
    and please do your mse's..you know your body better than anyone. i had a mammogram right after finding my lump and it did not show up as anything suspicious!!!!!

    you are worth it....
  7. by   survivor08
    One down....Three to go. OK so I am warped. I laughed my way through chemo today. Granted when I hit that chair and looked around it was a bit overwhelming and I started to get a bit teary eyed but I just thought OK, I am here to kick butt on any little cells that are in me and I have gone to school for too long to let a microscopic litle $#@& stop me! I also brought along my friend that has the most entertainment value! We went through the education part, studied a little while for our clinical chek off on Tuesday and then I ran into an old friend I had not seen in a few years. She is on her 2nd go round for BC. The 3 of us laughed, told stories about the old days and wound up sitting there for 30 minutes after we were both infused.

    Our nurse had to tape our lines with extra tape to our arms as she was afraid we would pull them out as we both talk with our hands.

    That Decadron kicked in and I was hungry, out to lunch at PF Changs and then SHOE SHOPPING. I am all about retail therapy. My friend bought shoes, I bought socks, OK I am also practical and broke...After 2 1/2 hours in the mall and me talking non stop I think I wore her out and she had to bring me home. I think that if my chest and arms would let me I would have a very clean house right now.

    I know that the next few days will tell the real story, I am just going to enjoy feeling good right now.I hope all of you are too.

    Thanks for going on this journey with me. I will keep you updated. CLASS ON MONDAY...
  8. by   MissMelMcRN
    you are in my prayers! you are a strong willed person and i know you will make it though all of this! i've been/and am going through a family crisis and that's a be let-down, i cant imagine anything more than that!:hgu:
    god bless:wshgrt:

  9. by   Testa Rosa, RN
    Good to hear from you sister. Sounds like your first dance went well--isn't it weird how pumped it makes you....LOL, I did the same thing my first chemo, talked animated through out the first hour of my infusion then napped the rest of the time and then exhausted my husband shoe shopping. Once my hair fell out I would go hat shopping. Monday is school...that might be a low day too, but maybe not. Please let us know how you are doing. How are your taste buds today? So glad to hear your animated voice; I can tell you have your eyes on the prize and you are staying strong.

    I will say a prayer that you have a good week ahead. Bertolozzi
  10. by   Daytonite
    It's the Benadryl that puts you to sleep during the chemo. At my chemo sessions it seems like all the other patients (along with me) have gotten it and after the first 30 minutes of our infusions most of us are napping. Nice job for the oncology nurse--we're all sleeping! No complaints from the patients. All she has to do is keep an eye on our IVs! Every once in awhile I've seen the doc stand at the doorway in between seeing patients and "survey" the chemo room if I am awake. I think, "the king looking over the kingdom."
  11. by   Testa Rosa, RN
    Thanks Day!

    Forgot about the antihist....Always wondered why I would get so nappy during chemo--it's not like those infusion chairs were cozy. Felt bad for whomever wanted to come and support me. I would start out pumped the first hour, and then sleep for two hours while my pal read a Field and Stream mag from 1989. Then they would get me home and I would talk them to death while cleaning house.

    Any thoughts as to why you are so energetic the first couple days after? ...I think it's all the roids, cuz the anti nausea meds made me sleepy when taken by themselves. Also, any thoughts as to why radiation makes you so tired? It was only zapping my maimed tits. I nursed with those things after many sleepless nights and was way less tired!

    And oh those roids....got into a huge fight with my best friend at a time I needed her the most...and she needed me too (she wasn't perfect and had done some things...but she was newly orphaned too and was separating from her Dr. husband and she was gong thru major mental health issues at the time). It's funny how we were able to patch things up once I stopped taking the steroids.

    And, how are you'all doing sister RN2B in TN? I'm sending you positive vibes via Bob Marley's song, "Don't worry about a thing; every little thing.....gonna be alright."

    Let us know how Sunday/Monday goes for you.

    And, positive vibes to all the other chemo sisters and brothers--LIVE STRONG!
  12. by   NESS2bNURSE
    First, let me say that you are amazing and an inspiration! I was wondering if I could ask you (or anyone else) what your process was to being diagnosed (diagnostic procedures)? You said that you had a mammogram after finding your lump and it didn’t show up as anything suspicious. I felt a lump in my left breast about 4 weeks ago and had an ultrasound yesterday on it and the radiologist said that it was nothing to be worried about, just normal breast tissue. How can that be? I understand that it isn’t a cyst, but how can my primary MD, the ultrasound tech and myself feel a lump that is so obviously a lump and it be normal breast tissue? I weaned my daughter 10 weeks ago and I know that it is not a clogged duct (she is not my first). It doesn’t move and it has not gone away. I guess what I’m asking is should I just leave the results as that or should I press for more diagnostic procedures (baseline mammogram) to be done to put me more at ease? I’m not asking for medical advise, but I am asking for an opinion on this issue because I am somewhat confused as to how I should proceed from here.
    By the way, I walked the breast cancer 3-day two months ago and met the most amazing women…what an inspiration (we also raised 12.2 million dollars over those 3 days!!). I wish you the best J.
  13. by   jazzyrosetta
    God bless you and keep up the positive attitude, I admire that.