I want to say the last two weeks have been smooth like ‘butta (‘butta looks way cooler than butter), but they have been interesting to say the least. Last week I was super excited, the worst thing I had going on early in the week was being exhausted and my sore back. By the end of the week my back was feeling great and the only radiation side effect I had going on was being tired (my nausea and reflux were mostly being managed fine with medication).
Most of my visits involved a check-in online and mentions of “pew pew pew’ing” cancer cells and #diecancerdie. I am classy.
My list of side effects for this radiation treatment reminded me of chemo. Vomiting, diarrhea, reflux, sore throat, sore everything…
Fast forward to this week. I had another news appearance early Monday morning right before my radiation appointment. I was doing mostly ok, but started not feeling well by the end of the day and that night I was hunched over in pain. Tuesday morning I was intense pain when I went to my appointment. My insides felt like they were on fire! Not only was I in pain, but they were late getting me on the machine and I had a meeting I was trying to get to – they then let me know I was seeing the doctor that day. I had a tiny meltdown… I think being in pain and overwhelmed with trying to keep up with life can do that to you. My meltdown mostly involved some crying. I was frustrated that they didn’t let me know what my schedule would be so I could plan around it, I am a planner, when I can’t plan my world is askew! This wasn’t my finest moment.
I saw my radiation oncologist who was really nice about everything and asked if people at work knew about what was going on, I told her that they did and everyone has been super understanding, but I hate being unreliable. I also realized I probably shouldn’t show up on the news talking about having stage 4 breast cancer if I don’t want people to know (apparently people at my company actually watch the 6 AM news 😉 ).
She gave me a medication you use for ulcers called Carafate on top of the Zofran I am taking for nausea and the Prilosec I am taking for the reflux from radiation. She recommended I take my pain meds and carry on.
When I did eventually get to work I realized I just wasn’t in shape to work in the office. I didn’t feel well at all, and the pain was too intense to not make horrific faces. I went home and put myself on a pain regimen the rest of the week (which just means I am taking pain medication on a schedule). Pain management is one of those funny things you learn a lot about in the world of cancer treatment. If you let pain get ahead of you, you spend too much time (and many more medications, trying to wrestle it to a manageable place). I don’t like taking pain meds regularly (I am almost embarrassed to talk about taking them, although lortabs aren’t wildly exciting). Each morning I wake up and am reminded why I have been taking meds on a regular schedule. My pain is mostly managed doing this, and I am calling it “short term pain for long term gain.” My back is feeling much much better.
I am grateful to have a job that has flexibility that allows me to get work done from home, but the past two weeks have taken a bit out of me. I wouldn’t have stayed functional at work with my back feeling the way it did, so I am glad we did it. I will still be “radiating” into next week, but I am seriously hoping my digestive system gets a break here soon and can start healing.
So what is next? Tuesday I meet with my oncologist to figure out what we are going to do about that HER2/nue issue, official plans regarding my estrogen (surgery is still scheduled for the 25th), and if I have to get more infusions, I am going to have to give in and get a port, which is another minor surgery. So that is the plan, for now..