Beating Breast Cancer – Weekly Update #13

Beating Breast Cancer as a Thirty-Something - Weekly Update #13

I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and have decided to blog about my journey.  If you need to catch up on my story, please check out this page for the chronological list of posts.

Cancer treatment has impacted my body’s ability to fight off illness, so when Mr. Blue Eyes (or possibly Ladybug) brought home a cold and I started showing similar symptoms last Sunday, I knew I might be in for a rough week.

I still tried to remain optimistic.  At first it was just a few days of sore throat and tickly cough, so I thought I would avoid the gross head congestion.  Turns out that a sore throat, when coupled with chemo nausea and an aversion to water, can really impact hydration.  I knew that I wasn’t getting enough to drink, plus I threw up a couple of times, and then to top it all off my migraines (of which I’ve only had a handful since changing my diet) returned and I had two auras in less than 12 hours.  I went ahead and called the cancer center to see what could be done.  I had previously been told to not take anything that could reduce my fever (like Tylenol or Advil) because I am supposed to track my temperature and call if it gets to 100.5.  That’s a big deal in the cancer world and over-the-counter pain killers can mask that low grade fever.  But between the cold, the remaining chemo nausea, and now the migraines, I was feeling pretty miserable and I wanted to get some relief.

So the lovely ladies at the cancer center saved the day.  First, they got the green light from the nurse practitioner for me to take some ibuprofen for the migraine (they asked what normally took the edge off and luckily ibuprofen is enough for me).  Then they set up a time for me to come up for some IV fluids.  Since I was in the early stages of the crud, I had to wear a mask to keep my germs away from the other cancer patients.

The nurse took my vitals and I was definitely showing signs of dehydration – loss of weight, change in heart rate and blood pressure upon standing, etc.  So I had an infusion of one liter of fluid over two hours and then I was on my way.  They offered to have me come in the next day for more fluids if I needed them, but I told them that I had my next appointment with the plastic surgeon on Wednesday and I wasn’t going to miss that for the world!

Wednesday’s appointment was late in the afternoon, so Mr. Blue Eyes was able to leave work early and we picked up the kids from school, a few minutes before their scheduled early release, to make the trip to Portland.  My cough was still out of control (I had been up most of the night before, coughing and hacking).  Luckily, I was able to stop coughing long enough to sit still for the expansion.  My sleep-deprived, sick self had a tear-filled morning of “why does cancer make life so hard?”, so a trip to the city with my little family and a visit to my awesome plastic surgeon was a lovely boost to the spirits.

The plastic surgeon said my skin continues to look great and my scars, even though they are still dark pink, are healing nicely and will be masked well by the nipple reconstruction down the road.  He also said that my expanders are in a good location for my chest wall.  After my expansion, he topped it all off by saying that I am getting a nice shape.  Say what, doc?!  Granted, my SIZE is closer to that of a tween-age girl than a 33 year-old mother of three, but that little compliment about my improving SHAPE had me itching to go out and buy a training bra to celebrate. 🙂

By Thursday night, the congestion and fever arrived (I had stopped taking pain meds for my head because I was feeling better).  It never quite hit 100.5, but it got awfully close.  Before bed, I ran out to the store and got some cough syrup because I was bound and determined not to have another sleepless night (I didn’t take any Nyquil because I needed to watch the fever).  When I woke up on Friday morning feeling just as crummy, I took my temperature and got 100.9.  I figured it was time to call the cancer center again.  This time, the nurse practitioner gave me the green light to take over-the-counter medication for my cold symptoms, so I started taking Dayquil and Nyquil.  She also reminded me to drink extra fluids (luckily, by now I was able to handle water).

I finished off the week still fighting my symptoms.  This cold is super annoying, but I am grateful that it is under control. My main concern is that my labs will look good enough for chemo on Monday.  I’m not sure what a cold like this will do to my blood counts, and I really don’t want anything to stand in the way of getting my last AC treatment on time.  I am so excited to be at the end of this part of my journey and I am ready to switch to the “easier” chemo.

Keep Reading —> Weekly Update #14 (April 17, 2017) {Last Round of AC Chemo}

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