Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pink Ribbons - I hate Taxotere!

Pink Ribbons is a feature series I have started that is posted every Thursday.  I am a Pink Ribbon Warrior, having gone through the chemo, surgery, radiation, the year of waiting and recently stage 2 reconstruction...which I find is really the first of many little surgeries.  I am at a place in my life where I am willing to open my journal from that time and share with you my anger, fears, challenges and pain of finding out you have cancer.   These are not current events.  This is me sharing with you from the other side of breast cancer.

August 23, 2010

I can hardly breathe.  Not because I can't but because it hurts so much.  I have been caught unaware by this pain.  Absolutely everything in my body hurts.  What have I done to myself?  What is happening?

Last night I had some mild pain and I think I was in bed by 8 pm.  I felt great all weekend, then last night we stopped in at Walmart with grocery list.  I suddenly got weak and soooo fatigued that I stopped the go-cart and actually leaned over to rest my head on the handle bar.  I called Mr. Rosey on the cell phone and told him I needed help.  He was there in a flash and one look at my face, he just told me to give him the grocery list.  He said he'd finish picking up the items.  I parked the cart near the front and waited.  Some dear woman stopped to ask if I was okay.  I told her yes, I was just over tired, but my husband was in the store finishing our shopping.  I thanked her for her concern.  I won't tell you how seldom that happens.

So back to this morning.  I had an appointment to go to the clinic and get a "Neulasta" injection.  Neulasta is a special injection that churns up your bone marrow and makes it produce new blood cells. Dr. Joe was conflicted on whether to give it to me, but opted to go ahead.  I'm young *yay* in cancer standards, but I'm diabetic *boooo* so he decided I needed the injection.  During the night I tossed and turned.  I was so tired that I never really awoke fully, but Mr. R tells me I moaned nearly all night.  The alarm went off, and I lurched to the bathroom.  It was on the way around the corner that I realized my muscles were burning and felt heavy.  I called out his name and he was there in a flash...I simply couldn't straighten up without every muscle screaming in pain.

It took a lot of his assistance to help me dress, get me into the truck and up to the clinic.  Even more help to get me into the chemo room.  One of the nurses came trotting over.  Yes, I looked that bad.  She sat next to me and asked questions and I described the intense muscle burn, the ache and the challenge of moving any part of my body.  She frowned and told me to sit tight, I wasn't supposed to feel like this until AFTER the injection.  She went to cal Dr. Joe's nurse, Robin.

Robin took a look at me and called Dr. Joe down to the clinic.  He gave me the once over and then informed me that I had "won the lottery."  Approximately 20% of people who take Taxotere will experience extreme muscle pain and ache.  I was demonstrating how extreme it could be.  He suggested I stop and play Powerball on my way to fill the several scripts of pain relievers, as I had hit the odds on this drug.  He prescribed a couple drugs and told me if the pain remained as severe, to call and he'd order more.  The narcotic pain meds knocked the pain levels down to a tolerable level but I was not pain free.  By day 10 the muscle pain level dramatically decreased.

However I found myself dealing with another side effect....extreme dryness.  When I say I dried up, I mean EVERYTHING dried up.  I became one huge flaking, itchy dry specter of myself.  Each step, I released both flakes of DNA and strands of hair.  I wasn't really losing my hair yet but the chemo had sucked all the shine, body and moisture out of my hair.  It now had the texture of straw.  Frankly I was ready to rid myself of it.  It stuck out all over and I started wearing hats to hide the horrid texture.

I hate Taxotere, but I hope it does it's job.

You never know what will happen next and next I will share about the wonderful effects of Neulasta and my very own personal miracle!

Fighting Cancer takes Courage to face the unknown

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