I had an appointment with my Naturopath this morning. I hadn't seen her in almost two years. It was time. I took with me my empty packets of greens/wheat grass and asked her if it was possible that it had made such a dramatic difference to how I felt. She said it was possible because of the high level of antioxidants which, after what I've been through, is something that my body is probably still lacking. She recommended a "greens formula" for me and it's called Greens First and it's berry flavoured.
She also looked at my last bloodwork (from September) and compared it to my previous ones. She noted that my estrogen levels were higher than would be expected in someone at my menopausal stage and particularly in someone taking Tamoxifen. Also of note, to her, was that something was below normal (I can't remember what it's called but it starts with an "A") that suggests that I'm not getting enough protein or that my body isn't absorbing protein. I do think I eat enough protein so I don't know what that's about. She gave me a protein powder to take everyday. I can make it up into a smoothie with my greens - all in one shot. Easy. The protein powder is called Dream Protein and it's hormone free (from cows not given hormones), which is important for me.
My Naturopath also recommended several lab tests, particularly with regard to my thyroid. Lots of what I'm experiencing are on the symptom list for thyroid problems and because of the radiation that targeted the lymph nodes around my neck, my thyroid gland might have been effected.
So I have a bunch of medical stuff to do. I have my 6 month appointment with my oncologist tomorrow. He's going to want me to go on one of the aromatase inhibitors (like the Arimidex I was on for a while that caused so many problems for me). I'm going to listen to him so I won't say my mind is made up that I won't go that route, but unless he has some new argument I'm not aware of, I'm pretty sure I will decline the AI's and stick with the Tamoxifen. I fell again yesterday and it was a reminder to me that the AI's can make one's bones so vulnerable. I fell in January and at first I thought I just sprained my hand but based on some acute localized pain that has lasted long after the general sprain and bruising, I think I had at least a hairline fracture. Luckily I didn't reinjure it this time but I am reminded that I do fall quite frequently since chemo. I think it's because I don't have much feeling in my toes and the front of my feet. Most of the time I fall, it isn't because I've slipped. I just fall, usually if the surface I'm walking on is uneven or even if I'm just not playing close attention. My days of walking and reading at the same time are DONE, DONE, DONE! *sigh* Recent studies have shown that among women taking AI's there is an uncommonly high number of them experiencing broken hips in their fifties. Increasingly researchers are expressing concern about the resulting bone damage and there has been some suggestion that putting women on AI's shouldn't be standard protocol and the decision should be based on many individual circumstances ... weighing the level of risk of recurrence against the level of risk to bones.
So after I get bloodwork done tomorrow and see my oncologist, I need to make an appointment for a general physical and mammogram. I need some additional bloodwork (the tests my Naturopath wants done) and the, oh joy, I get to have a colonoscopy in April. Rah ... rah ... rah. Oh well, it's better to get things checked than not to. It's Luke's friend's Dad who is doing the test - again ... oh joy - but at least I feel I'm getting the personal touch. He also performed my lumpectomy and if I'm going to put my trust somewhere, I'm happy to put it with him.
So ... are you wondering if I'm still feeling superhuman? Well, sadly I felt really worn out yesterday. I was so sad about that! I had my hopes too high perhaps. Then again, Sunday night I didn't sleep well at all. I was suffering major "feet heat". I just couldn't cool them down enough to sleep. That happens every now and then and I think it's most likely to happen when I've been on my feet a lot, which I was on Sunday. All that shopping. I almost came home from work yesterday at noon because I was so tired I couldn't keep my eyes open but I hung in there for the day and then slept much better last night.
I'm happy to say that today I felt better again. Perkier than usual. Probably not so dramatically "alive" as I've felt since Friday but still, very much more "alive" than I have in ages. While I've been feeling so alert, I'm very aware of how wide open my eyes feel. I notice that I move more quickly and my brain feels more agile. It's very strange to feel such a difference and to notice the changes in my mind and my movements. My joints and feet still hurt the same as they did, but despite that, I seem to move more quickly. My mind is jumping all over the place ... from one thought to another ... but in a structured fashion ... not all muddled. I think it's because I have so much more energy all of a sudden that my mind is just racing with thoughts of all I want to do while I have the energy. You can bet I'll be taking my "Greens" daily.
Here are some snow day photos from around our house.
Breast cancer motivated me to start a blog, mostly to keep track of everything for myself but also to allow family and friends to keep up to date about my progress. My blog has evolved and so have I.
Now, along with my continuous breast cancer experience, I also blog about my kitchen experiments, my return to quilting as therapy, and my return to full-time work.
I didn't realize when I was diagnosed that breast cancer and the treatments would take so much out of me and that the effects would be so difficult and last so long. That said, I'm glad to be alive and now I need to leave a legacy. Time's a wasting. Must make quilts.
Breast Cancer (booooo) was the opponent. I hope I won. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2009. I had a sentinel node lumpectomy later that month and on June 10, 2009, I started Chemotherapy followed by radiation treatments - the last one being December 20, 2009.
I thought it was all over. The cancer part seems to be over so far but I hadn't anticipated the awful effects of Arimidex (the aromatase inhibitor/estrogen blocker) that I started taking after chemo. The effects were long lasting and really awful. And then both my shoulders became frozen. I see that frozen shoulder is not uncommon for women who have been through breast cancer treatments but nobody seems to know why. And now I'm on Tamoxifen and there are the side effects from that, which are much milder than I had with Arimidex but at this point I don't know what's caused by either of those drugs or what might be the lingering effects of chemo and radiation. It's a much longer haul than I initially understood.
This blog has been my game's colour commentary starting 6 days before the kick-off of my first chemo treatment. I hope I won. That's the funny thing with cancer, though. You don't know for sure. You just have to be cocky enough to act like you've won.
Everyone who visits here has been on my team (because there's no "I" in "TEAM") and this blog was for them to to follow the game plan and the progress. It turned out it's also been therapy for me and a record of so many details I forget because of the also unanticipated "chemo brain". One thing I know for sure is that I wouldn't have made it through this without my team of family and friends. Thank you! Thank you! THANK YOU!! We're here. We Might Have WON!!
To learn the details about my particular discovery of my tumour and my diagnosis and treatment, please read this.
If you're more interested in my new quilting hobby, visit my blog that's supposed to be JUST about quilting at Peace.Love.Quilt.