Hi everyone! Just wanted to give a little update on how the past few weeks have been. I am on a two-week break from chemo after completing my AC treatments, and honestly, I really needed the extra time before starting the next thing. The 4th round of AC hit me pretty hard on top of what was an already very emotional week so I was kind of a mess!
Fortunately, my body’s recovered a bit more now, and I’ve been able to get back to doing some walking and Pilates. Earlier in the week, I had been having a few days where my heart was racing (even lying down) and I was retaining some fluid in my abdomen and feet. According to my oncology APRN, this is relatively common during chemo, and he gave me a new medication to help offload some of the fluids. This helped my body (& mind) significantly. One of the major concerns with the adriamycin/cytoxan regimen is cardiotoxicity (heart failure) and I’ve learned that I have a lot of fear around that (understandably)!
In fact, I’m learning new things about myself daily. Fears, strengths, priorities…cancer is the best self-help bootcamp anyone never asked for. I’ve been working with a psychologist to help with coping mechanisms and anxiety around all of it, and I continue to work on mindfulness practices as often as I can.
Normally, there would be local support groups I could attend to buddy up with other women in the community going through the same thing, but unfortunately those have been put on hold due to COVID as well. I have found a few helpful Facebook Groups, though, which I’ll link below for fellow warriors needing a resource.
I’m thankful to family members & friends, former patients, and new Instagram friends who are survivors and thrivers that have shared their stories with me and who keep checking in on me too! It’s SO important for anyone going through cancer to find your “team” who lifts you up and kicks your butt into gear on your cancer journey. If you’re reading this, and you need help finding your people – reach out to me!
I really have to give a shameless shout-out to my husband who has risen to the challenge of being the best caretaker, chef, chauffer, calmer-downer….ok I can’t think of any more words that start with C… (I really tried)! But seriously, he is amazing and he doesn’t have to do as much as he does for me, even when I can tell it’s taken a toll on him, too.
We were able to take a little staycation in Waikiki this past weekend with the only goal to rest and put our responsibilities aside for a few days. We walked, laid by the pool (with sunscreen, of course!), and ate really good takeout so I think we both feel recharged and ready to take on the next big thing!
I’ll start paclitaxel/carboplatin on Thursday and as far as I hear, the side effects are usually significantly less than AC so I’m hopeful. Later this week, I’ll update you all on a clinical trial that I’ll be part of during this regimen, too!
Take care of yourself!
Resources for support during cancer:
Nancy’s List: Nancy is a cancer survivor who has put together an amazing list of practitioners and centers nationwide to support cancer warriors with anything from financial support, psychological services, reiki, exercise classes, and other integrative therapies.
Facebook Groups: There are a broad array of Facebook groups now so you may have to search for those that are most applicable to your diagnosis, age, etc…
I have found the most support and guidance in these two groups:
1) Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation
2) Young Women with Breast Cancer
There are even groups for people with BRCA+ cancers, for those who are pregnant and going through treatment, and for those starting families after beating cancer! Find groups that resonate with your “vibe” and spend time looking for groups that are more specific to your diagnosis so you can get the most out of it!
*PRO TIP: Advice given in these groups is not intended to be used as medical advice, BUT sometimes people will post about new research or treatments that you can run by your doctor!
BC Healthline App: This free and awesome app (available for iPhone and Android) connects women nationwide with others who have similar breast cancer diagnoses or staging. There are frequent guided chats about hot topics like new diagnosis, treatment, lifestyle, and living with metastatic breast cancer. It’s an easy and informative way to connect virtually!