I wish people would tell you actual time frames when they talk about upcoming events, and by people I mean doctors and nurses.
I went for my oncology appointment yesterday to discuss radiotherapy. In my head (and considering what I had been told) she (the doctor) was going to tell me that as I was healing well I could start radiotherapy next week, with a 3 weeks programme, I would be done early July and done. But nooo! First of all, she tells me that although the standard protocol is of 3 weeks, she likes to programme a 4.5 weeks programme. 3 weeks where they blast the whole breast and 1.5 week where they concentrate the rays on the lump site. I am like, ok, not what I expected but I can still make it work and go on my holidays.
But of course, it is not all…She then tells me that I will get a letter from St Thomas’ (the hospital where I will get treatment) within the next 4 weeks inviting me for my pre radiotherapy check ups and then I will start! Ermm…what now? 4 weeks!? Nah ha…Well, I said, I am off on holidays on the 11th July and back on 24th so that’s not going to work. Oh, didn’t anyone told you about this? she replied. Well yes, but not with those time frames! If they had, I wouldn’t have booked my holiday now would I?
“So do I cancel or can I start after?”
“You can cancel if you want, but there won’t be any negative effects if we start after you get back”
Why would I want to cancel then? I thought…
“Well if it’s not going to put me at risk, then I’d rather not cancel and start later”
“That’s fine. Now I am going to give you the prescription to start you on Tamoxifen*. I will book you an appointment with the hematologist as well as Tamoxifen can cause blot clots and as you have had one, I need to make sure it is not a condition and it was just the consequence of chemotherapy. Oh and by the way, I need to tell you that radiotherapy can cause further breast cancer and Tamoxifen can cause cancer of the womb.”
“So the treatments that are suppose to prevent my current cancer from coming back can actually give me other types of cancer?!Now that’s not ideal” I replied, deadpan.
“Well it’s relatively rare but we have to tell you, full disclosure and all”
Oh boy…now she has me worried that in trying to keep this cancer at bay, I might get myself another one and far worse…My mother died of a cancer of the womb. She was gone in 6 months. Although she was diagnosed quite late, it’s still not something that’s reassuring.
Then I got my prescription and started to read all the possible side effects of Tamoxifen and I tell you what…they are not fun and there are quite a few too! I knew some of the common ones having read various blogs from other Pink Brigade Warriors, ranging from hot flushes to night sweats with a dash of insomnia thrown in, you also have weight gain (no! I don’t need any more kilos, thank you!), vaginal bleeding (eek) and thickening of the womb walls (hence increased risks of cancer), blurred vision (like I need to be more blind than I am now!) and the list does unfortunately go on…
Still, I took my first pill today. It says that I have to take them every day at the same time so I decided to take it in the middle of the day as I am more guaranteed to be awake at that time that if I take it in the morning or in the evening…So far, I have felt a little sleepy this afternoon, although it could be the big plate of pasta followed by a slice of carrot cake which is responsible for that! We were “celebrating” the departure of a lovely colleague, which doesn’t fit well in my new diet plan of course…tonight, cereals!
One final note…my cording is not improving so I have finally made the decision to talk to the physio about it and I am booked in next week for a 1 on 1 session.
I am working on a fun post as well…where I will tell you all about the lovely weekend I have had in Sitges, Spain…it’s just taking longer than I thought to write…who thought I’d have so much to say about 2 days!