My Battle with Breast Cancer

Cancer/Chemo – Probably To Much Information

I have to say that there are things in this post that I really never thought I would talk about, but since I am trying to keep all of this as real as possible I thought I better.

The side effects of chemo are can be a little different for each person, I realize this but some of them are pretty much the same.  So, I know there are a few ladies out there getting ready to have some of these side effects and if I can warn you about them then you might be a little more prepared.

You've probably been told about the metallic taste in your mouth, and how your taste buds seem to work against you.  Well, believe it or not, half the time I still use my silverware, but I do keep plastic ware handy.  Another thing to keep handy is straws.  I have found that when my taste buds are at their worst even water tastes funny sometimes, so I use a straw and it isn't nearly as bad.

The worst part the metallic taste for me is that my taste buds aren't letting me eat some of my favorite foods like cheese and tomatoes.  Sometimes I can't even drink tea, and that my friends is heartbreaking.  It is hot, hot, hot here, and a nice tall glass of sweet tea is usually a welcomed treat.  Not so much during chemo.  So sad, but it will be over soon.

Another side effect, for me anyway, is weight gain.  It is because I am eating more than usual, and I know this.  But the steroids they give me makes me want to eat, and since the salty stuff tastes horrible then I eat the sweet stuff.  I'm gonna need a new wardrobe before long.

ACR_2971tmi
This is my left oobiebay when I choose to wear it.  Right before I had my mastectomy, I fretted about looking lopsided.  After everything was said and done, I rarely use this.  I do sometimes if the shirt I am wearing just doesn't look right without it, but a lot of the times I and the One-oobba Wonder. 

Let's talk about hairloss.  My arm pit hair was the first to go.  I can't remember the last time I shaved my pits, and I love it!  They are smoother now than they have ever been.  Well, they were smooth like this before I grew pit hair, but you know what I mean.  So far, I haven't lost all of my hair.  I still have my eyebrows (yea) and some of my eyelashes, but everywhere else it is disappearing.  Legs are still kind of prickly, but believe it or not I don't even mind anymore.  I walk around in my capris and shorts with my prickly hairy legs, and I don't care.

It is so funny how cancer and chemo change a person's mindset, or my mindset anyway.  Used to, I would never wear pants or shorts that showed my legs if I hadn't shaved.

Did I mention that this post might be too much information (TMI)?

I am experiencing menopausal symptoms these days.  That is interesting.  With me just being forty, my doctor smiled at my yesterday and told me that I would more than likely start having my regular cycles again when this is all over.  So you know what that means?  I get to do menopause twice!  Yippee!!  At least I will know what to expect the second time around, right? 

There's always a silver lining.  Or is there?  Usually I say there is ALWAYS a silver lining, but I am failing to see the silver lining in this next one.

No one told me I'd possibly or probably get hemorrhoids.  I talked to McD about them, but I couldn't bring myself to tell my doctor.  After telling McD about them in detail, I told him not to tell the doctor.  I told him that I really didn't want the doctor to you know, look at them.  Or feel for them.  Oh goodness.  I am going through enough without that having to happen too!  So, when the doctor asked about my BMs and if they were regular, soft, dark in color, or having diarrhea I just said they were fine.  They ARE fine, it's just wear it comes out that might or might be a little tender at times.

UPDATED to add that I told the nurse about my roids today.  Mine are internal, and they were kind of surprised that I even had them.  I am just supposed to let them know if they get worse.  And she said he wouldn't have looked at them anyway. 🙂

Too much information?  I warned ya! 

I think I will post about some of our vacation after this one. HA!

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27 Comments

  • Reply Amy | She Wears Many Hats August 5, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I love your sense of humor through all the ups and downs!
    Hope your hiney feels better soon. ; )

  • Reply Marlene Masters August 5, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Any information is appreciated not TMI. If everyone thought the details were TMI we would all have to face
    life unprepared. I have not gone through what you are at this time but I am an information hound. I feel that the more I know about anything happening to my body the better prepared I am to make a decision.
    I am still “mashing buttons” for you each day and I think you are amazing to open your life to each of us. Thank you.

  • Reply Virginia August 5, 2011 at 9:51 am

    Nah, wasn’t too much information—you should hear the kind of conversations we have in this house. My husband says it is “very American” which it is of course since I’m the one who usually starts it, or since I reared our children to hold such talks about functions of the bod-ay.
    I guess the French Canadians don’t go there as much as some Americans do.
    As I say, it’s a part of life. And since we talk about life, we have to talk about that too!
    I’m happy for you that you are at the point now. There is always a silver lining.
    But, if you don’t mind me saying so—it is important that your doc know about your uninvited backdoor neighbor. (Sorry if that just sounded wrong.)
    Happy Weekend!

  • Reply Virginia August 5, 2011 at 9:52 am

    I was supposed to write:
    I’m happy for you that you are now at the MIDWAY point. There is always a silver lining.

  • Reply Dee Dee August 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    That was not to much information – it’s nice that you will share. PLEASE tell your doctor about your hemorrhoids – it is very important, and you will feel better! Glad you are at the midway point. Take care of yourself, and tell McD he is doing a great job too!

  • Reply Melanie August 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    You know, I hesitated to mention this, but it is true! While going through chemo my friend told me that she cried when she was pooping one day and thought she was just being sensitive and when she turned around it looked like she had pooped a coke can!
    And it is a side effect – the whole time she was on chemo she only ate fruit and vegetables and uncooked foods so fiber was *not* the problem. Even if you don’t tell the doctor, you may sneak into a forum on the internet and see if there is a well-recommended softener to take or some other advice. Or just tell the Dr but have McD on hand to threaten the staff if they get too personal. Being reasonable is often overrated after all.

  • Reply Cynthia D'Alba August 5, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I LOVE the “no pit hair” HAHAHA Silver lining? 🙂 I love that you find these.
    Just sent you an email. Go look for it. I have misplaced your mailing address!

  • Reply Monie August 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Celebrating your half-way-through chemo! There is always something wonderful about reaching the halfway point…it’s like you know where you’ve been, and where you’re headed, and you know you can do it, because you already have! I love details…ALL the details. Information is power, and I know everything you are sharing is helping people. Hemis are the absolute pits, and I know how miserable they can be. Do you like figs? They are so yummy right now. I made my own trail mix out of figs, apricots, craisins, raisins, roasted peas, almonds, raw cashews, soy nuts, pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. It’s yummy, bulky, tasty, and effective…you can make any combination. It seems a little pricey when you first buy the ingredients, but it will make a TON, and is much cheaper than buying an already mixed combination. The other thing that would be good to drink is Cranberry Juice/Apple Juice/and add some flax to it. Good luck…mashing away!

  • Reply Stefanie August 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    I don’t think it’s TMI. I wondered about the hair loss on your body. The not having to shave would be great. So sorry about your bottom end. Ouch!! Let me know if you need anything. Love ya’

  • Reply Lori P. August 5, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Julie,
    Thank you for every post you do – if it is TMI or not. I cannot remember how I found your blog but I love it.
    I am right there with you, well sort of. I found out in March that I have what “they” call ovarian cancer even though I had a hysterectomy 14 years ago. The discovery came in a weird and blessed way, which I am glad it happened when it did. In April I had exploratory surgery, like they showed once or twice on “House”. I even asked my doc if it was like that. He just smiled and nodded. Isn’t interesting how some TV shows teach us things. Next week I will have my 4th Chemo treatment and you nailed it when you describe it. Esp. how water even taste weird. I have to have mine ice cold to be able to tolerate it. To go with your TMI, my doc prescribed “Senokot S” to help me. My newest addiction is chewable “Spree’s” as they seem to help me when things taste funky. At first we could not find them in stores so JC ordered me 4 lbs of them over the internet. Four pounds! Wow! But now we see them in the stores.
    One thing I cannot get use to yet is all of the love and caring that JC (hubbie), my kids (4 of them all out of school) and my family has been giving me. It feels really strange to be on this side of the fence. I look at my “C” as “it is what it is”. Just something else tossed into my life I have to deal with. I have never looked at it as “Oh my gosh”. IF I ever do, I know I will be messed up for a few days, but will suck it back up and put my big girl panties back on. Which I never knew I wore till all of this happened.
    Please know you are in my thoughts, prayer’s and in my favorite’s list everyday.
    Thank you for sharing. Lori

  • Reply Mary in Idaho August 5, 2011 at 8:06 pm

    I don’t hear TMI, I hear your heart lightening your own load, but also being willing to help lighten some one else’s load. That is a precious gift of the Father, dear one. PS…try cold witch hazel for the hemmies. This morning, in an email, a friend in California just happen to mention that she took some eucalyptus leaves to her sister to boil and use on her hemmies. Never heard of it, but if it works, GREAT!! Praying.

  • Reply Evelyn August 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Bless your heart! You are so precious! I lived on a coconut cake made by a local store that is now a Tractor Supply; I have not found a cake in that place yet! ha, ha! however, I can vouch for the sweet things and later I found out that cancer loves sugar; so, even if it hurts, please try to limit it. I often wonder if that is why mine came back. Also, I was a chocolate lover before chemo and now just a little bite is all I can tolerate; sad, isn’t it? Being totally hairless is a weird experience! I was almost sad to see it all grow back and my eyebrows still haven’t completely come back and it has been 9 years! Menopause brings hot flashes and you will have them, I promise! And, take a stool softener or whatever it takes to keep the ‘roids under control. The dr is not going to want you to be bleeding for any reason! They freak over that kind of stuff. Stay strong; and, dont be surprised if the steroids send you on crying jags as you progress. They also gave me insomnia; a really weird thing to have. Obviously, you aren’t giving out TMI judging from the positive feedback I see you are receiving.

  • Reply Karmyn R August 5, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Well – that is something I would not have known about….and it is good that you talked about it, because I’m sure there are people about to go through Chemo who weren’t told at all – and they got one heck of a shock.
    I hate surprises. So – I think it is good to know.

  • Reply sheila August 6, 2011 at 9:19 am

    julie, it’s been awhile since I checked on you, but I have cont. to pray for you and your family during this time. Thanks for the update and the candid details. many hugs!

  • Reply Sayre August 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    I’ve heard of other chemo patients who have the metallic taste thing happening. Try this website:
    http://www.delightwater.com/ Another cancer blogger I read swears by the stuff. Says it help immeasurably. I wonder if you can make tea with it and still have it not taste metallic?

  • Reply Joanie August 6, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    As always, your bravery and honesty amaze me. Know that your sharing is helping so many of us understand this journey for you as well as others in similar situations. Hang in there, your attitude and faith, as well as your support system, is going to keep you winning the battle! Thinking of you and lifting up prayers, Joanie

  • Reply Sandie August 7, 2011 at 7:11 am

    Keep going with the outlook that you have. I’m very impressed with it. I don’t know if I’d have the same strength. And not too much info. What you tell us is very interesting and also funny in how you tell it. I ck in on you but don’t always leave a comment. I do think of you and you are added to my prayers.

  • Reply Carolyn August 7, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Your candor is a gift!

  • Reply Robin ~ PENSIEVE August 8, 2011 at 7:35 am

    I agree with Carolyn, your candor IS a gift! Like Karmyn, I would have never anticipated some of these side affects had you not shared your experience.
    And I can imagine how this experience DOES change your perspective. My.
    Your attitude is inspirational, Julie.
    {{love and prayers}}

  • Reply Jessica August 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I’m glad you CAN be so honest…and even though you’re going through this, your spirit shines through every post. Don’t ever lose that.

  • Reply Tickled Red August 9, 2011 at 8:03 am

    By no means was that too much info. In fact it was perfect, helpful and beneficial. I love your honesty and your sense of humor. It’s why you hold a piece of my heart always 🙂 There, TMI back at ya love.

  • Reply debby August 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    You know, I was buying panty hose for a wedding and I stood there in the middle of all the bras and things, and suddenly, I was just overcome with a longing to wear a real bra again (I am a boob and a half – I call the girls Flopsy and Notsy) I suddenly wished that I knew someone that I could ask. Do you wear a oobie-bay if you have a boob and a half? Can I wear a real bra again? Or do I have resign myself to sports bras for the rest of my life?
    What I’m saying, I guess, is that I don’t think that there is such a thing as too much candor. Somewhere, there might be someone lurking in the shadows with questions she’s ashamed to ask. We need to use our experiences to help others.

  • Reply Diane August 9, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    When my mother had chemo the doctors didn’t say how severe it would affect a person. My mother was sick all the time and always weak. I didn’t really understand what she was going through because the doctors didn’t state that the effects would be that severe. They gave her medication to relieve the sickness, but it didn’t seem to help. If the doctors would have stated what a person could truly goes through with chemo, I think I would have been better prepared with understanding.

  • Reply Swampwitch August 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Hey JulieBug . . . just now having the time to mosey on over to check on you. Brooke, Chad, Parker, and Wyatt were here for a week. Need I say more ? But, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have time to think of you and send happy thoughts your way.
    Had my mammogram yesterday. It never gets any easier sitting there waiting. After the squishing portion of the visit was over, the tech took me to the consultation room, where I waited some more. Then she opened the door and said that the doc wanted some more films taken. It was only about 15 steps back to the room with the oobiebay squishing machines, but no less that 15 hundred thoughts filled my head . . . from the past, the present, and what the future might hold depending on the results. Needless to say, you were in those thoughts.
    Back to the consult room to wait some more.
    Finally, she stuck her head back in and said, “You are normal.”
    Normal ? Me ?
    Grins to you, my friend. Head up and march forward. You got this one, gal friend.

  • Reply Pamela August 20, 2011 at 12:46 am

    I didn’t take the time to read any of the comments… but if no one else mentioned it — you just joined so many of us who got those lovely hems. during pregnancy or childbirth.
    I had no idea chemo caused it.
    I was thinking you might lose weight when things tasted metalic. I remember years ago when my husband had braces (he was in early 30s at the time) .. and I told him kissing him was like licking the tomato soup can. ha ha ha ha.

  • Reply Paula Clark August 29, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Hi, I just today found your blog while checking in on Pioneer Woman. It brings back so many memories. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 39,okay I would be 40 in 6 weeks. I had a lumpectomy( the lump was very small) but found out that the cancer was in 4 lymph nodes. So I had intensive chemo and radiation. I went through all the things you are experiencing. It is a rough road sometimes. I doubted my survival. I had test after test, waiting for something. My hair grew back, I regained my strength, my ex sister-in-law died of breast cancer. That threw me for a loop. She was diagnosed shortly before me. My period came back one time and never again, I suffered menopause, I cried, I worried. Then it eased off and life returned to normal. Oh, and that was 22 years ago. I am still cancer free. It can be beat! I wish you the best and I will be checking in to see you cancer free also!

  • Reply Suzy Bae May 2, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I really admire your sense of humor through all the treatments you’ve been receiving, I hope you’re doing awesome and healthy nowadays.
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