Anthi, how are you getting along?

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barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 3/11/2007 4:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Hope all is going well and you're getting this hang of this "cancer" thing.  I had my annual "spend a day at the hospital having tests done" this week.  No news there is good news!  Have another day later this month, and then I should be done. 
 
Let us hear from you!
 
Hugs...
BEV

Anthi
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 3/13/2007 6:27 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello Bev.  Good to hear from you. Glad to hear that your day at the hospital went well and I hope the next one later this month goes well too.

I'm OK here although I've been going through a bit of a bad patch -alternating between depression and fear - well terror really !  I'm not as brave as all you other ladies on this site - I'm a terrible coward really.  When I got my HER2 results and found that I was HER2 positive I initially thought that it was good news but  then I went away to read all about it and found that it's really very alarming. So I've been coping with that.   But I'm feeling a bit better now and am trying to stay busy and to feel positive about all this. I know I'm getting good treatment.

Chemo No. 4 is next Tuesday and I am due to change to Taxotere which sounds pretty horrible.  But it does give good results so I'm pleased to be getting it.

This is week 3 in my chemo timetable when I feel OK and catch up on all the things  I haven't felt like doing the previous 2 weeks. Here in the UK Spring seems to have arrived very early.  Today is warm and sunny and we've got loads of blossom and Spring flowers out.  I've just come back from my French conversation lesson and I shall do some work on my little balcony this afternoon and start doing some plant cuttings.  I'm still putting on weight but am also walking a couple of miles every day at the moment in an effort to keep off the extra weight.

Best wishes to everyone and take care

Anthi


barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 3/13/2007 3:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Oh, Anthi, I'm sorry you've been having such a rough time. That's what this board is here for! So when you get down, you post about it! It's true, HER2 + does have a down side, but we also know that Herceptin makes it very treatable, should it come back...and there's nowhere that says that is a given...you made it 61 years? Right? (I think that's what you posted, forgive me if I'm wrong about that!) And you've quit feeding those hungry little buggars estrogen now. You've got an agressive chemo plan in action...And no nodes, if I remember right, as well. Unless you've got an expiration date stamped on you that you haven't told us about, then I'd say your chances are very good, Anthi!

For all I know, I could be HER2 +. They didn't test for it back when I was diagnosed, because Herceptin was still in trial phases. Only women with mets were tested, and only those who had no other options got the drug. If I've been tested since, no one has told me about it.

Weight gain is something we've all Ior most of us, anyway!) have had to deal with. If they are giving you steroids, there's not much way around it, I'm afraid. You can deal with that when the treatment is over. And walking a couple of miles a day??? Geez, I'd be gaining weight, too...muscle weighs more than fat! LOL

They didn't have the Taxanes when I was going through chemo, either, so I can't really speak to that, but my goodness...you're half way through, sweetie! Congratulations!!!

Enjoy that warm and sunny weather. It's beautiful here today, too, flowers and beginning to bloom...and we're supposed to be having snow showers by the weekend. ARGHHH!!!

Please let us know when you're feeling low, though, really! That's what friends are for. And since we've all of us been where you are, we certainly understand.

L&H,
BEV

PS...So are you fluent in French??? And do you speak other languages??? I have a degree in French, but after all these years of not using it, I've forgotten a lot more than I remember! I also took a bit of Spanish and Russian and German...Russian was actually my favorite, but there weren't a lot of programs for Russian when I was in college, so I didn't get far. At the time, my primary interest in other languages was to read them fluently, not necessarily to speak them well. I still force myself to read a book in French occasionally, but, oh, my....it is a test of my tenacity to do so! LOL

Anthi
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 3/14/2007 11:18 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello again Bev and thank you for your lovely encouraging post.

Yes you remembered my details more or less - I'm 60.  I did have a couple of positive nodes but they were in Level one -  levels 2 and 3 were clear.  So  - yes - my prognosis is fairly good and I'm getting very good treatment.

So I'm still working on feeling positive and keeping busy.  (And walking 2 miles a day !) The exercise is a good thing to do as it makes you feel stronger both physically and psychologically. But no I wouldn't try to diet at the moment - rather the opposite - I am concentrating on eating very well right now. (During weeks 2 and 3 anyway once I get over the fried egg sandwich stage !)

Bev - I see from another thread that you are on Effexor for menopausal symptoms.  does that help with the hot flushes?  I have started having horrnendous flushes having gone off my HRT when I was diagnosed back in December.  They have been getting steadily worse since then and are making me really uncomfortable. My onc has given me clonidine which I read sometimes works but can take 2 - 3 weeks to take effect so I'm still waiting -  although I think they may be getting a bit better.

about languages:  I speak French reasonably well.  I can happily hold a conversation with one person although I can get a bit lost in a group of people.  I'm quite lazy about my French.  My 'conversation lesson' is really just a nice chat with my teacher and a quick look at  a couple of newspaper articles.  Since I've been on chemo I've been going just once every 3 weeks but it keeps it going.  Also I've recently been reading Marcel Pagnol's books which I love.  One of my plans for this Spring was to visit Provence which is a part of France I haven't visited and to see the various places he wrote about.  I shall probably  have to wait until next year now because of this treatment,  but am still hoping to go.

I also speak Modern Greek which is a  lovely language.   I worked in Greece for a time as a travel representative and I've kept up my  Greek since then.  I still go back to Greece on holiday and have lessons when I'm there - my friends think I'm very strange to go to language lessons while I'm on holiday but I enjoy it !

And recently I've started Italian - just teaching myself at the moment.  One of my friends is going to an evening class for Italian and is finding it rather difficult.  So I keep a couple of steps ahead of him and that way I'm able to help him.  The chemo is doing wonders for my Italian as I've been spending more time than usual at home.  Most mornings before I get up I spend an hour sitting in bed doing Italian !

You may gather that I enjoy languages very much and in fact  when I get a bit depressed it's one of the ways I can get myself out of it.

Well -  sorry about this long rambling post. 

Best wishes and take care

Anthi


barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 3/14/2007 6:29 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear Anthi...Yes, the effexor has made a HUGE difference for me. Some women do well also with Paxil, others do well with Zoloft, and some with Wellbutrin. They are all antidepressants, but effexor works differently from the others... I had tried Paxil and Zoloft, both with no effect whatsoever. When I had a hot flash in my onc's office one day, she suggested we try effexor. She had just read about a study that showed it had more success than the others at controlling hot flashes. Having tried two other antidepressants, as well as Phenergan (?), with no success, I was very skeptical, but I was also desparate! I could tell a big difference in a matter of 3 days. I still occasionally have a very mild flash, but I'm talking 1 or 2 a week instead of 1 or 2 an hour.

I take the smallest dose available once a day...I used to think that menopause would just be the "cat's meow." No more periods! LOL I didn't realize that, while periods were once a month, menopause is every DAY!

I'm glad you're working on that "positive attitude." I don't believe in giving cancer one more minute of my life than I have to...it's taken enough from me as it is.

Take care, and keep going with those languages! I regret having let so much slip away.

BEV

babyseeester
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 3/14/2007 8:13 PM (GMT -7)   
Anthi,
 
We have all been through those down moments.  It's quite normal.  Like Bev said, whenever you are down, just post and someone will be there to cheer you right up.  I had 4 rounds of Taxotere and found it to be very easy.  Each treatment was 3 weeks apart.  I remember after the first treatment, I had hardly any side effects, which was great, because I had just finished 4 rounds of epirubicin and 5FU.  I hope you will be as lucky with Taxotere as I was.  Wishing you well.
L & H,
Kathy


Anthi
Regular Member


Date Joined Dec 2006
Total Posts : 86
   Posted 3/15/2007 12:40 PM (GMT -7)   

Bev and Kathy thank you for your replies.

Bev - if I find that the Clonidine doesn't work for my hot flashes then I will try Effexor. The flashes are really ghastly  - especially at the moment as I'm having to wear a wig or hat when I go out.  I had a major hot flash today while I was in the supermarket and really wanted to take my hat off but didn't want to frighten people - I look like something out of a horror movie at the moment !

Kathy - how marvellous that you had almost no side effects with Taxotere.  My first one is next Tuesday.  Fingers crossed. 

One of the minor side effects of Taxotere is nails dropping off.  I've been advised to paint my nails with dark polish which apparently can prevent this by keeping the light away from them.   So I've bought some BLACK nail polish - more horror movie effects !

Best wishes to everyone

Anthi


barkyboys
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 3/15/2007 4:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Anthi, you are TOO funny! Black nail polish. Ditch the wig, get some black eyeliner and lipstick, and you can go with the "goth" look! I seldom wore my wig unless I was working with my babies. The rest of the time, I wore a hat or went "topless." Sinead O'Connor was very popular when I was going through treatment, and kids who didn't know me would walk by and say, "Hey, Sinead!" (I am really dating myself here, am I not!)

I remember how wet that darned wig used to get when I was having hot flashes...I hated it, and I was miserable every minute I had it on. You know, radiant heat sources also can make hot flashes worse. Even "task" lighting can trigger them. I was sleeping in a waterbed at the time, and changing to a regular bed helped some. (With the Effexor...I'm back to a heated waterbed again! And I love it!)

My best friend, who was diagnosed a couple of years after I was, took Taxotere for an extended period of time, and while her nails discolored badly, I don't think she ever lost them. For her, it was the neuropathic pain. She took a drug called "neurontin," and it really helped. Some women have that, some don't. She had a lot more than 4 treatments of the Taxotere, though.

Take care!

hugs...BEV
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