I get to work and as soon as my manager and work colleague are in I call them into a meeting room – again.
I tell them the news. They are shocked more this time round. I tell them that they will probably start treatment pretty soon and probably in the new year.
Hubbie and I have discussed whether I will continue to work or not. He said to wait and see. I think long and hard and have decided to not work. This way everyone can plan.. will she be in/will I be well enough to go in.
I tell my boss that I won’t be back after Christmas; she understands.
I get a call from the oncologist’s office and we confirm an appointment for 1pm on Monday, 10 December.
I also receive an email from Dr Rippy’s receptionist; she has booked me in for the clip placement, a CT scan and the body bone scan and sends along the referrals. These are all for the Tuesday, 11 December.
I work during the week. I tell a a few people. I tell my Group Executive and she is very upset. Again she says whatever I do they will support me.
My manager sends an email to our senior leadership team as well. People are so shocked.
Thursday night is our works’ Christmas party and I go as planned. The night is quite short as I find that I don’t want to stay. I cry as I leave and walk to the station. Reality is setting in.
The next few days are hard as people can feel that something is happening but until I see Dr Diakos on Monday I don’t want to start telling people until I know what I am dealing with myself.
I go to work on Monday and I meet hubbie at St Leonards station. I tell him I am scared and he hugs me. He is scared as well.
We get to the clinic and check in and we wait. We are finally called in by a young male Dr whose name I didn’t catch (still don’t know what it is). We introduce ourselves and we all sit down.
He goes through a few details with me and gets some history as well. He then proceeds to tell us about the different types of chemotherapy but doesn’t tell me what I will be having. He says that he has his view but the final decision will be with Dr Diakos.
He examines my breasts and checks under my arms. Funnily enough he pulls a curtain around so hubbie can’t see??
He then goes and grabs Dr Diakos and again introductions are done. She explains that a marker they use for cell growth is what they would deem high. This is the rate of cell growth and anything over 20% is deemed high. Mine is 20% and because of this they are going to put me onto a chemotherapy treatment called FEC-D.
(The letters are the initials of the medication):
- F = Fluorouracil
- E = Epirubicin
- C = Cyclophosphamide
- D = Docetaxel
This is the strong stuff and not what the other Dr thought I would be getting. She also says she wants me to start next Monday! That soon?
I will have 3 cycles of FEC every 3 weeks then 3 cycles of the D..
The FEC will take around 2 hours and the D will take around 1.5 hours, all done intravenously. Yeah me.
They tell us about all the side effects that could happen and I may or may not get them. I have to have an echocardiogram as one of the medications can cause irreversible heart problems.. this is so they can monitor it (around 10%).
Well this sounds like a lot of fun!
I am giving some literature on the medication I am having and we then go and speak with one of the nurses so they can run me through what will happen.
One of the things she shows us is a portacath to help with the administration of my chemotherapy. My cousin who breast cancer had one of these and had recommended it to me, so I agreed to have one inserted; the nurse said she would organise this for me; it was done via day surgery the following week.
I am also booked in for an education session with another nurse for the Friday before the 17th. In this session, the nurse goes through with us all the side effects I could encounter and what to expect.
Constipation, diarrhea, aches, pains, ulcers, hair falling out just to name a few.
I am so not looking forward to the 17th.
Can I get a refund, I don’t want to be part of this show anymore.