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Quick update.

September 5, 2009

Our Internet connection was down most of the day yesterday because Hank went out and got us a new cable modem to replace our 6-year-old one. It’s zippy quick now! Yay. But I had intended to catch up with emails yesterday, especially a couple of thank-yous. So, I’ll get to that.

Also, I did some more poking around about Abraxane side effects once I had Google again and found another that’s not listed on the information I got from the doctor. That is that Abraxane slows your heart rate. So, since breathing and heart rate are interconnected (the cardio-pulmonary system), Hank reminded me that a slow heart can make for slow breathing. Since this particular symptom didn’t trouble me all day yesterday or last night, I haven’t had a chance to check my pulse when I feel like my breathing has stopped. This is no surprise since I haven’t had Abraxane in a week. How much you want to bet it doesn’t happen again until I get Abraxane again.

And, yes, I will talk with my oncologist about this when I see him next week. And he will say, “Why didn’t you call me.” And I will say, “Number one, it never occurs to me to call you for some reason probably because, number two, I hate going to the doctor because, number three, your solution is often worse than the problem…..” Good thing he has a sense of humor. The suggested solution to the slow heart/breating side effect on the drug web site is to increase activity. I can do that. I can get up and chase the dogs around or go for a walk even if I feel slow at that moment.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Bemuse Boomer permalink
    September 5, 2009 2:39 pm

    Susan Moore here. Mina gave me the link to your blog and I’m admiring your wise and witty shout-out to the world. No one will pigeon-hole you in a cutesy, pink cancer wonderworld! I read the Barbara Ehrenriech (I know, I probably misspelled it –I need an editor!) article. I was especially struck by this sentence:”The effect of this relentless brightsiding is to transform breast cancer into a rite of passage—not an injustice or a tragedy to rail against, but a normal marker in the life cycle, like menopause or graying hair.” Thank God you are railing!

    I’ve had an auto immune disease for many years and have become adept and finding out why I’m having certain side effects to medication and at letting doctors know that , while I respect their training and am grateful for their help, I don’t think (as many of them seem to) M.D. stands for “Minor Diety.” I strongly support your unwillingness to mindlessly turn every little thing over to them.

    My prayer circle focuses on health; we are now visualizing you in perfect health and believing it will soon be true for you.

    • Jill permalink
      September 5, 2009 2:45 pm

      Hi Susan! Good to hear from you. Amen about doctors not being Minor Deities. My mother’s an RN and I’m sure she’ll confirm that more than a few doctors would disagree, though.

    • Jill permalink
      September 6, 2009 7:32 am

      Joke I found:

      Q. What is the difference between God and a doctor?

      A. God doesn’t think he is a doctor, but the doctor thinks that he is God.

      • Bemuse Boomer permalink
        September 10, 2009 12:13 am

        LOL. Almost too true to be funny! (But I thought it was.)

  2. mom permalink
    September 5, 2009 6:23 pm

    MD not Minor Diety but Major Diety. And Jill this does concern me, and I do so want that doctor to hear what you have to say about how this affected you. Be assertive about it. Blame me if you need some help in that category. OKAY? MOM

    • Jill permalink
      September 5, 2009 7:22 pm

      Will do. I’ve been fairly annoying this time around. I know that because my doctor’s assistant turns tail when she sees me and they all roll their eyes and schedule and “extra long” appointment for me. I’m an IMpatient. I have a nice long list of things to ask him on Thursday.

    • Jill permalink
      September 5, 2009 7:24 pm

      Oh, and Hank is going with me to the appointment. He’s almost as irritated by all this stuff as I am. I know I need to do something, but I don’t want to die of the “cure.”

      • mom permalink
        September 5, 2009 7:35 pm

        Ok and me either. These Docs do not think you know anything, so let them know you do. It is important and Hank should come through with his knowledge too. Be important for you to have that back up. And the other people in the office, that’s their problem, big time. Go for it my dear Jill. Mom

    • Jill permalink
      September 8, 2009 8:07 am

      I thought you’d like to see this on Web MD about side effects of abraxane: It includes “trouble breathing” under common but “less severe” side effects. I wonder why this wasn’t in the material I got from the doctor? Maybe because this list, though honest, is incredibly depressing and no sane person would get treatment after reading it.

      • Jill permalink
        September 8, 2009 8:08 am

        And who’s the nut who defines “severe” and “less severe”?

  3. Lisa permalink
    September 6, 2009 9:24 am

    In your corner, for being very assertive with your medical team. I think I shared that my Dad has made half of the doctors/nurses no longer want to work with him, but the upshot is now only the cream of the crop bother to enter his room. I have found the same with getting my son medical care.

    I’d write lists of questions, tell them what I’d read on the topic, then let them ponder all of the questions until there was an answer we both ‘agreed’ on. I know it can be hard to stand up to them, but I remind myself they are just another human, with just another opinion and goodness knows all humans make mistakes.

    Speaking of reading up on things, do you get the subscription called “Cure Now” ? My Mom signed up the whole family for the magazine when Dad was diagnosed. I bet I have a subscription card around here and could get you signed up if you would like. I find the magazine really helps explain some of the lingering questions I often have about my Dad’s treatment.

    • Jill permalink
      September 6, 2009 9:31 am

      Yes, being assertive makes a huge difference. Fortunately, I know enough of the buzz words from listening to my Mom that usually I know when the doctors are trying to give me the old soft shoe.

      Getting cancer stuff in the mail just depresses me. I know, I’m in denial, but I’m enjoying it.

  4. Marie Barth permalink
    September 6, 2009 3:20 pm

    Have been catching up on your blog entries. Prayers continue.
    You are a talented writer, too bad I am learning that because of your cancer treatments.

  5. Marie Barth permalink
    September 6, 2009 3:21 pm

    Not sure what was wrong with my comment.

    • Jill permalink
      September 6, 2009 4:04 pm

      Hi, Marie. The first time you comment I need to approve it so the blog software knows you’re not spamming or something, so it takes a while. It won’t happen again!

  6. Lisa permalink
    September 6, 2009 6:56 pm

    No problem. That is why I just threw out the idea.. and I admit I have not read every issue as some of them, just hit me on the wrong day and time. I’m so glad to see how much family love and attention you have and I know it will all add up to tons!!!

  7. Maria Murray permalink
    September 9, 2009 5:44 am

    Hi Mrs. B.,

    I’m in your corner, too – you have to stick up for yourself. MDs, deified or not, just don’t (whether they can’t or won’t varies, I think) take the initiative to explore all the possibilities. So many times we have to help them. Realistically, since we all react differently to different things, the solutions they try are just hit or miss without our input.

    Sometimes unless you’re a patient, you just don’t get it. My uncle was an oncologist – and a good one, but not very patient. In his 70s, he got colon cancer. I’ll never forget standing by his hospital bed and him telling me, “I used to believe my patients weren’t brave enough, but now I know – it really hurts.” Hang it there!

    On a separate note, you should receive a small package from the Dartmouth coop soon – from Justin. He left for Dartmouth today – a happy and confident writer largely thanks to your mentoring.

    We’re praying for you here in GA.


    • Jill permalink
      September 9, 2009 7:01 am

      Hi, Maria! I’ll look forward to that package. I know Justin will do well at Dartmouth. He was a joy to mentor.

      I have to say that my oncologist is very good, otherwise I would have fired him by now. I think he’s that way because he started his career as a professor of humanities at Harvard — then he switched to oncology. It’s a unique mix, but sometimes we discuss literature rather than cancer and quite often that’s fine with me.

      Still, it’s exactly as you say. He has way too much on his plate to explore much beyond his specific field, which changes daily. Also, the way I react to meds tends to be on the extreme. It’s been five years since I helped him figure that out last time, now I’ll just have to remind him again.

  8. mom permalink
    October 18, 2009 6:18 pm

    Somewhere in the deep, dark past there was a wise old seer, whose name I cannot remember, anyone? He swore that eating 6 almonds a day would cure cancer, worth a try???

  9. mom permalink
    October 18, 2009 6:19 pm

    Still much love for you my sunshine, and heavy prayers daily all day. Mom

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