The Battle Plan
Andy loves his war movies. I mean, he loves his war movies. If he’s watched The Guns of Navarone once, he’s watched it a couple hundred times. Seriously! I can tell you though there is one battle he’d rather not watch, let alone live through. It’s the battle our family is about to wage as I enter the next phase of breast cancer treatment.
Today was my first appointment at the cancer clinic. The visit lasted 2.5 hours, but flew by so fast with all the information that we received. Now, before I get into my treatment details, I have to say we are SO blessed to have the level of cancer care we have here in Kelowna. From the volunteers who greeted us with a smile and poured Andy a steaming coffee, the lovely nurses who helped facilitate my inaugural visit, to the incredibly professional & compassionate oncologist who explained my extensive treatment plan; we felt comforted and reassured.
Battle plan phase 1: Chemo. My oncologist explained that due to the cancer spreading to my lymph nodes, the size of the original tumour (5.3 cm’s) and my ‘young’ age (LOL! I got a kick out of that one) that we were going to battle this sucker hard. I am lined up for 6 different chemo sessions, 3 weeks apart. So basically, I am in line for 18 weeks’ worth of chemotherapy. I will have three different drugs for the first 9 weeks and a totally different drug the latter 9. Each drug comes with its own set of ‘possible’ side effects; everything from nausea to mouth sores, fatigue and joint/muscle pain. What fun! Oh and there is one ‘predictable’ side effect: hair loss. I’ve read somewhere that usually happens 17-21 days after my first treatment. I know that is going to be super difficult. Pardon the pun, but I’m not sure I’ve wrapped my head around that one yet.
Battle plan phase 2: Radiation. The oncologist I met today was my ‘medical’ oncologist. She is the one responsible for the ‘drug treatment’ part of my plan. I have yet to meet my radiation oncologist, but that will come closer to the end of my chemo treatments. I don’t yet know how many radiation sessions I will have, but I’ve heard from others that radiation doesn’t seem as bad as chemo. Apparently it can cause fatigue, but doesn’t hit you as hard as all those chemo drugs.
Battle plan phase 3: Tamoxifen. Andy and I learned today that my type of breast cancer is estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) and progesterone-receptor positive (PR+). Breast cancers which have higher levels of estrogen and progesterone receptors are highly receptive to endocrine therapy (hormone based therapy) and can be easier to overcome. Woo hoo! To that end, once I’ve put chemo and radiation in my rear view mirror, I will be prescribed Tamoxifen for up to 10 years.
Today, I feel terrific! I’m almost fully healed following my mastectomy and am constantly propelled forward by your love/support. I’m no fool though. Most battle plans include some ugly and dark days and I know this will be no different. Even though I may lose some small battles along the way, my intent is to win the war.
©️This blog courtesy of Tamara Lindsay’s personal journal. If you have health concerns/questions, please consult your family doctor. Learn more about breast cancer awareness and prevention at www.cancer.ca Thank you for supporting #TeamTj