Friday, January 30, 2015

Breast Cancer patients and survivors - one doctor understands

This morning, Sunrise Rounds has a post  (scroll to Cancer Care--The Secret Change) about how we feel when a cancer is "cured."  How hard it is to forget that ghost whisper:  It could come back.  That phantom pain that says: Is it back?  Dr. Salwitz shares the words of a survivor and cancer treatment professional who seems shocked at how cancer acts and feels when we're the patient.

Since breast cancer especially has been found to be ever lurking, his post really struck me.

He talks about the parts of us - body and mind - that aren't quite what they were before radiation, before whatever science has done to us as well as to the disease.  And how we feel about those alterations and losses.  

About all this he says one thing that made me feel a deep kinship with other survivors, "The clincher?  None of this is obvious to anyone else." 

Our families, spouses, friends have heaved a sigh of relief for us.  We rang the bell!

And yet... 

I wish you health.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tamoxifen? or spine nerves? causing foot pain

More and more often recently, I'd been skipping my walks because of foot pain and morning swelling.  A podiatrist had told me months ago that something in my legs could make my feet burn.  I do take Gabapentin at night for painful leg nerves that the spine fusion didn't cure.

My primary doctor sent me to another podiatrist for the foot pain. My regular physical therapist and a retired nurse friend definitely approved of her choice.

New-patient podiatrist visit

We had a long discussion starting with my worsening foot pain and the new development--swollen feet, also nerves, especially to my upper thighs, that were not healed by the spine fusion.  Showed him my home-made salvation, metatarsal pads.  As if that weren't enough, I assured him I can't tell when Tamoxifen is causing daily pains.

He will order a custom compounded cream for my feet.

One week later at his PhTherapy dept:

I showed up.  First I sat  in a firm chair dangling my feet that did not reach the bottom of the foot bath.  Pain.

Then off to the therapist's painful chair.  Pillow under legs did not help pressure on sore thighs. Massage with cream, measurements, electro-stimulation, ultra-sound.  Way too long in chair.  Pain.

Finally, en route to my car my  feet were starting to feel a little cold.

At home, my feet felt as if I were standing in snow.  After four hours of "freeze," and leaving messages, talked with nurses or aides who said the doctor called my snowy feet "a little flare-up."   Little it wasn't.  They told me to elevate my feet--done already.  We made an appointment for the next day.  I pretty much spent the evening sitting too long, reading a murder mystery, trying to ignore my legs and feet.

Next day: Learned that the physical therapist had used their cream called some kind of "...freeze..:"   He apologized profusely. I asked for warning about strong side effects, but Dr. said they don't warn because they're not common.  "Call the office and tell us."  I mentioned there wasn't a live person on the phone to tell.  Finally he gave me a hug! kissed my cheek, and went out.

His nurse told me what I tell other people, but don't practice sometimes:  Tell the PT you can't sit long, that you have to get up and move around, that he mustn't leave you on your own, that he must check on you every few minutes.  Good idea.  It's not the PT's job to guess.

Bottom line so far:

I never know what Tamoxifen is causing.
I don't know why nerves are hurting more.
The first PT didn't do much for the pain and swelling.

Next post - the $$$ RX cream

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Breast Cancer - Early stage: Lumpectomy - New: device may avoid repeat lumpectomy

Internet Medicine .com has posted this article from, a press release circulating company.  The post is titled SOURCE.

New Technology To Detect Lingering Cancer Cells During Breast Surgery

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Tamoxifen and study on safety in darkness. Pt. 3

Evening use of light-emitting eReaders negatively affects sleep, circadian timing...

Yes, I do believe Tamoxifen probably needs total darkness and enough sleep in real darkness to fight off cancer.  Also Tamoxifen is not mentioned in this study, they come to the same warnings about not enough sleep in the darkness, and about putting off sleep so we can use our readers (or use our laptops because we want to get a blog out before we sleep.)

I still take melatonin and am still finding ways to let less light into this room while I sleep.  Follow the link to read more of the study.   It costs so little, and what if it does help my Tamoxifen?

" . . .We found that the use of these devices before bedtime prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep, delays the circadian clock, suppresses levels of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, reduces . . ."  

Pediatrics: Smartphone in Bedroom Is Not So Smart Choice  MEDPAGE 1/05/2015