Breast cancer treatments can continue for a long, tedious time. It's beats the alternative.
Conventional treatments for hormone positive breast cancer typically include a year of Herceptin and, depending on one's menopausal status for women, daily Tamoxifen tablets. The tamox moderates estrogen.
No thanks to the vagaries of the internet, Herceptin and Tamoxifen seemed like a horrifying thing. The side effects sounded horrendous. Some women refused to take these treatments and preferred to risk it instead. Some friends who are serious natural medicine devotees insisted I instead drink certain herbal formulas, ingest baking soda, ingest various other things, take naps in an oxygen chamber, and/or rub certain types of natural substances on the cancery areas.
I tried that before having conventional treatment.
It didn’t work and the cancer spread.
By the time I made it to a doctor specializing in conventional treatment, things were not pretty. The natural remedies failed and I was going to die. Period. Simple as that.
As much as I like natural remedies for things and eating healthy (mostly organic fruits, veg, nuts, some seafood, seaweed, herbal supplements), that didn’t save my ass when it came to the type of cancer I had. Maybe a baking soda remedy did cure someone else’s brain tumor. Maybe the vitamin C intravenous infusions helped another patient. But it didn’t help me.
“You didn’t take the right combination,” some of my friends hinted. That’s so easy to say and it’s all unprovable guesswork. And my life was on the line. How was I to know? I dutifully tried all kinds of natural remedies and those special “cancer diets” that are touted all over the internet. I did this FOR OVER TWO YEARS before resorting to conventional treatment.
The lesson is; do your homework. Maybe an alternative treatment might work for certain cancers and maybe not. But don’t take risks with your life. Dammit Jim, I’m a mechanic, not a scientist. So what the heck do I know?
All I know is the conventional cancer treatment that my natural friends despise so much (yeah yea, Big Pharma- toxic chemicals, yada yada) killed cancer cells fast and allowed my healthy parts to prevail. Where before, the cancer was trying to take over and winning. Granted the treatments are no picnic, but it’s part of the deal. Cancer is a tough, persistent sonofabitch. But you can be tougher. Don’t let negative thoughts prevail. Past posts on this blog document how quickly the chemo took effect (tumor shrinkage the next day) and how radiation shrunk the cells (a palpable and measurable difference). I had chemo and radiation before surgery so I could actually feel and watch the effects these treatments had on the tumor. Pretty amazing.
The biggest thing that helped get me through the not-so-easy treatments is exercise. After a chemo session and you feel like garbage and just want to lie down, take a light walk instead. (first discuss this with your doc. Each patient's situation is unique). I couldn’t believe the HUGE difference a little bit of movement and exercise did along with drinking lots of non-sugary fluids.
It’s been exactly a year since the treatments began for my aggressive stage III cancer and I feel okay. Now that a nasty mass isn’t trying to take over, causing extreme fatigue and overall body pain, I can be almost be myself again. Minus one boob and less muscle.
Surviving cancer does get better. I’m not 100 percent yet, so have more energy to look forward to.. I’m still on Herceptin and seem to be less tolerant of the summer heat than normal. By next month, the Herceptin will end and I’ll just be on the Tamoxifen. It causes hot flashes, but I haven’t noticed any other terrible effect. The painful, stiff joints are due to the suppressed estrogen levels and the body will acclimate. Maybe the regular exercise helps keep this hormone therapy drug in check. The Tamox has altered my metabolism a bit and my thighs got a bit chunkier, but that supposedly balances out down the road.
Things that made a difference in facilitating healing during treatment:
-Drinking plenty of fluids.
-A positive attitude.
-Eating as healthy as you can. I still have “fun” and drink wine/beer, but in moderation.
-Get out and do stuff with friends and family. Stay active and involved as much as possible.
Ouch, Rashes all Over Back and Neck!
When first starting, Herceptin infusions caused awful rashes, especially on my back. After a few sessions, the irritation went away and I actually became accustomed to the stuff. It also made my "tumor marker" numbers drop (a desirable thing). I know, sorry, this is not a pretty or flattering pic, but neither is cancer..