At the end of February, six months post chemo I joined a gym class to get back into shape. I started going to Barre classes in the evenings after my day long Kaplan lectures. These workout classes were intense, I was doing push ups, squats and other crazy movements. I finally felt like I was back to my old self. After a few classes, I felt a new lump in my unaffected, and only breast (the left one). From my previous experience, I of course began to worry about a new “visitor”. Continue reading
Since finishing treatment in August 2013, I slowly went back into my old life. I passed my second year final exams for medical school, finished a 90 hour clerkship and started studying for my US Medical Board Exams. Continue reading
I had the impression that during my chemotherapy treatment I would have the hardest time, physically and mentally. Although this was true, I never thought about how my body would change after all the treatment was finished. Yes my body was under attack each time the chemo drugs were injected into my body, and yes my body cells died every few days but for most of these symptoms I was given medication to alleviate them. I used strong painkillers to numb the bone and joint pain, corticosteroids to ease the nausea and gather some strength, and anti-anxiety pills to fall asleep on tough, sleepless nights. Now that I am all done with that I have new symptoms that pills can’t help or reduce. Continue reading
In December 2013, four months after my last chemo cycle, I went on vacation to the Caribbean. I enjoyed 12 days of sunshine and white sand beach. I only wore my swimming breast prosthesis in my bikini for the first two-three days. Continue reading
Over the weekend I decided it was time to go to a bra and swimsuit shop where my needs could be met. I wanted to go look for a swimsuit that I could wear for my family trip to the Caribbean this winter. Regularly, finding the perfect swimsuit can be a long process and now that I have a missing breast, the process has become a little bit more difficult. I heard about Melmira’s Bra and Swimsuits Boutique from one of my mom’s friends who went through a similar process.
After my last cycle of chemotherapy on August 13, 2013, I felt so accomplished. I was done with what I thought would be the most grueling process of this whole ordeal. But I was wrong. When I lost all of my eye lashes, eyebrows and hair, I could barely recognize myself in the mirror. Or even like the person I saw. Yes, I knew that my hair would eventually grow back and my “beauty” will all return but as I was going through the “regrowth”, I was having trouble accepting my appearance. A big scar replaces the spot where my breast would lay and although I am told it’s as best as a scar can get, it’s a scar that I look at and feel pain. Its a constant reminder of what nearly killed me. With time the fleshy mark will fade and blend in with the rest of my skin.
A week after my last cycle of chemotherapy, it was decided that my mediport needed to come out. Since I will be traveling overseas for a month, I will not have an opportunity to have my mediport flushed. The port needs to be flushed at least every six weeks, to make sure no blood clot forms. My mediport removal was scheduled for August 20. The removal of the mediport was a lot shorter in duration than its insertion, however it was more painful. The reason it was more painful was due to the lidocaine shot the radiologist administered to numb my skin. It was 10 seconds of a burning sensation that made this experience quite unpleasant. If I would have used the cream that I was prescribed to numb my skin before the mediport was used for infusion, the pain would not be as much. This is something that I should have done, but I admit I did not listen to the advice from my mom 🙁 Continue reading
A few days before my last cycle of chemo, my boyfriend Nikita came to spend the week with me. My appointment was scheduled for Tuesday, August 13 in the afternoon.
After finishing my blood work, my mother and I went upstairs for my appointment with the oncologist. We waited some time before being seen by the doctor until we finally made our way down stairs to the infusion center. My infusion was scheduled for 2:30pm and I would stay there until 6-7pm. Based on my blood work and physical examination my doctor gave me the green light to finish my chemo session.
When I found out the exact amount of weight that I gained, 14 lbs, I decided that I could no longer lounge around and wait for this to be over to start losing it. I knew I gained weight, but I never really thought about how much. Nowadays majority of people on chemotherapy will gain weight instead of lose weight, depending on the cancer and the treatment. Steroids are given to some patients to increase appetite and to alleviate nausea, especially when given in combination with other antinausea drugs . For my entire 8 cycles, I have been prescribed the steroid Decadron.