Breast Cancer

Signs of Life & Side Effects

Absolutely out of the blue, it happened. I walk into the closet in our room to change clothes. I pull the shirt over my bald head and that’s when I saw it in the mirror. A little glimmer on the side of my head. The light directly above my head had highlighted something I couldn’t see in the bathroom mirror. The tiniest bit of peach fuzz hair growing back! I have loved my bald head. But I’m ready to move on from this phase of treatment. I’m ready not to feel like crap most days. So it made my day to see this little sign of life on my head.

My oncologist said with Taxol (the chemo drug I’m on now) that my hair may grow back. I just didn’t believe her. It’s so fine and sparse, you can barely even feel it. But it is there and slowly growing and it made me feel somewhat normal again.

While my hair may be growing, Taxol isn’t without it’s own set of yucky side effects. There is joint and muscle pain, major fatigue, ear ringing, weird fingernail pain and changes, and neuropathy (numbness, pain and tingling). And apparently neuropathy is where they draw the line in younger patients, because it can be permanent and it can spread. Basically, weighing the risk-reward. Taxol is helping the cancer shrink. I only have two more treatments left. But am I going to be left with some sort of permanent numbness? Possibly.

Right now, it’s in the finger tips of both hands, spreading to the right this past week. And on my feet, around my shins and on my abdomen and a few spots on my back. But it can progress and you can lose some fine motor control – ie: not being able to button a shirt and worse. And that could be problematic going forward. But so could cancer…

So at this point I only have two treatments left. Next Tuesday I’ll meet with my oncologist and we’ll evaluate it all. And she is tough, honest and smart and I trust in the decision we will make on Tuesday on whether to continue through the last two treatments. She was very clear that if it is worse, we are done. So it’s a bit of wait and see this week. We’ll see if the neuropathy is worse, and weigh the best decision for me then.

But in the mean time, I’m going to enjoy this little bit of peach fuzz on my head. Not worry that my eyelashes are almost gone and the eyebrows will continue to fall out for a bit (weird how that works…). Enjoy this spring break while the kiddos hang with cousins and grandparents so that I can rest. And enjoy having Jason to myself for the next few days, without responsibility. I don’t think we all realized how much we needed this spring break, until we got here.

Almost the end of chemo. Happy Spring y’all! We really are getting there!

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2 Comments

  • Reply Saundra April 16, 2015 at 10:01 am

    I keep re-reading this, and the one above it, and crying tears of joy! You are kicking cancer’s ass – how wonderful!

    • Reply Shannon April 18, 2015 at 9:04 am

      Love you!

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