My cancer saga started when I was diagnosed at 38 with Stage 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. I have a twisted sense of humor and have tried to continue with laughter and optimism on my journey...

Week 13 Update... let the Taxotere begin!

Episode XXXIV - ... life is the great teacher


Thank goodness for no treatment week! I am now another shot down with only three more to go. I had also completed my first real round (3 doses) of Taxotere. Even though I still had 9 chemo sessions left, I looked at it as if there were only 3 more complete Taxoteres to go.

I am over the halfway point of my chemo treatment and grateful to be there. Oh yeah!!


What a difference a week makes...


Even though I had already finished a tough treatment week, I was still in some pain. Regardless, I had to get back on routine. That meant getting the kids ready to start school again. That meant doing the mundane housework. That meant getting my body back up and moving. That meant trying to live a normal life!


It has not be the easiest thing, but I really force myself to continue on some exercise program. The things I do are minimal compared to what I used to do, but I keep moving forward. Unfortunately the exercise was not counter-balancing the general weight gain, but it had to be doing something. Anything, I hope?!? I have some weird idea that if I keep doing my crazy shaking machine and stationary bike that it would help my muscle memory. So when I finely, eventually, maybe felt better I could go insane and workout without issues.


Getting my exercise on... shake n' bike!


The "week off" treatments usually gave me an opportunity to recover. However, I am not always good at using it to recover. I spend most of the week trying to catch up on the many things left undone and to handle the many future things needing to be done. Often I end up working too hard and overdoing it, which creates a great deal of pain and eventual a body meltdown.

The week was no different. I went and managed the kids going back to school things: orientations, dental appointments, haircuts, and shopping for supplies. Just doing the normal mom things. However, those normal mom things took me down by mid-day and make my cranky by dinner. Then I would spend hours with back and leg pain. My body would twitch and carry on. I would eventually fever and crash. I am continually reminded of my limitations!

Another valuable lesson, do not miss or be late with Gabapentin. I got busy one morning and forgot to take a dose until around 11:45 am. At that point my hands were jittery. By the time my son and I were finished with some school tasks and ready to eat, I was a hot mess. I dropped multiple napkins due to my hands. My sandwich looked like it was convulsing to my mouth. I could not dip my potato cakes into the container easily due to lack of mobility. It was crazy and mildly entertaining for those around us. It also showed me that my tiny twitches after the first dose had gotten a lot worse after three.


He all but had to feed me cause of my shaky hands.


It even lingered into the evening. My son had written something for school and wanted me to edit it. I was tired and I should have just said no, but I never thought it would be my hands that would be the major problem. By the time I did some very minor writing and editing they were cramping and locking up. It was so physically painful. And only for doing some minor writing. Seems hand cramping was now going to be a reaction to actually using my hands. With all these increasing issues, who knows what I am in for after 9 more doses!!!


I was into a good Stage 2... hoping to avoid Stage 3.


Hopefully I will learn my lesson to slow down... probably not. Plus, with two young kids there was no way to slow down especially with school about to start. I would be able to slow down in the mornings to only speed up in the afternoons. I am going to have to learn a whole new schedule and way to cope with summers end.

Mainly I love my off week because I really get to hang out with my husband and kids more while feeling mildly human. Even though I am not my high-energy mom-type self, I am hanging in there and doing what I can. I never quite feel that I am doing enough and often feeling guilty, but I felt that before and think all mom's feel that way... cancer or not! The best thing was that they were just excited to see me feel better and want to hang out even if it was for just little things.



My daughter's first drawing of us after I got cancer.
She is on the left. I am on the right. 

Important things to know about the picture are...
  1. First portrait of me without hair.
  2. However, I do have a very long scarf.
  3. Scarf was also included on my head in the heart.

In my head...


So, I went strong until mid-week. Even then I still had things and appointments each day, but they became more challenging to complete. By the time they were done I was too! Limitations and respecting those were something I have still not completely learned. I think I am still having to figure out when was too much and when to stop.

Because of that, I had a few moments...

...where I felt ice-pick stabbing pain.
...where I actually screamed out in pain.
...where I could not physically move due to pain.
...where I twisted and turned because of intense pain.
...where I hoped my fever was going to be something more.

Basically, I had a some moments of regret for doing too much!!


“Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them.”
- Albert Einstein


Episode Reference: “To learn one must be humble. But life is the great teacher.”
from Ulysses by James Joyce

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About Amy Brock

Amy Brock is a cancer fighter and survivor. Diagnosed with Infiltrating Breast Cancer at 38 she has gone through chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, hormone therapy, and other procedures since 2013. Post treatment she has been diagnosed with lymphedema, chemo-induced neuropathy and bone degeneration in her back, as well as other issues including dysphagia, bilateral hearing loss, and arthritis. From being completely healthy, to having a variety of issues, Amy began blogging about her experiences as a way to help others. Read more about finding humor in the craziness of cancer at her blog www.tatawarrior.com Amy is the mother of two children and has worked for various non-profit agencies. In addition, she is a fine artist creating works in multiple mediums which can be seen at www.amybrock.com

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