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 that laughter and optimism on my journey...

New-rologist... more delusional hope

Episode CIII - I can't control my brain


December Doctor Madness might just be turning it to madness! It was time to meet with the Neurologist and go over my MRI results, right?  Wrong!


 
ready to see what is going on up there...


Seriously, what is up with my luck this month????



First - I had a teenager with me!

I made my way to the Neurologist's office with my teenage son. I had to take him along because he had an orthodontist appointment right after my appointment. There is nothing like having a teenager go along for your first visit to a new doctor. He was thrilled to be there (said with much sarcasm).

It seems waiting in the waiting room took too long. Thankfully his phone distracted him from the wait... at least while I was with him. After I was called back it was only a few minutes before I got a text, "How long?" I was barely in the waiting room. I had just enough time to see the nurse and explained my complicated, long list of ailments. Chill!

The doctor was running about how doctor's run for appointments - late, but not too late. It just seemed long to a 14 year old boy sitting in a waiting room. So, a few minutes later I got, "Have you seen the doctor yet?" Then not moments later, "How long is this going to take?" Seriously, just appreciate you are not at school! He is going to have to work on patience... it is a virtue!!!

Second - The computers were down!

When the Neurologist finally arrived in the room I was ready to hear my MRI results. Instead, I got nothing. I must have some computer jinx going right now because this is the second doctor who's computers are down when I am at their office. Something in my body is taking down medical computers. Seriously, how often does that happen?

It turns out that not only was their system down, they did not even have a copy of the MRI. There was no record of it. I seriously went through all the trouble with the MRI itself and getting this appointment scheduled to find out it was not even sent over for the appointment. What the heck is going on?!?!




After a quick examination that included a bit of poking and walking and talking, he looked over what information he had. Which was not much! In general, the complaints were so many he said it was overwhelming... imagine how I feel!?!?!

Fibromyalgia. It was finally said as a diagnosis. Well, along with Arthritis. I was basically diagnosed with chronic pain (and other symptoms)... yeah! I had heard all these words before and I was already taking Lyrica for these symptoms. So, it was only fitting that it was official.


Learn about Fibromyalgia, click here


The Neuro did not want to up my Lyrica because the increased dosage could cause an increase in problems... like problems I do not want. So, he was going to put me on Cymbalta (see pharmacy comments below for important information about this). He said that the combination of those two medications usually helped many Fibro patients. So I believed there was a new option to treat the pain!

Besides the new med he wanted to do a nerve conduction study. However, my Lymphedema was something that might be a problem. The test should not be done to my arm (arms) due to the increased risk of causing additional damage to my arm. A nerve conduction study involves measuring how well and fast the nerves send electrical signals... so just think needles and electricity... zap!!!

So, even though I was annoyed that I went to the appointment and my MRI was not sent, I felt like maybe there were some new options to help with my pain. And while I spent most of the appointment unfocused because I was watching the time to make sure that I left in time for my son's appointment, I finished at the last scheduled minute I had. However, according to my teenager, I took the longest time ever. But, I left the office feeling hopeful...


Pharmacy Debacle... 

The pharmacy left a computerized message on my phone. Something about a "red flag" on the Cymbalta prescription that the Neuro just prescribed. Since that sounded odd, I called the pharmacist. We briefly spoke and they said the "red flag" was removed and that I could pick it up that evening.




Since I felt bad, I asked my husband to pick it up. Then I wondered about that "red flag". It bothered me. I did not like it. With my concerned researching mode set into action, I began to look for potential drug interaction between Tamoxifen and Cymbalta (DULoxetine) online. I happened to use a site, click here, and there it was...

"Talk to your doctor before using tamoxifen together with DULoxetine. When used regularly or continuously for extended periods, DULoxetine may reduce the effectiveness of tamoxifen in the treatment of breast cancer. Your doctor may be able to suggest alternatives to DULoxetine that do not interfere with tamoxifen therapy."

I was now more concerned. I called my husband and asked him to double check with the pharmacist when he picked up the medicine. A few hours later he walked home with the prescription in hand. I was surprised! I was even more surprised when he explained that the pharmacy did not really try and look up my prescriptions to see if there was any interactions. Say what?

I know my prescriptions are not all at the same location, but they are all paid through the same insurance so they can be seen... plus, a "red flag" did originally show up. I was going to have to call them... argh!!!


heading from crazy into insane...


Since I had a bad feeling about it I called the pharmacy. I told them that I wanted them to check on my drug interactions again before I take the prescription. Yes, the prescription I was holding in my hand. I also told them that I was upset that they did not help my husband or check when he asked... of course, I heard excuses.

Guess what? I am not supposed to take Cymbalta. (Duh!) They told me I have to call my Oncologist and discuss it with them. Seriously... it is 4:40 pm on the last working day before Christmas... argh!

So here's my next 20 minutes...

I Call the Oncologist
I contacted the nurse line and explained the whole situation. Blah. Blah. Blah... sympathy and concern noted, but I only have a few minutes here. All I want to know is if I could or could not take the meds, and if not what could I take? She was worried that the nurses had left, but she would try and find my Onc nurse. I would hopefully hear back from them shortly.

Oncologist Nurse Calls Me
The nurse calls and tells me I am not allowed to take the Cymbalta. Blah. Blah. Blah... crappy and typical not helping me response. They would not offer any other medicine options. I would have to call the Neurologist to get another type of prescription and then call them to see if it was something I could take.... seriously?!?!

I Call the Neurologist
I contact the front desk and she is the only person left in the whole office. Blah. Blah. Blah... you are not going to help me either. Everyone is gone until next Monday!!! She would pass my message on, but offers me no options.

I Feel Defeated... Again...
Now I have to wait almost another week before I can find out what medicine option he offers next, which I then have to check with the Oncologist, which I have to repeat this process until I find something to help me stop hurting. These doctors are starting to get annoying!!!



In my head...


This is a good reminder to keep up with your prescriptions and doctors. I cannot express the need to advocate for your own health. If I had not checked on that medicine I would be taking something that makes my cancer meds ineffective... and that would be bad!

It is a shame that I have to be so constantly pro-active in my own health. I would really like it if things did not always have to go so terribly crazy. Easy button? Maybe that is what I need for Christmas!!!




"I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. 
Caring for myself is an act of survival."
- Audre Londe


Episode Reference: I wanna be sedated, the Ramones' song

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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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