C is for chemo

I’ve been trying to process my treatment plan since I sat in the oncologist’s office recently.

Chemotherapy followed by radiation.

In the back of my mind, I’ve been hoping, assuming maybe, that because my cancer is early stage and my surgeon got all of the tumor out, my treatment might not even involve chemotherapy. I was wrong.

The doctor said I have “triple negative,” breast cancer, which means it tests negative for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and excess HER2 protein. I’m not exactly sure what all that means.

But, the way you treat a cancer like that, the doctor said, is like paying a mortgage. You make a big down payment with a lot of treatment early.

I’m nervous about having a weakened immune system during all this, but the doctor said I’ll also have a drug to help with that.

I am awash in reading material from the hospital about the drugs I’ll be taking. The list of possible side effects of chemotherapy medication is daunting, even without COVID-19.

hair loss
constipation and/or diarrhea
nail and skin color change
fertility problems
easy bruising and bleeding

The list goes on.

But I’ve been told every body reacts differently to chemo. I even heard a story of one woman who continued to run five miles a day while on chemo.

We’ll have to wait and see.

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