Shauna Wears Pink

I will never forget the day my doctor uttered those horrifying words “I am sorry to tell you, but that is a cancer tumor that you have in your left breast”. I was 33 years old, and my life changed forever. I invite you to read my story, learn from it and hopefully be inspired to reach out to other young women living with and beyond breast cancer.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chemotherapy: What does not kill me will only make me stronger

On Friday, October 14, 2005 with my now 14 month old son safely at school, my husband and I went to the cancer clinic for my first of 10 grueling chemotherapy treatments. The infusion room is a friendly place consisting of recliners, big screen TVs and lots of pillows and blankets. It looks like a comfy living room except for the IV polls next to each recliner. The chemotherapy treatments are not painful and are injected directly into big veins through the use of the port-a-catheter implanted in middle of my chest. The purpose of chemotherapy in my case is to kill off any possible cancer cells that living in my blood stream or that might have strayed off to other organs in my body. I would receive 6 treatments, three weeks apart, of a cocktail of drugs known as FEC (5-FU, Epirubicin, and Cytoxan). After that, I would receive an additional 4 treatments, also administered every three weeks, of a drug called Taxotere. I tried to think about the chemotherapy medicine positively, but I soon developed an almost violent reaction to the sight of the two tubes of red fluid (Epirubicin) that would cause me so much pain over the coming months. Overall my first treatment went pretty well. The medicine hit me immediately and within four hours of my treatment my living room began to spin around me, and I could barely stand up due to the waves of over-whelming nausea. The next day however I felt better and after receiving more IV drugs and more anti-nausea drugs I actually had the energy to play with my son. The next day my steroids kicked in full force and I called a friend to come over and help me clean out my entire closet. Steroids are administered in connect with chemotherapy to give the body some ammunition to fight off the damaging effects of the chemotherapy. However, Monday morning the steroids wore off and I could not get out of bed. No matter how hard I tried I could not bring myself to get up. Although still not up to snuff, on Tuesday I insisted on going back to work. I dragged myself to work the next few days until by Friday I finally felt like a human being again. My treatments were three weeks apart, so I had two weeks to feel like myself again. The one side effect that lingered were blood sugar crashes every hour or so. I went to a nutritionist who put me on a high protein low carb/glycemic index diet with instructions to eat every 2-3 hours. After a few days on the diet a felt like a new person.


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