All I want for Christmas is a Cancer Free Boob!

Sorry to have been away so long.  The new cancer medicine plus the switch between Prozac and Effexor has taken the energy right out of me. 

Since I stopped the Prozac cold and started with Effexor right away, the prozac effect has worn off and the effexor will take another 1-3 weeks to take effect.  So all the reasons I need an anti-anxiety med are affecting me.   I’m going from depressed to frustrated to happy to tired.   Plus the tamoxifen makes me tired, have hot flashes and is basically screwing around with my hormonal system.

I feel like I’m going CRAZY!!!   Yesterday, I couldn’t get string cheese unwrapped and after a few frustrating moments, it went flying across the kitchen.  My mom can verify.  

I’m not proud of this.

Yesterday was the day of appointments.  

First up: My endocrinologist

I hadn’t told them of the cancer, so yesterday was the first news she had heard of it. She looked a bit surprised.  Most of my visit was talking about my cholesterol.  HIGH.   Then we talked about my Thyroid.  She’s been keeping track for the last 6 months or so and my TSH levels are consistently getting higher and they are out of range.

So guess who is NOW on thyroid medicine?   I swear, could I BE taking any more medications that fuck with my body?  And, how fun is it that I start them all within three weeks of each other?



Second/Third appointment:  Oncology and Surgery

I went to Norris in the afternoon and was supposed to see my oncologist and then my surgeon.  My surgeon busted in on my oncology appointment so it ended up being two, two, two appointments in one.  Basically all of the tamoxifen side effects I’m having are normal and should go away as my body acclimates to all the drugs I’m now taking.


I have a surgery date.




Holy shit. This just got real.

I’ve gotten quite comfy with my little tumor.  His likes and dislikes.  The small stabby pains to remind me he’s still there.  My urge to rid myself of him has gotten not so urgey.

I’m scared.  This is turning out to be a huge surgery.  They have decided to do a left mastectomy – including cutting out the 11cm mass of calcifications in there.  They are also going to extract the 3 lymph nodes that contain cancer.  Until they get in there, they don’t know how many actual lymph nodes they have to take.  It could be all of them in that arm.   That is massive.  I’m at risk for major infection, lymphadema, all sorts of crap.  I can’t even get a scratch or bruise on that arm post surgery without having to report it to the surgeon.

They are working out a plan for pre-op.  All I know right now is that I will be a Norris every day from 5 days before getting shots of Neupogen to strengthen my white cells.  I will also be getting antibiotics, Red cell and platelet transfusions up to and possibly during surgery.  There is pre-op at Keck (where I will have the surgery) and pre-op at Norris.  

Surgery will take 1.5 – 3 hours.  Apparently if I get through it ok and not bleeding, I could go home the next day.  If she’s not comfortable, I could stay a few days.  The risk of infection is higher for me staying at the hospital.  They will send me home with antibiotics and drains from my chest. Blech.   She usually sees her patients one-two weeks out to remove the drains but she said she would probably want to see me more often just to see for herself that I’m okay.   Until the drains come out, I’m not allowed to move my left elbow  above my shoulder.  Although if they take a ton of lymph nodes out, I’ve heard my arm is totally numb for a while and I’m not allowed to life it at all for a while.     If I’m doing well, I get to leave the house for a little bit after two weeks.  Then I get occupational therapy to help regain my arm movement.

So Overwhelmed.  I see my surgeon on Nov 13th where the exact plan will be discussed.   I have to get prepared over the next month.

I put together my health care power of attorney/advance directive last night.  That was fun.

Thanks again for the prayers, good thoughts, and healing light.  I appreciate it.

Oh, before I forget…

Surgery date:  Thursday, December 5th.




11 Comments on “All I want for Christmas is a Cancer Free Boob!”

  1. Barbara DiCarlo says:

    Wow so many things to be concerned about. Just know I will keep you in my prayers. If you need some help after surgery give me a call . Take care, Barbara


  2. Lori Lewis says:

    My brave and beautiful friend, I don’t know anyone dealing with as much as you are, nor do I know anyone with anything CLOSE to what you have to deal with who’s doing it with your grace and humor. Do you have any clue as to how amazing you are? I certainly hope so!

    Please know that I’m here for you, whatever you need. I love you and am continuing to send an abundance of love, light and strength your way.



  3. Diana Keim says:

    Love you, Pam! Lots of love and prayers. I believe in science and I believe in faith!! Fight On!


  4. Heather says:

    Pam, your friend Lori said it so very well. You have incredible strength in the face of these numerous challenges, and you also have a huge base of support with friends and family sending you love and ready to help you however you need it. On December 5 the amount of healing energy and love being sent your way will likely shut down the internet and disrupt a variety of satellite signals. Thank you, as always, for keeping us informed and for doing so with such grace and humor, as Lori put it. ❤


    • Pam says:

      I do have the bestest friends in the world – and you have been there since day 27!!! (if I counted correctly) Thank you for all your love and support! xoxo


  5. Karen Stember says:

    Hi Pam….so “Pam” to be concerned about your mom…yes we will make her take a Taco Tuesday break……when you are ready for her to. We sure did have a fun night this last Tuesday, and we weren’t even at Brandon’s. I have photos of the 7 of us playing Mexican Train…but they are NOT going on FB!!!!!! Now, as for you….you are one tough cookie Pam and your fight on spirit will help you get through the next few months. I too am here to help when needed. XO Karen Stember


  6. Penny Korn says:

    Thinking of you Pam, with lots of love and prayers!


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