Pam Daale: An Update

Feb 13, 2004

My apologies for not updating sooner. Last time I wrote I had just started radiation on the center of my upper chest, and was about to begin chemo. I had 10 treatments of the radiation, and that is now over, thank goodness!

Radiating that part of my chest affected my esophagus, and it was difficult swallowing for about a week. I would take a bite of food, but have to swallow it in tiny parts. Meals became a long ordeal for me. Even the kids finished at least one-half hour before I did, and they're the slowest eaters on the planet! But that has improved greatly over just the last couple of days, so mealtimes aren't as long now.

I also finished the first round of chemo which consisted of one treatment a week for three weeks. I received Taxotere, and was also given Herceptin, which is more of a prevention drug. Again, thankfully the side effects were minimal. I had slight bone pain in my upper arms, but no nausea, at least not from the chemo.

See, I'm a slow learner sometimes, or maybe it's chemo brain. I like the chemo brain excuse best.

When I was first starting to have pain in my left shoulder before I knew it was cancer coming back, I had gotten a pain medication to help me sleep (oxycontin). At night it was fine, but during the day it would make me vomit, so I didn't use it during the day. That was back in November.

Fast forward to January and I'm looking for something that will dull the bone pain. I find the oxycontin and took it before my radiation treatment in the morning. Lying flat for the radiation was fine, but as soon as I got up, I knew I was in trouble. I spent much of the day in front of the toilet since I couldn't keep down anti-nausea medication. I also wrote BARF in black letters across the bottle of oxycontin. Don't think I'll be making that mistake again!

Day to day I'm feeling pretty good. Naps are a necessity, or I just hit a wall by late afternoon (and sometimes late morning!). My brother got me into nutritional supplements which has improved my energy. I also believe it is helping my body fight because my blood count this week was good. A drop in the white count is always a concern while on chemo, but my counts are not anywhere near a dangerous level. Last year when I was going through chemo I had to have shots to increase my counts. They hurt and made my bones ache, so I'm happy not to have them again!

The cough is also still bothering me. I had another chest x-ray this week which didn't show anything significant, but I will be seeing the pulmonologist again to see what he thinks.

Because the chemo is three weeks on, one week off, I have the next week off of treatments. It's going to be a great week since it's our daughter's 8th birthday (yikes!) and my parents are coming into town. A little pampering from the folks never hurts!

Until next time...

Pam Daale The Happy Cancer Patient, again

You can e-mail Pam Daale at

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