A few weeks ago, my Oncologist asked me how I felt during my pregnancy(ies). He said typically you can tell how nauseous a chemo patient would be based on pregnancy nausea. GREAT...just what I wanted to hear. That made me totally prepare for the worst case scenario. Luckily, this first chemo cycle has been totally tolerable... Anyway - my first pregnancy (which I miscarried first trimester) was not too bad, mostly "seasick" feelings. With Lilly- forget it. I was sick with the pukes 24/7 and I don't know how I managed to get through those 40 weeks and 8 days. It was rough...really, really rough. It got me thinking how many similarities pregnancy and breast cancer have.
1. Fatigue - even before my diagnosis, I had fatigue. And I though it was just the summer heat!
2. Boob pain - the "lymph node" tumor hurt - so there goes the myth that cancer doesn't hurt. Now, since the boobs are gone, it's just healing pains...
3. Anxiety - instead of "how is this baby getting out of me", "when is this cancer getting out of me"!
4. Loss of appetite - see anxiety, plus chemo gives you a funky taste in your mouth, so not much tastes good. Fruity stuff is not so bad.
5. Increased appetite - thank you steroids! The appetite comes and goes.
6. Advice - everyone probably knows someone who has or had cancer, but just like pregnancy, no two patients are alike. Keep to the practical, useful advice. I know I need to rest, eat well and all that stuff.
7. Constant doctors appointments - Hmmm... in just one week I had 4 doctors appointments! I'll see my Breast Surgeon in 3 mo, 6 mo and the 1 year, same with my Oncologist after I finish treatment in 16 months. Then every year- once a year I'll see my OB/Gyn, Breast Surgeon and Oncologist plus my Primary and Dermatologist...plus my Reconstructive Surgeon!
8. Blood tests - every 2 weeks to test my cell count.
9. Ultrasounds - Who knew a cancer tumor could look so much like a tiny embryo!
10. Nausea - if only I could have taken Aloxi, Zofran, Emend, Compazine, Decadron, Atavan, Lexapro and whatever else I have up in me for chemo- during my pregnancy...I would have been a much happier mom-to-be!