Monday, October 4, 2010

The fatankle drama!

I am entering my third week of my new job. I am working four days a week and I am not sure how I managed to work five days in a row!!!! This working thing is exhausting, but I am loving it. I will never love the public transport part of working, but I love having to get up in the morning, get dressed and have a purpose that doesn't involve doctor's appointments and hospital trips. Although, these last two will be a part of my regular life for some time to come, at the moment they are not my focus. It is great to be part of a team again and I am learning a whole new industry. Who would have thought that the energy, oil and gas industry would be so full of acronyms! My post-chemo brain is getting used to them all.....slowly.

I started my new job the day after my Herceptin treatment and at treatment was advised by the doctor that I 'may experience some slight swelling' in my ankles and feet. Wednesday was the first day that I noticed any change in my lower extremities. By the time I hobbled home on Friday night (and the hobbling was not due to espresso martinis), my feet and ankles were enormous. I measured my left ankle and at its peak it was 49cm in circumference. This was roughly the same size as my nephew's head when he was born. I wasn't too worried, and since I wasn't experiencing any heart issues (which can also be caused by Herceptin) I didn't go to the hospital on Friday night. I was slightly worried that my feet may explode at some point during the night, so slept with them elevated (may be too elevated as I was the shape of a V during sleep) and when I woke up they were not quite at grotesque. The oncologist advised that I should get some Lasix tablets to help reduce the swelling which would allow me to be able to bend my ankles and walk normally again, as opposed the the ice-skating inspired glide I had mastered over the previous 12 hours. My dad very kindly arranged for the script to be filled from Canberra and all I had to do was pick up the tablets from the local chemist. I diligently took two tablets every morning, but didn't see much change. At the end of each day I would have to resort to the ice-skate glide to move around and my feet would have the indent of what ever shoes I was wearing that day. After five days of taking the tablets, Dad discovered that the chemist had given me Losec, not Lasix, and whilst Losec is very helpful for the irradication of stomach ulcers, it turns out it is not so good at helping with fatankles. Anyway, I have started on the right tablets and the excess fluid is now escaping from my body at a rate that Phar Lap would be proud of.

I have continued going to the young women's group, which has been great. Speaking with the other women has made me realise that I am well on the way to mental and physical recovery. I am not the type of person to worry, so I do not worry about recurrance rates, fertility and life expectancy. If I was going to live by statistics, then I shouldn't have gotten breast cancer at 34. The group did make me start thinking about the possibility of early menopause. None of my doctor's have mentioned this word to me, but I knew that infertility was a possibility, I just didn't make the connection that it was due to early menopause. I was not looking forward to the hot flushes, mood swings, dry skin and excessive body hair. After losing all my body hair, I was going to be really annoyed if I came back looking like a Wookie. I was advised that if my period could take up to two years to return, if at all. Anyway, in true super fertile form (just like having 20 eggs harvested after ten days of hormone treatment) my ovaries have kicked in and have started working just three months after chemo finished! I never thought I would be so happy to require the regular use of sanitary products.

I have treatment again next week. The three weeks seems to come around more slowly and I think it is because it doesn't take me two weeks to recover, like chemo used to. I now have more time where I am feeling like myself and am not curled up in the foetal position on the couch. I just hope that the fatankle drama doesn't happen every treatment, it really was painful and grotesque. I sent a few friends the picture and it took them a while to work out that the horrid, hobbit like foot was actually human and belonged to me! Although, one good thing about having such fat ankles - it makes your thighs look skinny in comparison!


  1. I've just read your entire blog from beginning to end. A thoroughly enjoyable read on a terribly depressing subject. I'm glad you made it through and wish you well for the future.



    P.S. In the UK, we always referred to Recruitment Consultants as Slave Traders....