Essay Non-Fiction posted May 14, 2011

This work has reached the exceptional level
A breast cancer update.

The Nightmare Ends

by barbara.wilkey

Many of my fans have asked how I am doing, so I've decided it's time for a breast cancer update. I'm waiting for an 'all is well' statement from my doctor, but I've not received one. I see my oncologist the end of June and my prayer is for more information.

As many of you know, I finished chemotherapy the end of March. Chemo presented its own set of problems. For me the worst was the fatigue. Second was the nausea, which was controlled thanks to the medicine. There are still certain foods I can't eat. Chemotherapy affects everyone differently.

Two weeks after chemo, I began taking the hormone therapy drug, Tamoxifen. I'll take this drug for five years. It has presented its own problems. About six hours after taking my first pill, I began itching. I took the pill on a Saturday morning. I continued itching through the weekend. I resembled a gorilla with a severe case of fleas. The first thing Monday morning I called my oncologist. He said it much kinder than I'm going to say it, but my interpretation of his words was, "Get over it. It's the only drug that works on your type of cancer." He did suggest a lotion that helped, but hasn't stopped the problem.

I see my family practitioner the first of June to make sure it's the Tamoxifen. Maybe I caught something from my first graders.

In April, I began radiation therapy. The treatments were scheduled Monday through Friday for six weeks. The sixth week is the boost. During this five day treatment, the radiation is concentrated only on the surgeon's incision instead of the entire breast. I have three treatments remaining. Minor fatigue and nausea are present, but for me, the worst side-effect is the pain. Under my right arm the blisters have broken and it hurts. My incision has also blistered. My underarm and down my side resembles a large, raw, bloody steak. Getting radiation on raw skin only makes it more tender and painful. Placing my arm at my side is no longer possible.

I'm treating the area according to my radiologist's orders. I'm using Silvadene cream, a prescription cream, and exposing the area to air as much as possible, but the pain remains. Many of you have offered suggestions before on how to handle different effects of chemo. I'm asking for suggestions to help with this pain.

I look forward to the final treatment and for healing to begin. So far, I've been cut up, injected with poison, and now burnt. I'd prefer to say set on fire, but that's probably just a tad extreme. I'm not sure what else is required to fight this dreadful disease. My first surgery was July 29th, 2010. I've been fighting this battle for ten months and I'm in need of a 'time out' before the next round. I continue to ask for God's healing hand and guidance. I know He walks beside me. I've learned not to pray for patience. The last time I did, I got pregnant with my youngest son. I was 40 when he was delivered. God has a sense of humor.

I would like to thank my FanStory family for the prayers, support, and the love you have shown me. Without you, I doubt I would have faired as well.
God Bless all of you.


I am so sorry. I forgot to acknowledge Snowpaw for allowing me to use the beautiful art work, Pink Rose Doubles. I am sorry.
I want to thank all of you again. Truly without your help, this journey would have been more difficult. Thank you.
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