Another Perfect Storm

November 30, 2018

The days that I have the energy to go do things are still fewer than the days that I putter around doing laundry and sleeping on the couch. One of my friends had a baby the week before Thanksgiving. I brought them treats and helped with their pups til they could get family there to help out. I felt okay Thanksgiving Day. I made a turkey with all the trimmings. By the time dinner was done, I was beat, but I felt okay. The next day, I was okay for a while, and then I took a nap right before dinner and woke up with a sore throat and no voice. By Sunday, it was a full fledged cold. When I talked to the doctor Monday, she said it sounded like a virus and to drink lots of fluids and eat lots of soup. I took that advice. I picked up some chicken soup from the local Chinese restaurant along with my other Chinese comfort foods.

This is what I get for trying to get my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving and Black Friday so I don’t have to be out in all the crowded malls and stores.

At the end of the weekend, I noticed that I was getting a rash on my chest. I looked up the side effects of the targeted chemotherapy, Kadcyla, and saw that a rash was a possible side effect. By Tuesday, it was moving. I let the oncologist know about it and told her I’d keep an eye on it and let her know if it changed. Well, it changed. It was getting really angry and painful. I sent her some pictures and she said it looked like Shingles. So, it’s not related to the targeted chemo. That’s a good thing. Bad thing? Shingles suck.

According to Mayo Clinic, shingles are common for cancer patients who’ve been on chemo and radiation, and/or have been on long-term doses of steroids. Ding! Ding! Ding! I win! Well, not really.

This is about what my back looked like at the beginning. It got a lot worse. I still have scars from it now, 9 months later.  Shingles suck. This rash is really painful. It tingles and burns. I haven’t been able to sleep through the night the past 3 nights because of the pain, and when the pain wakes me up, I start coughing. It’s fun cycle.

Shingles

The oncologist called in an antiviral medication that I started taking as soon as I got it this morning. One of the nurses also suggested that I get some sunburn spray – something with lidocaine or similar pain killer in it. I got some and it did help a little. A few hours after the 2nd dose, I noticed that the pain was a lot less than it had been on my left shoulder. This will mean that I can hopefully sleep through the night. I’m looking forward to being pain-free tomorrow.

Thankfully, I’m still on leave from work so I can just go back to sleep and not worry about having to be anywhere. Well, at least not for the next few days. I’m basically quarantined. I can’t be around pregnant women, newborns or anyone who hasn’t had chicken pox. I have some friends who fall into all 3 of those categories. I’m happy to stay home and keep this to myself. The last thing I’d want is to give this to anyone else, or chicken pox when they’re not able to fight it off. I’m hoping that both of these viruses are gone by the weekend. Not that I have anywhere to be, but I’d like to have the energy to do some more cleanup in the house.

Updates:

My cousin got married in December, and I flew to California for the wedding. My shingles were in full on gross mode by the time I got home. I don’t remember now when they actually went away. I want to say the rash was still visible into March.

About Pink Ribbon Road

This blog is about receiving and living with a breast cancer diagnosis.
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