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help--need some advice

laverne
Posts: 75
Joined: Apr 2001

I have been done with radiation for almost a year now and yet I am still very tired. My breast is still very burned and sore(although it is not as sore as it was a few months ago) anyway I have been having some flu like symptoms and have been missing quite a bit of time from work. I have missed six days this month alone. My boss called me in the office on Thursday and told me that as a supervisor I am not setting a very good example and that my attendance is a problem. I immediately began to cry, it seems like the doctors' do not prepare you for the time when all the treatment is over. They don't tell you about the days when it hurts just to stand or sit or even lay down. I was so proud when I was promoted to supervisor, I felt like it was truly an accomplishment but now I have to wonder if I should just resign. I don't want to give into this disease but I don't know what else to do. I can't promise to never be absent and I have no control over how I feel. I have seen the oncologist and he says being tired is normal just try and get some rest. The radiation doctor tells me to just "hang in there" and my primary doctor will not even consider giving me any type of medicine to settle my nerves. Where do I turn now? I have even considered changing my primary care doctor just so I can get some type of drug to make me "mellow". I could really use some advice, thanks for listening.
LaVerne

judy22
Posts: 119
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi LaVerne. My name is Judy. I had rad 4 yrs ago and it almostburned meup.It took a while to heal. I don't understand your PC doctor. My oncologist says anyone with ca, sometimes needs something for there nerves He uses Zoloft. Ask about it. If you would like to chat my e-mail is evansj22@bellsouth.net

jeancmici
Posts: 682
Joined: Feb 2001

As a supervisor, the people under you are probably more understanding than your boss. If you hadn't been feeling so bad you would not have cried and also would have not been chastised by him (?) to cause you to cry.

Don't be intimidated. I would change the primary care doctor - I take Prozac and swear it made the whole ordeal easier.

If people are honest I think they will admit that they are more tired than before all the treatments. Also think the tamoxifen has some effect on energy too. I have aches all over - fortunately not all at the same time but everyday - however retirement helps me a lot too.

Don't resign yet. And give your boss some educational information - obviously you were doing all right to get the promotion.

Good Luck - keep us informed when you feel up to it.
Jean

laverne
Posts: 75
Joined: Apr 2001

Thank you for your words of wisdom, I am taking tamoxifen and never really thought about it's effects on me. The surgeon,oncologist and primary doctor all keep pointing the finger at the radiation doctor and swear that it is because of those treatments that my energy level is low. When I was taking chemo, I was on medical leave but unfortunately I had to work during my radiation so it was totally different for me. I am not going to resign, I have some wonderful qualities that I bring to my department and to be quite frank cannot imagine anyone else doing the job that I do. I am going to compose a letter to my manager and see what happens from there. Thanks again and god bless.
LaVerne

24242
Posts: 1417
Joined: Mar 2001

It is good LaVerne that you are staying on top of everything. Because everyone is so different it is difficult to treat symptoms that we often experience. I was in pain and exhausted for sometime before I had these issues addressed. My GP could only see antidepressants as the cure all when in fact I knew my depression from pain and feeling sick all the time. I kept after them and keep after them if I can't work and am suffering. For the second time since cancer I have had to have issues addressed. Let me remind you all they do know the posibilities of side affects and don't talk about them till we seem to have them. They have been giving chem and radiation long enough now to know what really happens to our bodies after such a fight. Sometimes doctors need to be reminded of this. Good luck and don't let things go. One might want to look into to alternative therapies because there maybe something out there for you.
Be good to yourself,
Tara24242

laverne
Posts: 75
Joined: Apr 2001

thanks for your response. I am going to look into an alternative medicine doctor, my primary doctor is really nice but I think his experience is limited. As with anything else one can only form an opinion based on personal experience and maybe he has not had to go thru any life or death issue and needed a little "drug" to help renew his strength. I am going to make one final appointment with him and give him the opportunity to either keep me as a patient or say goodbye to him and move on. I knew I would get some wonderful words of wisdom from you guys, thanks again.
Take care and god bless,
LaVerne

nasa2537
Posts: 317
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi Laverne....as for the breast redness...did your radiation oncologist give you any Aquaphor ointment? If not, go to Wal-Mart or Walgreens and buy some. It comes in a tube. It is very greasy, like vaseline. But, every night, I slathered it on really thick, and used an older nightshirt I didn't mind getting stained. It really helps in the external healing process. Do you have a family? If so, it is time for them to take over the house. When you get home from work, you need to sleep. The flu-like symptoms sound like what I had during radiation, and it was just from being totally exhausted. Ask your medical oncologist if a mild anti-depressant would help at all. I don't know if it would, but sometimes, those drugs, although you still feel tired for the first week or so, really tend to pick you up after that. It helps in the long run with the anxiety, because if you are able to be awake and function better, you in turn just feel better, and less anxious.

As for the physical pain, that seems to be different with every woman I've met. I still get what I think is bone pain in the areas that were radiated....the breast bone and the rib areas. Sometimes it feels like someone hit me with a baseball bat. I have found that taking Naproxen (generic for Aleve..over-the-counter) regularly for a few days alleviates that pain.

I certainly wish you all the best. Do NOT give up on yourself...don't give in to this rotten disease....you have it beat, and it will NOT beat you. We are all here as a group to help, and it may even do you some good to search for a local support group through your hospital or oncologist, or if you have one, a local cancer center, and also the American Cancer Society. In fact, I think you can search for one that they sponsor right here on their website.

Please write to me any time...I'm at the other end of the e-mail! Cyndi
millionairs2@aol.com

laverne
Posts: 75
Joined: Apr 2001

THANKS FOR YOUR RESPONSE. I DO HAVE A WONDERFUL FAMILY--MY HUSBAND DOES ALL THE COOKING AND CLEANING AND MY TWO KIDS HELP ME TREMENDOUSLY. IN FACT WHEN I GET HOME ALL I HAVE TO DO IS EAT AND GET IN THE BED SO I AM TRULY BLESSED IN THAT AREA. I HAVE BEEN WANTING TO JOIN A SUPPORT GROUP FOR QUITE SOME TIME AND I WILL DEFINITELY BE DOING THAT SOON. I HAVE TRIED ALEAVE AND YES IT DOES WORK QUITE WELL. I DID NOT HAVE ANY SUCCESS WITH AQUAFOR, I WAS GIVEN AN OINTMENT THAT BURN VICTIMS USE AND THAT HELPED A GREAT DEAL. I JUST THINK THAT YOU HEAR SO MANY HORROR STORIES ABOUT CHEMO AND SUCH GLOWING REVIEWS (NO PUN INTENDED) ABOUT RADIATION AND IT IS TIME TO BE TRUTHFUL AND STOP FILLING PEOPLE WITH FALSE INTENTIONS. THANKS AGAIN FOR YOU RESPONSE I HAVE JOTTED DOWN YOUR E-MAIL AND PLEASE FEEL FREE TO E-MAIL ME AS WELL.
HUGS,
LaVerne
lavernesjourney@netscape.net

jmears
Posts: 270
Joined: Jul 2001

LaVerne
I am 10 months out from my last radiation. I was really tired with chemo and worked through the chemo and radiation ... for some reaseon the radiation was less tiring for me ... the whole thing is a huge energy drain to begin with ... so it's not one item it's the whole mess!! I was very depressed so I went to a therapist who hooked me up with a Phyciatrist and I take 75 mg. Zoloft made a huge difference in my mood. I also had my thyroid checked ... I'm telling everyone this ... and it was low ...after about 6 weeks the aches and pains I thought were from the Taxotere chemo and the Tamoxifen were gone. I am out of shape but basically back to my old self. I gained a lot of weight and that wares me out but energy and aches are under control. I think checking with a mental health care professional if you GP won't prescribe is the best idea. My Oncologist even prescribes anti depressants and anti anxiety medications. The same drugs don't work the same for everyone ... so the Psychiatrist was the best bet for me. As for your boss you need to tell him/her just what you said in your message "you have a lot to offer your department ... your staff understands ... and no one else would do as good a job as you" plus if you performed in the past ... it's obvious you're just going through the healing phase ... right? You hang in and be tough!! Lots of luck to you!! Jamie

laverne
Posts: 75
Joined: Apr 2001

thank you so much jamie, I will definitely have my thyroid checked. In fact I need to have a full physical blood work and all. I love you guys you are the best.
LaVerne

ludasue
Posts: 98
Joined: Apr 2002

Hi LaVerne, Gosh can I relate to your work story. As a matter of fact, I just lost my job after 12 years of faithful duty. they say it was downsizing, but I know it was b/c of the time I have missed with the long term affects of my treatments. October will be 4 years since I completed everything. 6 months of A/C/5-FU and then 36 radiation treatments. I feel better now than I did then, BUT I am nowhere near how I felt before the treatments. The docs tell me it is b/c of the damage the chemo and radiation did to my body ... my blood counts have never been very good, I have fibrosis in my right lung, etc. I am sorry for you that your boss is so ignorant. I hope that your letter will help open his eyes. I could punch him myself for not being more compassionate. I say this b/c I sat in my boss' office at least 20 times to discuss my attendance (which was never an issue pre-cancer). And the day he let me go, as much as I thought I was dreading it, was the biggest relief of my life. I knew I NEVER had to go back there and listen to his insensitive, inconsiderate, ignorant, mean comments. I would definitely recommend you talk to your oncologist about something for your nerves. I took ativan which was great, but causes drowsiness and therefore not for everyone. It calmed me down just enough to stop worrying what they thought. Very mellow. I hope it all works out for you. I really do. If you ever want to talk, my email is ludasuesnout@yahoo.com. I hope your boss makes some changes in his attitude. Instead of coming down on you, he should be thanking God he doesn't have a clue what you have been through and are going through and what still lies ahead for you. Good luck and God bless, angie

laverne
Posts: 75
Joined: Apr 2001

thank you so much. I have put your e-mail in my book and will keep in touch. take care and god bless you too.
LaVerne

patrich
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2002

Laverne I have never had radiation but have had a bi-lateral last November no chemo or radiation and I'm tired . I do take anti-depression which helps and maybe it would help you they do even your moods out and helps with the hormone replacement issues. You should be commended for working and going through this. Maybe if you could shorten your hours a bit if the company allows this go to you HR department and explain your situtation maybe they will back you with your boss. But remember your health comes first maybe you need a different job. You succeeded at this one you can get something else. First try the antidepressiants they may help with your energy level . Crying is not a sin its healty when I first got diagnoised I cryed for 2 weeks its a outlet and its good to relieve the tension . Take good care eat good and don't dwell on all the crap in the world I know we all have to take care of our selves financial but at what price don't let someone who hasn't walked in your shoes tell you how you should be at work if your feeling bad.

laverne
Posts: 75
Joined: Apr 2001

thank you, I feel much better. I have been feeling pretty good this week and have not missed a day. I will continue to do the good job that I do every day and that in itself will be the best revenge toward my boss. He will never break my spirit and I have vowed not to let him "throw peebles on my road."
take care and god bless.

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