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Mon, Jan 7 6:04am · How, when & what did you tell your job about breast cancer? Finances? in Breast Cancer

It is a shame you have to worry about job and finances while dealing with a stressful medical situation. I am currently going through chemo, but retired so did not have worry about job.

Time away from work is going to depend on type of pre-surgery, surgery and post-surgery treatment plan. It is very hard to predict because everyone has different recovery time and side effects from treatment.

My biggest hassles came from my post retirement employee health insurance. Make sure you understand what your health insurance covers and what requires precertification / approval. My insurance would not cover MRI until I had confirmed diagnosis. So had to have biopsy on original tumor, once confirmed that it was cancer then insurance approved a MRI which found another different suspicious spots which required additional biopsy.

My insurance company also had to pre approve surgery, chemo and echocardiogram (required prior to chemo). In end, they covered the charges, but only after multiple phone calls to clinic and insurance company.

Good luck,
Laurie

Sun, Jan 6 6:38am · Week after chemo in Cancer

The nurses have problems with my IV also. As soon as I am in treatment room, they start a heating pad on my arm, that helps. Also, make sure you drink plenty of fluids the day before treatment. With diarrhea you are probably dehydrated which makes it harder to start an IV.

Ask your nurse for suggestions, they have been very helpful with suggestions for dealing with side effects for me.

Laurie

Sun, Jan 6 6:22am · After breast cancer chemo - Paclitaxel in Breast Cancer

As people have mentioned, everyone reacts different and people are on different dosages. I did 4 rounds of AC, two weeks between treatments. The fatigue was terrible, I had to delay the last treatment because I was so weak. Now I am on my 5th week of 12 weekly dosages of Paclitaxel and having minimum side effects. I am grateful that side effects have been minimal, but now I am worried that maybe the chemo is not working. I meet with Dr next week and that is one questions I will be asking him.

I have used Carnation Instant breakfast also. I did not like chocolate or vanilla by them self so would mix one chocolate and one vanilla together and added Whey powder to increase protein. To increase calories and change flavor I would add fruit and/or yogurt.

Laurie

Thu, Jan 3 8:14pm · Exercise and Physical Activity after Breast Cancer Surgery in Breast Cancer

I am still in receiving treatment, but plan on checking out this free program at Y to help cancer survivors start physical activity after treatment.

Has anyone attended this program?

If in Rochester MN: https://www.ymcamn.org/locations/rochester_ymca/health_fitness/livestrong

Information on program and links to find other locations can be found at:

https://www.livestrong.org/what-we-do/program/livestrong-at-the-ymca

Laurie

Thu, Jan 3 5:54am · What Are Your Best Tips for Before and After a Mastectomy? in Breast Cancer

I had the same fear before my surgery in Sept. I asked the group similar question and got some excellent advice, See responses to my question on June 28, 2018 at this link:

https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/breast-surgery-any-advice-to-prepare-for-surgery/

Wishing you the best
Laurie

Dec 17, 2018 · Understanding my pathology report: I need urgent advice in Breast Cancer

The initial diagnosis of cancer is very stressful and everyone is unique. The following American Cancer web site has some excellent questions to ask your doctor to help understand your cancer and what treatment plan is recommended.

https://www.cancer.org/treatment/finding-and-paying-for-treatment/choosing-your-treatment-team/questions-to-ask-your-doctor.html

Laurie M

Nov 2, 2018 · Your Tips on How to Get Off to the Best Start with a New Specialist in Visiting Mayo Clinic

Have another item to add under #3 Medications. Be ready to answer any questions about alcohol usage, cannabis, and use of other street drugs. The doctor needs to know this because it can interfere with your other medications and tests the doctor may order.

Nov 2, 2018 · Your Tips on How to Get Off to the Best Start with a New Specialist in Visiting Mayo Clinic

Great idea to prepare information on how to prepare. I hope you ask some appointment coordinators, nurses and doctors for their input also.

I try to be as prepared for any questions the doctor might ask and have a list of questions for the doctor. The more prepared I am, the more efficient the appointment will be. I would rather have too much information with me then not enough.

Think back to other doctors' appointments, what questions did the nurse or doctor ask. Be prepared to answer those questions again.

I have been a patient of Mayo my entire life, and all my information is online, I still bring the following list to my appointment just in case. Even though information is online, it does take time for a doctor to find. If he wants to look up details, it is nice to have dates of previous tests, etc…

My suggestions:

1. Make sure your appointment is with right specialist. At Mayo the appointment coordinators should be able to help. Just because a friend saw a certain doctor, he/she might not be correct specialist for your condition.
2. Have your referring doctor send all medical records (preferable electronically). In addition, bring a copy with you just in case something gets misplaced. Again, preferable on a disk.
3. In addition, I always have the following with documents with me:
○ List of all medications I take, who prescribed, why I take that medication, how long I have taken that medication.
○ If there are other medications I have taken in recently that I no longer take, it is nice to have that information also. Maybe your previous doctor recommended something and it did not work. You want your new doctor to know this information.
○ Your list should include all prescribed and over the counter medication.
○ You might want to bring all the bottles with you so there is no question about dosages.
○ List of all allergies
○ List of all surgeries, date and location.
○ List of all medical conditions, when diagnosed and are you still being treated for this condition. A specialist is not there to treat all your problems, but something may be related to your current problem.
4. Write down your understanding of current problem and list of symptoms. Be specific.
a. When did symptoms start
b. How are you treating the symptoms
c. Does anything make them worse or better.
d. What tests have been done for current problem, date, location, results
5. Write down your questions related to current problem in order of importance. At end of appointment, look through your list and see if they have been answered.
6. Take notes, the doctor's summary will be available online after your appointment. If he tells you something and you do not know how to spell it, ask him to write it down.

If your appointment is at Mayo, and you use the internet register for the Mayo Portal. It is great reference to double check appointment information, fill out forms, check results and see doctor notes. Even if you fill out form online, also bring information to appointment. And if use a smart phone, download app.

Hope this helps.
Laurie