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Mar 4, 2019 · Brain Mets in Cancer

@chrissy1, I'm so sorry about your huge challenges! I have breast cancer that spread to my liver and brain. I never smelled anything unusual. It can be a constant worry about a new cancer location, but I try to not worry about what I don't know (such as until biopsy results confirm cancer – no worries about cancer until confirmation), but most cancer patients do worry. Connecting here is a great step. Also check in your community for cancer support groups, or the Livestrong program (you can Google it) – it's a 12 week exercise program for cancer patients. Illness, especially cancer, can be overwhelming. I was reading about talking with people with other situations, including, "at least it's not cancer." Nobody's told me that, because it IS cancer. We can get through this! Keep asking questions and listening to your body. Please let us know how you're doing. Blessings!

Feb 23, 2019 · Metastatic Breast Cancer: Whole brain radiation side effects in Breast Cancer

Thanks, Colleen. Yes, Karen @karenatmato (I hope that finds you!), I had 10 whole brain radiation treatments about 2 months ago. Fortunately very few side effects for me, except for losing my hair. I also stopped my set of post-brain-surgery steroids as I started the radiation treatments. Stopping the steroids I think caused me to be very tired, and then depression set in. I also didn't have much appetite for a few weeks. I took just a month of memantine (eased myself off of it, as it wasn't covered by insurance), but didn't seem to have effects from it. Oh, and my right hand from elbow to small finger have been a little painful and tingling – maybe neuropathy. I'm not on any other cancer treatments right now. I went from triple negative breast cancer, surgery and chemo, then metastatic to liver so more powerful chemo, then a short break from chemo turned into more then a year, then a brain MRI with 2.5 inch cyst took me to brain surgery and radiation. In a few weeks I have a brain MRI to see how the radiation worked.

I'm sorry for your major challenges! Treatments work differently for a lot of us. Oh, I see that your original post was from 2017. I definitely hope and pray that you're a lot better now! Possibly better by being in the next life – as all of us metastatic patients are likely to be coming to. Blessings and love, Wendy

Feb 21, 2019 · Waiting for pathology results from second brain tumor. Really nervous in Brain Tumor

Sorry you're still waiting for results, nozland. Waiting can be SO hard! My tumor – actually a 2.5 inch cyst, was in the right front of my brain. Fortunately it was near my skull, so they didn't need to disturb much of my brain to get to it and I recovered quickly. They drained the cyst, and left a few cancer cells that were attached to healthy brain tissue. The radiation was for those cells, plus a new spot near the back of my brain that showed up on a post-op MRI. Due to the size (apparently 2.5" is big) the doctors moved quickly – from initial MRI to surgery, then to radiation. I also learned that pathology reports don't show up on my "mychart" site that I can see other results on. I hope their delay in getting back to you is a positive sign. Whatever the result, there's a lot of great treatments and options. Keep getting more information:) Oh, and of course, sensing and trusting the medical staff too. My radiation oncologist talked me through his thought process which was helpful to hear, and also with the choice of whole brain radiation (which isn't doe much anymore) – I was thinking the same way that he was. More blessings and wisdom to you!

Feb 20, 2019 · Facing Cancer Recurrence, PTSD & Acknowledging Mental Health in Cancer: Managing Symptoms

Wow, Merry, such deep thoughts. I'm sorry that your family didn't talk about dying. I was raised in an active Christian family and with grandparents who died when I was a teenager.. We knew that they believed in Jesus and so they went to Heaven when they died, which is a better place. The process leading up to death seems to be an unknown for most of us – dying in our sleep, or very slowly losing our ability to function, or anything in between.
There are a lot of books about death and dying, and also near death experiences – people whose bodies stopped then they were revived and had experiences to share. "Imagine Heaven" looks at hundreds of these experiences, and researchers who checked them out (such as woman who was "flying" outside the hospital and saw a shoe on a 3rd floor ledge – the interviewer found the shoe on the ledge, just as she described it). My understanding is that there is a lot more to our lives after our earthly existence ends. It's definitely worth checking out. Maybe checking it out will help dispel your fears. Keep asking questions! Blessings Wendy

Feb 20, 2019 · Waiting for pathology results from second brain tumor. Really nervous in Brain Tumor

@nozland, radiation might be helpful and not hurtful to your brain. I had 10 whole brain radiation treatments about 2 months ago, and haven't noticed many side effects, except losing some of my hair. I'll have a brain MRI in March to see what good the radiation did. My main thoughts are trusting God and not worrying about what I don't know. You've already gone through a lot. It's worth asking deep questions, and seeking people to give you hope. We should all (with cancer and not) get our spiritual and other things in order. I still need to do paperwork for final things. I hope you'll get great responses here, and from your medical staff. Blessings:)

Feb 19, 2019 · After Breast Cancer treatment, what next? in Breast Cancer

Laurie, you're smart to be asking questions in advance. As you suggest, each doctor might handle things differently. I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer 5 years ago, had surgery, then 5 months of chemo. After my last chemo, my oncologist explained that I'd see her every 3 months the first year, then lesser frequencies. My surgeon had ordered a mammogram for a year after my surgery (which came back clear). There are tests to check for cancer in other parts of our bodies – CT, MRI, and PET scans, but none of my doctors ordered them right away. Oh, yes, for you maybe after radiation they'll order a scan. For me, the following year I felt a hard spot at the top of my stomach. I didn't want to overreact (Oh, no, it's Cancer!!!), so just scheduled with my primary care, who ordered an ultrasound, then referred me back to my oncologist. Breast cancer had spread to my liver, so more chemo. Then, 6 months ago, I was starting to feel light headed sometimes, so I asked my oncologist about a brain MRI. It turned out to be breast cancer in my brain. Anyway, I'm still mainly healthy except for having cancer. Doctors will order different things, or nothing. I think it's up to us to really keep track of our bodies and ask our doctors to check things out.

Blessings to you on finishing your chemo, then having radiation. Keep thinking and asking questions, paying attention to your body, and holding onto your loved ones.

Feb 11, 2019 · Exercise during chemo in Cancer: Managing Symptoms

Thanks for the offer of assistance, @georger. I have breast cancer, and had been a runner for a year (ran a half marathon). During chemo, I walked instead of ran, trying to get my walking pace under 14 minutes per mile. Great for my body and my mind, being with my running and walking teammates. A few weeks after chemo ended, I started adding some running, and then 6 weeks after chemo I walked an ran another half marathon!
The following year I advanced to metastatic breast cancer. Chemo again, maybe more intense. I kept running instead of backing off to walking. After a month of chemo and running, I fainted while running! Fortunately it was during a group run, and people helped me to a local hospital. Lots of tests but few answers as to why I fainted. A month off from running, then started running again (after a clear EEG). Within a week, I fainted while running again! Months later I had a seizure while on a 24-hour EEG – in a new town and hospital, but following up from my fainting-while-running. Now I'm on anti-seizure medicine. Maybe my fainting-while-running was due to seizures, but there were no immediate indications of seizures. I think it was the combination of running and chemo. I've heard of people running marathons while on chemo, but apparently we can't all do that (or they're on different chemo). Anyway, exercise is definitely great for some of us during chemo. I continued walking a lot during the rest of my chemo – again, great for my body and mind. Sometimes there are challenges. Running is hard, and was easy to replace with active walking. Like many cancer situations, it's different for each of us. Much wisdom to you – and healing, after cancer. Oh, and there's an exercise program for cancer patients called Livestrong – a variety of exercises with a group that recognizes people's limitations – very good!