Yesterday Nick and I headed to Louisville for lab work and for an appointment to see Dr. Riley, my oncologist. We discussed several different topics. We talked about my finger nails and toe nails and how I am having a side effect from the Taxol chemo that is affecting them. My fingernails have turned a yellowish brown and are kind of “bubbly”. My two big toe nails are purple and the right toe nail is trying to come off. Dr. Riley said that I have blood pooled under both nails and it is popping the nail off. She has referred me to a Podiatrist (Foot doctor) to see if there is anything that he can do to try and save my nails from coming off completely. She said that he may need to drill a small hole in the two big tow nails to drain the blood and it may save the nails. The thought makes my stomach turn!!!!
We also discussed self exams and how I need to keep an eye (or a touch) on the lymph nodes around my breasts, collarbone, and up under my arms. Any lumps or knots need to be brought to their attention. I will also be seeing Dr. Riley every four months for the next two years and then every six months for the following three years.
I was given a prescription for Tamoxifen which I will need to take daily for ten years due to the fact that my breast cancer was estrogen positive. Tamoxifen is in a class of medications known as antiestrogens. It blocks the activity of estrogen (a female hormone) in the breast. This may stop the growth of some breast tumors that need estrogen to grow.
I was also given a prescription for Effexor which is an antidepressant, but also helps with the menopausal side-effects from Tamoxifen.
I will be seeing Dr. Little, my plastic/reconstructive surgeon on March 15th for another filling in my expanders and to discuss my surgery. Dr. Riley also said that I can have my chemo port removed during the same surgery.
The best part of the appointment was when Dr. Riley pronounced me a new member of the survivors program. I will now see her on Tuesday’s instead of Thursdays. Thursday is for patients in active treatment and Tuesdays are for maintenance patients. After a very long six months, this feels like a huge accomplishment!