Breastfeeding and Breast Cancer Blog

From breastfeeding to being diagnosed with breast cancer and then back to breastfeeding. This is an account of my experiences.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Follow-ups, Follow-ups

My first reaction at the mention of cancer was sadness that I would need to go to more doctor appointments.  I don't think I could have imagined how many appointments I would actually need to attend.

Before even starting chemo, I needed to have an Echocardiogram to check on my heart.  I was to receive Herceptin which can sometimes cause cardiotoxicity and effect the ejection fraction of the heart.  After this initial check, I would continue to have checks every three months during the year of Herceptin treatment and a final follow up.

In making the many decisions for chemo treatment, surgery, radiation, and plastic surgery, I found it helpful to be as educated as possible.  Part of my education came from seeking multiple doctor opinions.  Not only did they present different opinions sometimes, they also talked about treatments in different ways.  I really appreciated having the opportunity to meet with so many talented doctors.

Once I was locked into a treatment, I would have regular appointments at predetermined intervals.  Pre-Ops and Post Ops, then every three months, every six months, finally annually.  These regular appointments were with the breast surgeon, the plastic surgeon, the medical oncologist, and the radiologist at the breast imagine center.

For chemo, I had twelve weekly treatments of Taxol and Herceptin.  Before each treatment, I would need to have a blood draw.  Often patients are scheduled to have a blood draw and then wait an hour, then receive treatment.  Because I wanted to minimize my time away from my toddler, I opted to have a blood draw in the morning with my toddler in tow, and return later to have my chemo.  After completing the twelve weeks, I continued receiving Herceptin regularly for another nine months.  Initially, I received it every week, then I switched to every three weeks of a higher dose.

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