Posted by: healingseeker | February 20, 2010

Side effects in the form of extreme coughing precipitated my 5th pity party

20 February 2010

I got overwhelmed with it all two nights ago. The side effects in the form of extreme coughing precipitated my 5th pity party. The coughing is gut-wrenching and guttural. I go through periods where I am having coughing fits every minute or two. Then I will have a few minutes of blessed peace before the coughs begin again.

It is definitely hard to sleep with all that coughing. I have to start the night on the recliner cough sitting more upright. Eventually, with the help of all my meds plus Tylenol PM, I finally can lie down in bed.

Yesterday, I got up around ten or so. I had to return to bed to sleep most of the afternoon two hours later. I was just so very tired.

I am dealing with other symptoms as well that also interfere with sleep. Unrelated to the breast cancer, the fibroid tumors in my uterine lining that I had surgically removed in 1996 have returned. I have a grapefruit-sized fibroid in my uterus plus some other smaller-sized fibroids. My uterus is now up to my belly button. You can literally press my abdomen and feel the mass. As I understand it, fibroids are always benign. But every time I have one of those gut-wrenching coughs, I have discharge shoot out of me that is unnerving and uncomfortable. The fibroid also makes it harder to go to the bathroom.

I have a Mirena IUD that was implanted in the summer of 2005 for birth control and to eliminate my menstrual periods that were often heavy and overly long. Even though a Mirena is hormone-free, it still has ingredients in it that could have contributed to me having breast cancer. Breast cancer is one of its possible side effects, apparently.

Once I discovered this, I went to an OBGYN to have it removed. Unfortunately, my first visit revealed that the string attached to the IUD is somewhere deep inside of me. The other day, my OBGYN asked me to make a return visit as the Mirena people, due to litigation purposes, would like me to have the Mirena removed. An ultrasound revealed that the Mirena is apparently lodged in the largest of the fibroids. Therefore, there is nothing that can be done as long as I am going through chemo. If I have an operation now, they would have to suspend the chemo treatments. There is no way we want to do that as we need to kill off the cancer cells as quickly and as aggressively as possible.

Estrogen feeds breast cancer. So, the end result is that once I get through with my 8 chemo treatments on July 1st, not only will I be having a Mastectomy, I will also have a full Hysterectomy with both ovaries removed. In the meantime, I simply have to tough it out with the fibroid side effects.

On the plus side, when I went to have my blood tested on the 18th, my white blood cell count has improved and I am no longer at risk as far as immunity levels. Another plus is that my insurance will definitely cover the Hysterectomy as it is a contributor to the breast cancer in my body. Another perk is that the chemo that should shrink the malignant tumor in my breast should also shrink the benign fibroid tumors in my uterus. That will make the operation less invasive and painful. Another plus, after a pretty good night sleep last night, the coughing is less frequent and less intense and my mood is more improved.

In addition to all that, hair loss started last night. So that will be an interesting new adventure to deal with.

Oh, another plus – 15 days after chemo, I am started to taste even more of my food. That’s a good thing.

I also have lost six pounds. I suppose chemo is not the best way to lost weight; however, I certainly have weight to spare.

In any case, on this Saturday, the 20th, I am back to feeling strong again.  I am not proud of having a pity party, but I guess I shouldn’t beat myself up for having one.

So, in the interest of keeping the entire journey documented, this has been the latest.

My best to you all,
Healing Seeker aka Debbie


  1. My prayers are with you,so if you want a pity party,you have it & then keep on going. There will be a better day.(I Fill you). Shave your hear, get you a wig or scarf & keep on moving. God has a blessing for you, & keep sharing your journey.

    Ms. Ollie

    • Thank you so much for the support! Many blessings to you!

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