Where oh where are you my vein? ;) - SHARE Breast Canc...

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Where oh where are you my vein? ;)

Karina66
Karina66

Update/ Captain's Log - Many: I've started to take my Infusion treatments via arm veins (seeing how the Port and PICC line are out of me and I don't want the risk of anymore infections), and at first I was very nervous I'd become a human pin cushion, but I've had now 2 sessions and all has been going well. The first nurse didn't get a vein on the first try, but the second time was the charm. And yesterday another nurse helped the process along by applying a warm blanket to my arm and had me dangle the arm so gravity could help the blood flow. Veins seems to be good around my hand, but of course that is usually the spot that hurts the most, but as long as a vein is found on the first try - I'm not gonna complain.

I have about another 4 sessions to go (done every 3 weeks), so I asked my PA what will be the next steps after I am finished with all my infusion treatments, and she had stated that I would just have follow-up appointments every 6 months - where then blood test will be drawn and a physical exam is done. Does that sound about right? It seems like a long stretch of time to not have any follow-up visits, allot can happen in 6 months. And blood test and physical exams - how much really can be seen from those tests? By the time something shows about on those tests, couldn't recurrence be at an advance stage? Is there any other tests I should be asking for or having?

I've also noticed that I am developing some cording on the side where the tumors were and the sentinel node was removed (it's been about 4 months since my surgery in March). I have seen a physical therapist for massage and exercises to do at home, so hoping the tightness and pulling sensation will subside. I really only feel it when I overextend my arm. If anyone also developed cording, let me know what you recommend will help.

Best to all.

4 Replies
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Hi Karina,

I had the worst veins🤦🏻‍♀️And still do🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️I only had 4 chemo treatments but of course as a C patient you know I’ve been poked more than 4 times. My nurses were all great, they would look for ways to make my veins appear. I just had a brain mri last week and that radiologist couldn’t find my vein in my arm so she went for the easy one in my hand, which hurts like hell!! Now you should see my hand- all bruised up😤

To answer your question about treatment. You left out some information like your oncotype score, stage, tumor size/lymph node involvement. You said you had surgery , was it a lumpectomy or mastectomy? And age matters as well. I’ll tell you, I was stage 1b, I had 2 locations on my right breast, a tumor about 4cm and involvement in the ducts. Because my cancer was in 2 locations I had to get a mastectomy. I was 40, my oncotype score came back after my mastectomy, my breast surgeon said a score of 41 was great and I would most likely not need chemo but of course when I met with my oncologist she said the score was too high and I would need chemo. By the way, I had no lymph node involvement and margins came back clear. Genetic test cane back negative for braca genes, the genetist specialist recommended mastectomy only on right side breast but I decided on both since I have a young daughter and want to live as long as possible for her.

To give you a timeline: I had mastectomy last year in June. Chemo in August, reconstruction in January of this year. I was still getting a period before chemo but the chemo stopped it. When I finished with chemo in October it took my body a while to come back but I got a period in December. That would be my last one. My oncologist treatment plan is lupron injections and a hormone pill for the next 10 years. They started me on anastrazole in December. I go in monthly and they draw blood every time. I’m in full menopause now.

When Covid happened they only gave me the injection, no blood. My oncologist had me do the brain mri recently because my migraines have not gone away and have become a bit worst. Those results came back clear.

Since chemo ended I see my oncology every 3 months. I’m surprised your oncologist wants to see you every 6 months but again maybe you were a lower stage🤷🏻‍♀️ Maybe it wasn’t as bad for you. I know age matters in cancer so I guess because I’m 41 they have to monitor me because of recurrence 🤷🏻‍♀️ But that’s just a guess.

Karina66
Karina66 in reply to Mmnyc

I had HER2+ cancer in the right breast. Stage 2- Invasive Ductal Carcinoma: 1.5 cm at 11:00 and 2.5 upper central at 12:00 so overall mass was 4.2x4.4cm. Prior to surgery I was on Taxotere, Carboplatin, Herceptin and Perjeta (TCHP) for every 3 weeks for six sessions. With Estrogen & Progesterone receptors at 0%. No lymph nodes were with cancer. I had very positive reduction of masses during the first 6 sessions and surgery was with clean margins. Post double mastectomy surgery I have been continuing with Herceptin & Perjeta - told I should be on this treatment for a full year - full year will be this October...can't wait. I am 54 years old and was already in menapause prior to my diagnosis. I don't recall if I was given an oncotype score - but I will ask - I did have a genetic test and 39 genes tested were all negative. As we all are hoping recurrence is not something I will have to face in the future, but then didn't think I'd go through what I have now, so will do the best with whatever life throws at me.

I almost always had vein issues. It got pretty discouraging. There are some nurses that are better than others at finding veins and it also depends on how big the needle is. Now I point out the problem right away to them, so they can find somebody more experienced to do it. The blood draw at the hospital before my oncologist appointments always goes well.

My followups were every 6 months, but I could always call if I had questions and they would let me know if I should come in.

Karina66
Karina66 in reply to gisaduck

Yes, the office said the same that I can call whenever something should come up and bother me. I let the nurses know as well that I have "tricky" veins - so they are all forewarned. The nurse I just had was pretty good, so I'll see if I can keep getting her to do my infusions.

Thanks for the feedback.

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