Monthly Archives: October 2007


So this is the first day since last Friday that I actually felt well enough to go to work, and what happens?! Four kids (late teens, early 20s maybe) come into my workplace, ask to use the bathroom, distract me and steal my bank cards out of my purse. Continue reading



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Chemo costs – the final # is in

Here’s another post for the personal finance and cancer bloggers out there. Now that chemo is done and all the bills are in, I have the final numbers. For 8 rounds of chemo (4 of adriamycin/cytoxan and 4 of taxol), the grand total was…drumroll…: $90,709.

That’s what the oncology office charged. The break down: Continue reading


Filed under breast cancer, chemo, costs

Needle-core biopsy

I’m constructing a timeline in the “about” section, and found this piece about my needle-core biopsy.

March 10, 2007

It was yesterday, and let’s just say that if the local anesthesia had actually worked it would have been fine, but it didn’t, and I ended up in so much pain 15 minutes afterwards on my way home ( a 7 or 8, touching into a 9 on a scale of 10) that I threw up, that I was uncontrollably and involuntarily sobbing (I couldn’t believe how much it hurt), that I had to beg for painkillers (which my doc wrote because it was clear I was in really bad shape) and then go through hell to get them. Heads will roll, it shouldn’t have happened. Continue reading

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Filed under breast cancer, quality of life, tests

Wellbutrin & tamoxifen DON’T mix, revisited

I first started taking wellbutrin in mid-2006, because I had overwhelming fatigue. Go figure, I had cancer. (A fact which we wouldn’t discover until 8 months later, but enough about that. For now.) I told my HMO at the time that I wasn’t depressed, I just felt very tired. So they of course put me on a series of anti-depressants, most of which did nothing, until we tried wellbutrin, which can act as a stimulant. Even at very small doses, it helped.

Thanks to the heads up from forum members, I asked my doc. (the one who prescribes wellbutrin, not my oncologist) about the info. I’d read on wellbutrin inhibiting tamoxifen.

She looked it up, and indeed there is a “cautionary” warning about its interaction with CYP2D6-metabolized drugs such as tamoxifen. It’s not a black-box warning, and it’s even not a strong warning as it doesn’t require monitoring. But still, she said it does compete with tamoxifen for metabolizing, so, since tamoxifen has such an important role in protecting me from cancer right now, her advice was to “Stop the wellbutrin. Now.” Continue reading


Filed under breast cancer, CYP2D6, tamoxifen

Post-chemo ticker

In some ways, life after chemo has the feeling of reborn. It is, most certainly, a second chance. Sometimes a day feels as long as a week and sometimes it feels like an hour. The ticker in the side bar is to help me keep track.


Filed under breast cancer, chemo, quality of life

A nice, normal cold

re: my fatigue a few days ago – turns out I was getting a cold! Yes, I do sound a little excited, don’t I? It’s just so nice to have something wrong that’s normal. Continue reading

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Filed under breast cancer, quality of life, recovery

Metabolizing tamoxifen

What an interesting time we live in. Turns out that there are specific genes that affect enzymes that metabolize drugs. And some drugs inhibit the enzymes. This is important for women taking tamoxifen, because if it’s not metabolized well then it has less protective value. For me, tamoxifen is supposed to increase my survival chances just as much as chemo did. So metabolizing it well seems pretty important. Continue reading

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Filed under breast cancer, CYP2D6, tamoxifen, tests