“Is Cheryl Schatz still alive?” some have asked. It has been far too long since I updated my On the Path blog. I am still alive, and I am still on the path, although I have suffered through a time of spiritual abuse. I am doing very well physically, and there is no sign of the return of cancer. The one spot that I had on my spine is smaller, and I am considered stable. My last chemotherapy infusion was two and a half years ago and that trial is becoming a distant memory. I still have side effects from the chemo and the anti-estrogen medication, however, I am doing very well and thankful to be alive. There still have been challenges in my life, and I needed to step back for a time to heal emotionally. Two things happened in the last year that I never expected would ever happen in my lifetime. …
It has been a long while since I updated my “On the Path” blog. I have been SO busy, it has been difficult to make the time to post something. But it is time to post an update about where I am after cancer treatment. This post will have some updated pictures.
Where I am “growing” stronger after post cancer treatment
My hands are healing after carpal tunnel surgery. I am taking liquid glucosamine twice a day (double the dose) and that helps a lot with the residual pain from the anti-estrogen medication. My right hand isn’t fully back to normal, but it is doing much better. I still need more strength, and I am still tender, but I am getting closer to being pain-free. My left hand (which was operated on first) is not doing as well. My left hand is much weaker, and I still have daily discomfort/mild pain in the left wrist and up my arm. It is so much better taking the liquid glucosamine and if I forget a dose, I have a lot more pain. I am trusting that in another six months I will be pain-free.
The arthritis-like symptoms in my legs are so much better, and I no longer feel like I am 80 years old! I am growing stronger and growing younger after the effects of chemo and the on-going anti-cancer medication. Praise the Lord!
I have grown strong enough to handle full-time ministry work again! I am so happy to be back into video editing and writing scripts. This is what I was called to do.
Where I am “growing” younger
My hair is finally going back to “nearly” normal. …
On December 11, 2014 I had the last surgery on my right hand, the last of five surgeries this year.
I am doing well after a very painful second hand surgery. I have a rare extra muscle in my hand once again that needed to be cut, and my hand did not take the freezing properly. My surgeon had to stop the surgery twice to administer two more vials of freezing. In the end I just had to take the pain because my carpal tunnel connective tissue was so tight, the bottom part of the surgeon’s scissors kept pushing on my median nerve, and there wasn’t any way to freeze it. …
I got my bandages off my left hand on Sunday night. My incision looks like it is splitting apart, but my surgeon said that this is what happens as it heals. I am posting a picture for those who have no idea of what carpal tunnel surgery looks like. …
I thought I was done with side effects since I finished chemotherapy, but I am learning that anything that is strong enough to wallop cancer will likely also cause side effects. I am now waiting for surgery because of the side effects from the pill that I was prescribed to keep me from having a recurrence of cancer.
The pill is called Femara or Letrozole. This tiny little pill is a nonsterooidal aromatase inhibitor (AI) and it is used to treat advanced breast cancer. It fights breast cancer by inactivating an enzyme called aromatase and in turn this prevents the enzyme from supplying estrogen to the cancers that are dependant on estrogen to grow and survive.
At first I didn’t have any side effects from the pill but within three months of starting the treatment I developed bumps around my wrists and then it progressed to pain. Three fingers in my left hand became numb and this numbness did not go away after waking in the morning. I was referred to a nerve specialist and her tests showed that I had nerve damage in my fingers from carpal tunnel syndrome. The nerves are already starting to die off so she recommends immediate surgery. My doctor also said that I had tendonitis in both my wrists and this is causing radiating pain up my arms. All of this is a known side effect of Femara. The nerve specialist has warned me that if I don’t have surgery soon, my thumb muscle could atrophy I could have permanent nerve damage in my hand. Lovely. …
Yesterday was a banner day for me as I looked forward to two events that were important to me. The first event was getting the results of my bone scan, which I will share in just a moment. The last event of the day was far less important but something that I had been looking forward to for a whole year. It was a wonderful experience to get my chemo curls removed. I went from a mass of curls to a real hair style for the first time in more than a year. During the past twelve months, I was completely bald for at least six months, so it was wonderful just to have hair again. But lately I found myself looking more like a woolly lamb as my longer hair was threatening to turn into ringlets. I am so thankful for my friend Shauna, who took the time to cut and shape my post chemo hair. My husband said that the cut was “terrific.” That is a first for me in such a long time. Thanks Shaun
The first event that happened to me yesterday was something that I had been eagerly awaiting. In February of 2014, I had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer from a bone scan that showed the cancer had spread to my spine. My internist said that it had been verified by two tests so it was sure, however, my surgeon took issue with this diagnosis saying that it could be something other than cancer.
The chest wall tear that I experienced has continued to cause me trouble. I have suffered with a build up of fluid after the tear and the swelling and the fluid put a lot of pressure on the already stretched skin. Eventually the pressure became too much for the incision to handle and it opened up enough to let the fluid start to drain out. I guess this is a blessing in disguise, although I don’t know what this will do to the incision line once it is all healed again. Tomorrow we are going to visit the community nurses to see if they can give us help with dressings for the draining liquid and to check to make sure that I do not have an infection in the incision. I am extra tired as my body is still going through the healing process, but I am looking forward to getting back to normal in the days and weeks ahead.