My name is Bridget Bates. I’m 38 years old and I was recently diagnosed this year, January 3rd, 2020 with Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) Stage 3 in my left breast.
Because Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is such an aggressive type of breast cancer my doctors went forward right away with all tests and scans necessary.
Let’s break it down!
CT Scan: Chest, Abdomen, Pelvic
Biopsy: Armpit left lymph node
PET Scan: Sternum
MRI/Biopsy: Right Breast
After all is said and done, but still waiting on my brain scan results, but I can say the cancer only has spread to one lymph node under my left armpit.
I started chemotherapy January 27, 2020 with appointments every Monday featuring a combination of Taxol (Paclitaxel) and Carboplatin. The first round of treatment was stressful. I went in that Monday with high anxiety.
Taxol Allergic Reaction
My Doctors did warn me that the majority of women are allergic to their first dose of Taxol. Understandably, I was so anxious. I did become allergic within the first 30 minutes of my treatment. My hands started turning bright red. I rang the nurse immediately. Thankfully they were quick to stop treatment and flush me out and add more Benadryl to stop the reaction. My anxiety hit the roof at this time and I was going into full panic attack mode. One of the nurses asked if I wanted some lavender oil to calm my nerves. Knowing about how essential oils work wonders, I responded “Yes, Please”!
After all this excitement, we decided to start up again. I was still nervous, but knew I couldn’t just give up on the first try. I can say I completed my first round somewhat successfully.
Taxol Side Effects
Now going on my sixth infusion, it appears to get easier over time. Of course anxiety is still there, but my lavender is never too far. I have to say I've been pretty lucky regarding my side effects from taxol.
Mild nausea once or twice.
I definitely can’t eat any dairy, or I will end up with nightly bathroom runs. Lol. But I feel deciding early on that I would combine holistic with my chemotherapy has definitely helped me get through my rough days.
I’m not one to pill pop, so I find natural ways to cope with the side effects from taxol. But I know if it ever gets too hard “I will give in and take a pill". Only if necessary! With the headaches, this has been more of the pill popping scenario. I've experienced more headaches than ever which I attribute to the steroids given during treatment.
Taxol Hair Loss
One of the hardest side effects from taxol for me has been the hair loss. I discovered my hair falling out after the third infusion. I couldn’t control it, chunk after chunk. I decided to shave the back and leave some hair on top. I will eventually shave it all, but I wear hats a lot and beanies at home. It’s wonderful to know there’s so many options on the market to help with this issue. There are so many different organizations and hospitals that give away free wigs and head accessories. If you just ask, people will help!
As for now I take it day by day. I enjoy the moments I feel my best and make those days were I take a walk, get fresh air and just enjoy being around family and friends who lift me.
I still have a long journey ahead: six months of chemotherapy followed by a bilateral mastectomy, followed by six weeks of radiation, but I will never give up.
This girl is staying positive and strong every step of the way. Cancer isn’t me, I am me.