Queen of Complications

by Debbie Twomey on April 13, 2017


Well, one waiting game is over just as a couple more begin. I have discovered that this is typical but a bit more complicated because of my other diagnosis and let’s face it—my rotten luck.

My Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IVD) is Stage II which is pretty decent news considering how large the tumor was. I met with my radiologist today to discuss my plan of attack. But that will depend on what my Hematology Oncologist decides first and that appointment is not till next week. At that time he will take a sample of what I am not sure (tissue from where, another biopsy???) and then decide if he feels I need chemotherapy. If I do I will start that immediately and then proceed with radiation afterwards. Otherwise I will begin radiation by mid May.

But being the queen of complications all this will depend on my healing. Right now my right breast is filling with fluid so it has to be drained. I can hardly wait for that procedure tomorrow–NOT. Not sure of this seroma will only require a needle to drain or much more. I have to be so careful of infections and on top of this I got yet another yeast infection under my left breast. This is the third infection of this kind since I began the Actemra infusions for my Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have had 5 outbreaks of the MRSA. Prior to the infusions weakening my immune system I had not had a yeast infection in over 40 years, Despite my best efforts to keep my immune sytem strong with supplements and my Young Living Ningxia Red, the antibodies are losing.

Before deciding to try Actemra I weighed all of my options and because the pain and progression of the RA was now attacking heart and lungs, I chose infusions. Now because of the cancer I am only able to take setroids to combat the RA and those have serious side effects too.

Prednisone is a corticosteroid. It prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. It also suprresses the immune system.

Common prednisone side effects may include:

  • sleep problems (insomnia), mood changes;
  • increased appetite, gradual weight gain;
  • acne, increased sweating, dry skin, thinning skin, bruising or discoloration;
  • slow wound healing;
  • headache, dizziness, spinning sensation;
  • nausea, stomach pain, bloating; or
  • changes in the shape or location of body fat (especially in your arms, legs, face, neck, breasts, and waist).


While the Prednisone has really helped with the pain of RA and hopefully its progression in my lung and heart tissue it has made for some complications. The vertigo has been very scary; when I stand I sometimes have no sensation of my feet or hands and have to hold onto something till it passes. And the head rush and buzzing in the ears almost seems deafening. Luckily it passes within 5 minutes. It also contributes to why I keep getting skin infections.

Cancer is affecting all aspects of my life as it does every person who is diagnosed. Some ways are very small, like now I seem to wear all pink jewelry as a testament to my being a warrior.  Other ways are significant like being a part of a huge sisterhood that are battling breast cancer and having to postpone my bariatric surgery which could alleviate some of my other issues like my degenerative hip. Right now, it is just causing me some strong discomfort which I am sure draining will relieve but I wish this had not happened. I know each doctor is learning who I am and what none of them really see is just how much pain I have gone through in the last year and how I am not the tower of strength I once was—in fact I feel like jello lately.

I am weary, very weary. I am tired of pain as my constant and I am tired of being tired. I know a side effect of my treatments will be fatigue and I have to wonder how the hell I will deal with that if it means more fatigue and even less sleep for me. Maybe I will be fortunate it will mean sleeping when I need it even if it means several naps daily. I can only hope.

 Speaking of hope, I received a wonderful gift package from Positively Pink Packages (www.positivelypinkpackages.org). Jennifer Tom, its founder. has created packages that they provide to breast cancer patients free of charge. This is a wonderful organization that I met several years ago at the WISE Symposium in Syracuse NY. I received     several books to read and a beautiful bag to carry it all in as well as a pillow for the affected area and a few other necessary items. I was honored to be a recipient of an organization I became a member of so long ago, as an outsider.

One of the books, There’s No Place Like Hope is a very interesting read. I must admit it has me worried because the author, Vickie Gerard had breast cancer with no lymph node involvement and no need for radiation or chemotherapy yet 18 months later, she went back to the doctor with shoulder pain that they could not diagnose for quite awhile. Though she was told it was not from the cancer but perhaps an orthopedic issue she persisted in getting tested with a bone scan which revealed cancer in 5 other locations. If Vickie had not advocated for herself, she would not be here today. Though I am still reading her book the two major points I got are: there is no guarantee the cancer has not spread and there is always HOPE.

So right now that is where I am at. I am torn between worrying about just where the cancer has or has not travelled and I have Hope that I can fight this but I would feel just a bit more confident if I did not have the complications I do. If I had to be Queen of something I would like it to be Queen of Hearts. Just saying.     




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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Dior Clancy April 13, 2017 at 10:41 pm

Debbie: I think about you and Mouse all the time. I pray for you. Pain is a terrible thing, and I know you are in pain both mentally and physical. You are a very strong person, my prayers are with you. hugs 




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