Vaccines, Shots and Scan Results

When I scheduled my COVID booster, I didn’t look at the calendar. I always check my calendar—this time, I did not. I checked with my oncologist to see if I could get the vaccine before a PET/CT. You can’t, by the way. So when I scheduled my COVID booster, I didn’t know it was the day before my Faslodex shots. I will never make that mistake again. I historically have a complete immune response that includes high fever, muscle pain, bone pain, chills, and headaches. To add insult to injury, I also had them give me the flu vaccine because why not feel the absolute worst I can possibly feel at one time.

I did try to change my vaccine appointment, but it would have pushed it out to the middle of October. I wasn’t comfortable with that. Onward. As expected, I had all the side effects. I also didn’t sleep because of them. I shivered and sweated while watching my new favorite show: Bones. How did I miss it when it was on? My fever reached 102.5, and I contemplated canceling my Faslodex appointment more than once. Hourly, in fact.
When Tuesday morning arrived, I choked down some Tylenol with some very strong coffee and slowly got ready for my appointment.

An Unexpected Surprise

It turns out this wasn’t going to be a normal Faslodex appointment. It was also time to get my Xgeva shot. Xgeva helps keep my bones strong-ish. It’s a small subcutaneous injection but really packs a punch. I get it every three months. Let’s not forget the port draw I wasn’t expecting. Honestly, that is typically the least painful even without numbing cream. We did the Faslodex first. The alcohol they swab your behind with didn’t dry completely. I knew this as soon as they jabbed the needles into me because it burned something awful. The sensation went all the way down my legs. That always makes it feel like the shots last FOR-EVER.

My angry port.

The port draw was next. The nurse jammed the large thumbtack-like needle into my port. She fidgeted with it and told me to turn my head to the left (my port is on the right). She wasn’t getting a blood return. The nurse raised the foot on the reclining chair I was in and released the back, so I was lying down in this chair. Still no blood. The nurse explained she needed to use a medication called Alteplase which would break up the small clot preventing the blood from coming thru my port. I had to sit while the Alteplase did its thing. Thirty minutes later, the nurse could get blood return and draw my labs. Finally, she administered the Xgeva, and I was free to go.

Scan Results

Good news. There were no new metastasis seen and my new friend in my kidney is still too small to be seen. I’m thankful my oncologist agreed to the PET after my previous scans. It makes me nervous to think if she had gone with the June scans, and the inconsistencies, and decided to change my treatment how that would have gone. We agreed to scan again in March.

Dear Cancer, Kiss This!

6 thoughts on “Vaccines, Shots and Scan Results

  1. Two days ago I had to have a mammo/ultrasound to see if a cyst on my incision was, in fact, a cyst. It was. When I read the notes on my visit, I feel like I’m crazy. Here is what I know:

    1) I am Stage 4 breast cancer because of spread to my chest wall and evidence of involvement of sternum and clavicles.

    2) Here is part of my after-visit report: I have focal uptake “in the upper sternum and medial clavicles consistent with osseous metastatic disease” and a “soft tissue mass which appears to extend though the chest wall into the pleural space, suggesting neoplastic process.” (CT Scan)

    And on the same report:
    3) “No direct or indirect evidence of malignancy is seen on the current study.” This refers to the mammogram/ultrasound completed that day.

    Can you blame me if I feel about schizonphrenic? I know they are different tests, BUT . . .

    Eighteen months ago I had a clear mammogram and then had to talk to my surgeon immediately afterward so we could have the “death talk.” Have you ever dealt with such discrepant results?

    1. Oh Kathy… yes, I have. I understand how you feel. Have you spoken to your oncologist about the CT results? If you’re not satisfied with what is said, I strongly encourage you to seek a second opinion if you can.
      The mammo/ultrasound wouldn’t mention what was observed on the CT because they were looking specifically for something else. The CT, however is concerning. Neoplasms can be benign or malignant. You need to get clarification on what they specifically meant. If it’s possible, I would push for a biopsy. It may not be possible though. due to the location. Please keep me posted. 💙

    2. I know it is malignant. I’ve had four biopsies and a whole body scan that clearly shows where the problem is, mainly in my sternum. The problem is that I have mucinous carcinoma (rare). The cancer cells just sort of float in the mucin. When biopsied, it’s pretty hit or miss. On the last biopsy, they found cancer cells in mucin, but all of the available stains could not identify the specifics. I just find the whole thing frustrating. Thank you for allowing me to vent.

      I’m so glad I found your blog. I have a family history blog, but for the past two years the focus has been on cancer. You can check it out here: http://jonesfamilymatters.blogspot.com

  2. I was nervous at the response your body gave you w/vaxes, but I’m thrilled abt your scans! I’m awaiting results of lung CT, fearing they’ll mix my autoimmune nodules w/lung mets, but i made them aware. Next, bone scan, colo/endo combo, then PET. They want all my co-pays tho, that they called for. Carry on & play with that beautiful baby & Bella. Prayers❤️ 🙏🏾

  3. Oh my dear, you had me weeping…and then considering that TODAY is the day we scheduled our boosters and flu shots (they come to us!). In the past we’ve fared well with the shots but even if there are some effects to deal with we’ll jus be thinking of you and how you handle all that’s been on your plate for some time. So glad about the results! This old lady believes in SCIENCE especially after Jack and Jason’s cancer journeys…wearing my t-shirt that says: “Science doesn’t give a SHIT what you believe!” and I’ll try not to be a baby if there are some effects to deal with…I’ll think of YOU.
    PS…we loved our second trip through BONES and are doing that with several other series…(UNFORGETABLE is one and also now watching REBEL (new) on Hulu)…just a few ideas for you. BTW so happy about the “first words”…how appropriate that they were “DA-DA”…Best to all…Carole and Jack

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