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  • All about Gertrude

    Gertrude is the name we decided to call my cancerous breast hence the title of this blog. Although I had to keep my breast through chemo and radiation due to the nature of IBC - once it 'blew up' it no longer looked like my breast and I couldn't wait to get rid of it. Calling it Gertrude was a way of seperating it from myself. This main page is where I write about the general goings on that relate to Gertrude, there is another page that are more a diary of treatments etc This blog is a public blog so although I am being very honest about my battle with Gertrude I have "changed names to protect the innocent" - because everyone can see it if you write comments on the blog pages please use the same abbreviations for other family member or friends that I do. Please feel free to ask questions if you want clarification because then other people who might have been wondering the same thing can read your question and our answers.
  • Abbreviations

    OH- Other Half (Hubby), OD- Oldest Daughter, MD- Middle Daugher, YD- Youngest Daughter, SB- soulja boi MD's fiance in the army (now ex fiance), OD's R OD's partner, BS- Breast surgeon whose initials just happen to be BS as well, BC- our GP (family doctor), Dr H- my medical oncologist, all other friends family etc will be referred to as initials etc
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    No Princess Alone button

New Doctors and a free facial

Or how Xeloda (capecitabine) is working more ways than one.

I had my latest oncology appointment yesterday,  and to my surprise found out that I have a new head oncologist.  Well two actually Dr B and Dr O who jobshare sort of… Dr H is quite old and has a huge workload in both the private and public sector, so I can see why he might have to cut his caseload from time to time.  With being under a public health system you sometimes are at the vagaries of the system.  I saw Dr O yesterday and she said I would always see her or Dr B but that if I would rather stay with Dr H she would see what they could do to switch me back.  As much as I have liked being under Dr H – Dr O also seemed to really know her stuff aroung IBC and metastatic breast cancer and we struck up a very good rapport, she answered all my questions well and allayed some of my concerns.  She is quite happy for me to be a bit of  a assertive patient and  understands my need to be as much in control as I can be.  I got a really good vibe off her and so think I will stay and give her and Dr B a chance. 

I got my prescription for my new batch of Xeloda and started them this morning.  As all my side- effects are manageable  we have kept me at the higher dose.  The only signs of hand-foot syndrome have been a propensity for my feet to blister in a pair of new winter boots which shows that my skin on my feet is more sensitive. And last night when I went to a show my enthusiastic clapping left my hands more red and ‘sting-y’ than usual.  I had also had a bit of what I thought was a breakout on my face.

 I had  developed a couple of little pink patches on my forehead and a blistery sore spot above my lip which was definitely not a coldsore- when I showed them to my oncologist at yesterday’s appointment she explained what they were.  They were the reaction of precancerous cells to Xeloda. (the joys of growing up in the 70’s under an ozone hole and not caring about sunscreen)  These cells would have eventually lead to lead to the more benign basal cell skin cancer which is usually treated with a cream that contains 5 fu the same active ingredient as Xeloda. 

In cream form it is known as fluorouracil cream.  So I’m getting a two for one deal with my Xeloda not only is it working on my liver met but as the onc says my skin is going to come out of it better as well. 

In other good news, the Xeloda is working, even though it was only my first cycle my tumour markers have started to drop already.

Leave a comment


  1. HOORAY! You left the best news to last!
    May this cycle be as comfortable and at least as effective as the first.

  2. jayne muir-james

     /  May 4, 2011

    Thanks for the update, sounds like the two doctors will do right by you, keep being positive and assertive.. hope the side effects abate soon though. xxx

  3. Kathy Hegarty

     /  May 5, 2011

    Good news all round. Sounds like you have ‘clicked’ with your new Oncologists…which is really important. Best of luck with round 2 of xeloda and heres hoping the side effects stay easily managed. I start my doxorubicin next Friday (delayed it a week to fit in with the social life!). xx


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