About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Nails and foobs

I think I am experiencing a new side effect from the chemotherapy this week.

A couple days ago as I was working in the kitchen, my fingertips kind of hurt.  Almost like I had been using my fingernails as tools to pry something open.  Tender to the touch, and a little sore.  As I look at my fingernails, I see some horizontal stripes on them.  For those who have been following my blog for awhile, you may remember that I was concerned about one of my toenails.  It still is black and blue and starting to lift.  

I did a quick google search and found this out about one of my chemo drugs, taxotere/docetaxel:

"Nail changes (Color changes to your fingernails or toenails may occur while taking docetaxel. In extreme, but rare, cases nails may fall off. After you have finished docetaxel treatments, your nails will generally grow back) (see skin problems)."

Nice, huh?  I covered up my toenails with some bright red polish today.  It's not worth it to do my fingernails.  I have them in and out of water so much that I can't keep polish on for more than a day or two.

Hopefully all 20 will hang on (literally) for a little bit longer!

On another note, there has been a lot of publicity this week about the new airport screening measures adopted by the TSA.  I wondered about what could happen if I went through these new measures wearing my prosthetic breasts.  Would it look weird on the full body scan and trigger a more invasive inspection?  I then heard this story today:

(CBS)  A flight attendant and cancer survivor said she was forced to remove and show her prosthetic breast to a TSA agent during a security pat-down.

Cathy Bossi of Charlotte, who has been a flight attendant for the past 32 years, told CBS Affiliate WBTV that in August she was asked to go through the new full-body scanners at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

As a 3-year breast cancer survivor Bossi said she didn't want the added radiation through her body, but reluctantly agreed.

"The TSA agent told me to put my ID on my back," Boss told WBTV correspondent Molly Grantham. "When I got out of there, she said because my ID was on my back, I had to go to a personal screening area."

Bossi was taken to a private room where two female Charlotte TSA agents began what she calls an "aggressive" pat-down.

Bossi said the exam halted when they got around to feeling her right breast - the one where she'd had surgery.

"She put her full hand on my breast and said, 'What is this?' Bossi recalled. "And I said, 'It's my prosthesis because I've had breast cancer.' And she said, 'Well, you'll need to show me that.'"

Bossi was asked to remove her prosthetic breast from her bra and show it to the agent.

She said she did not take down the name of the agent because of the "horrific" nature of the experience.

"It just blew my mind. I couldn't believe that somebody had done that to me,'" she told WBTV.

Bossi has since contacted the flight attendants union's Legislative Affairs Team.

She says there are better alternatives to such intrusive examinations.

"There are blowers and there are dogs that could sniff out bombs," she said. "There's no reason to have somebody's hands touching your body parts."

A TSA representative told WBTV that agents are allowed to ask to see and touch any passenger's prosthetic, but aren’t supposed to remove them. Later, the TSA contacted the station and said they would review the Bossi matter. 

Like I've said before, breast cancer is the gift that keeps on giving.


  1. That TSA pat-down story is absolutely horrifying and appalling. My husband is an airline pilot and he said what really sucks is that TSA has so much authority that people (including crew) are terrified of them because if you say one wrong thing you could end up thrown out of the airport or put into jail! Some unprofessional and unethical agents are misusing their authority and in cases like this being completely inappropriate and insensitive. UGH. To avoid that from happening I personally would not use them when traveling but then I'd be furious that I'd have to make that choice as that is so unfair. ;( And, for what it's worth, I had reconstruction and find my new boobs completely annoying, uncomfortable and a total nuissance. If I feel this way in one year's time they are being removed.

    As for the nails...yes, a common effect of taxotere. Many of my survivor friends had the issue at varying levels of severity. I didn't have that but that may be because I only had 4 cycles of taxotere and my remaining 4 cycles were of different chemo drugs, or it may be that I horrible nails to start out with.

    Hugs to you! xoxo

  2. Tonya, I, too, had the tender fingertips, in fact, I still do after being done with chemo for a month now. My feet are also still numb. I was told it would all improve with time. I hope so. I heard that same story this morning and also wondered what it would be like to go through screening with these hard tissue expanders in my chest. They would surely cause suspicion! I am just not flying anymore unless I really have to. When are you done with chemo?? It's soon isn't it?

  3. My last round of chemo is December 3rd. :-)