Breast cancer in the age of COVID-19

COVID-19 may be everywhere, but my breast cancer treatments do not stop.

This week is number five of my six scheduled Zometa treatments (over three years).

Zoledronic acid, member of a class of medications called bisphosphonates, is used to prevent or treat osteoporosis. Breast cancer patients who are taking aromatase inhibitors (which decrease estrogen levels) are at increased risk of bone loss.

But first I have to test negative for SARS-CoV-2.


1. I tested negative, as expected.

They are using one of the SCCA parking garages. You enter, and the attendant who would normally take your money on exit is taking your name on entry.

There are two parking bays, each three parking stalls wide. I suppose that’s in case a patient is a passenger.

Sit and wait with windows rolled up until a nurse arrives. Looking like she’s wearing hazmat suit. Yes she looked like all those photos of white suited medical professionals in China and South Korea. Mask and face shield. No sliver of skin showing.

She explained what she would be doing, then handled me two facial tissues. I looked at her questioningly. “To blow your nose,” she said.

Then I tucked my head back against the seat head rest, canted ever so slightly towards the open window, and closed my eyes. I’d already seen just how long those swabs were that she held in a slim clear container. (Plastic? Glass?)

She said she should be fast, one then the other. And she was. The first (right nostril) was a sharp, deep poke that made me flinch. Before my mind had processed that indignity, she was taking the left sample. THAT was bloody uncomfortable – so much so that I made some sort of animal whine and pushed back into the head rest as she wrapped up.

My eyes watered and watered and then watered some more. My sinuses itched. My nasal passages ached for a sneeze. Eventually, that all passed.

They call you if you’re positive, send email if you’re negative.

She provided a time range for results but I forgot if 10 hours was upper or lower. Given that I’ve not heard anything, my money is on lower bound. 🙂

I also have a green card to hand to SCCA when I check in on Thursday that says I was screened today.

Green card. Heh.

2. I had unusual-for-me after effects of the Zometa.

I’m glad there is only one treatment remaining.

I took two Benadryl and tried to remember if Zometa did this to me in the fall. My face was itchy achy all morning. Then my hands. Then my arms.



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