My unexpected side effects with cancer & the woman who got me through.

by Tanya Denning, client of Breast Cancer Resource Centers

Tanya Denning Tanya Denning

I don’t know what I would have done without Marj, my patient navigator at Breast Cancer Resource Center. I experienced so many side effects. I’m glad that I can look back and laugh, but at the time, they were very serious.

I experienced the most violent mood swings. One moment I would be screaming at my husband for no reason, the next I would be crying, and then I would be fine. I had no idea what was happening. I thought I was losing my mind. When I called Marj, she knew what I was talking about even before I could finish what I was saying. Marj encouraged me to speak with my oncologist. The mood swings went away as soon as my prescription was changed.

Maybe the worst side effect was when I developed sores in my mouth. They got so bad that I couldn’t speak without terrible pain. I had a friend call my doctor’s “on call” service. They still wanted to speak to me and it hurt so bad. Marj called me the next day, but immediately told me to hang up and text instead. She was the only one who had thought to do this.

She was concerned. The sores hurt so much I couldn’t eat. Marj insisted that I either go in to see the doctor or call 911. I ended up in the infusion room for 6 hours as they pumped me full of fluids and antibiotics. Marj kept stopping by to check in on me.

Thankfully, not everything about breast cancer was physically painful. Marj and I actually had a couple of laughs. Many of the medical terms were so huge that I couldn’t even pronounce them, let alone know what they meant. It was funny, because when I would ask Marj about the words, I would always mispronounce them in a mumbly sort of way. She would give me this funny look and then help me understand. I never thought I’d have to depend on someone to translate English into English.

The best thing about Marj is that she made it feel ok to ask any silly, stupid or important question I had no matter what time of day it was. I don’t know what I would have done without her or the Breast Cancer Resource Center.


If you or someone you know is faced with a breast cancer diagnosis and could use our support, please visit our website or call our helpline at 512-524-2560.Donate to BCRC

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