Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A bit Of A Reprieve

Hey everyone!
I did see the new cardiologist on Monday. Not sure what to think there, his plan was completely different than the first guys so for now I will stay on the blood pressure med. which has been working and I feel much better. He had me wear a halter monitor for 24 hours-that was fun :) My cat LiLi thought I was a big ball of colored yarn for her entertainment. I had all kinds of colored wires hanging off of me. Chris walked in and said "oh, I don't like that". I will get those results and the EKG results shortly. The new medication for the anxiety seems to be helping, but it has only been a week.
Otherwise I get a break until the end of May and then my oncologist will have me do ALL the testing over again to get a new baseline. I am glad to have the break from tests and doctors, however, I am nervous about the tests as you can imagine.
In the meantime I am trying to pick back up the mileage with my running. I am wanting to start training again for either another half or a full marathon. I have been able to keep in touch with some of the people from Team In Training and I have been asked to come out to share my story and Jim's story in June with the team. I am looking forward to that, but not to being there at 6 am :(
Most of you probably don't know that on the very day I made the decision to order a course to complete for my personal trainer certification was the same day I got a call from the doctor to come in for a CT scan of the rib. I guess God had other plans :) Over these past 8 months I have tried unsuccessfully to conquer this course and get my certification, I just have not been able to concentrate on it.. My hope is to be able to train others, especially women and cancer survivors with endurance sports, like running.
Please pray that I will have the concentration to finish this course. We will be in prayer over these next weeks for healing and for good test results. Please join us in those prayers.

Matthew 18:20 says: "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Few Changes

Hi Everyone ~ Happy Friday!
I was scheduled to have my tests done next week on Wednesday, however, after careful consideration and talking with Chris and Dr. Kevin ( my councilor) I have decided to put them on hold for about 3 or 4 weeks. As a side note, for anyone ( or their family) going through a cancer diagnosis or living with cancer like I am I highly recommend getting some form of counseling. Having someone "neutral" with training has been imperative. If you can find someone within your faith and that comes recommended by people you trust, that is ideal. I have been blessed to have all of these.
I am overall feeling good. Chris and I ran 4 miles last night ( we are doing 12 min. miles) we are not fast, but we get it done :) My goal is 10 min. miles. I'll be happy with that for long distance.
For now, I want to get the cardiologist apt. and tests done first ( Monday) and then start the next round of tests. I spoke with my oncologist nurse and they said that is fine. We all felt it was best for me to spread some of this out.
In the mean time I have started on another medication to help with anxiety. The last one did not work well and caused many serious side effects.Please be in prayer that this one does the trick.
Many of you are asking what am I doing for treatment now that the Herceptin is no longer an option? Right now, the medical menopause and the Tamoxifen (hormone blocker) are the treatment. Please also be in prayer over these next weeks that all the tests come back with good results and that no further treatment is needed. Of course we are always praying for total healing and we know that God can do that...
Thanks all~ have a good weekend and please keep the Minich family in prayer as tomorrow April 26th is the one year anniversary from when Jim went home to God. Please pray for safe travel for those of us heading to Tulsa.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Phil. 4:13 ( sent by my sister, Barb Minich)

The Ant and the Contact Lens: a true story Brenda was almost halfway to the top of the tremendous granite cliff. She was standing on a ledge where she was taking a breather during this, her first rock climb. As she rested there, the safety rope snapped against her eye and knocked out her contact lens. "Great", she thought. "Here I am on a rock ledge, hundreds of feet from the bottom and hundreds of feet to the top of this cliff, and now my sight is blurry."

She looked and looked, hoping that somehow it had landed on the ledge. But it just wasn't there.

She felt the panic rising in her, so she began praying. She prayed for calm, and she prayed that she may find her contact lens.

When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but it was not to be found. Although she was calm now that she was at the top, she was saddened because she could not clearly see across the range of mountains. She thought of the bible verse "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth."

She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me."

Later, when they had hiked down the trail to the bottom of the cliff they met another party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?"

Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across a twig on the face of the rock, carrying it!

The story doesn't end there. Brenda's father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a cartoon of an ant lugging that contact lens with the caption, "Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me to do, I'll carry it for You."

I think it would do all of us some good to say, "God, I don't know why You want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it's awfully heavy. But, if You want me to carry it, I will."

God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

Yes, I do love GOD. He is my source of existence and my Savior. He keeps me functioning
each and every day. Without Him, I am nothing, but with Him....I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. (Phil. 4:13)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Friends :)

A small change of plans from what I wrote yesterday. I have decided not to begin the Zometa (for the bones) this week. Instead, I'm going camping :) Since I have so many tests coming up we thought it would be best to get all those results before starting anything new.
These last 2 days have been kind of rough with stresses building up all at the same time and my blood pressure may have dropped too low today causing some pretty bad things to happen. So... I thought about how important my family and friends are and have been and how for me, when the stress of all this starts to build, I find going away on short trips, especially outdoors in nature, to be the best medicine there is. It works wonders for me.
So, here is my wonderful friend Donise and I on one of those trips to Lake Murray, Oklahoma. We had a great time and as you can see lot's of "girl time". And, yes she was crazy enough to send me these pictures knowing the risk that they may end up on a blog :)
Please pray that Chris and I will have a restful and peaceful weekend and for discernment about upcoming tests. Sometimes we all need to just step back, breathe, think and PRAY ~ and if you can do it somewhere beautiful outdoors, even better!
Thanks~ Elayne

Monday, April 14, 2008

Here we go again...

Well, it's another Monday and after talking to Missy ( my oncology nurse) I have found out that I will be going through ALL the testing again in the next couple of weeks. This is not fun and involves many tests. My tumor markers went up slightly but are still in normal range. I also begin Zometa ( to help strengthen the bones) this Thursday. It is an IV treatment that takes about 20 minutes.
I did manage to find a cardiologist that is 5 minutes from home so I have an apt. with him on the 28th, then a stress test and whatever else he does to me.
So, as you can see these next few weeks will be filled with many difficult tests and a lot of anxiety. The reason for getting a new "baseline" with these tests is because of having to stop the herceptin treatments due to the damage to my heart. My doctor wants to see where everything is and monitor me very closely.

PRAYER REQUEST~ for strength both physically and emotionally during these next weeks and for the tests to come back clean with no signs of spreading of the cancer. Also that the tumor markers do not continue to rise. We are praying for healing. Please also pray for Tim, unspoken.

This was posted by a friend the other day~ thanks Marcy :)

This verse came to mind as I read your blog...Isaiah 40:31

Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

By the way~ this Friday is Chris's birthday, any Happy Birthday wishes for him I'm sure would be appreciated. He is the rock of our family and it has been a tough couple of years.
Thanks everyone~ Elayne

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Today's visit with my oncologist

Hi Everyone!
I did see my oncologist today, but before I tell you about the visit, I just have to mention how important I think it is to find doctors that "work" with your personality type. My doctors and the nurses are some of the most remarkable people I have ever known. They make you feel loved, cared for and as they say "a part of their family", every time you see them. I ran into the doctor that did my radiation therapy today, he always says "how's my favorite marathon runner doing"? I told him I would like to begin training again next month for the Dallas Half, he said he is getting ready to do the Race For The Cure and would be thinking of me when he runs. Then he said "maybe I should run the Dallas Half with you". Now, how many people have their "cancer" doc's run a half marathon with them?? They are special people and it is a huge help with my treatment and recovery to have a "team" that cares so much about me as a person. They work with me not at me, and let me know all the time that they are in this with me, Chris and the guys.
OK~ on to the visit. First thing, my heart has been damaged from the chemo & herceptin treatments and is permanent. Herceptin is no longer an option. How does this affect me? Basically they have "aged" my heart so I have to live a very healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, I am already doing that. Because the heart is a muscle, it is good for me to exercise to help keep it strong. I can continue to run and even train for a marathon. The high blood pressure is and should continue to go down with the BP meds and stopping the treatments.
My sister ( she is an ICU nurse) has given me the name of a cardiologist close by and I will be trying to get the stress test and CT scan done asap.
Where I go from here~ at this point, my doctor is going to do some research on another drug similar to the herceptin but is taken orally. It appears it can also damage the heart, so for now, I will continue with the Tamoxifen ( daily) and the lupron injections that have put me in a medical menopause. Next week on Wednesday I begin Zometa ( for the bones). I am having a lot of pain in my back so I have decided to try the Zometa which should help with not only the pain but strengthening the bones. It is administered every 4 weeks by IV. They will be monitoring me very closely for any changes with scans and blood work. I do not have the tumor marker results from today yet but the rest of my blood work today was fine.
Because of the cancer being in the rib and spine, I can no longer water ski or do anything behind the boat. Good thing my favorite part when we go out on the boat is to swim, so I can still enjoy watching everyone else do their stuff and I get to swim!
Thank you guys for all the prayer support, I am feeling better since stopping the treatments. My energy is getting much better and the anxiety is also better.
PRAYER REQUEST~ I'm in kind of a tough place now. Based on the results so far what we are doing is keeping the cancer "under control". How much of that is due to the herceptin is not known yet. Please pray that I will continue to make progress and there will be no further spread of the cancer. I have always prayed for "no more, no less". God knows exactly what I need, when, and in what amounts. I do feel at peace with this right now.
Also for next week (Wednesday) that getting the Zometa goes well with no side effects.
In ending, last night Chris and I went out to run and it started to rain, then pour. We just kept running, it felt great and was a lot of fun, so... go walk or run, especially in the rain :)


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

upcoming tests and doctors

Hi everyone~ I do have my tests scheduled with the cardiologist but not until the end of April ( (the 29th). I am not really comfortable with that. This doctor is pretty far away from where I live, so I will be talking to my oncologist this week to see about finding someone closer that can get the tests done sooner. It will be a stress test and a CT scan.
I am having some problems with my left arm and hand ( most of the time) and tingling in my legs when I bend my neck down, but only after I run. I am not sure if this is cardiovascular or possibly a nerve?? Either way, I don't want to wait till the end of the month. My blood pressure seems to be coming down with the BP medication but drops REALLY low when I am lying down.
I have an oncology apt. this Thursday, they will do blood work to check tumor markers and everything else.
Prayer request ~ please be in prayer about all of this and for discernment. Also for the blood work results. Thanks everyone~ you are all a great support!
Take time to watch this incredible man on a short u-tube video, you will be inspired no matter what you are going through. I will put the link on this web page if it does not work directly from this post~

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Good morning everyone~ Chris and I saw the cardiologist yesterday. They did an EKG and I assume it was ok, they didn't say it wasn't. The doctor has however decided that I need to be on a low dose blood pressure medication which I started last night. My pressure was coming down some on it's own since I stopped the Herceptin treatments but still too high on a regular basis. He wants me at 120/70 all the time. I usually have to lie down and rest to get it there.

So, the next step is more tests. He said there are a few reasons why someone my age would have high blood pressure. One of course being damage from the chemo and herceptin treatments. However, he wants to check some other things so I am having a CT scan of my kidneys (something about blood flow from the kidneys) and a stress test on the treadmill. He also mentioned there could be some tissue damage around the heart from the radiation. Guess we have to rule some things in or out to help determine if taking Herceptin anymore is an option for my treaments.

OK, good news~ the echo that they did is not showing any damage to the heart caused by the elevated blood pressure. So, getting it under control now is important. Also, my tumor markers are down again! They are now at the low end of "normal" range, this is good.

Many of you sent me an e-mail requesting an e-mail reminder when the blog is updated. I will send you that each time there is an update, I will also be posting "other" information that will hopefully be of help to others going through this or for their family & friends. Please feel free to leave comments on those particular posts as I know many of you have been through this based on the poll we all did with the highest ratings being family at 75%. Your words of wisdom and encouragement will be helpful to others as well. So, be sure to check the comments to see what others may have to say about their own personal experiences with fighting this battle in their own families.

Prayer request~ we are praying that being on the BP meds will be temporary and that there is not another issue with the heart. Please pray that the next 2 tests are ok and that I do not have side effects with the BP med. I am now on. I will let you know when the tests are scheduled.
Thanks everyone! ~ Elayne

Cardiologist visit


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