Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Health Update~

Hi all~ today I had my monthly Zometa treatment and Lupron injection. Not sure why but this time I am really feeling it, starting with my hip where they gave me the injection. It is extremely sore, much worse than the others. The Zometa gives you a flu like feeling. Usually I feel well enough to run even on Zometa days, not this time :) So I begin the Advil/Tylenol every 4 hours till I feel better routine.

Maybe going into it after a very physical weekend has something to do with it. We hiked for 6 miles on Saturday, my toes are killing from that ~ time for new hiking boots :) We then went mountain biking for 3 hours on Sunday until Chris's bike broke down. My neck and shoulders are killing from all that jarring on rocks, trees, stumps,etc. :) But... we sure had fun!

With the exception of the self inflicted pain :) and the side effects from my treatment today I have been feeling very good lately! My blood pressure is up a bit these last couple of days but for the most part I have not had to take my BP medicine. All other meds remain the same and I am finally adjusting to living life while on them.
Some other improvements we have noticed; my strength and energy are much better and the pain in my rib and spine come and go but mostly my body feels much stronger now. I notice it throughout the day as well as in my running. I plan to begin training around April/May for the Dallas marathon in December! Meanwhile we are easily running 4 miles 3-4 times a week to keep in shape.
I have started training clients and love it! Planning to begin a 5k run/walk group in April which will end on June 6th with the Komen Race For The Cure!
Usually I meet with my counselor once a week, I have now graduated to once a month! So big improvements with anxiety, fears and peace~
It has been a very long time since I have felt well in ALL these areas at the same time. We continue to pray for Gods healing, recovery and peace that only He can give.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, February 23, 2009

Winter trip to Lake Murray~

Enjoy the photo album from our weekend get a way to Lake Murray in Oklahoma.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Zometa® Improves Outcomes in Premenopausal Women with Hormone Receptor-positive Breast Cancer

Among premenopausal women with early-stage, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, treatment with Zometa® (zoledronic acid) improved disease-free survival. These results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, and were previously presented at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

Each year more than 180,000 U.S. women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Many of these breast cancers will be hormone receptor-positive, meaning that they are stimulated to grow by the circulating female hormones estrogen and/or progesterone. Treatment of hormone receptor-positive breast cancer often involves hormonal therapies that suppress or block the action of estrogen. These therapies include tamoxifen [Nolvadex®] as well as agents known as aromatase inhibitors.

Zometa is a bisphosphonate drug that is used for the treatment of cancer-related hypercalcemia (high levels of calcium in the blood) and of bone metastases in patients with advanced cancers. Recent research has focused on the potential anticancer effects of Zometa and the ability of Zometa to prevent treatment-related bone loss among women with early-stage breast cancer.

The current Phase III clinical trial evaluated Zometa among 1,803 premenopausal women with Stages I-II, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer. The study was conducted by the Austrian Breast and Colorectal Cancer Study Group.

Following surgery all patients were treated with hormonal therapy consisting of goserelin (for ovarian suppression) and either Arimidex® (anastrozole) or tamoxifen. Some patients also received Zometa. Treatment was given for three years. Women have now been followed for a median of four years.

  • Disease-free survival was 94% among women who received Zometa in addition to hormonal therapy compared with 90.8% among women who received hormonal therapy alone.

These results suggest that Zometa decreases the risk of cancer recurrence among premenopausal women with early-stage, hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

Reference: Gnant M, Mlineritsch B, Schippinger W, et al. Endocrine therapy plus zoledronic acid in premenopausal breast cancer. New England Journal of Medicine. 2009;360:679-691.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Response to an e-mail question today

I received an e-mail from someone wanting to know what my thoughts were on having a double mastectomy for women that are at risk or who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Also, what I thought about having the BRAC analysis test done. I am no expert in these areas and this is the limited response I sent back to her.

HI ~ there will be a lot of different factors to consider about weather or not to have a double mastectomy. For instance the type of cancer, if it is an aggressive cancer or a hereditary cancer. Honestly the best thing to do is to discuss the pros and cons with the oncologist. For instance, I had a mastectomy ( was considering going back to have the other side removed) but before that happened I found out the cancer had come back. However, a double mastectomy would not have made a difference as it had spread from the original site to my rib and spine ( having nothing to do with the other side). It is a hard decision.

On the BRAC analysis test~ it again is a personal decision. My current thoughts on it are If you have a family member/ members that have had breast cancer it would probably be a good idea to have the test OR ask your family member if she knows if that test was performed on her. If she is negative, I may not have the test. If positive, I would. Here's why; there are many things you can do if you know ahead of time that you carry the gene ( including the double mastectomy). I know that sounds so huge to consider but IF you did carry the gene, and ended up with breast cancer you may feel differently then about what you might have done. Nothing is 100% with BC. Again, good things to discuss with a doctor, ob/gyn or even an oncologist.

One of my friends (in her 30's) was diagnosed with BC. Because of her age they did do the BRAC Analysis test which came back negative. She wanted to know because she has daughters, so that is another thing to consider are daughters and granddaughters. Even if a family member is positive it does not mean all daughters will have it. One family had a mom with a positive BRAC test and she had 3 daughters ( young adults) that were all tested. I believe 2 of them were also positive, one was not.

I hope I have not confused you even more. I have not had the test but will be asking my doctor if I should have it. I don't have daughters, I have 3 sons ( all adults) and my concern is for their future daughters. My best advice is for your friend and/or you to discuss these things with a doctor that can look at the individual situations. I can give you the name and # of my oncologist ( who I think is the best :) and you could call and ask if you could come in for a consult. That is how I met him, I went in for a consult many years ago. Otherwise I think a gynecologist may be better to discuss this with than a family doctor.
Hope some of this helps~ one of the "rules" I live by in all of this is "there are no right or wrong decisions, you do the best you can with the information you have, trust your feelings, you know your body best and pray about it."

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Boomerang Pillow for pain relief

This post will be helpful to a handful of people but I hope this information brings you some physical comfort and relief as it has for me.
I found this pillow at Sams called the boomerang pillow. As you can see from the shape it supports the neck and back very well.
It is common when you have metastatic breast cancer for it to spread to the ribs and spine as it has with me. The pillow supports these two areas perfectly and helps to relieve some of the pain and discomfort.
Hope this helps, if anyone tries it out let me know if it has helped you.

Monday, February 9, 2009

"You Can and You Will" by Art Ritter

"You Can and You Will"

It’s easy to say
That there’s simply no way
To succeed and you’re at a standstill
But go for it now
And I think that somehow
You’ll find that you can and you will

Someday you might find
That deep in your mind
Comes the thought that you can’t climb that hill
But if you dig deep inside
With all of your pride
Then I tell you, you can and you will

Some people will rant
And shout loudly “You can’t!”
And grave doubt in your mind they’ll instill
Be resolved and take heart
For what sets you apart
Is believing you can and you will

Put your fears on the shelf
And have faith in yourself
If your goals you’re to ever fulfill
With a difficult chore
You can give up or soar
So believe that you can, and you will.

Go and set your goals high
Give things your best try
And don’t listen to nay-sayers shrill
For you never will know
How far you can go
If you don’t say “I can and I will”

Art Ritter
Cancer Survivor
Three Time Marathoner (slow but a marathoner all the same)
Three time TNT fund-raiser
All in my 50's!

Monday, February 2, 2009

This is why we run!

I watched this INCREDIBLE video on my fellow blogger and friend, Art's blog, Many of us hear "your crazy " at the thought of running a marathon. As I have now made the decision to run my first marathon in Dallas and have recruited my husband and running partner Chris as well as my son Kevin, his friend Steve and I think my sister-in-law Cindy?? Which leaves us just 2 shy ( Carla & Chris??) of the original Team Ambo that ran the Dallas Half Marathon for our brother Jim Minich who lost his life to Leukemia.
Please take a moment to watch this inspiring video, this is why we run~


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