Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pray for Layla Grace

Saturday Morning

It is Saturday morning and I am glad to have 2 days off from radiation. The treatments so far are going fine,but I don't expect any side effects at this point. Each day when I get home I put pure Aloe Vera on all the radiated areas to help with any potential skin problems.

Today will be day 3 on the Tykerb. I will take 3 for this week, then 4 for a week and up to 5 the following week. So far, I am tolerating the 3 and hope this continues as the dose is raised in the coming weeks.
I am also back on a beta blocker to help get my blood pressure back down and will keep an eye on that.
Otherwise, I am feeling ok. Chris and I have been trying to get some runs in but... not enough.We plan to go today. I have just finished up a training session with my Women's Fit 4 Life class. It went well and all had great results! Monday I begin the next class and it looks like I will have 3 new clients that I am looking forward to working with.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Day 1.....

Today was day 1 of radiation. The first day is always longer as they get you all "lined up" and ready. I got 2 more tattoos and a bunch of red pen marks all over me. I will have 3 weeks ( 15 treatments) the way the machines are set right now. Then another week and a half at a different setting. So, it looks like 4 and a half to 5 weeks total. 1 day down! I am already applying pure aloe vera gel on the areas because they are anticipating my skin to be pretty raw.

Some new updates; I will start the Tykerb either tonight or tomorrow. The dose is 5 pills at once. I asked to start lower and work my way up to five since I am so sensitive to meds. My Onc. said it was fine to start with 3 for this week and then go up each week from there. Now, I just have to swallow them :)

I had blood work done to make sure it is ok for me to take the xeloda( chemo).The test checks for certain genes which apparently if you are missing them you can't take this drug. This also allows time for me to get used to the tykerb first while waiting for the results and arrival of the xeloda.

After talking all this over with my onc. we have decided to have me on these two medications for 6 months, check scans at 3 months and if all is ok at 6 months consider taking me off them.

My blood pressure has gone back up again so we have decided to have me go back on the beta blocker to see if that helps. He thinks it is stress, I agree with that but I also noticed it going up when I began arimidex. So, we'll see.

A helpful Hint: my sister-in-law sent me a book on CD. I took it with me today for the 40 minute drive there and back. It really helped to listen to the story instead of feeling nervous about everything else. One CD gets me there and back! Thanks Cindy :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Getting Started....

Ok, I found out this morning that they will finish simulation AND begin radiation tomorrow ( Thursday). I thought it was going to start on Monday so I was surprised when they told me tomorrow.But, it doesn't really matter. Get started, get it over with.

The decisions Chris and I have made regarding what my doctor has recommended are;
1) Radiation ( around 6 weeks or so, will know more tomorrow). I go Mon-Fr, everyday.
2) Tykerb- I received this medication by mail this morning, so I am sure they will begin me on that tomorrow. This is the treatment for the Her2+ cancer cells. Oral med.taken daily.
3) Xeloda- this is the chemo drug that I have decided to try. It is an oral medication taken every day as well.
4) continue with the Arimidex and Lupron shots to treat the hormone (ER/PR +)cancer.

I have been researching the new drugs and have found that Tykerb and Xeloda taken together show good results. Also the Xeloda ( chemo) taken at the same time as radiation increases the effectiveness of the radiation. So, those are the reasons I have decided to try this chemo.

There are MANY potential side effects between these 3 treatments.With the 2 that are orally taken, there is room for adjusting the dosages to minimize the side effects. My biggest prayer request right now is that I can tolerate these 3 new treatments with little to no side effects. I have in the past done well with radiation and it proved to be successful, so I am praying for the same results again.
I have NOT tolerated chemo well in the past but everyone assures me this is not as harsh as what I had 11 years ago and they have come so far with dealing with the side effects.Many of you have asked how long do I take the chemo for? My doctor said as long as it is working. Chris and I have decided for me to take it through radiation and my next set of scans and then reassess weather to remain on it or not.

After radiation tomorrow I have to have a blood test and meet with my Onc. We still have MANY questions for him before starting the new meds. which I hope to have answered and feel more comfortable to move forward. Your thoughts, prayers & encouragement are very much appreciated as I deal with this part of my life.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Limits Of Cancer ~ by Art Ritter

The Limits of Cancer”
“Have you had quite enough? Do you submit to my will?”
Snarled the malevolent specter called Cancer
“For months I’ve attempted your spirit to kill.
Speak, woman, and give me your answer!”

“You’ve taken my breasts and caused me great pain,
And the loss sometimes will cause me to weep
And you’ve brought about much misery, that much is plain.
But you can’t crush my spirit - no, that’s mine to keep!”

So Cancer skulked off to a man in his bed
And it whispered with menacing tone
“I know I have managed to fill you with dread
And it appears like you suffer alone.”

“I’ve lost some parts to the surgeon’s sharp knife
But you’ve not corroded my strong will to live
And you have not severed the love of my wife,
Or of family and friends – no, that’s theirs to give!”

So like a wraith in the night, it next preyed on a child
Her head, from the poisons, was bare
The Beast licked its lips and it roared as it smiled
“Do you give up? Have you enough of this scare?”

“There are times that I quake and tremble with fear,”
And most days I feel desperately ill
And at times I must wonder if the end is too near
But you can’t steal my courage – no, that’s with me still!”

It can riddle our body, it can gnaw on our bones,
Turn our red blood all frothy and white
It can make us quite fearful to face the unknowns
As we smear on our war paint and fight!

As fight it we must, though it means a hard time
For Cancer has limits, despite evil powers.
It can’t rob of us peace or of memories sublime
Or of faith, love, or hope – no, those are all ours!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A change with the blog~

As you all can see from the last two posts things will be changing here for a while as I go through radiation and figure out the best combination of medications for me. So.... for those of you that have been receiving an e-mail update letting you know that there is a new post I will not be sending that out anymore.
Instead, you can very easily just add your name to the "follow" list on the blog and keep up with any new posts that way. It is quick & easy to sign up and I hope you all will continue to check the blog as your support and prayers mean a lot!
Thanks~ Elayne

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Lot to consider

Yesterday was a very long day.It began with a 2 hour wait to see my onc. This is very unusual at his office, but there was an emergency in the chemo room ( or torture chamber as one of the patients referred to it), I think Chris and I both fell asleep waiting.

So here is the scoop on what my doctor is recommending;
1) I am back on Arimidex, this is to treat any cancer in my body that is hormone ( ER/PR +) positive. Although the last tumor was not positive, it does not mean other areas would not be positive.So, I stay on Arimidex.I will also remain on Lupron which is an injection every 4 months to keep me in menopause.

2)I have started the simulation process to begin radiation. I have to get clearance from my surgeon before they can start. I got 3 more tattoos yesterday. I asked if he could make something fun like a flower but all I got was a dot. Radiation will be everyday Mon- Fri for about 6 weeks.The areas radiated will be the chest wall, under my arm and my neck.

3) He would like to start me on a drug called Tykerb. This is an oral drug taken daily to block the Her2+ growth, which this tumor was positive for, as were the previous tumors.This is similar to Herceptin and we will have to watch the effects on my heart again.

4) also to begin Xoleda. This is an oral chemotherapy, also taken daily. At this time it appears the hormone therapy ( mentioned above) is working. We see that because the tumor was not positive for estrogen or progesterone and nothing else is showing up on my scans. But.... because this tumor was not hormone positive and is Her2+ and could be spreading, this is the reason for the chemo. Also, Xeloda in combination with radiation increases the effect of the radiation.

My doctor feels this is the same original breast cancer, so it is not 2 different cancers, however they are "acting" different therefore the treatment is different.
What he wants to do is called targeted therapy, so each of these medications is targeting the cellular makeup based on the biopsy results.
I asked how long I have to take these medications and he said as long as they are working for me and I can tolerate them. Not the answer I was hoping for.He knows how worried I am because of my first experience with chemo He assures me that this is different than 11 years ago and we have many options to deal with side effects and regulate dosages.

For now, I will be researching as much as I can and praying about what to do.For my blog friends out there that have been or are on these medications, your feedback would be much appreciated!

I try not to write such long posts, but this IS the condensed version of yesterday's meeting. If after reading this, it has raised questions you would like to ask me, it would be great if you can leave a comment with your question. This is simply an easier way to answer questions for me and I don't mind at all.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Today we will meet with my oncologist to discuss where we go from here. I really don't know what he will suggest but there has been a change with this recent tumor in that it came back hormone negative. The other biopsied areas in the past have all been estrogen and progesterone positive. This one however, is not. When the cancer is hormone positive there are some good medications to use, such as Arimidex that I was put on a few weeks ago. After only 2 weeks of being on it my doctor told me to stop as it is not effective on the hormone negative tumor.

This tumor, like the others is HER2+. Going back, you may remember I was on a medication ( Herceptin) that ended up damaging my heart and we had to stop it. That is what would be used to treat the HER2+ tumor.

My fear is that chemotherapy is the next step along with radiation as it appears the above mentioned drugs are probably not an option. But... today's visit will tell us more.

Following the oncology visit, we go to the radiologist to have my simulation done. This is where I get my tattoos and the doctor lines everything up with the "beams" to prepare me for treatment. I wonder if they can at least give me a flower or something as a tattoo instead of just a dot??

The only decisions we have made so far is to go ahead with the radiation as it has worked well on the previous areas on my rib & spine. And... not to make any decisions today. We will think, research and pray before any other decisions are made. Please join us as we pray for wisdom, discernment and strength.
" Be strong and courageous,and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God my God is with you." 1 Corinthians 28:20

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Radiation to begin...

Today Chris and I met with my new radiologist. We had worked with him some in the past with my former doctor who has moved to Dallas. We were both surprised at the extensity of what he suggests for the radiation. We thought it would primarily be aimed at the tumor in the chest wall. However, they will plan to radiate the chest wall, under the arm,and up my neck. A much larger area than we expected.One area that will be in the path of the radiation is my lungs. We spoke to him about setting the beams to minimize the effect on the lungs. He said we would go over the plan with us before we begin and there is a 10% chance of damage to the lungs.
The reason for radiating this larger area is to hit the surrounding lymph nodes as these are the pathways the cancer will take to spread from the tumor. He wants to get ahead of it vs. chasing after it.
We are looking at about 6 weeks of treatment, every day Mon.-Fri.It could be longer or shorter depending on what my oncologist wants to do on his end.I meet with the radiologist again Thursday to get my initial set up. Treatment should begin next week.
We also meet with my Onc. on Thursday and already have a lot of questions.I am afraid they are talking chemo again and at this point I just don't know what to do. My first experience with chemo ( which ENDED Feb. 15th 1999) was not a good one, to say the least.Exactly 11 years ago I thought this was over.
As Chris and I sat in the waiting room, it was unusually crowded. I looked around at everyone in wheelchairs, bald, weak, and just hanging on and remembering how that once felt. Listening to their conversations about who had been married the longest with the winner being 57 years and how this was not how they planned this part of their life. I whispered to Chris~ "we are not supposed to be here". I guess, everyone feels that way.
This is obviously not where Chris and I have chosen to be or want to be but it is where we are and all we can do now is hang on tight to God and trust.
I will know more after Thursday of what the big picture for treatment will look like. Please pray for wisdom, discernment and healing!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentines Day....

......................................,,HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!....................................
Great day today with Chris... flowers, church, Starbucks, lunch, baked a red velvet cake and watched Under the Tuscan Sun & Pride & Prejudice.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Biopsy Results are in~

The biopsy did come back positive for breast cancer. So, even though this cancer is located in the muscle, it is actually breast cancer. Most likely the original cancer continuing to spread. My oncologist has to look at the original pathology report and compare it to this one to be sure. Sometimes you can have a second breast cancer, but most likely this is not.

Disappointed, discouraged, relieved, sad, numb, and unusually calm all at the same time.

I meet with my surgeon this Thursday. The incision looks fine but I have some bruising now and my chest is starting to hurt a bit more. Kind of weird that this feels worse 4 days later.

Next week I meet with the radiologist to discuss beginning radiation again.Then, I meet with my oncologist to discuss whatever it is he is going to discuss with me :)

Chris and I did notice that when I began taking this new drug ( Arimidex) the tumor was beginning to get smaller after just one week. We are hopeful that this is a good match for me. However, it seems to have made my blood pressure rise again so I may have to go back on a BP med. which I am also disappointed about.
We are praying for wisdom & discernment ( for all involved) so the proper treatments will be chosen to put this cancer "back to sleep".

Results this afternoon~

I just spoke with my surgeons nurse. She said the biopsy results should be in this afternoon and she will call me when she gets them.

I am feeling ok, have more range of motion, almost back to normal. I am sore and still pretty tired. Not allowed to lift anything much this week and nothing heavier than a gallon of milk for the next 4 weeks.I have walked twice, 2 miles and then 3 the next day.Felt good!

My blood pressure is all over the place, but I am resting and trying to keep it down. It has been better the last couple of days.

I will post when I know, but for now please be in prayer with us as we wait for the results.
Thanks all~
Mark 10;27
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Update while we wait~

Feeling much better today. I am now out of the anesthesia "fog" and can actually think and put sentences together.Fortunately, I did not have a bad reaction this time and have only needed some pain meds but no nausea meds once home.
The worst thing was waking up with a migraine and having no coffee, food, water,etc. While registering to check in the pens were in a coffee cup with these beans in them. I looked at my sister and said "there are coffee beans in this cup"! No food or drink for 12 hours was rough!

I slept most of Thursday after surgery. My mom came over Friday and I was kind of in and out all day and evening.She did laundry, brought dinner for the weekend and made me my peanut butter/honey/banana sandwich :) Today is Saturday and I had a really nice 2 mile walk with Chris and Ryo. The walk and fresh cool air did wonders for me.I was allowed to remove the bandages and shower today. The stitches look good and there has not been any bleeding or problems.

Otherwise, I have pretty much stayed in bed, watching movies and resting. Trying to keep my Blood pressure down. Today has been better and I will continue to rest, heal and hopefully keep the BP down. Thanks for your thoughts & prayers as we wait upon the Lord.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I am home and recovering! Yesterday was really rough. I woke up with a HORRIBLE migraine, so bad it made me sick. This is all BEFORE I even get to the hospital. My BP was 165/101 when I got there.They took good care of me, surgery went fine. Doctor removed most of the mass but could not get it all. I guess it was intertwined within the muscle.. He continues to say it looks "worrisome".However, the muscle was not removed. I am now waiting on the biopsy results.My BP is still a bit high and I am sore & tired, but much better. I actually left the hospital feeling a lot better than when I arrived. Thanks for all the prayers~ please continue to pray as we wait for the results~
Will update more later.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Surgery this Thursday~

Ok, Chris and I met with the surgeon today and I am scheduled for Surgery this Thursday morning @ 11:30.He will have to cut into the pectoral muscle in order to get to the area and remove it for a biopsy. The surgery will take about an hour with an hour of recovery time if all goes well.He did an exam of the area today and said " it looks worrisome". So... calling on all prayer warriors.

Please join us in praying that there is another explanation for this, that the surgery, anesthesia and recovery go well. I have a pretty difficult time with anesthesia but do feel I am in good hands.
My surgeon is the Head of Surgery for his hospital and my sister has been a nurse in this area for 22 years.She will be there with Chris, so I will be well taken care of.

I will not be able to lift anything heavy for 4 weeks and he said to expect to be off from training my clients, etc. for a week.I asked if that 4 week time included running, he looked at me like "your one of those people" :) He said I can run when I feel ready and my body will let me know if it is too soon. Then he made me promise not to lift anything for the 4 weeks.

I will be glad to get this over with and pray that it is not more cancer. I know that God is with me and our family and that He hears us when we pray! Thanks all~

Seeing the Surgeon~

I will be going to see the surgeon today about removing and doing a biopsy on the area in the pectoral muscle. The swelling has gone away and the "lump" seems smaller. Prayers for wisdom & discernment for the Dr. and Chris & I are welcome :)

The side effects from the Arimidex are easing up a little. Biggest problem I am having is with my blood pressure which is now back up again since beginning the medication.
The hot flashes are much more as well, but tolerable. If I can get the bP under control I think this medication will work.

I will update later today about the visit with the surgeon.


Related Posts with Thumbnails