Saturday, January 22, 2011

Blogger Friendships

I have been thinking about how well you can get to know someone, learn from them, laugh with them and cry with them...yet you have never even met them. I have several of these "blogger friendships" and we usually share one common bond, cancer.
These friends are an important part of this journey because they understand when others simply can not. Especially when you are, as I am, stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.
This brings me to one of those friends that just lost her fight early this morning. Her name is Daria from~ 
Many of you know Daria through her blog, and I am sure you are feeling the sadness from the loss of this wonderful lady.
As hard as it is each time we loose someone else to cancer, I sure am glad to have shared part of the journey with each of them. will be missed by many.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

When do you want to do this again??

Interesting question for my Onc. to ask at the end of our visit with him but it was a great question to answer! I said 6 more months? He said yes, I said will I ever be able to say 1 year till I have to come back? He said NO :)
Yes... all my tests were clear and I go back in another 6 months!

My lab results showed everything was good. They do 2 tumor marker tests, one was in normal range and the other was slightly elevated. Normal range is < 38, my # was 41. Dr. A said with all the tests coming back clear he is not concerned. I do feel a bit worried about this because this test 6 mo. ago was 27.

My muga scan was also in normal range at 50, which is considered "low end of Normal". Again, he is happy with that result and said I should continue with the Tykerb and training for an event if I want to. My original muga was 58 and I was hoping it would be higher, but as Dr. A said "normal is normal".

Same goes for the PET scan which is the "scariest" of all the tests as far as waiting for results. Nothing showed up, so that is good news :) It was a very long day with a very bad headache, but it is over and I am feeling better.
My BP was very high at the apt. 167/97. After a few days of tests and a visit to Starbucks before the apt. I guess it might be high. He does want me to track it several times a day for a couple of weeks and told us what to watch for with the upper( systolic) and lower ( diastolic) #'s. So I am monitoring that. It has continued to be elevated, with the exception of after my running.

We went in with a list of 12 questions, most regarding side effects, medications and dealing with the emotional side of things. Many of the side effects led him to wanting me to be checked by a neurologist as there may be some nerve problems from where the cancer was in my neck. He took time, as he always does to discuss the difficult emotional parts of all this  for both Chris and I and our family. He helped me understand what other stage 4 cancer patients go through and assures me I am doing well.
So...for now, we stay the course! All meds stay the same with the exception of trying to take me off Lupron. So we will plan to stop this drug which keeps me in a medical menopause and hope it works! Otherwise, back on it.
This was a long post, but it was a lot to cover. Praying for the next 6 months to go well :) Thanks all~

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Two down... one to go...and our night with Chicago!

I  had my faslodex and Lupron injections on Wednesday and have felt unusually good! The side effects I tend to have in the first few days have been minimal. So, that is great!
Yesterday was a long day starting with the muga scan. I do not have "official" results yet but it looks like it is ok. Will have to talk to the Dr. about getting back on the Tykerb. My feeling is that it will be a yes.
After the scan, I went for labs and they are checking for everything! Also have no results back from those either. Matt came with me and we spent the rest of the afternoon having lunch at Cheesecake Factory and shopping. He got a sweatshirt and I got a pair of black boots..both on clearance! I was glad to have him with me :)
 Last scheduled test is the PET scan Monday morning. The hardest part of this test for me is the no caffeine or sugar ( the caffeine is the issue:) for 24 hours. No exercising either.
The weather forecast is calling for rain, snow and very cold temps. beginning tomorrow and into Monday. It is about an hour drive to the hospital so I REALLY hope we don't have to cancel. I want to get it over with and I really don't want to have to go 24 hrs. with no caffeine twice!
It is probably making sense why I received $75 in Starbucks gift cards for Christmas :)
Here are a couple of pics from Wed. night when Chris and I saw Chicago at the Myerson playing with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra! Great time strolling down memory lane! We are all a little older, bigger, grayer or bald. Instead of jeans, t shirts and funky styles of clothing it is now suits, dresses and a very classy symphony center.It is funny how music can take us all  back 25-35 years ago in one simple evening. Great time!
We were not allowed to take pics, so this is with my cell before the show.

Elayne & Chris after the show



Thursday, January 6, 2011

I walked away humbled

Yesterday I went to the infusion center to get my injections. Before I got to the room I was talking to the nurses in the hallway about the migraines. We decided to try a new prescription if or when they return. I was feeling pretty good as my headache had finally went away and I had a date night with my husband later that evening.
I stepped into the infusion center and it was more crowded than normal, which struck me right away. I sat down, waiting for my turn and heard the conversations all around me. One couple discussing ending chemo vs. quality of life because the husband is so sick and tired that he no longer has a quality of life.
Then a husband helping his tiny, frail wife in to a seat. The nurses talking about sending her to the emergency room. Looked to my left and the women all alone, hooked up to her chemo, asleep and looking so worn.
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks.... "headaches" really?? That's what I need help with? My heart hurt so bad for these people, I could not stop the tears from flowing. My heart ached for them because I know what they are going through, I have been there.
God, in the way only He can do it, reminded me yesterday that right now, today, He has given me life to live! At any point in time any one of us can be the person in the chair, maybe for the first time, maybe for the last. But right now, I am blessed with the life He has given me.
I told my nurse how I was feeling.She told me not to think that way. She said " you have your own battle, and this IS your reality". I appreciated her encouragement and must say I appreciated my date night with Chris more than ever! I most defiantly walked away humbled.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Some days it is just in the moments...

I woke up this morning with OUT a headache and my heart racing!! enjoy this for the next 3 hours before my injections. Oh well, savoring the moment :)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Here we go...

 In Bold is the upcoming tests and days. For those of you that are interested in what all of it means ,the italicized descriptions are for your reading enjoyment :)

Wednesday~ Lupron & Faslodex injections
Lupron is a man-made form of a hormone that regulates many processes in the body. Leuprolide overstimulates the body's own production of certain hormones, which causes that production to shut down temporarily. It reduces the amount of testosterone in men or estrogen in women. 
Faslodex, is used to treat hormone receptor positive breast cancer (breast cancer that depends on hormones such as estrogen to grow) in women who have experienced menopause (change of life; end of monthly menstrual periods) and whose breast cancer has worsened after they were treated with antiestrogen medications such as tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Fulvestrant is in a class of medications called estrogen receptor antagonists. It works by blocking the action of estrogen on cancer cells. This can slow or stop the growth of some breast tumors that need estrogen to grow.

Friday~ Muga scan and labs
MUGA scans are also used to evaluate heart function prior to and while receiving certain chemotherapies (e.g. doxorubicin (Adriamycin)) or immunotherapy (specifically, herceptin) that have a known effect on heart function.
A tumor marker is a substance found in the blood, urine, or body tissues that can be elevated in cancer, among other tissue types. There are many different tumor markers, each indicative of a particular disease process, and they are used in oncology to help detect the presence of cancer. An elevated level of a tumor marker can indicate cancer; however, there can also be other causes of the elevation.

Monday~ PET scan and apt. with my oncologist to go over everything.
PET can help physicians effectively pinpoint the source of cancer. This is possible because many cancer cells are highly metabolic and therefore synthesize the radioactive glucose (sugar) that is injected in the patient prior to the exam. The areas of high glucose uptake are dramatically displayed in the scan imagery, as opposed to the anatomical imagery of CT or MRI, which cannot detect active, viable tumors.

Thank you in advance everyone for your thoughts and prayers.

Monday, January 3, 2011

It's time again....

After having a rough weekend with migraines and an elevated blood pressure of 152/106 and pain in my lower abdomen ( pelvic area) it is time for more tests :(

First one up is a muga scan to check my heart. The medicine Tykerb I take at night can effect the heart. I have also been having numbness and tingling in my left arm/hand. I decided to stop taking the Tykerb for a few days and that has gone away, however my BP was way too high yesterday. I have had an abnormal muga scan before when I was on Herceptin, which then had to be stopped. So, it is time to take a look at my heart again and see if the Tykerb is having the same effect. For now, they are having me remain off the Tykerb.

After that will be a PET scan, labs and visit with Dr. A to go over all the results. In the meantime I have my Faslodex AND Lupron shots on Wednesday. As of this morning my BP is remaining normal but I still have the headaches.
I have been doing some reading on migraines and am realizing in my case,there may be some food triggers that are setting them off. I will be omitting those foods from my diet and adding more of the foods that help. Fortunately, those foods where already part of my diet,so I will just increase them.

Gonna be a bumpy road....your prayers for all of this and the upcoming test results are greatly appreciated.


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