Thursday, August 14, 2014

Bone Scans and CTs

As we wrap up another 3 treatment cycles (or 4 cycles in this case) I have gone through the next battery of internal photography. I used to take PET/CT scans, but about 6 months ago the insurance determined I wasn't very sick anymore and therefore should get less expensive testing.  They are right - but I hate being told what to do.
So, I had my CT and bone scan before today's visit.  I have come to a point where waiting on these test results don't leave me too anxious, but there is always something.  As I posted on Facebook, I was 99% sure everything was going to come back fine.  I save that 1% to protect my heart just incase.
The bone scan seemed good.  There were a couple of suspecious spots on my left knee - this could be
from anything - trauma or something like that.
The CT scan showed a couple of lymphnode concerns.  One that had increased from 8mm to 9mm and another that went from 8mm to 13mm.  Dr J and I agreed that with my blood counts where they are there isn't anything to be worried about, but rather they have to tell us something in radiology or we will stop buying their expensive tests.
So - I am getting an x-ray of my knee today on the way out (it sounds like a fast errand, but we know it won't be fast) and we will continue with Halaven (the chemo I started several months ago) and just keep an eye on everything. 
I am going to move forward with faith - believing this is just a small storm before the calm.  A few new spots, some worries and challenges - then I will pound this cancer for good. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Waiting makes me stir crazy

It's treatment day! And I have one Cheon complaint. The number of hours it takes and the number of times I have to move from chair to chair. I hate inefficiency and the whole afternoon is a long series of work-arounds. 
I arrive and sign that I am here. I sit in the waiting room. They call me back to the registration desk so I can pay to be here. I sit in the waiting room. They call me back for lab work. I sit in the first chair - the vitals chair. I get up to get weighted. I sit in the vitals chair and they get my BP and temp. I wait. I move to the second chair- this is the chair were they access my port- much like a centr line. I wait. After sitting in chair 2 I walk back to the doxtors area and go to that triage room. Check-in. Move to the doctors consult room. WAIT. Meet with said doctor. Wait for lab results. Sit in an all-together new chair for chemo. Wait on labs some more. Then wait for the pre meds to be mixed. Get the IV started. When that finishes I wait for them to stop the beeping machine. Get chemo. Turn the IV back on for a flush. Wait for the nurse to remover the port access. Go to the check out deal and wAit to schedule the next appointment. 
Finally I am paying for 4 hours of parking to cover 10 minutes with the dr. 30 minutes of IVs and 10 minutes of chemo.  
I HATE INEFFICIENCY. 


Friday, July 25, 2014

Treatment aftermath

After chemo today I couldn't get home fast enough. The whole process was slow today and When I finally left I was feeling less than my best. 
My favorite nurses weren't there.  Christina transferred to the Irving office, and I am going to miss her. 
Her deep belly laugh and sweet heart. 
And Miss H was on vacation with her family. So, new nurses were being trained and they just started using a new medical software. 
Today was my first of two doses in the cycle and followed an extra week off. Sometimes that extra week off impacts my response to chemo. Today's that meant having the scarf on my head make my skin crawl. Everything touching my skin was bothersome. Thankfully I am a linen snob. I rushed home and climbed into luxuriously soft sheets and slept it off for a while. 
I wanted to go get a little exercise, but I don't think I can make it tonight. Everytime I think like this I remember reading Lance Armstrong's story about cancer in his book "it's not about the bike". He was taking one of those life-sucking chemos- the ones that leave you barely functional. He was also still in denial, so he went out to ride his bike. After repeated falls he couldn't even get up, so he had to call home and have someone come get him. I don't want to colapse on the side of the road, but I do find his dedication inspiring. And, this summer I committed to myself that I will be active as part of my holistic approach to treatment. 
During the year I save my energy to be a mom, but with the kids off in their own summer activities it doesn't matter if work and exercise are the only thing I can manage- I have no other responsibilities. So, I guess I just talked myself into some exercise tonight. Then it will be back to sleep.  Wild weekend night, eh?
Another reason to push myself- I am finally ready to start dating again. It has been a long time since the divorce- but I wanted to be sure I could have a different type of relationship. And, most of that time I didn't want to be in a relationship again. Too much vulnerability. 
I don't think a lot of men (any men) want to date a woman with cancer, so I have to kick this and grow some hair. Keith, my other nurse, doesn't think they would care. What do you think? 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

My dynamic life

I have to say - one thing I love about raising my kiddos in TX is the diversity - something that was lacking in Idaho.  They have best friends from around the world and of every ethnic and religious background. 
In the last 12 hours my circle has expanded too.  At 10:30 last night I had a man with a grill (not as in BBQ) over at my house.  He was fixing the A/C.  Today I spend the morning in Chinese as we recorded an engineering video for the Chinese market.
Beauty comes in millions of forms.

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's graph time.  I haven't posted one of these in a long time.
So, if you are new to my blog - I when I have a drop in my CA27.29 I like to chart it. (find out what CA27.29 means here and my reason for charting here

I love seeing the line slope down and to the right.  I am also a very visual person.  I can get through a spreadsheet pretty well, but I would still rather get top-level information in a graphic. 

Unfortunately today's graph does not look like I thought it would. Yes, we do have a pretty good trend going here. But, I flat-lined this month, see that little straight tail on the end?  I thought for sure I would drop that tumor marker again and be so close to 0. 

What does this mean?
Not anything bad.  I didn't spike like back in Feb 2012.  But, it may be that I have built up a resistance to this chemo. My tumor marker is very telling.  When it stops dropping then a switch in chemo is on the near horizon.

Dr. J has been wanting to go back to Xeloda. (read about how this worked before here or get scientific about it with clinical info here) The up side of this is that I already have a bottle full of Xeloda right here at home, so if we go back to this I can start poppin' pills, no waiting for approval from insurance or going to the pharmacy.  And taking a pill means not going to the oncologist every week for an IV. Also, even though I didn't feel very good on this medicine, it was working great.  Maybe it will help me knock out cancer.

I am also working on my yellow rice recipe.  Turmeric (the yellow of yellow rice) & ginger are thought to help fight cancer.  Once this week it turned out great.  The second time I made it strong because if a little is good a little more is better, right?  I ate it because I wanted it to kill the cancer, but it didn't taste good.  Since I ate that over seasoned rice I know I can manage Xeloda.

I have to keep my head in the game and enjoy every day, because being here with my three wild angels is what I want most in the world. 

I really have a pretty awesome life. My babies are the most amazing people.  They are so sweet and good.  I have a rockstar family - we live far apart but I know they care and are praying for me. And, everywhere I go I am surrounded by friends and people who care. 
It was hard for me to tell the people at work about my cancer, but when I was going to loose my hair it was time.  They have been AMAZING! I love going to church because those people are like family. Every week I know there are people who will come and find me to ask how I am doing and so many hugs.  And, I have friends all around the world who stay in touch and cheer me on - thank you Facebook.

How did I get so lucky? How can so many people love me?  I am just an average girl but I have it so good.