Thursday, August 28, 2014

Drop in tumor marker and other progress

A little over a week ago I got my latest CA27.29 tumor marker results and celebrated a nice drop of 14 points. Super great news after 3 tests with no change to speak of. It was a great bit of encouragement and maybe a little sign that my self-prescribed supportive therapy is helping. I have been narrowing my diet to some basic wholesome foods, increased my exercise and been working through a difficult forgiveness I have not been able to give completely. 
I sort of curtailed my exercise when I made a crash landing when walking at 5am. I was unwise in using my right rib cage to stop the fall. Ouch! I wonder how this will impact next months tumor markers. Maybe it will give an indication about what is helping, but maybe not. 
I have found the best supportive therapies are those that give me hope and make me feel like I am successfully killing my cancer. There really isn't a scientific answer as to why some bodies respond to treatment and some don't. It surely isn't because of the protocol or the patients desire to live. Similar protocols don't yield the same result. And, plenty of friends who have passed have wanted to live as much as I have.  It's something else all together that has granted me the good years I have had and continue to have. I am grateful for this years. And, for my 3 Wild Angels I am spending the with!

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.