Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March 6, 2012

I've been "absent" for awhile.  Forgive me.  I have been enjoying not have chemo and not feeling so tired and not feeling nauseous every day and not having a sore mouth that prevents me from eating.  It was amazing to discover that I don't have to have radiation and that I just have to have maintenance medicine once every three weeks. I don't want to sound ungrateful, but a new health issue has arisen.  It seems that the medicine has only one side effect - high blood pressure.  So for the past few weeks we have been trying to find the right formula to keep it in a good range.

A week ago, Feb. 28, I had to go to the emergency room it got so high.  They kept me a few hours and got my pressure back down.  Then Thursday, March 1, I was so bad they put me in the hospital for tests and to help me.  The tests showed that my heart and carotid arteries are good.  There seems to me no other cause for the high BP except the Avastin.  I came home Friday afternoon and that night my BP went too low!!  Had to call the cardiologist and ask what to do.  I was told to stop some of the medicine.  So now we are adjusting the medicines day to day to come up with the magic formula!  I could not receive my medicine today because my BP was too high, so I will go back tomorrow at 1:30 and try again.

I would appreciate your prayers that my BP will get stabilized and I can continue with my medicine.  Thanks for your continued support and encouragement.


P.S.  Dana could use some support and encouragement too, I think.  Thanks.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

February 8, 2012

GREAT NEWS!  I met with my oncologist yesterday and got the results of the PET scan.  The cancer is no longer active!!  After these past six months of chemo and all its side effects, I was so relieved to know that it did exactly what it was supposed to do. 

There is still one matter that is not settled yet. Even though the cancer is no longer active, the tumor itself [although greatly reduced in size] is still there.  So . . . I meet with the radiologist Tuesday to see if she recommends some radiation or radiation/chemo.  The chemo would not be harsh and should not make me feel bad/awful/terrible as before.  Still . . . what I want to hear is that radiation would not be helpful and, based on the major side effects, is not recommended.

You'd think that I would be satisfied with my good news and I am.  I just want it to be OVER!!  I don't want to be faced with four weeks of fatigue, diarrhea, and not being able to sit down!!  Call me crazy, but that doesn't sound like fun to me.

As it stands now, I am on "maintenance" for the rest of forever.  That means that every three weeks I go to the clinic for a quick IV drip of an amazing medicine that keeps the tumor inactive.  The best thing about this is that the medicine has no side effects and will not make me sick.  I know I can do that!  My doctor and all the nurses at the clinic are wonderful.  They are so caring and supportive and encouraging.

The radiologist will have to give me some really major reasons to have the radiation.  I am anxious to hear what she says.  At this point, I don't think I'll consent.  Guess I'll wait until Tuesday to make an informed decision.

Thank you all for your continued prayers and good wishes.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

January 19, 2012

A belated Happy New Year!!  No good excuse for not updating sooner.  Life just got in the way!!

Our family had a wonderful Christmas.  My Mom was able to come up for a few days and I was able to pick her up and take her home!!  Enjoyed a low key welcome to 2012 and am anxious to discover what this new year holds for our family.

I have completed treatments 10 and 11, which means that the treatment I have next week will be THE LAST!!!  Can I get an AMEN???   I like my approach to this cancer and my treatments.  My philosophy has been to only know what I have to.  I didn't want to see the Big Picture.  If I had known there would be 12 chemo treatments that would be given over six months, I would have been overwhelmed!!  I never asked my prognosis or wanted to wait around for my lab results like many of the other patients.  My point of view is that, if there is a problem, someone will let me know and give me what I need to fix it.  I can't see putting my little bit of energy into worrying about my "counts."  I need my energy to focus on getting stronger and on thinking about all the positives in my life.  That is just who I am.

My head and heart are multitasking these days as I near the end of this chemo journey.  I am amazed at how quickly the time has gone; how supportive my family and friends have been; and how strong I have been through the highs and lows.  At the same time I am anxious to have the tests done that will emphatically prove that the cancer "has left this body."  I am nervous about what happens next.  Will I need to have any radiation?  Will I still need surgery?  This journey is not complete and there are still questions to be answered.  Still, I take one day at a time, rejoice in all the blessings in my life, and am determined to not whine so much.  However, I must be honest that the next two weeks will be the roughest yet and I ask your prayers to give me strength to endure.

Before I close, I want to share about a friend of mine from work.  Mary was a co-worker who was diagnosed with colon cancer just a few weeks before me last summer.  I had worked with Mary for over sixteen years at Calhoun.  She was a good friend and someone on whom I could count to help me with any financial aid problems I had.  Mary lost her battle with cancer on Christmas Day.  When I got the news, it was like someone kicked me in the stomach. Why weren't her treatments as successful as mine?  So many questions and so few answers.  I was able to speak with her only a few times after our diagnoses when both of us were able to be back at work at the same times.  We shared a bond that I would not recommend to anyone.  She was the one who gave me the idea about using a purse to hold my pump instead of the fanny pack I hated.  One day, she told me that she wished she had my positive attitude.  I told her that I was born that way and couldn't be any other way.  I hope that in some measure I shared my attitude with her. 

This has been a difficult journey to this point [I won't lie to you] and now the path ahead is a little uncertain.  All I know is I will keep on keeping on.  Thanks for listening.