Sunday, October 26, 2014

Navelbine

While my most recent PET scan came back stable, my tumor markers (TM) continue to rise, in fact they are the highest they have ever been.  Tumor markers are not a perfect science and some doctors choose not to use them.  However for me, tumor markers have always been indicative of the need for a med change.  If my TMs rise, it means my cancer is on the move and it is time for a med change.

SO, we have a dilemma.  My tumor markers are super high, and have been on the upward trend since April. My scans are stable.  Do we do nothing and just wait for cancer to invade my body, or do we take a proactive approach and treat....a number?  Doctors don't treat numbers, they treat cancer...but perhaps my cancer is so microscopic that some rogue cells are acting up somewhere?  What is a girl to do?

My doctor and I decided to take the proactive approach.  Last week I started taking a maintenance chemotherapy called  Navelbine. Friday I had my second dose which completes my first cycle (a cycle is two doses.  Two weeks on, one week off).  I certainly hope I am not going through this for nothing.  It is weird to be on chemo again, especially when there is no specific cancer activity or tumor to measure...except a number.

Navelbine has been an interesting trip for me so far.  After my first dose last Friday, I was extremely nauseous for three days.  I took Zofran (anti-nausea) around the clock all three days.  Tuesday morning I woke up feeling mostly normal and the rest of the week was fine.  Then this Friday I had my second dose and while I am still taking Zofran around the clock the nausea isn't bothering me as bad...this week it is the fatigue.  I feel like my leg bones have been injected with cement.  I forgot about chemo fatigue. Convenient, no?

This is what my chemo looks like.  From left to right, steroid pre-meds (Decadron), flush bag of saline,  anti-nausea (Aloxi) and the last syringe on the right side is the actual chemo Navelbine.

All those meds pumping through my veins made me feel FREEZING. This is my freezing face.

And this is the aftermath.  The day after chemo (yesterday) I just couldn't muster the energy to move.  I was SO exhausted and frustrated and humbled.  My brain was going a mile a minute and I wanted to be functional, but my body said NOPE.  I am not used to feeling so helpless.  I wanted to run errands and take care of my weekend responsibilities, but I didn't even feel safe enough to drive.  It sucked.  I cried.  I do NOT sit still well and my body just wasn't listening to my brain.

Today I feel better.  Not 100%, but better.  


I participated in my annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk today.  Two of my co-teachers joined me this year, and one stopped by to drop off the penny drive money that my school raised which was completely awesome.
  I think my school raised around $600 in PENNIES.  We dropped off a huge box of change to the "money room" at the walk.  I feel so bad for the folks that have to count and wrap all that change.  It was a SUPER heavy box.  



At the walk today I got to see my awesome doctor out of her lab coat.  She also participated in the walk.  She is the BEST...I cannot express how much I adore my doctor.  After seeing her every 3 weeks for seven and half years, she is like family.

As we were walking, I had a harsh realization. When we were just shy of the halfway point I realized I wasn't going to be able to make it the whole way.  Another humbling and frustrating reality. I understand that it takes 72 hours for the chemo to work through my system, but seriously?!  I don't have patience for this wussy business.  We turned around and started heading back and then I had to stop and rest.  SERIOUSLY?!  Whose body is this?  Oh my goodness, I suck.

Regardless, we made it to the finish line, then I went to SAMs club and the grocery.  I knew if I stopped moving I would be down for the day.  I totally overdid it today, but it was worth it,  I finally got some stuff done!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

Pinktober and PET scans and Cancerversaries, oh my!

Disclaimer: This post is going to bounce around like crazy.  I haven't regularly posted on my blog in 5 years and I am definitely out of practice...! I have many people inquiring about my health, and Scott asked me to start blogging again.  He is probably right. It is helpful to me to write about my cancer, and it is helpful to those who are interested in following my story, so here goes....

It is officially "Pinktober" which means it is time for my Making Strides fundraiser.  I started fundraising super late this year.  Ooops.  I guess I have been distracted...like super distracted. So distracted that I missed blogging about my 7th Cancerversary!  How could that be?  My cancerversaries are something I look forward to each year. Since the spring I have had weird cancery things going on and I guess I was more focused on them than on the cancer awesomeness called zero progression!

If you look back at my blog, I stopped writing about cancer in 2009.  I just had nothing else to say.  Everything was status quo.  Nothing new except drug changes and Tumor Markers bouncing around.

Speaking of drugs, I believe I am completely out of AI's (Aromatase Inhibitors). I have taken all that I can, in that past 7 years I have taken the following oral drugs to maintain my current status of stableness: Tamoxifen. Arimidex (4 years), Aromasin, Faslodex (ass shots that HURT), Lapatinib (Tykerb is the brand name- it almost killed me.  Not joking.  My liver enzymes went crazy, but the drug worked on my cancer-go figure!) Tamoxifen again, and Megace (which made me gain a ton of weight in the few weeks I took this drug).  For the first time in over 7 years, I am on NO oral meds.  It is awesome and terrifying all at the same time.  My doctor took me off my oral meds because they were not working. I know these drugs are not working because my tumor markers are the highest they have ever been my 15-3 is 92.7 a normal level is considered 0-47. So, I am out of options.  Next I move on to oral chemo.  The current plan is start Navelbine  by infusion for an indefinite amount of time.  However, depending on my next scan, this plan may change.

Speaking of scans, I have a PET scan on Tuesday.  I am kind of nervous about it.  I have been feeling miserable for a week or so.  I can't describe it, I just feel yucky. Keep in mind that when you are a metastatic breast cancer patient it is hard not to think that every little thing is more cancer growing in your body.  My cancer to date was undetectable at the beginning. I had no idea that cancer cells were invading my body.  No pain or symptoms whatsoever. So, since I feel crappy I am going to assume that my symptoms are a result of the weather change an my age and leave it at that!  ;)

I have had backpain for a long time, like years.  My back pain is super bad this week, but again we are going to assume it is the weather change and the fact that I am getting older.  I have had a bulging disk for over 3 years.  I have yet to see a doctor (other than my oncologist) about the pain and discomfort.  I am thinking I will wait until I can't move.  :)

I do realize that everything I just wrote about are completely foreign ideas to most people, and that very little of this will make sense to most.  I have been battling cancer for over 7 years and I am well versed in my disease. I have learned so much about breast cancer and cancer in general, it is quite amazing.  I feel that if I can help one other person with their cancer battle, then all of this was worth it, cancer can be so scary and I'm always looking to help others.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Another Cancerversary

Six years ago today my life changed forever. 

Six years ago today I was diagnosed with breast cancer. 


Since I refuse to let cancer defeat me, and I certainly cannot ignore it, 


since I deal with cancer as a chronic disease, that I must monitor seriously, 


since I have infusions every three weeks for the rest of my life, 


since I am fortunate enough to have doctors and nurses that care deeply about me and vice versa,


since I live an absolutely normal life outside of my cancer diagnosis, 


since six years ago today my life changed forever.


While most people don't celebrate the day that they were diagnosed with cancer,


Today is not a day I try to forget. 


Today is a day I choose to celebrate every year. 


Six years ago today I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer. Today is my 6th cancerversary and I feel better than ever. My disease is stable, and to me, my cancerversary is almost like another birthday. It's a rite of passage in my life and I am looking forward to achieving many more cancerversaries!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I think I can

I think I can....I think I can....I think I can....





Make it to my 5 YEAR cancerversary. Wow, how time flies!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cancerversary

Today is my two year cancerversary, and I couldn't be happier. Today I had a routine bone scan. Results show that my existing bone lesions are improving, and there are no new lesions. What else could a cancer patient ask for?

:)

Overall, I am doing great! I have a MUGA this week to check my heart... after all, it is routine scan time. I expect to everything to be fine this time.

I am working away at summer school, finishing up the high school yearbook, and selling pampered chef! In all my free time (ha ha) I am learning to play golf, trying out new recipes and traveling. Summer is keeping me a busy bee and I couldn't be happier!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Oh What a Feeling....

Port surgery was absolutely successful. Steri-strips are off, incision is healing! " Maxi" is one happy girl!

In other news, I just learned that a girl that I went to high school with was also diagnosed with stage IV cancer. Ironically, she lived on the next street over from me during our high school days. I can't help but think there was something in the water...

Her and her family have been in my thoughts everyday since I learned of her news. Cancer is a crazy thing. It knows no boundaries and I hate it.

In happier news, I can honestly say that I feel the best I have felt in two years! My energy has finally returned and I actually feel normal-ish. I have begun to book pampered chef parties again, and am getting on with my life. I have been exercising which gives me energy. Next I plan to work on cleaning up my diet...this steroid weight has to come off sometime, right? It surely isn't going away on its own. No time like the present!

Oh, and one more thing that has been a HUGE mood enhancer....IT'S SPRING!

(Happy Birthday, Lindsey!)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Gearing up....

For another surgery! Tomorrow morning (March 6) I am getting my port replaced. I can't WAIT! I am getting a purple power port.

My port hasn't worked for months. It allows medication in, but it won't let blood out. My veins are so shot that the last time I had a blood test (which is every three weeks) they could only get my blood by taking it from my knuckle.

Gross? Yes.

I almost fainted.

Literally.

I had to lay flat and get a cold compress.

I almost puked.

As a result, I drew the line at the knuckle blood draw and asked for a new port. My new "power port" is made for administering IV treatment, withdrawing blood, and I can use it for the contrast that is administered during scans. WAAAHHHOOOO. Power port means less needle sticks in the arm, and I am ALL about it!
:)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

And The Good News Continues....

SO, All my scans came back with no change. I think this is the first time ever that my scan reports came back with nothing significant. On top of that my tumor markers - which is a test of blood proteins that look for evidence of Cancer cells (more here and here) have all gone down. They are still slightly elevated, but they are significantly lower than they were in October.

HURRAY!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stop the inscanity!

Ok. Good news. All scans (ct of brain, chest, abdomen, and pelvis, mammogram and bone scan) came back with NO CHANGE. This is good. No new spots, no evidence of new metastasis. I am one happy camper!
:)
In other news, I have gained a ridiculous amount of weight and I am beginning to finally work on my own physical and mental health, rather than focus on recovering from surgery and breast cancer treatment. I am determined to once again feel comfortable in my own skin.

In yet OTHER news, my nephew is WALKING! He is such an adorable little boy I just can't stand it. Check him out!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Yahoo!

Bone Scan came back with no change. Yahoo! Maintenance drugs are doing their job!