Thursday, May 28, 2009

Long Day / Great Day!

Okay, so the cancer day WAS long, but the waiting didn't seem so bad today. The morning BK Cini-Mini's & decaf "Big Joe," along with the delicious-NOT banana-flavored barium really kept my hunger at bay throughout the day. And the best part: no enema today!! Woohooooo! Unbeknownst to me, my doctor did not order the usual CT scan of the pelvis which is what requires the barium enema. I wasn't about to argue with that. How's this for perspective -- Any day without an enema is a good day!

Today was my appointment with my doctor to get the results from Tuesday's tests. The results: Great news! Everything is stable, nothing new seen, no changes, tumor marker levels in normal range.

Other good news is that she's changing my monthly infusion of Zometa (to heal/build bone for treatment of my bone metastasis) to every 3 months. During testing, Zometa was only given for 2 years. So using it beyond 2 years is really a no-man's land. No one really knows what to do after 2 years. Because all Zometa that is given actually stays in the bone and is there forever (as explained by my Dr. Green,) my doctor said that it can actually be harmful to the bones, possibly making them more brittle instead of stronger, if given for longer than 2-3 years. I am pretty sure that Zometa is given to prevent/treat osteoporosis to non-cancer patients only every 6 months to a year. I've been getting it monthly for 3 years! At this point I am ready to accept the less frequent dosing to decrease the possibility of brittle bones. Plus I'm not going to lie ... I was really getting tired of the monthly bloodwork and IV infusion. Enough already!

Still had to get the injection of Zolodex (to curtail estrogen production in my body) today, and that will remain on a monthly schedule.

Next scans have been bumped out to every SIX months!

Lots to be happy about today, thanks for all the prayers and THANK YOU GOD!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cancer day, all day tomorrow...

Tomorrow is another one of "those" days that all cancer patients dread. Tomorrow I'll have my usual battery of scans and tests to evaluate how my cancer is progressing ... well, hopefully NOT progressing. For the last 3 years, I've had a chest x-ray; CT scan of the chest, abdomen & pelvis; bone scan and multiple blood tests every 3-4 months. If the cancer doesn't kill me, surely the radiation will! Once, my doctor allowed me to stretch the interval between scans to 6 months because of my encouraging results. As (un)luck would have it, something questionable showed up on one lung, so my next scans were moved back to 4 months instead of 6 months. So here I am at the end of that 4-month stretch.

As any cancer patient can attest, these days are not fun. They are long and unpleasant with long periods of waiting. If the department is running behind, the waiting can be even longer. You're not allowed to eat for 3 hours prior to the CT scan, but you must drink the barium contrast which is a fruit-flavored chalky liquid -- lots of it! You get injected with a radioactive substance, then later you get injected with an iodine-based contrast. Oh and at the same time you get the contrast, you also get a barium enema. Doesn't it sound like a blast??

For the most part, I have "good" test days, which for me means (1)they only had to stick me once to get my IV, and (2)everything runs pretty much on time. But I have had a few "bad" test days, which involves multiple needlesticks and excruciatingly long waits. Long waits while Kim has not eaten in several hours does not make Kim a happy camper! This is quite the understatement!

Hopefully tomorrow will be one of the good days!

Thanks for reading ...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

My blog is official ...

Welcome to my new blog! Well, actually, this is my first blog. What I previously called my "weblog" was actually just an online journal. So bear with me ... this is my first venture into official blogdom.

Let me tell you a little about myself. I'm a Christian, mom, wife, daughter, grandmother, sister, friend, and neighbor. I'm my kids' shuttle service ... I'm my family's schedule coordinater and food & finance manager ... I'm a business owner. I'm creative ... I'm sometimes lazy ... I'm dedicated ... I'm busy ... I run ... I procrastinate ... I dance ... I'm ambitious ... I stress out. And I'm tired!

I am also one of the growing number of women living with stage IV breast cancer, thanks to modern medicine. Although my cancer doesn't define who I am, it has certainly altered my life. I am grateful to be alive and to BE all the things I listed above.

My original online journal began in December 2005 (at the first sign of my stage IV recurrence) and runs through September 2008 ... It's a long read and I don't expect anyone to delve too deeply into it, if at all. But at least it's out there ...

Thanks for reading -- more to come!