Saturday, January 29, 2011

Day 3 after chemo...

rolls in like "clockwork." The fog started to swirl yesterday morning, and I was very tired. I think I slept most of the day, and even crashed right through the night! I was actually awake for some parts of the day, but not much! lol I slept straight through from 8:00 p.m. until 6:30 this morning.
Feeling pretty wide awake now! :)

Also awoke to SNOW...UGH...even the dogs didn't want to go outside (me either) but out we went, and I put the coffee on. Looks like it will be an inside day again...I'll try to stay awake today!


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Back from University of Michigan...

and of course I took cookies with me! :) If you want to be guaranteed that your surgeon remembers you (for GOOD reasons lol) just bring cookies! You are sure to get big smiles and hugs! (not to mention jealous looks from the office staff too)

Anyway, the visit was a quick one today...yeah! Dr. Newman (surgeon) had looked over my Pet scan, and saw that things were "shrinking" and said that it was wonderful news. She also was happy to see that "it" is NO WHERE ELSE. (ME TOO!) She examined me and could feel that the lymph node in question was undeniably smaller, and was pleased to hear that I am going to be having more chemo, which will shrink it even smaller, hopefully! She told me there is the chance that chemo will shrink it away...keep praying...and I will more than likely need surgery at some point to "clean" the biopsy area where the cancer had returned, and if the lymph node shrinks away to very very small, then I might not even need surgery to remove it. That would be wonderful since it's in the collar bone area, and there's a lot of other important "stuff" in that area and unless necessary, you don't want to be poking around in there. Amen to that!

So back to chemo, waiting, and hopefully major shrinking going on inside of me. I had physical therapy yesterday on my shoulder again and it seems to be helping with general movement, which is another good thing, since I was NOT moving my left arm very well at all. I will see her again next week.

All in all, in has been a good week, filled with good news and I am very thankful for that. I just keep taking one day at a time and am thankful for the blessings in my life.

Have a terrific Thursday!


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

*UPDATE* (from yesterday)

Sorry I didn't update was a long day and by the time I did get home, I ate dinner and went to bed. But here is the good news that I received from my oncologist... the chemo is working and it has shrunk the cancer by 30 percent! Not bad after only 3 treatments. I would have liked to have heard, "Going, going, GONE..but maybe next time!

The PET scan also revealed that the areas that "lit up" on this new PET scan only had a light up score of 3.7 as compared to my original scan in October which showed them at 5.0 (it's very confusing and harder to explain...but just know that the lower your score on the scale...the BETTER it is!) All in all, the bottom line is that the cancer IS shrinking, and that's the best news I could hear. So, what does this mean? According to my doctor, as long as the chemo is working, he wants me to continue with 3 more treatments, and then get scanned again. (Is anyone thinking "Ground Hog Day" here?) I am having chemo this morning, chemo #4. Then again three weeks from today, and once again, three weeks after that. That will bring us to March for the scan.

I will be also visiting with my surgeon at the University of Michigan on Thursday to see if she agrees with the decision made by my oncologist, or what her view is from a surgical standpoint.
My oncologist told me yesterday that the smaller the cancer, the smaller the surgery! That makes sense to me, and one doesn't want to rush into surgery anyway. But I will wait and see what Dr. Newman thinks on Thursday. I'll let you know what she says.

The physical therapy before my doctor visit went well. As well as physical therapy can go I guess. The swelling in my arm was measured, and there was a measurable difference in my upper arm from the last time I'd been measured, and sadly, not in a good way. No wonder I was having so much pain in that was 4 cm larger than last time. (which means a LOT more fluid was stuck in that area) I will be having P.T. on Wednesday again, and probably a few more times after that. Hopefully, chemo #4 and physical therapy will help reduce all of this extra swelling.

I did also attend the "Look Good Feel Great" program which is hosted by the American Cancer Society yesterday afternoon. (Now you know why I came home, ate dinner, and went to bed!)
It was being held right there at the hospital, so I didn't have to go out of my way exactly to attend. It was a lovely event, and I left with another new hat (lol I may have to remain bald for quite some time to wear all of them) and a HUGE bag of cosmetics and skin products. (Yes Rachel, new make up next time you come home)

All in all, a long, but productive day. I'm actually kind of looking forward to just sitting today at chemo. I might even take a nap! :)

Thanks for checking back to see what's going on. I'll be back on Thursday with the news from U of M.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Today Is The Day

Today at 11:30 I will be seated with my oncologist and he will tell me the "plan" for the rest of my treatment. The initial phase, 3 chemo treatments and then a scan to measure the work that the chemo has done, is complete. Now we find out what phase two is about. I was going to receive my PET scan results today, along with the "plan," but I wound up in the doctor's office on Thursday morning due to pain in my swollen arm. I received a new pain med (thank goodness for drugs is all that I can say about that) and Suzanne (my P.A.) gave me the results of my scan! It showed the chemo is working, and the cancer has shrunk. OK, I was hoping that it would magically can dream, right? But, it was good news none the less. I will take shrinking vs. growing any day! The scan also showed it was still NOWHERE ELSE! More reasons to celebrate!

So all in all, the news was good on Thursday. I spoke to Suzanne and Marilyn, my physical therapist, and it was decided that I needed some more physical therapy on the swollen arm. They believe that the swelling and fluid in my arm is putting pressure on the nerves, which in turn is causing me the pain I've been experiencing (which let's just say has not been fun.) My P.T. will now include my shoulder area which has had its own issues in the past, but now due to the swelling and fluid is affected. Just think domino effect. Hopefully this will help. I'll try anything.

I actually have something FUN to look forward to today as well. Twice a year the American Cancer Society sponsors a program called "Look Good Feel Great" for women undergoing cancer treatment. There will be free hats, free make up, and even free wigs! :) Not to mention being with others that are experiencing the same things that I am. I'm looking forward to going!

My schedule for today is a long one:

Physical therapy @ 9:45

Dr. Krishnan (oncologist) for the "plan" at 11:30

Look Good Feel Great 1:00 - 3:00

I will check back later today and let you know what PHASE TWO will be!
Have a great day!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Last Night

I had my Pet scan last night at the hospital. Now we "hurry up and wait." The results are being sent to my oncologist and surgeon, who will review them, and when I see each of them next week, will tell me what the next step will be.

I'm not sure if the radioactive "stuff" that they injected me with last night had anything to do with it, but I had the worst night EVER last night. :( I know I'm usually happiness and sunshine, but there really wasn't anything to be rosy about last night. The swelling in my arm (from the lymphedema) has been acting up and brought with it some pretty bad pain. I'm not going to lie to hurt...a LOT. I tried every med I've been given for pain and sadly, it didn't really help. I think I may have had two hours of sleep last night. :( I've put in a call to my lymphedema therapist, and hopefully she'll be able to help in some way.

Right now I'm going to head back to the "medicine cabinet," then I'm going to take a nap.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

OH MY GOODNESS! Check out my daughter Jessica on OPRAH!!!

OK...this is COMPLETELY UN-cancer related (is that a word?!) But I am such a proud mother...I just HAD TO SHARE! You may or may not know (how well do you REALLY know me lol) but my oldest daughter, Jessica, works for The Oprah Winfrey Show. Yes, it's exciting not only for her, but for her 'ol mom as well, who gets to live vicariously through her. I could write a blog entirely on the stories that she tells me...but of course I am usually sworn to secrecy, so that wouldn't really work. (Besides, who would I tell any way? Well, maybe MY mother!)

As you all know, it is Oprah's last season (yes, Jess will be looking for a new job. (Exactly where one goes after "Oprah" is unclear...but knowing Jess, it will be something else that's equally as great) and Jessica is always hard at work, but this final season has been a little crazy, to say the least.

She works as the assistant to one of the executive producers, Lisa Morin, and is often asked to do some "unusual" things. Lisa was the producer of the show where Oprah and Gayle went to Yosemite to go camping, and one of Jessica's jobs was to make and test the "menu" for Oprah and Gayle that would be used on the camping trip. She even asked me for some advice on camping food, being the "seasoned" girl scout that she has made fun of me for years! (Yeah! Girl Scouting finally came in handy!)

Being the last season of the show, there is a new program on the OWN network showing the "behind the scenes" of the last year. It airs on the OWN network at 8:00 PM on Fridays. I have occasionally caught glimpses of Jessica's back, or seen her walking through the office. The "behind the scene" crews are everywhere 24/7, so you really never know if she will show up. BUT you can see her in a special exclusive webisode (talk about a made up word) on the Oprah Show website. Check it out here:

All I can say is, "That's MY GIRL!" :)

(Isn't it fun to NOT talk about cancer! lol)


Friday, January 14, 2011

Round Two here I come!

I am all "scheduled up" and ready for the next step in treatment...whatever that may be. The original plan was to complete three rounds of chemo, give the drugs a chance to work, and then have a PET scan to see how well the meds are working. (GREAT I am hoping!)

Here is the line-up:

Monday, January 17 PET Scan at 4:00 PM
Monday, January 24 See Oncologist for Pet Scan Results
?? Tuesday, January 24 Scheduled Chemo, but depends on scan results
Thursday, January 27 U of M doctor appointment with my "second opinion" doctor
(hoping she will tell me the same next step that regular oncologist told me!)
Tuesday, February 1, MUGA scan (which monitors my heart!)

WHEW! I'm already exhausted, and I haven't done anything yet! LOL This line-up makes teaching fifth grade look like a walk in the park! :) And boy oh boy, I would LOVE to be walking in that park...believe me!

I will keep you all informed and up to date. Thanks for checking in.


Long over due

Say hello to my husband, Steve, the M.I.B. (man in black) If you think its tough going through cancer treatment not once, but twice, think again. Try being married to that same person. I will be the first to admit that I've had a somewhat "rocky" road this trip. That's probably why I haven't been as regular at blogging as I was the first time around. Something that I'm currently working at improving with a vengeance. We all know it's about the "attitude" and keeping a positive outlook. Let's just say that some days it hasn't been that easy to remain positive (and that would be an understatement.) Yet, Steve manages to try his best every day, and he puts up with me and my "moods." (Who me? Moody? Noooo couldn't be!)

Anyway, it wouldn't matter if I showed you a picture of Steve from this week, two months ago, or 2 years would look the same. And these pics were not taken on the same day...just same attire. He has also worn his hair the same way for....well...forever. To say that he is "particular" about his hair would be an understatement to say the least. So you can imagine my surprise, amazement, and utter SHOCK when he walked in the front door, around the time I was losing my hair, and he looked like this...

I was SPEECHLESS! And for those of you that truly know me, you know what a rare moment that is! He was actually wearing a hat, but I could tell what was missing right away...his hair! OH MY GOODNESS is all I could say. He then told me that since I was losing my hair, he decided that he would lose his too. It was going to be his way of supporting me this time around. Wow! This is something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime. Actually, I HAVE never seen him with any other hair style. But it looks great...don't you think? His co-workers have told him the same thing, as did Jessica, Carly, and Rachel (who were also in a state of shock when they saw him.) See, it all boils down to "it's only hair." You are what you are from the INSIDE, not what people see on the outside. If we could all remember that, the world would be a better place. And as far as the M.I.B. he continues to keep his hair short, and he has told me that it will stay that way until I get mine back. Who knows, he may even decide he actually likes it, (sure has saved him time in the bathroom in the morning with the hair dryer and "styling") and he may keep it. Or, he may go back to the "old" Steve. Whatever he decides is fine with me because his "insides" are shining through.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year!

I know it's been a few weeks since I've checked in. I'm so sorry! Life was very chaotic for the few weeks that everyone was home, and I barely even thought of going online. Remember when we did not have our lives connected to the "world wide web?" lol Life managed to go on just fine.

Anyway, yesterday I had chemo number three, and all is well. I didn't feel very good the afternoon of chemo and took to bed for most of the day. Later realized that it was MY FAULT! I forgot to take my afternoon anti nausea meds and the good news is that now I know that they work! Won't forget those again. The next step on the journey is to see my doctor next Tuesday. She will give me RX to get PET scan, and based on that scan, which will tell how WELL the chemo is working (see how optimistic I'm being) then the next step of my journey will begin. It will either be more chemo or possibly surgery. Not sure at all depends on what the PET scan shows. Lets all hope that the chemo is attacking those cells with a vengence!!

I have some fun pics to share and more to tell, but Rachel is leaving to go back to college on Saturday, and we area doing some last minute errands to get her ready.

I'll be all alone soon, and with lots more time to blog. Again, thanks for the many cards, well wishes and phone calls that I receive from all of you. They are what keeps me going on a daily basis.

I wish everyone HEALTH and Happiness in this new year!