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Initially diagnosed June 4, 2009 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Stage II,Grade II tumor size: 2-3 cm node positive ER/PR postive HER2 Neu - negative Current Diagnosis: Metastatic Invasive Ductal Carcinoma Grade 3 Mets: Scalp/skin, Liver, Spine, Bone ER/PR + HER2/NEU -

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hopefully Uphill from Here

I think I made it through the worst of this round. If I could just shake the sinus infection I seemed to have acquired over the weekend, I think I'd feel pretty good. I went in for my weekly CBC today, and luckily my immune system didn't take to bad of a hit. The stat they use to measure is called the absolute neutrophil count (ANC). This is a measurement of your bodies ability to fight infection. Since chemotherapy attacks the good cells with the bad, many people end up with an impaired immune system. They told me the number to watch for is 1.0. At 1.0 they refuse to treat and make you wait for it to recover.

I am at the beginning of my nadir, which is the low point, or point at which your cells are most susceptible to the chemotherapy, and my ANC was only 1.9 on todays CBC. The nurse assured me that my immune system was fine to fight infection at this level. I was thankful that I had refused the preventative Neulasta shot they had recommended. Neulasta is a drug they use to force your bones to make more white blood cells. I have read it is incredibly painful, causing severe bone pain for long periods of time. I also read a study the other day that showed that taking the preventative shot rather than waiting and taking the shot as needed, only provided less than 10% decrease in persons requiring hospitalization for infections. As long as my ANC stays decent throughout this, I won't have to go through the bone pain the shots cause, and won't be at risk for hospitalization either. And again, I can always get another medicine that boosts for a shorter period of time as needed(Neupogen), which is the method that sounds the best to me. I have enough drugs in my system with out adding unnecessary ones into the mix.
Sunday, October 25, 2009

FEC Update

First of all, I want to let all of you know that I appreciate the support you have given me during this difficult time. The cards, emails, comments, phone calls and prayers really help! Special thanks to:

Kim Hatley - even with her mom in the hospital, she took the time to send me a card. It came at a really good time yesterday and made me smile.

My Chemo Angels Pam & Kim - I appreciate your weekly cards, letters and gifts!

My husband - Thanks for dealing with everything this weekend so I could rest! I had carefully planned several activities for this week thinking I wouldn't have chemo, but due to the flu delaying my chemo by a week, he got stuck dealing with all the things we had planned that I was too sick to deal with.

My Facebook friends - Thanks for your supportive comments!

I am still feeling a little under the weather today. I tried going without taking the Zofran for nausea this morning, but started feeling nauseous after eating. Luckily, the Zofran seems to be working well for me. I haven't actually gotten sick yet, just had the nausea. A little less fatigued than I have been today, which is a good sign.
Thursday, October 22, 2009

So Far So Tolerable...

Well, I completed my first round of FEC. I am positive I WONT be able to drive to and from these should the need arise. I was high as a kite after one of the meds and having trouble walking. By the time it was time to go, I did manage to make it to the car.

From what I've been told, the major side effects won't kick in until tomorrow morning. They gave me an anti-nausea med (Aloxi) in my IV prior to chemo infusion. They told me to make sure to take an oral anti-nausea (Zofran) to back it up tonight at bed time or if I start to feel the least bit of nausea, whichever comes first. I took the Zofran around 1pm. They also said I could stack the different anti-nausea meds if I still felt nauseous 30 min to an hour after taking the first one. So I took another anti-nausea med (phenergan).

The nausea I am exeperiencing so far isn't that bad. They just want me to curb it before it becomes bad. The best way I can describe the way I feel right now, is that it is similar to car/motion sickness you get in a badly ventilated vehicle if you get stuck the back seat for hours. I feel lethargic, yucky and slightly nauseous. The main difference being that I can't just get out of the car and get some fresh air to fix it. I dread what it will be like tomorrow morning if it's this bad now!
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dreading Chemo

Enjoying my last day of freedom, but my anxiety level is high. I'm dreading starting the new round of chemo tomorrow. According to the nurse, the worst side effect is nausea. We spent the last few days moving to the master bedroom which has a bathroom attached. We had been using the larger bedroom in the house, but decided the one with the bathroom would be nice to use during this time. I spent an hour or so cleaning up the bathroom and making sure it was spotless so it wouldn't be too unpleasant if I had to spend a lot of time there.

The bedroom looks nice now. We pulled out the carpet and padding and put down wood laminate. I haven't had a chance to paint it yet, but I am planning on doing that during my good weeks. I'm thinking I'll decorate it in a nautical theme since we have a lot of nautical style items leftover from the main bath's makeover that aren't in use. We got all our furniture moved into there yesterday and slept in there last night.

We picked up some beds for the dogs today and we are going to try to get them to sleep in the beds rather than on the bed with us. I think we'll all sleep better if we can achieve this.

Anyhow, I guess I'll spend the rest of the night stressing out about the chemo tomorrow. I'm sure it will turn out to be less of a big deal than I build it up to be, but I can't help but worry. I'm sure it will be a restless night for me. If I'm not hugging the toilet tomorrow, I'll write an entry and let everyone know how it went.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chemo Put Off For A Week

Chemo has been put off for a week due to my daughter having the flu. She has been running fever for two days with coughing and congestion. I took her in this morning and they confirmed Influenza A, which is most likely Swine Flu. They took a sample from me and mine didn't show flu, but I have had a cough and some fatigue, so they are putting us both on tamiflu. They took a second swab sample and are sending both off to CDC for confirmation. We should know for sure in about a week. I haven't talked to the nurse over there to find out if it's a big concern for me with my immune system being strained from the chemo, but I have a call in and should know more later.

Katie is doing well. She has her energy and is going stir crazy having to be stuck in the house and limited on what I will let her do. How is it that kids can get so sick and still have all that energy? You would think a 100 degree fever would wear her out!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Enjoying My Vacation

I'm enjoying my week off. Starting to feel like my old self again. I have a CBC blood test tomorrow, but other than that I am chemo free for another week. I have been keeping pretty busy. My grandmother was admitted to the hospital about a week ago with blood clots and sepsis. They got the sepsis eliminated and they are giving her meds to thin her blood out and slowly remove the clots. I spent several days up there this week trying to catch the doctor to ask a few questions and I finally caught him today. Advocating for her has helped me to keep my mind off of my own health issues this week. I also got to spend some quality time with my mother.

Last night we went to the Paint the Town Pink forum at Will Rogers Memorial Center. It is a yearly event sponsored by the American Cancer Society. They had vendors set up at tables from various cancer organizations, cancer supply stores, and cancer treatment centers. After that, they had a full buffet dinner and several speakers. The event was free to all. There were at least 500-600 people there. We really enjoyed it and I think it will become an annual event for us.
Friday, October 2, 2009

Taking a Vacation from Cancer

Last week we celebrated Katie's 9th birthday. I had my sister plan the party for us, since I didn't think I'd have the energy. She did a wonderful job. We had it at a free party room they offer at Richland Hills Church of Christ. She rented a bounce house, created some delicious (and beautiful) cookie/ice cream cakes (Katie doesn't like regular cake), had a pinata, created and bought some great decorations, and obviously spent much time planning and worrying, not to mention doing it all on a really tight budget. I really appreciate ALL of her efforts! Thank you so much Jaclyn!

Tonight, I celebrate the end of my first round of chemo and the good news I received earlier this week regarding the tumor. We will be going out to eat at Kobe's Steaks and I am really looking forward to it. Tomorrow we are taking Jesse's 67(?) Mustang out to his Mother's house for storage. We have been working on turning our carport into a garage and will no longer have room for it here. We will be there overnight and be back Sunday afternoon/evening.

Next week, I have decided to take a vacation from cancer. I only have one lab next week and no chemo treatments, so I think I am due for a vacation. It will be nice to not get knocked down and get a chance to feel good for a full week. I am going to try to avoid thinking about it or dealing with anything to do with it. I don't know if that is possible, but I am going to try.

The following week, I start my FEC chemo treatments. I am a little scared to start these. I have heard they will have more side effects. I'm hoping the drugs they have provided me for nausea will be effective. I am glad they are only once every three weeks. The weekly treatments were really getting old. I should be done with my chemo treatments before Christmas. I believe they give you a month off before surgery, so I shouldn't be having to worry about surgery until after New Years. It will be nice to be able to enjoy the holidays.

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