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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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Monday, December 23, 2013

Today's office visit

I was really dreading today's visit for a number of reasons.  Among other things, I was dreading another Zometa infusion right before the holidays, getting some relief for this awful itchy rash, and the dreaded doctor confrontation regarding the nurse.  I guess I was also secretly dreading the CA 27-29 tumor marker test results.  It seems that when I worry the most is when things end up turning out much better than I could have imagined.

The doctor suggested we put off the Zometa infusion until next month so I wouldn't be dealing with side effects over the holidays.  It was her suggestion before I even brought it up.  She said there is no harm in doing this and in fact there were varying studies out there outlining different timelines on how often this should be given.  None of the studies seem to show one is better than another so skipping a month should not hurt anything.  I was all for this.

I brought up the rash again.  This time she took a few minutes to actually look at it.  I told her it was spreading and driving me crazy.  She took the time to call a dermatologist she knows while we were there and I think they are thinking it may be some type of allergic response to something.  She gave me a couple of prescriptions, one for the skin areas and another for the scalp and advised I try something for allergies over the counter and see if that worked.  I dropped it off at the pharmacy and will give it a shot tonight.

The confrontation regarding the nurse and the test results turned out to be a productive conversation.  I think she is finally realizing the amount of stress this is causing me and made a point to see if there was a way the lab could make an exception regarding giving my test results directly.  This would at least decrease the amount of interaction I have to have with the nurse.  She wouldn't bend on the scan results, but I have a workaround of going directly to the source of the scans and getting those if I have to.  I left it at this and didn't bring up the other nurse interactions at this point.  I think I need to choose my battles and address them a few at a time.  I'm sure Jesse won't mind releasing some stress on the nurse if I have issues in the meantime.

Finally, the test results.  CBC came back showing my immune system was a little low, but not so unreasonably low that I needed a shot to boost it back up.  I need to be a little cautious when out in public by avoiding people who are sick and ensure I'm washing my hands regularly as a precaution.  I already do this out of habit, so not too big of a deal.  The CA 27-29 tumor marker dropped down 50%.  This, along with the physical signs of the tumors shrinking, shows the Xeloda is working.  As long as we continue to see drops in the CA 27-29 tumor marker and the tumors that are palpable continue to shrink, I can stay on this chemo regimen.  At some point, the chemo drug you are using tends to stop being effective.  The longer you can stay on a drug and it be effective the better.  I like the fact that this one is an oral drug versus an infusion drug and has few nasty side effects, so I'm hoping it stays effective for a long time.

Anyhow, it seems to have been a rather productive and positive visit.  It always seems to work this way when I'm fed up and armed to fight.  I'm guessing it must be one of those Murphy's laws concepts.  If you are prepared and ready, the situation works out smoothly.  If I had gone in unprepared, I'm sure it would have been a mess!


  1. yAy for the marker drops!
    So, going to the source, does that mean you can get the info directly from the lab?

  2. Glad to hear the drops in the markers! I know it's a holding pattern/waiting game, but the longer you have this drug being effective the better. And yay for a month off so you could go through the holidays without side effects.

    Glad the conversation was productive, too. I agree -- the more end of your rope and prepared for nuclear devastation battle you are, the more likely the other side is to roll over and be reasonable.


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