Saturday 31 March 2012

Update: March 31, 2012

This last round of chemo (yesterday and the previous Friday) has gone quite well, with few side-effects.  Today, the only thing I can complain about is red, hot cheeks.  Yesterday's chemo went by so fast that I didn't even have time to sleep!

I forgot to tell you that a couple of weeks back I finally got into the Ottawa Hospital's Pain Clinic.  My wonderful pain nurse had referred me some time ago, I think back when I was having so much trouble with drowsiness.  I found it interesting that before being seen at the Pain Clinic you have to sign a fairly lengthy agreement to ensure your pain medication isn't abused or shared.

First we met with a nurse there, and then a doctor.  She told me that the NSAIDs are the preferred drug class for pain from bone metastases and prescribed Celebrex.  Quite quickly, I noticed it relieved the pain I've had in my mid-back since a disappointing trip to Red Lobster with the folks (a one-hour wait, mostly leaning against a window ledge, hence the mid-back pain).  Since I've been on the Celebrex, I guess for about 10 days now, I have noticed other pains.  One affects my arms and sometimes legs.  It's a weird pain, mostly like I need to move around.  It kept me up the other night.  I've also been feeling the liver tumours and the pain formerly known as my endometriosis pain.  Mysterious.  At the Pain Clinic, they see patients every week or two, so I'm back there pretty soon for a check-up and maybe and adjustment of my pain medications. 

Coming Up Next: CT Scan April 5, 10:30 am

Next week, I have my next CT scan of the chest and abdomen.

It will get a good look at the liver tumours as well as some of the bone metastases. After several more rounds of chemo (than between the previous two CT scans), I expect to see greater reduction in the size of my liver tumours. Unfortunately they are, to quote the last scan's report, "numerous." I am also hoping that this scan will show actual healing of some of the bone mets.

Postitive energy and prayers would be welcome on April 5th, the day of the scan.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Check Your Boobs!

Friends, here's your monthly reminder:  CHECK YOUR BOOBS!

You probably remember the drill from high school health class, but in case you don't, here's a link or two to help you out:
Here's hoping you don't find anything.

Sunday 18 March 2012

Update: March 18, 2012

I never did give you an update on my March 9 chemo session.  Lena's March Break got in the way.  Short story anyway; it was fine.

I had an appointment with the oncologist on the 14th.  He was away, so one of the GPs saw and examined me.  She was very pleased with my progress since the last time she had seen me, several months back.  She even said I made her day.

We went over my prescriptions. She is in favour of weaning me off as many drugs as we can. We're starting with the blood pressure medication and one of the stomach medications. So far so good. I'll need to monitor my blood pressure. It had gotten to the point that it was even lower than me usual LOW blood pressure. Cutting the medication back by half should bring my blood pressure a little closer to normal -- and farther from "you better be careful standing up."

We also talked to her about when I could start driving again.  I feel pretty ready already, but figured I would spend some time in a parking lot practicing before hitting the road.  She disagreed.  In fact she was more conservative than Geoff.  She suggested a full month in the parking lot, including lots of practice getting in and out of the car.  She implied it could be a long time before I would be ready to drive the minivan.  I haven't driven it since we bought it, just a five minute test drive in October.  This doesn't make me happy.  I'm feeling stir crazy enough and look forward to more independence.

A CT scan has been scheduled for me for early April, so I expect I'll go over the results with the oncologist in a month's time.  I sure hope the scan will show further shrinkage in the liver tumours and stronger bones.  I'd appreciate your prayers and positive thoughts in advance of the CT. 

With Stage 4 breast cancer, I know the doctors can't cure me (yet).  So I'm looking for a miracle.  Your prayers and energy may make the difference for me.  Many thanks to you all.

Tuesday 6 March 2012

Chemo Update: March 7, 2012

As you can tell by this late post, last Friday's chemo didn't go as well as some.  The actual session was normal.  This time, there were no delays in getting the medications.  As usual, I slept through half the session due to the Benedryl.

Saturday wasn't great though.  Around lunch time, I developed chills.  Serious, teeth-chattering chills, plus nausea.  One blanket wasn't working.  A second blanket didn't help.  Lena brought me a thermometer, but my temperature was normal. Geoff brought me a cup of hot apple cider and my Stematil (anti-nausea pills) and then I started to recover.

Sunday would have been a fine day, I expect, if I hadn't goofed.  I picked up my pill box the wrong way, so instead of taking my afternoon pills, I took my night time pills. Yeah, including my sleeping pill (Atavan).  So much for me making supper!  I didn't come too until 6:30.

Monday, the nausea returned as supper was cooking.  I took two Stematil and took to my bed!  Lena joined me at 8:00 for a cuddle.  Then, I got up at 9:00, just in time to watch my favourite mystery and make Lena's lunch before heading back to bed.

I'm hoping that's it for my reactions to Friday's chemo.  Remember, the doctor reduced the amount of Taxol and changed the steroid dosage too, all to improve my quality of life.  Well, compared to the weeks when I couldn't stomach anything, I am doing better.