Friday, November 16, 2012

Happy Cancerversary to Me!

And many more...

Yes, it's true.  Today marks three years since my diagnosis.  Three years of ups and downs, of worry and relief, a true physical and emotional roller coaster.  I know I am very blessed to be here to note this date and thank you all again who have prayed so tirelessly for me and supported me in every way for three years now.  One day at a time will hopefully collectively bring me three more years times 10 or more.  One can hope!

Along with noting this milestone, I would like to report on just one of many reasons I am determined to continue logging these anniversaries year after year...

Today Natalie and Bella were being particularly challenging and I wasn't feeling 100% up to dealing with it all.  As we pulled into the garage after a very long drive home from the gym I told them that they had behaved very naughtily.  From the backseat, a cheerful voice said, "Natalie?!  That's my FAVORITE word!"

Leave all of this?  No way.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Latest Scan News

First of all, I did not forget about Halloween pictures!  I will post some as soon as my tech-savvy husband returns from his business trip and can show me how to put the pictures we took with my still- newish fancy camera on my ultra-light computer that does not have a card reader slot.

In the meantime, I thought I would share the news from my most recent PET/CT scan.  This is a scan that does not include the brain (I will have a brain MRI in 4 weeks) but rather goes neck to knees.  It is checking for progression in soft tissue organs such as lungs and liver, and also quantifies activity in those ever present and pesky bone lesions.

The good news:  liver and lungs remain clear.

The not-as-good news:  several new bone mets have popped up with intense activity and some old ones continue to fester.  In other words, my current treatment is not as effective as we would like it to be on my bone mets.  Therefore, we need to make some changes to ensure that my bones don't weaken to the point of spontaneous fractures, and that the cancer stays put and doesn't seed to the currently healthy soft tissue organs.

So what is next on the medication merry-go-round?  Xeloda.  An oral chemo (a real chemo this time) taken twice daily one week on and one week off.  This drug is often used in combination with Tykerb, which I have been taking for some time now, and should make my systemic treatment more effective.  It will not, however, offer any benefit for my brain.

The side effects are mostly already familiar to me...fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, etc. but there is a new one to add to the bunch.  Many people who take Xeloda develop a hand/foot condition that seriously irritates and sometimes blisters the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands.  This happens to people in differing intensities, so I am praying for a light case of THAT.  But if it stretches out my time with my kids, it is all worth it.

But what a shame I won't be able to do dishes anymore!  Happily, our wonderful helper Teresa has agreed to come another day and we now have her M-F, so I should be able to avoid drowning in dirty dishes and laundry while preserving my poor palms.  Hope I can still type!

So, that's the latest from cancer central.  Nothing too terrible (relatively speaking of course) but one more thing to add to my cross.  For my friend who keeps telling me that God is purifying me through all of this, I can only remain grateful for that and hope that I am nearing squeaky clean!