Dec 29 2010

December 20th Visit

Published by under Cancer Details

Went to see Dr. Ellis on Monday, December 20th.  He said everything looks good.  He did blood work to see I am going to need to change from tamoxifen to Arimidex.  This is a drug that does a better job but you cannot take it unless officially in menopause.  The chemo puts you into menopause temporally or permanently.  Will be have a CT and visiting Dr. Ellis again in March.


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Dec 15 2010

Follow Up Tests Today

Published by under Cancer Details

I had my mammogram follow up today.  I am happy to report that the radiologist who spoke with me lasts year after my mammogram and sonogram, came out to speak to me in person.  I have never had that done before.  He told me all looked good and to enjoy my birthday.  At least I don’t have to wait find out next week at my doctor visit.

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Oct 27 2010

Recent Newspaper Article

Published by under Uncategorized

Recently I was interviewed regarding the cancer book project that I participated in with a local photographer and other patients.

Click Here to read the article from the Tribune

My energy level has gotten much better and I feel really good.  I am hoping to get back on the treadmill or do some walking.  I have just been so tired.  I have been going to therapy twice a week for my leg.  My doctor said I should always be doing therapy for the rest of my life.  My therapy office gave me a great deal on a maintenance program.

One other thing that I have to work on is my arm. I had been to another therapy office during radiation for lymphadema.   My arm muscles and tissues got very tight so the therapist had to stretch them out.  Since I had 21 lymph nodes removed from under my arm (due to the cancer spreading), I have numbness in my armpit and surrounding area.  My arm will also always have trouble removing wastes fluids and could swell up.  For a while my left arm was bigger.   My left arm has the chance of swelling with infections due to lack of lymph nodes so my therapist ordered me a compressions sleeve to wear for maintenance.  The sleeve will train my arm to stay under control and hopefully I will not be some old lady with a huge left arm.

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Oct 21 2010

Port Removed

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Last Thursday, October 14, 2010 I was so relieved to have my port removed.  My doctor said he will give me follow up tests (CT and Mamogram) in December.  Hubby took my to the Olive Garden for lunch after.  My favorite.

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Oct 08 2010

Looking Good

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Late September I had another CT scan to check the spot on my lung.  The doctor called last week to say that the spot/nodule on my lung looked the same or better.  I was so relieved, I forgot to ask him about my chemo port. So I had called back  and I was approved to have it removed.  I am scheduled to have it out next week.  Yay!

My hair is getting longer.  It spikes up real nice.  Not my favorite hair style but it will do for now.

Thank you so much for those who prayed for me!

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Sep 10 2010

A Visit With My Oncologist

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September 8th, I visited my oncologist, Dr. Ellis.  He was just checking in with me to see how things were going after radiation.  I have gotten my energy back.  He had blood work done to see how I have been since chemo has been over as well.

I asked him about drinking soy and he said that the type of hormone pill, Tamoxifen, that I am on now will block any estrogen like properties.  So it really would not matter if I do eat or drink it.  If I end up changing over to another type of hormone then he said I should definitely stay away from it.

He also looked at my planning CT for my radiation that was done in June.  There was a spot on my lung, a nodule that is inflamed.  He said he would not have done anything anyway until now.  So he ordered a follow up CT scan for a couple of weeks from now.  He said it just looks like inflamation not necessarily cancer.  Just as a precaution, he is not scheduling me to have my port out until we find out what the CT scan reports.  Please keep me in your prayers.  Thanks!

He also said if the breast cancer would come back in the same area (not the right side) that it would be incurable.  He said this was the time to cure it.  So I am hoping it is all gone and we can make it past the five years.  If the bone cancer that was in my leg comes back, it will most likely go to my lung, that is why there is a concern with the CT scan.  So just one day at time.

Here is a video of a teacher, Jaime Moran, at our local high school who was also a graduate there too.   She is one of the other cancer patients participating in the photo book project mentioned in my last post.

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Aug 24 2010

Cancer Project

Published by under Cancer Details,Posts With Photos

A close friend of our family mentioned to me that a local photographer and her former classmate, Autumn at SkySight Photography, was doing a project for cancer patients.  She is going to be putting a special book of photos together.  Part of the project to distribute for encouragement in doctors offices and give families support, among many other things.  Proceeds will also be going to cancer research.

I am one of many that is going to be part of her first book and already she has photographed four other cancer patients in their journey.  Two of the other people that have been photographed are teacher who are on staff at our local high school.  One has had leukemia for the third time and the other has stomach cancer.   They are definitely having more challenges than I had this time around.  Autumn will also be having an official local gallery show and will include our stories.

Below are a few photos from the shoot.

You can see more photos at SkySight Photography.

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Aug 24 2010

Last Treatment on Aug 25th!

Published by under Cancer Details

I know have not been diligent about keeping up with my blog but I am excited to say that August 25th is my final day of radiation (number 36).   The first 28 days consisted of radiation on the whole left breast and under my left arm where the lymphnodes were removed.  My skin faired very well and is already healing from the redness.  I am having my 8th treatment of what they call a boost.  This is extra radiation focused on just the tumor site.  I will still have to deal with some redness there.  All is ok so far.  Strangly enough some of the radiation from the first set actually came through to the back side of my shoulder.  It kind of turned to tan.  Atleast it does not hurt.  This whole process has only produced redness and fatigue a far cry from chemo.  Chemo not fun so I am grateful that  is over.

I had to aply “Aquaphor” on the radiated area 2-3 times a day and will have to do so for two weeks after treatment ends.  I had to wear sunscreen on any areas that were exposed such as my neck.  They needed to radiate the lymphnodes that go up my neck in case the cancer may have spread there.

Thank you all that have emailed me notes, shared stories your stories, offered help, drove my kids around, sent me cards and gifts, and most of all prayed for me. 

You know it is great because somethings things happened during this journey and the one before too where I knew the only way something was going a certain way was because of those prayers I knew were coming my way.   I really think I could feel them and I know they made all the difference.

Also, I recently found out that I should not be drinking soy products due to the type of cancer tumor.  This is somewhat unfortunate because I am lactose intolerant and had found all my milk substitues in soy.  I was sharing this with someone I recently caught up with that I worked with years ago and she was the one who pointed this out.  I check with my doctor and my doctor agreed.  I am going to miss my tofu cuties.  To me they taste just like a regular ice cream sandwiches.  I can also try almond milk, or rice milk the doctor said.  Rice milk is pretty watery.

So this associate told me that she had that same exact problems with diary.  Interestingly, she was able to drink raw milk.  She gave me a “jug” to try it and no problems.  I was amazed.  She gets it at a special farm up north to where we live that has extremely high standards for processing.  I say “jug” because she gets her milk bottled in 1/2 gallon beer jugs since you have to bring your own container. . . . So the reason that this is easier to digest is because there is lactase in the unpasturized milk that helps you digest the lactose among other things.    . . .

I would love to hear how any of you who may be lactose intolerant deal with it.  It would be neat to try and make ice cream with this milk.  I would just ecstatic if I could eat it.

If I can ever be of help or encouragement to you or someone you know that has cancer let me know.  I would be happy to pray for you or even talk to you.

I will be putting up some additional photos from my recent shoot that I particpated in for a special cancer project.    Goodnight . . . . 🙂

PS  Here is a photo from a recent photo shoot that I participated in for cancer patients.  I will be writing more about that tomorrow.

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Jul 28 2010

Radiation Update

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Today was my 16th day of radiation.  A bit swollen, slightly red and starting to get a bit itchy.  Using Eucerin cream 2-3 times a day.    I saw the doctor today and she said my skin is looking very good considering the stage I am at.  Not as much fatigue this week.  Genetics has got a lot to do with the skin reactions.

Today was my 20th Wedding Anniversary.  Had a great day and went to Hoffstot’s for dinner.

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Jul 06 2010

Back From Radiation

Published by under Cancer Details

The treatment only lasted about 5 minutes. The technicians put you in your calculated position and you have to stay perfectly still. The x-ray machine moved in three positions and shot the rays. The machine shot at both surgical sites and on my neck at the top of where my lymphnodes extend to. So much better than chemo but I have the high possibility of getting very burned and toughening up like leather. Everyone’s body reacts differently. It is extremely important for me to wear sun screen if I go out and am wearing a tank top.

I was fortunate the first time I had cancer in 2005-2006 that the chemo did not bother my finger nails. This time it is a bit different. Not until I was finished with chemo on May 12 did my nails turn yellow and break off very easily and sometimes too far down my finger. Another strange thing is some of the nails of ridges in them, probably a ridge for each round of chemo. It is going to take about 6-9 months for them to grow out back to normal. Until then I will have to get some nail polish out.

I should be in good shape by fall, I should have my nails in better shape, radiation should be done and the burns gone, and a decent amount of hair back. 🙂 Something to look forward to . . . .

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