Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Done with Radiation!!

I just finished my ten days of radiation on Monday the 17th. So far my only side effects are a rectangular "suntan" on my chest (we radiated my sternum) and some esophagitis (did I spell that right?). My esophagus hurts at the bottom where it attaches to the stomach. I think this is from the radiation we did to my upper spine--they said it could burn the esophagus. The worst of it should be over by the end of this week. So I'm done with radiation until something else begins to hurt--which hopefully is far off! The radiation is mainly to relieve pain in my bones--or to kill a spot of cancer in a bone that looks like it could break. We can't radiate my ribs, though, since they're so small. It felt like I broke another one in my upper right chest over the weekend. But with time the pain gets better. The woman in the photo with me was one of my radiation buddies, Bodell (I'm not sure I spelled her name right).

Currently I feel pretty good and can move a lot faster. I'm thinking I'll try walking for exercise again (no more running). I'm usually pretty tired by the end of the day, and my back will ache or my ribs will hurt. It's still hard to bend over to pick things up or to put pants on, but it's getting better--and it's nothing like the pain I was in at the beginning of December. Every day is better.

I met with my oncologist, Dr. Sandra Buys yesterday and recieved my second shot of Lupron to shut my ovaries down. I get this once a month so I can take Femara, a drug that fights the cancer growth. It works only in post-menopausal women, so that's why I have to get the shot. We also set my next date to get the IV of Zometa, the bone-strengthening drug for Jan. 11th. This is the drug that I had such a bad reaction to at the first of December when I went into the hospital. We're hoping to have a better go of it this next time around. I asked Dr. Buys to move the date into January so I could enjoy the Christmas and New Years break with my family.

We are so amazed at the kindness and generosity of our family and friends!! We have recieved so much!! We have recieved help with meals, house cleaning, help driving me to all my appointments, Christmas shopping, and more. A good neighbor planned and paid for Joe's birthday party last week (which was so fun--Joe loved it). Some friends of ours also suprised us Saturday with a new bed for me--one that has a remote control and lifts/lowers your back or your legs and has MASSAGE!! No more sleeping in the recliner!! We are blown away with how we have been blessed and loved by everyone!! We love you all!!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Weekend Getaway at Huntsman Hotel

Bryan and I spent an adventuresome weekend away at the Huntsman Hospital. Sunday I was given two units of blood--which was quite exciting when I had an allergic reaction and my whole body broke out in hives. The nurse gave me a dose of Benadryl and some Lorazipam in my IV which made me feel like I was going to pass out--and I thought if I did I might not wake up. After we got that under control, I was a bit nervous to get the second unit of blood, but after the nurse promised everything would be fine, we went ahead and it went much better. We were finally released Monday morning so I could get to my 11:15 am appointment at St. Marks Hospital to get ready for radiation therapy--which will begin Tuesday and run for ten days.

It's good to be home--especially to see the boys. I do wish I had that awesome hospital bed that has all the fancy buttons and conforms to your body. I guess the recliner will have to do for now.

I'm feeling a lot of pain in my lower back/hip which makes it hard to bend over or put on pants in the morning. My sternum is VERY tender and hurts just to touch it. Hopefully with the treatments I'm getting the pain will get better. I know with radiation, it's actually supposed to be a little more tender before it gets better--but what's a little more pain? Bring it on!!

THANKS so much to everyone who have helped us out with the kids, meals, fasting, prayers and all the words of encouragement!! WE LOVE YOU ALL!!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Spending the Weekend at Huntsman

It's just been a party this weekend at Huntsman Hospital. I arrived by ambulance Friday morning after a night of nausea and vomiting which made the bones in my torso feel like they were all broken. I have since vowed that I will never throw up again--ever! I couldn't hardly walk or sit up or lay down without extreme pain--and being upright made me feel nauseous--so that's why we ordered the ambulance--so I could lie flat.

My bones are feeling much better now--just the regular aches and pains from before--with a little more soreness in my sternum and lower spine/hip area. I've had a fever, so they're trying to get that under control. I also have low white and red blood cell counts so that could be the reason for the fever. They also want to give me a blood transfusion (2 units) since my numbers are so low.

I'm hoping to come home Monday morning if all goes well, and they'll give me antibiotics to keep the fever away and treat whatever is causing it.

What I really want to do is put on my snow clothes and boots and go hiking in the hills behind the hospital here!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Nov. 29th

Today I'm going to Huntsman (third time this week) to get my IV of Zometa--the bone-strengthening drug. I just read about all it's side affects, and am hoping to have none of them! Yesterday I received my tatoos for radiation which will start next week (Mon.) and go for ten days--once each day, Mon. - Fri. The radiation should help with the bone pain--which is quite a bother and makes me feel like I'm 90 years old. We'll also hope for no side effects with the radiation as well.

Staying Positive!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ultrasound Results

We recieved the ultrasound results late yesterday (Monday).
They said my uterus looked fine, and there is a 1-inch spot of breast cancer on my ovary. I forgot to ask how they know the difference between whether it's ovarian cancer and breast cancer that has spread. They seem to think that the drug I'm taking called Femara will stop its growth.

I'm currently taking the cancer-fighting drug Femara (I take it once a day). To make Femara work, I'll get a shot once a month to shut my ovaries down since it only works in post-menopausal women. I'll be starting my bone-strengthening drug Zometa on Nov. 29th. I'll get it through an IV once a month. We're working on getting me into radiation therapy sooner (my current appointment is Dec. 18th) since I'm having quite a bit of pain in the bones all through my torso and hips.

Then we'll pray the all the drug's side effects will be minimal!!

Here's a place to read more about metastatic breast cancer:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Another Test Today

I'm going up to Huntsman today to have an ultrasound of my ovaries, since there was a little concern in the PET scan. I'm not sure when we get the results on this.

My oncologist's office set up an appointment to meet with radiation therapy on Dec. 18th and that's when I'll get my IV for Zometa, the bon-strengthening drug. I'm wondering if we should do this any sooner--since my whole torso feels like it's falling apart sometimes--and is painful. I'll talk to them and see.

No matter what, I'm "having a perfect brightness of hope" (2 Nephi 20) and I'm going to think positive.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Results From PET Scan

I had my scan this morning at 6am and then met with my doctor by around noon. The results were encouraging. The cancer is definiitely all over in the bones, like we figured. She said there wasn't any cancer in the organs that they could see. There were a couple small spots on my liver, but she said the new medication I will be starting will hopefully clear that up. They also want me to come back for an ultrasound of my ovaries because they were a little unsure of what was there--hopefully nothing!! I was given a shot to shut my ovaries down and put me into menopause (I'll get this each month) and then I can take the medication Femara which is only for post-menopausal women. I will be getting an IV of a bone-strengthening drug called Zometa once each month.

I'll be meeting with the radiation department to see if there is any radiation necessary. They'll look at my scans to be able to tell if it will be helpful. It should help with the bone pain I've been having.

This is the plan for now, and we'll see if my body responds positively (meaning the cancer growth slows down). For now I don't have to have any chemotherapy. This will only happen if the cancer spreads to any organs (including ovaries--which we're still checking on).

We asked time-wise if I have a lot of years left, and Dr. Buys said it all depends on how well my body responds to the treatments. Worst case would probably be about 2 years of life, and best possibly 4 years. But you never know--maybe by then they'll come up with some new thing to keep managing it and I could live for 10 more years. We'll just have to keep a positive attitude and see how it goes! I'm hoping for the best! --and miracles are always nice!!



Tuesday, November 13, 2007

PET Scan Wednesday at 6 am

I'll be going in for my PET Scan at Huntsman Wednesday morning at 6 am. Bry will be taking me. The test should be finished by 9 am and then we'll be meeting with my oncologist (Dr. Sandra Buys) to hear the results.

The scan was supposed to be on Tuesday morning, but there was a technical difficulty with one of the machines, so we were put off for a day.

Hopefully we'll be posting the results by Wednesday afternoon/evening.

LOVE YOU ALL!! And thanks for all your prayers and support!!