Give Me A Break

My last blog was 4 months ago.  Time flies and so much has happened since then.

Since my birthday, (which was wonderful), my cancer has been testing my body, mind and soul.

It also has been confusing the hell out of my Doctor.

Yes, the mother of my cancer,  who is well hidden in my body somewhere,  has let her poisonous children out to play hard and has caused havoc to my ribs, back and spine.

In October, I noticed more pain in my ribs.  My appointment in November, I expressed my concerns to Dr. D. and a PET scan was ordered.

My scan was a mixed result.  To summarize, my spine and bony pelvis, including my left iliac bone, is mostly the same or slightly improved since my last PET scan.  The exception is, there is progression on some of my ribs on both sides and my right iliac bone.  There is NO EVIDENCE of disease in any of my organs!

I was relieved that my organs were clear and so was Dr. D., however, she started questioning what kind of cancer do I really have.

Huh?!!

I was diagnosed Estrogen+ AND Her2+.  She reluctantly explained that Her2+ is an aggressive type of cancer that usually spreads to the organs quickly.  I wasn’t happy with this news and stated that maybe my holistic medicine is working, or my cannabis tincture OR prayer!  She still wasn’t convinced.

In the meantime, I noticed a small lump near my implant and had it removed, hoping to have it biopsied to determine, once again, what type of cancer I have.  Unfortunately it was scar tissue and could not be tested.

Since I showed progression in my ribs, Dr. D. decided to change up my treatment.  We MUST try to trick this dam poison because it is sneaky.

My new estrogen positive medicine was changed from an oral pill Letrazole to Faslodex, which is an injection administered monthly at the doctors office.

Faslodex is: (chemical name: fulvestrant), a type of hormonal therapy medicine used to treat postmenopausal women diagnosed with advanced-stage hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer in two situations: if the cancer failed to respond, or stopped responding to another hormonal therapy.

Breast cells need the hormone estrogen in order to grow. Faslodex works by blocking the effect of estrogen, slowing tumor cell growth.  Estrogen, I do miss you but unfortunately you’re helping to kill me.

I’m not a fan of Faslodex.

Since I have been on it, I have had bone pain, back pain, muscle pain and my arms twitch and spasm at night.

I’m always questioning, is it my medicine, or is it my cancer spreading?

I was very frustrated not knowing if I was Her2+ or Her2-. Was I on the right treatment?  Her2 positive and negative are treated differently.

I finally asked my doctor to schedule a second opinion at Dana Farber in Boston.  She was glad to do this and probably relieved to hear what they had to say about my predicament.

In January, my husband and I ventured into Boston to Dana Farber for a consultation.  What an impressive hospital!  I was very excited and hoping to finally get answers.

After going through the usual routine of weigh in and blood pressure, I was introduced to Dr. P.

Dr. P sat down with us and said after reviewing my files, I am unique (this I already knew!).  He then went on to explain that half my tests show I have Her2+ (at the low end of the scale), and the other tests show Her2-.  My husband asked the doctor a hypothetical question. Out of 100 cancer patients,  what percentage would be in the same situation as me?  He didn’t answer right away and my husband said less than 10%, which he replied yes, but much less.

The conclusion from my visit was to keep doing what Dr. D has recommended.  Have another PET scan in another month to see if there is progression and if so, have a biopsy done to get a better idea of my Her2 status.

I was also glad to hear how well respected Dr. D is at Dana Farber.  I am truly lucky and thankful to have her as my doctor.  I do have to mention that I love the staff at my hospital.  What a kind and compassionate group of people they are.  God bless them for all they do!

Since I have complained about my back hurting Dr. D. scheduled a MRI on my spine. Within an hour after my MRI, she called me and it wasn’t good news.

The poison had spread into my spine.  Most of the new activity is in my Thoracic area.

The thoracic spine refers to the upper- and middle-back. It joins the cervical spine and extends down about five inches past the bottom of the shoulder blades, where it connects with the lumbar spine.

Dr. D explained that I would need radiation immediately. I knew this was serious but was relieved that she was expediting a treatment fast. My MRI was on Thursday and the following day, I was at radiology with Dr. F and at my first radiation treatment.

My radiologist, Dr. F is a very kind and humorous man.  I am very comfortable with him.  He was my doctor when I had radiation on my hip and is familiar with my medical history and my concerns.  He knows that I adamantly do not want radiation damaging my organs.  If you have read my past blogs, I stopped radiation earlier on my hip because it was hitting my stomach.  Luckily quitting early on my radiation treatment did not affect my hip from healing and I am still walking well.

For my spine, he has scheduled 18 sessions of radiation which will be done 5 days a week (Monday-Friday).  As he explained to me, he will be using less radiation strength daily to protect my esophagus from getting sore and having me quit earlier.  I am looking forward to radiation relieving my pain.

Honestly, these past few months have been tough.  Pain sucks.  It sucks the energy right out of you.  I struggle getting up in the morning for work; come home exhausted and plop into my recliner.  My back pain turns to muscle spasms at night and I cannot sleep.  Thankfully my son found me some cannabis that helps me sleep.

I have cried and struggled with prayers.  I am unsociable and avoiding people and places due to my pain and also my paranoia of getting the flu! The struggle is real.  Fear is too.

I’m humble and grateful for my husband, family, friends and co-workers here for me. I am thankful for the cards, the instant messaging or texts you send to me.  Thank you to those who stop by my office to say hello. Our lunch dates.  The surprise packages sent to me with a beautiful gift inside.  Most importantly, thank you for the prayers. As the saying goes one kind word can change someone’s entire day.

Til next time.

“Let all that you do be done in love.”  1 Corinthians 16:14

 

4 thoughts on “Give Me A Break”

  1. Judy I’m sorry to hear of everything your going through and to let you know I think of you often. You are an amazing strong person and such a fighter. You are an inspiration to others to never give up on anything no matter what issues they have. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers and that if there is anything I can do for you please just let me know, I can be there any time.

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