2007 Breast Cancer 3 Day

Friday, October 02, 2009

Time to Talk Ta-Tas

I can't believe March was the last time I updated this blog. I guess, if you think about it, the lack of activity on this blog is really a GOOD thing. Life goes on after cancer.

As you know it is October--Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Have you had your mammogram this year? Did you do a self exam this month? Have you even thought about your "girls" lately? If not, you really should. Those "girls" make your shirts looks nice, can feed your children and let's face it--we couldn't wait to get them when we were little. We should be taking better care of them!!

I am quickly approaching my 4 year cancer anniversary. Can you believe it's been 4 years since I was diagnosed? I can't. I'm already thinking about next year though. The 5 year mark. That's the big one. If you make it to 5 years without recurrence the medical industry jumps for joy. I know I'll be jumping too. In fact, to celebrate the occasion next year I am planning on walking the Komen 3Day again. I wasn't fully prepared when I did it in 2007. I wasn't as strong as I needed to be post-treatment. I said then that I wanted to walk it again in 2010 to mark my 5 years. I haven't decided which walk I will join, but I'm leaning towards the Chicago walk in August. I'm so excited about it. Yes, it's a long way off, but I'm ready for it. The training, the fundraising, the anticipation...it's all so exciting. Stay tuned for details.

As far as my health...great. We finally have me on a medication that works for me. The Fareston is working without noticeable side effects. I'm probably feeling the best I have since diagnosis. I'm losing weight and have been running 2 miles almost every day. I'm due for a check up in a few months, but I don't anticipate it to amount to much.

So girls, go get your ta-tas checked. It's not the most enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, but you're worth it.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Haven't I Said This All Before?

Yesterday I went to see Dr. H. He is about as pleasant as a rock. I know I have complained about him before, but I feel like medically he is fine. It is his bedside manner that is lacking. I always come away feeling like the bad guy--like I've been scolded by a parent. I'm debating on changing doctors.

As far as the update, well life is pretty much the same. I am now taking toremifine (brand name: Fareston). I have been on it about 3 weeks and so far I'm handling it ok. I do have a few of the same symptoms: tightness in my hands, body aches, lethargy. All of these symptoms are manageable right now though.

I asked the doctor what would be the plan if this medication doesn't work for me, and basically there isn't one. I'm down to the wire. There aren't other drugs (with proven results) that I can take. He actually said he would be scared for me not to be on any medication. Boy, that is comforting. So it all comes down to this little pill.

Oh and my bone scan was perfectly clean--Yay, no mets!!

So I'm not sure how I'm feeling about all of this. I don't like being on this medication, but if the side effects are tolerable I don't really have a choice. As always, I'll keep you posted as developments arise!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Super Metabolizer Bites the Dust

When I last left you in this saga the doctor had put me back on Tamoxifen. My other drugs were not cooperating and were giving me some extreme side effects. I had also had some lab work done to determine if I had enough of a particular enzyme which is required to break down Tamoxifen properly. Those test results revealed that I am what the doctor calls a "super metabolizer". This means that I process Tamoxifen wonderfully and am getting the full potential of this drug in preventing recurrence.

Fast forward to the last couple of months. I have been having the same horrible side effects on Tamoxifen. Fatigue....fatigue...fatigue. Did I mention fatigue? Debilitating bone pain. Every part of my body hurts. I decided to conduct a little experiment to see if it really was the meds. I went off of it for 3 weeks and my symptoms disappeared. I went back on it and within 3 weeks they were all back. BINGO! We have a winner. So I stopped taking Tamoxifen and called my doctor to make an appointment.

I saw his nurse practitioner on Wednesday. I explained my situation and she ended up calling my doctor at home to ask what to do. Now my doctor as I've said before is BIG into "the latest research". I guess this is a good thing, but it makes me feel a little bit like a guinea pig. He said that because I am a super metabolizer I am probably having more side effects because I break down the medicine TOO WELL. I just can't seem to catch a break. Apparently there is a new study...blah...blah...blah that said that the drug Toremifine has the same success results as Tamoxifen. He wants me to try it. Here is the fun part--it's not widely used in the U.S.. Tamoxifen is the drug of choice. The nurse practitioner told me that my pharmacy would not have it in stock and would have to order it. I'm not sure why this bothers me, but it does. And sure enough my local pharmacy doesn't carry it. In fact they have to send it to their national pharmacy in Florida to fill it. Then they will mail it to me. Who knows if it's covered by insurance?! All to take a handful of pills that may or may not work for me. I'm not optimistic.

So the medicine saga continues. I'm running out of options though. The next option is no meds which is scary. I had resolved myself to accept that fate this week, but we're going to try this one last pill. I'm to the point now where it really comes down to quality of life versus quantity. While I am certainly not planning on leaving this earth anytime soon, I want to be able to enjoy the time I have left here. Pain free. Not fatigued. I've gained 10 pounds in the last 4 months. That is unacceptable. Weight gain is a side effect, but when you hurt and are too tired to move the pounds find you quickly.

I am also waiting for an appointment for a bone scan. I haven't been scanned since we left Houston in 2006. I have one spot in my spine that is bothering me still even after being off my meds for weeks now. I'm not worried about it though. Frankly I think I'm just getting old, but my doctor wants to scan me just in case.

I'll let you know how the new meds are doing and the results of the scan when we know them. In the meantime...

Look up in the sky! It's a bird, it's a plane, it's.....Super Metabolizer! Coming to fight cancer in your neighborhood soon!