Saturday, December 27, 2014
I made it through my first Christmas without my mom, but no matter how old you are, Christmas is just never the same once both of your parents are gone.
The last few years, after my dad passed away, I always went to church on Christmas Eve with my mom and sister. This year, I went to a family gathering at a cousin's house instead. My sister wasn't able to go because she came down with bronchitis, but I am glad I was able to go. I think it would have been hard being at church that first Christmas Eve without my mom, especially the part of the service where everyone sings Silent Night while holding a candle, I think I would have lost it then. But I think it was good for me to do something that night, and something that was different.
Several of my cousin's and their families were there, some that I hadn't seen in a few years, with the exception of my mom's funeral last month. I had tried taking a nap early that afternoon before I got ready to go, but I just couldn't sleep, and as a result, I tired out after 3 1/2 hours and had to go home. I felt like a party pooper, especially since a few more people were just getting there at that time, but everyone understood.
We had a "green" Christmas, unseasonably warm and the 40's; it rained almost night that night, and I had gotten chilled going out in it just the short time getting in and out of the car of one of my other cousins who gave me a ride home. As bad as I felt about having to leave the party, it did feel good to get into pajamas, and into bed with a book, my heating pad, and the two kitties.
Monday, December 22, 2014
I went to my appointment today with my oncologist feeling so sure that he was going to tell me I had no options left, but he decided to try something that is actually a very old treatment for metastatic breast cancer. It's a male hormone called Halotestin, a form of testosterone. Since my cancer is fueled by estrogen, this will counteract that estrogen. It is not a cure, but hopefully it will slow the cancer down. He also thinks it will help with my platelet count. (Which, by the way, went down again; from 91 last week, to 71 today.)
Some of the side effects include deepening of the voice, and excess hair growth, and possibly nausea. It's actually a drug that is sometimes used by body builders. I have to admit I'm a little nervous about the side effects. I'm also concerned about the possibility of it causing weight gain because of increased appetite, but I will just have to be vigilant about that. And if it improves my blood counts, hopefully, I will have more energy to enable me to increase my workout times and intensity.
I asked him how long I will have to be on it, and he said we'll see how it works, and we'll know in a month if it is. I won't be starting it right away; it has to be sent from a specialty pharmacy, so I will have to wait for them to call me and set up a delivery date, just like when I was on the Afinitor and Aromasin.
I also asked if I still have to blood counts checked every week, and he said I could go to just every other week for that; that will be nice to have a few less appointments per month, and it means that the week after Christmas, I actually will have an appointment-free week.
About my last blog about the patch; a few people suggested cutting it in half, but that cannot be done; in fact, the instructions say that any patch that has been cut or torn cannot be used. I will not be trying it again. I am not comfortable with using it and when I told my doctor about my experience with it, he agreed with me. Please be assured I am getting by just fine with the same oral pain meds I have been taking all along. They don't eliminate the pain, but they do take the edge off. I've been living with this chronic pain for quite a few years, and I am very comfortable with the way I am managing it at this time.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
Rite Aid finally got the pain patch in stock that my PA at the pain clinic wanted me to try, and I picked it up Thursday morning while I was out shopping. My biggest concern was that it would make me feel sleepy, so I thought if I put it on at bedtime, I could sleep through the worst of the side effects. I put it on at 9:30pm Thursday night.
I really didn't notice it making me drowsy or anything. When I got up yesterday morning, I didn't have the usual pain in my legs and shoulders. I did feel light headed though, but at the time, I thought that would gradually wear off as I got use to it. The patch I was prescribed was the lowest dose available, and it's suppose to last 72 hours. As the day wore on though, I just got more lightheaded, and also nauseous. I really tried to tough it out until my body could get use to it, but finally, around 5pm last night, I could not tolerate feeling that way any longer, so I took the patch off.
I really did not feel comfortable with trying to stay on my feet any longer that day, so I went to bed at 6:15pm, read for awhile, and at 7:30pm, I turned off the lamp and went to sleep. I woke up a few times during the night, and got up around 7am, but I think in total, I did get 7-8 hours of good sleep.
I woke up with achy legs this morning, but overall, felt so much better without the nausea and light headedness. After getting up and moving around a bit, and taking my usual pain meds, I'm doing ok today; still have the pain but it is on the milder side today. I decided that I can tolerate the pain much better than the side effects of the patch.
I have some weakness in my legs that is from the cancer, where the bones have been damaged by the bone mets, and nerve damage from the radiation I've had in my left hip. I had noticed yesterday that even though the pain patch relieved that pain, it did not help my legs to feel any stronger. (For those that don't usually read my blog, I have metastatic breast cancer; it is in my bones, liver and lungs.)
I did some research online and found some leg strengthening exercises I can do. They are really for the elderly, and I'm only 51, but I have "old bones" because of the cancer, and I figured they were safe enough for me to do. I tried them out this morning; the whole routine took me 10 minutes, but I really felt it when I was done. I think if I do them regularly, they will help to make my legs stronger. I already have to use a cane when I am outside of my house, but I want to stay walking on my own power as long as possible.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Just checking in to let everyone know I am doing ok, after the news I received on Monday from my oncologist.
I slept surprisingly well Monday night; I think I was just plain exhausted, from the time I had to get up so early Friday morning to drink the first barium shake for the CT scan, then my anxiety over waiting for my report to be posted online, and once I had that report, waiting and wondering until my appointment later that afternoon to hear what my doctor had to say. I just felt kind of like I was running on adrenaline that whole weekend, and that night, my body was finally able to relax and let go.
I've had lots of time to think since then, and I've decided to put my worries and fears into God's hands. Easier said than done at times, but for the most part, I am feeling at peace. I feel like now, I am ready to handle whatever my doctor will tell me on Monday when I see him again, when I will find out how he wants to proceed.
The worst part of all this is knowing how sad this news is making my friends and family feel. There is no "good" time to have to share that kind of news, but it's especially hard so close to Christmas, and with the loss of my mom so recently.
Other than my usual chronic pain issues, and being tired from my blood counts being low, I really don't feel "sick" or anything like that. The mets in the lungs and liver are causing any physical symptoms at this time, so I take that as a good sign.
In the meantime, life goes on as usual, as much as I can make it possible. I got out early this morning for my grocery shopping, before the store got crowded and busy. I like to shop when it's quiet, and with my immune system not up to par right now, it also limits my exposure to people with colds or the flu. I am stocked up enough on the things I need so that I should not have to shop next week for anything.
I want to concentrate my energy next week on getting through Monday with getting my blood counts checked again, and my oncologist appointment. Wednesday evening is a family get together with extended family, and the day before that I am going to make some fudge to bring. If my doctor decides to proceed with chemo, that will be on Friday, the 26th.
I also was able to finally pick up my prescription for my new pain med this morning; I am waiting until close to bedtime tonight to start it; that way, if it makes me sleepy, I can just go to bed. I'm really hoping this one will provide longer lasting pain relief, but without making me too sleepy during the day.
Monday, December 15, 2014
My CT scan that I had on Friday shows that 3 lesions that were on my liver in July have grown a little bit; they are growing slower, but they have grown, and there a few new ones too. The cancer has also now spread to my lungs; those spots are very tiny right now though, and also slow growing.
I wasn't expecting a "clean" scan, especially since I have had to postpone my chemo for over a month now due to the low platelet counts. (Which, by the way, when my CBC was done this morning, rose up to 91 from being 75 last week, a much bigger increase than I was expecting, but still too low to have chemo.) But what was hardest for me to hear, was being told that we may be running out of options with things to try. I knew that someday I would eventually get to that point with this disease, but to me, that "someday" was still quite a ways down the road.
The problem is that my bone marrow is just "worn out" from all the chemo I've had over the years, so that is what is limiting my options when it comes to treatment. He wants some time to do a little more research though, so I am going to go back to see him on Monday and I will found out then how we will proceed from there. If he does decide to continue with the chemo, I will have that the Friday after Christmas.
One of my cousin's was with me today, so at least I was not alone. It was very hard to hold back the tears and not cry until I had left the building. It's going to take me some time for all this to sink in, it still feels like a shock to me.
It's so hard to tell my close friends and my family about this, so soon after losing my mom. I know it's nothing I can control, and it's not my fault, but I can't help but feel that I am letting everyone down.
Get An Email Alert Each Time MOM2ACAT Posts