MOM2ACAT's SparkPeople Blog MOM2ACAT's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community No chemo again this week, and oncologist appointment Chemo was a no go today; my platelets are still too low. Last week before the transfusion, they were at 52. Today they were 87, but my oncologist won't do chemo if they are under 100. So the plan now is just to wait until Wednesday to check my blood counts again, and then if the platelets are up high enough, I'll have chemo then. <BR> <BR> My hair is still shedding; it's not coming out in clumps or anything like that, but it is looking thinner, the time is coming soon when I will have to get... Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:32:34 EST Poem: A Mother's Crown I found this poem online before we met with the pastor to plan my mom's memorial service; I don't know who the author is, but it just fit with who my mom was and how she lived her life. I knew I wasn't feeling strong enough to read it, so a friend in our church congregation read it during the service. <BR> <BR> A Mother’s Crown <BR> <BR> Heaven lit up with a mighty presence, <BR> as the Angels all looked down. <BR> Today the Lord was placing the jewels <BR> Into my mother’s crown. <BR> <BR... Mon, 24 Nov 2014 15:27:32 EST I have not forgotten all of you! I haven't forgotten Spark or my friends here; I've just been busy, worn out and tired and haven't had a chance to do much of anything online. I haven't even had a chance to read my blog comments, Spark page comments or look at my Spark goodies, but I will as soon as I can. <BR> <BR> My mom's funeral was last Wednesday and it was a beautiful service, I think she would have been proud. <BR> <BR> I cancelled my chemo last week, and was supposed to have it today, but when they did my lab work, ... Wed, 19 Nov 2014 18:57:13 EST My mom is gone I'm too tired and overwhelmed right now to go into all the details, and it's been a long night, but I just had to let my Spark friends know. <BR> <BR> My mom died unexpectedly sometime yesterday (Saturday); when she was found in her home, she was already gone, probably from a massive heart attack. <BR> I will post another blog later to explain more. <BR> <BR> I'm going to try, if I can, to get some sleep, because I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow. Sun, 9 Nov 2014 00:54:32 EST Acceptance vs. Giving Up Some background before I start, if you haven't read my blogs before. <BR> I was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2003, I won't go through all the details about my treatment because that is on my Sparkpage. In 2007, it returned, this time to my bones, and it's now stage IV, or metastatic breast cancer. I just found out a few months ago it is starting to spread to my liver too. <BR> <BR> It took me several years to come to a place of acceptance with this disease, it's not something tha... Sat, 8 Nov 2014 13:33:38 EST My week off from chemo so far While I am a bit frustrated that I am still getting tired easily despite my hemoglobin levels being up, today is one of my better days. I had chemo Thursday and the Neulasta shot Friday, and today is the best I have felt since then. <BR> <BR> I was expecting to have some bad bone pain from the Neulasta shot, but it actually turned out to be very mild. I still had my chronic pain in my left hip and left shoulder to deal with, but the Neulasta did not make that any worse. <BR> <BR> I've had a... Thu, 6 Nov 2014 14:28:43 EST The Ups and Downs of My Weekend Before I begin, I want to thank everyone for the supportive comments left on my Spark page and blogs, and the goodies. I want you all to know they are all taken to heart and appreciated! <BR> <BR> Friday night, I ended up taking my nausea and migraine meds at bedtime. Even though I had just had my Neulasta shot that day, I don't think those were side effects of it. I had already had a headache starting that day before I even had the shot, triggered by the change in weather and the front movi... Sun, 2 Nov 2014 12:54:26 EST 2nd Halaven today and 1st Neulasta shot I had the 2nd Halaven chemo yesterday. A bit of good news on the hemoglobin counts; last week after the transfusion it was 10.8; I was hoping it would stay the same, or at least not go down very much. But to my surprise, it actually went up, to 11.3, that made me happy! <BR> <BR> I asked for a prescription for a sleep aid, and they were going to give me Ambien; however, it could not be called in that day because it was one my doctor had to approve first, and he had left early that day. I was... Fri, 31 Oct 2014 17:50:49 EST As ready as I'll ever be................. ..........for my 2nd Halaven chemo tomorrow. Since yesterday, I've tried to make the most of having a couple of days of feeling better while at the same continuing to pace myself so that I do not overdo it. It's not so much the fatigue that is the problem right now, it's being able to stay on my feet with the pain and weakness in my left hip and knee. <BR> <BR> Speaking of which, I did read my hip x-ray report online and there doesn't seem to be anything very helpful in it; it just shows art... Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:30:34 EST Slowly building myself back up As I posted in my last blog, Friday was a bit of a tough day with barely any sleep the night before because of the steroid they gave me with the chemo. I thought I was going to be ready for an early bedtime Friday night, but I did not start feeling sleepy enough to go to bed til around 11pm. I think I fell asleep sometime around midnight, and I slept about 6-7 hours before waking up again. Even though it wasn't a full night of sleep, I felt a lot better Saturday. <BR> <BR> I probably would h... Sun, 26 Oct 2014 14:56:31 EST First Halaven Chemo Yesterday First, I will share some good news. My hemoglobin level before I had the blood transfusion Wednesday was 7.0; when I had my CBC done yesterday, it was up to 10.8, that is a huge improvement for me! My heart rate was down too, Wednesday while I was there, it never went below 100; yesterday, the first reading was 87. <BR> <BR> My good friend Connie drove me yesterday. It had been awhile since we had seen each other, so the time went by quickly while we talked and got caught up. <BR> <BR> The ... Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:20:29 EST Feeling better this morning First of all, I want to thank everyone for the prayers and support! <BR> <BR> It was a long day yesterday getting my blood transfusion, and at the cancer center, they give Benadryl as a premed. It was just a low dose, but I am sensitive to it, so I wasn't feeling very good from that. It made me tired, but at the same time kind of wired too so that I couldn't sleep. I couldn't concentrate much on reading so I watched TV most of the time while I was there. I was kind of bummed about not feelin... Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:52:32 EST No chemo today, hemoglobin too low Once I got the the cancer center, and in the infusion area, my nurse drew my blood for labs and got me started on fluids. It was about an hour wait for the labs to get back, and because my hemoglobin was only 7.0, they could not do my chemo today. <BR> My oncologist was called, and he wants me to have a blood transfusion first, which I will get tomorrow, then I will have my chemo on Thursday instead. <BR> <BR> I'm not really surprised my hemoglobin was low, I was having symptoms of being ane... Tue, 21 Oct 2014 18:12:31 EST Pain clinic appointment My pain clinic appointment went well. I saw the PA there, instead of my regular doctor. He's always been very helpful to talk too. He also worked at one time with my oncologist, so that helps too; he doesn't hesitate to consult him about me if he thinks it's needed, and having a background in oncology, he understands my other health issues rather than just the pain. <BR> <BR> We talked mostly about the ongoing pain in my left hip, which is my biggest issue when it comes to pain. He is going ... Wed, 15 Oct 2014 16:26:52 EST Teaching appointment at the cancer center I had my "teaching" appointment at the cancer center this afternoon, it went fairly quickly. I got to the cancer center with almost 20 minutes to spare, and when I walked in, the nurse practitioner who was doing it was there talking to the receptionist when I walked in, and she took me right back to her office to get started. <BR> <BR> A lot of the stuff we went over I was already familiar with, being the chemo "veteran" that I am. I also found out that I will be getting steroids with this c... Mon, 13 Oct 2014 17:22:56 EST More information on starting chemo Yesterday I received a call from the social worker at the cancer center. I had known her from before, when I had radiation treatments in the past, when they just did the radiation there and not the chemo. She's very good at her job, and very easy to talk to. <BR> <BR> She was looking at my scheduled appointments while she had me on the phone, and I am scheduled to start chemo on Tuesday, the 21st. I'm glad I can wait another week to start the chemo; I think it would have been a little too mu... Thu, 9 Oct 2014 10:14:27 EST One step closer to starting chemo Progress has been made today in getting closer to finally starting the chemo. <BR> Today I had a routine appointment with my internist; when I told him about all the problems I've had with getting a start date for the chemo, he called the cancer center himself during my appointment. Once he found out what was going on, he had one of the nurses wait on the phone while my appointment was scheduled. <BR> <BR> The problem? They were trying to call me at an old phone number I haven't used for ab... Tue, 7 Oct 2014 16:53:17 EST The cancer center finally called yesterday..... .......but I still don't have an appointment. The gal that talked to me on the phone said before I start my chemo, I have to come in for something called "chemo education"; something I don't really see the point of, as I am a "chemo veteran". I went through 6 months of it in 2003 with my first cancer diagnosis, then almost 4 years of various kinds of chemo from the spring of 2010 until the end of 2014. I pretty much know what to expect by now, and what precautions to take (such as staying awa... Sat, 4 Oct 2014 12:13:23 EST Still waiting to start the new chemo It's been almost a month since I was told I was going to have to go back on the I.V. chemo again, and that it would be at a different location than I had been getting it before. I was told then that the cancer center I would be going to would be calling me to set up an appointment to get me started. <BR> <BR> On the 23rd of September, I had my monthly oncologist appointment. When my nurse was giving me my Xgeva injection, she told me that the cancer center was just waiting for my doctor to f... Wed, 1 Oct 2014 16:17:57 EST My mom is home! My mom was released from the hospital around 2:30pm today, she is doing well enough that her doctor felt comfortable with it. He also gave her his cell phone number to call if there is ever any sign of that infection coming back in her leg, if it does, he wants to stop it and hopefully prevent another hospital stay. She was very tired this afternoon but glad to be back home. I expect she will sleep better too. She said her legs already feel stronger. <BR> <BR> Our friends that I blogged abou... Thu, 25 Sep 2014 18:08:26 EST An update on my mom Thank you to all who have been keeping my mom in your prayers. Her lab work is showing that the antibiotics are working, and improving each day. Her doctor is keeping a close watch on her. <BR> <BR> He is not in any hurry to send her home before she is ready though; the earliest she might be going home is tomorrow night, but I am thinking it's more likely to be Thursday or Friday. She's been doing good when they have gotten her up to walk with her walker, but her legs are still feeling a lit... Tue, 23 Sep 2014 17:48:29 EST My mom is in the hospital Since my mom moved into town a little over a year ago, our close family friends Jon, Denise, and their daughter Tara, who live just down the street from her, have been checking in her almost daily. When Tara was there checking on her after getting out of work (they all work at the hospital, and Tara is a health tech), my mom was feeling very weak and shaky. She was having severe diarrhea also, and just before Tara got there, hadn't been able to make it to the bathroom on time, so Tara got her... Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:39:02 EST Struggling with fatigue again I am having a rough time with fatigue issues once again. I'm not sure what is causing it this time; I haven't started the new chemo yet (and still haven't heard yet when I will be starting), and I am no longer taking the Afinitor or Aromasin, so it doesn't seem like my blood counts should be the issue. The last time they were checked, my hemoglobin was at 10, still below normal, but it shouldn't be causing my fatigue to the degree where it is now. <BR> <BR> I'm thinking maybe it might be a t... Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:11:20 EST Starting IV chemo again I went to the clinic this morning to get my monthly lab work done, and got the official word that I will have to start IV chemo again, a drug called Halaven. My treatment cycle will be once per week for two weeks in a row, then a week off. I am waiting on a call from the cancer center to find out when I will be starting. <BR> <BR> The most common side effects are low blood counts, something I have dealt with regularly on the chemo I had in the past, and the oral treatment that I am no longer... Tue, 9 Sep 2014 16:49:47 EST I "reelly" love my new reel mower! UPS delivered my reel mower this morning. It was only partially assembled, which I knew when I ordered it. I just needed to assemble the handle and attach it to the actual mowing part, and the box claimed "no tools required". Sounds like it should be easy, right? <BR> <BR> Not so much for me! I ended up calling a friend for help, and God Bless him, he dropped what he was doing and came right over. My first problem was that I had 2 of the 4 pieces of the handle upside down; once that was fixe... Tue, 2 Sep 2014 16:41:49 EST Ending August on a positive note I'm ending this month on a positive note, and hoping to start the next month on one also. Despite having issues with extreme fatigue the first part of this month, I only missed 2 days of exercise, and ended August with a total of 814 fitness minutes. I am also right on track with my weight, still maintaining my goal weight. <BR> <BR> I even got out for a walk today; I can't go too far or too fast with my hip issues, but the weather was nice this morning, the pollen count wasn't too bad, and ... Sun, 31 Aug 2014 16:06:22 EST Timmy's vet appointment Timmy had his vet appointment this afternoon. After going over his symptoms again and doing a physical, he drew some blood for lab work. I knew he was going to check his thyroid, because we had discussed that before, but because of his age and other symptoms, he decided to check for a few other things too. <BR> <BR> I had about a 20 minute wait for the results of the kidney and liver tests; that is a long wait when you are worried! Timmy was pretty calm while we were waiting. Thankfully, his... Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:28:57 EST Disappointing news from my oncologist, and a sick kitty = STRESS I was feeling a lot better after that last blood transfusion, but over the weekend, my fatigue level increased again. I don't think that it's my hemoglobin dropping again, I'm pretty sure it's from stress this time. <BR> <BR> I won't go into all the details, to avoid making this blog too long, but my 14 year old cat Timmy has been having some health issues which started Thursday; I've been very worried about him; him and Kallie are my babies! Friday night I did not get much sleep because I w... Tue, 26 Aug 2014 18:39:07 EST Had a transfusion Friday, feeling better now! My oncology nurse called me Thursday afternoon, and she was able to arrange a blood transfusion for me. I had that done on Friday. It was a long day at the hospital, but it was worth it, because I am feeling better. <BR> <BR> Yesterday I was able to change the sheets on the bed without feeling like I had to sit down and take a break when I was done, and I got the laundry and a few other things done. The only thing that spoiled my day was a rotten sinus headache; I get them this time of year ... Sun, 17 Aug 2014 14:18:59 EST Dealing with fatigue from anemia and cancer Struggling with worsened fatigue once again. I had my monthly lab work done for my oncologist yesterday, and the results are showing a reason for that fatigue; my hemoglobin level has dropped from 10 a month ago, down to 8.5 yesterday. I can't be sure of the exact cause, but most likely it's because of one my cancer meds; lowered blood counts are one of the possible side effects of the Afinitor I take daily. <BR> <BR> In the past, anytime my hemoglobin would drop to 8.6 or below, my chemo nu... Wed, 13 Aug 2014 16:49:46 EST Change <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I saw this quote on and I thought it was very fitting for Spark People. <BR> <BR> So many people feel overwhelmed at the beginning of a weight loss journey; I know I did when I started mine 8 years ago. Even though I have been at my goal weight for over 6 years now, I look back and I am still amazed with myself that I did it! <BR> <BR> You can be amazing too! You can do this! The time to start making ... Mon, 11 Aug 2014 12:44:54 EST DVD Review: Stronger Seniors with Anne Pringle Burnell Stretch & Strength workout First, a little background information about myself, for those that aren't familiar with my story, so you can understand why I would choose this type of workout. <BR> <BR> I have been living with stage IV breast cancer with mets to the bone and liver. I am not able to do a lot of exercising on my feet because my left hip joint has been damaged by the cancer, and there is some arthritis there as well. Anytime I am walking outside of my house, I use a cane. My first cancer diagnosis was when I... Sun, 3 Aug 2014 13:59:52 EST Bone and CT Scan Results Today was one of those oncologist appointments that was not just a "routine" visit; today he went over the results of the bone and CT scans I had last week. <BR> <BR> The CT scan showed some lesions in my liver, but they are very small, and appear to be slow growing. He is not overly concerned with them at this time. I know from some of the support groups for metastatic breast cancer that I belong to on Facebook that liver mets can be managed and lived with. The lab tests show my liver funct... Tue, 29 Jul 2014 13:17:17 EST Finished another afghan Last night I finished the afghan that I have been working on. I made this one for my sister and will give it to her for Christmas. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> If you look really close, you can see part of Kallie's head in the box behind the chair; it's the box that my last yarn order arrived in the kitties have been enjoying sleeping in there. I didn't notice it myself til after I saw the picture on my computer, lol. They have a c... Sun, 20 Jul 2014 12:53:18 EST Endoscopy results Everything went well with my endoscopy yesterday. Most of my ulcers have healed. I do have a few left yet, but only 10 very small ones. Overall, it was a good report. I have to see my GI doctor again in the office in 3 months. <BR> <BR> I am having some problems with my gastroparesis though. Even though the last time I ate before the endoscopy was at 7pm the night before, I still had some food in my stomach when he did the procedure, so he stressed again the importance of eating very small m... Fri, 18 Jul 2014 17:05:17 EST 14 day exercise streak; successfully completed! Today I completed one of the small goals I set for myself 2 weeks ago; 14 days in a row of exercise! They were all workouts of at least 30 minutes, except for one day, (it was a bad pain day) I only did 25 minutes. <BR> <BR> There were a few days I was tempted to skip it, mainly due to fatigue, but since I had already said in an earlier blog that I was doing it, I didn't want to come back here and say that I didn't complete the streak. This is one example of how blogging helps me, it keeps m... Wed, 16 Jul 2014 15:54:11 EST Today's oncologist appointment; scan time again I had my routine monthly appointment with my oncologist this morning. Well, at least I was expecting it to be "just" routine. Since my tumor markers keep rising, he decided it's time for scans again. I am scheduled for bone and CT scans next week. Actually going through the scans is pretty easy; it's the waiting for the results that is the hard part for me. After having lived with my cancer being stage IV for over 7 years now, that part never gets any easier. <BR> <BR> Other than the tumor m... Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:52:43 EST My 8 Year Spark-versary I just realized this weekend that I passed my 8 year "Spark-versary" on the 3rd of this month. I guess I have been so focused on dealing with my health issues and keeping track of all my medical appointments that the day had just slipped by me unnoticed. <BR> <BR> This isn't going to be a blog with "profound words of wisdom"'; I've already been there and done that on past Sparkversaries. I'm also not going to go into my story of why I am here; you can read that on my Spark page if you are in... Sun, 6 Jul 2014 11:23:37 EST 20 Day Exercise Streak I had to end a 20 days in a row exercise streak yesterday because I had a "sick day". <BR> <BR> Yesterday morning, I woke up with migraine, and nausea. Shortly after taking my thyroid and stomach meds, I ended up throwing up my dinner from the night before. I had an appointment at the pain clinic scheduled for 2pm, but I knew the way I was feeling, I wasn't going to make it, so I called and cancelled it, and got it rescheduled for the 28th (the earliest opening they had,) Then I took my migr... Thu, 3 Jul 2014 15:43:46 EST Eating healthy and summer gatherings With another holiday coming up, for many that means get- togethers with friends and family, which can present a challenge when it comes to healthy eating, especially to those who are just starting their weight loss journey. It's much easier, (for me it is anyway) to manage a healthy diet at home where we are in control of what food we bring into the house, and how it is prepared. Family gatherings and other parties are bit harder when we often don't know what we will be eating until we get th... Sun, 29 Jun 2014 13:39:22 EST First appointment with hematologist I had my long awaited appointment with the hematologist this afternoon. He was running late today, so it was about 45 minutes past my appointment time when he finally got to me, but when he did, he took his time with talking to me. I don't mind so much a longer wait for a doctor if it's because he's giving his full attention to his patients and not trying to rush through to get to the next patient. (And if you regularly read my blogs, you know I always have a book or my Kindle with me.) <BR> ... Wed, 25 Jun 2014 16:03:03 EST Dealing with stomach ulcers Yesterday I had my followup appointment with my gastroenterologist, regarding the results of the tests I've recently had. <BR> <BR> The colonoscopy and small bowel x-rays were normal. It sounds like what was causing my intestinal problems was just a bad flare up of my IBS. <BR> <BR> The endoscopy though showed several ulcers in my stomach; all very small ones, but he is concerned both because there are so many of them, and because they had been bleeding at one point. They were not actively ... Fri, 20 Jun 2014 16:37:38 EST Oncologist appointment today This morning I had my monthly appointment with my oncologist. Since I have been tolerating the Afinitor quite well since he put me back on it last month, just taking it every other day, he has decided now to have me take it 2 days in a row, then a day off. If I continue to tolerate it well, then in another 4 weeks, he will have me go back to taking it daily. <BR> <BR> My hemoglobin level has also improved since last month, going from 9.3 to 10.4. That's still below normal, but a good number ... Tue, 17 Jun 2014 16:00:25 EST Recipe: Greek Egg Lemon Soup This is a new recipe I tried over the weekend; it was very good! <BR> I found this recipe at <BR> <BR> GREEK EGG LEMON SOUP <BR> <BR> 6 cups low sodium chicken broth <BR> 3/4 cup uncooked white rice <BR> 1/2 tsp salt <BR> 1/4 tsp pepper <BR> 1 TBSP cornstarch <BR> 1/4 cup lemon juice <BR> 2 eggs- whisked in small bowl <BR> 8 oz. cooked chicken breast, shredded <BR> thinly sliced scallions (optional garnish) <BR> <BR> In large bowl, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add rice,... Mon, 16 Jun 2014 12:35:32 EST Finished a crochet project I finally finished a project last night, a crocheted lap throw that I had originally intended to give to a friend last Christmas. I started it very early in the year, giving myself more than enough to finish it, but with the extreme fatigue I was having from the chemo (I was on Abraxane at that time), I got out of the habit of working on my crafting while watching TV in the evening, and before I knew it, the year was almost over and I wasn't even close to being finished. <BR> <BR> A few week... Fri, 13 Jun 2014 11:21:00 EST Rhizotomy procedure I had a procedure done on Tuesday called a cervical rhizotomy; <BR> you can read it about it in detail here: <link><BR>n-management/facet-rhizotomy </link> , but I understand a lot of blog readers are busy, so the "condensed version" is that it is using radio frequency to deaden or burn the nerves that are causing pain. I had it done on 3-4 nerves. <BR> <BR> A little background first if you don't usually read my blogs; I have arthritis in some of the fa... Sun, 8 Jun 2014 10:42:28 EST I finally have my hematologist appointment! After waiting almost a month after my oncologist referred me, I finally have an appointment with the hematologist; I was called yesterday. I have my first appointment with him on June 25th; it seems like a long wait, but that is the earliest I could get in. I will be seeing him at the same place where I have had my radiation over the past few years. Instead of just doing radiation, the building has been added on to and remodeled, so they have all their cancer care services in one place now. T... Wed, 4 Jun 2014 12:02:19 EST A calender full of appointments this month This is going to be a busy month for me with medical appointments. Currently, I have 1-2 appointments scheduled per week through the 26th. And no, this is not typical for me, thank goodness! <BR> <BR> This Tuesday, I have my appointment at the pain clinic that I had to cancel last month, because I could not get transportation that day to get there. I will be getting an injection for my neck pain. Thankfully, the pain has not been too bad with having to wait so long this time in between injec... Sun, 1 Jun 2014 14:56:01 EST Made it through another test today Another test done and over with today. Today it was an x-ray series of the small bowel. I don't have any results yet, but the test itself went fine. <BR> <BR> I just thought I'd blog about it today if anyone was wondering how it's done and what it feels like. Just keep in mind that every doctor and hospital has their own way of doing things, so my experience might not be exactly the same if you ever have to go through this or already have had it done. <BR> <BR> There wasn't anything special... Wed, 28 May 2014 17:06:10 EST It's never to late to "bloom"! About 10 years ago, I bought a very small lilac bush. It was a little less than 2 feet tall when I planted it, and it hasn't grown much taller, in height or width, in all that time. It never had any flowers on it. Still, it was living, and it had green leaves on it every year. As long as it was trying, I never had the heart to uproot it, though a few people had said that I should "just get rid of it". It kind of reminded me of Charlie Brown's Christmas tree in a way, LOL. <BR> <BR> It had a... Mon, 26 May 2014 14:03:39 EST