Tuesday, January 7, 2020

New Chemo Update

Sorry I’ve been so lax with my reports, but between all that’s going on plus the holidays I just didn’t take the time.
Think I left off with Doxil. I had three rounds and then another PET scan. More bad news. The cancer has metastasized slightly into the liver and right breast. I’d say Doxil was a complete failure.
This time frame brings us to the second week of December. Tracy surprised me with a trip to St. Lucia for a combo birthday and Christmas present!  The doctor said great...go! But...I want you to take a maintenance drug. So I started the same day with one called Letrozole. After 6 days, I knew something was wrong with me..I was irritable, impatient, unhappy and on top of all the personality changes, lost all my energy. I called the office, told them I was stopping the drug as I wasn’t about to go on a trip with the screaming memmies. They called back with another one to try two days before we left. We looked it up and it was far worse than Letrozole. So I said no. They were not happy.
At any rate, we left, had a wonderful trip, but some strange things began to happen. Swollen feet. And all my summer clothes I had tried on the week before no longer fit. By the time we got back on the second, I was so filled with fluid I looked pregnant. I had shortness of breath, back aches and couldn’t eat but tiny amount without feeling ill.
I called the doctor and he made an appointment today for me to have an abdominal tap. They removed 10 1/2 pounds of fluid!  All because I didn’t take the maintenance drug. But what would have been the point of being sick the entire two weeks I was away? At any rate, it was a delightful trip, the fluid is out and a new chemo procedure begins a Friday.
This time they are giving me a combination of Avastin and Gemzar. One is chemo, the other boosts your immune system. It’s timing is complicated and I’ll let you know what side effects I have.
One other thing, which disturbed both my daughter and I is that last Friday I had my mammogram appointment. They said the results were the same as other years. I said, that can’t be, the PET scan showed some invasion of cancer. So they asked to see the scan and I dropped it off the same afternoon. We should have the comparison results tomorrow. It’s upsetting to both of us that this did NOT show up in the mammogram and I even asked for a diagnostic mammogram plus ultrasound.

I’m sorry this is such a downer report starting out the new year, but am hoping and praying that one of these combos works. We are debating another opinion, but I hate to tell you many doctors feel it’s a waste of time to deal with someone my age. I’m sure we won’t be sent to anyone who feels that way, but we are discussing this with my internist tomorrow morning.

Poor Tracy, having to put up with all this when she should be back in NYC. I’m hoping the chemo goes well so she can leave Sunday. She’s my brick, my caretaker and my listener. I love her dearly.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The New Chemo

It’s been a while since I gave you an update. I’m afraid the news isn’t as good as I hoped. My CA125 test took a 13 point jump which pretty much means the chemo combination is not doing it’s work. So on Friday they are starting me on another, Doxil. This one is every 28 days instead of every 21.

However, before I get it, I have to have a Muga scan, which makes certain all is right with my heart, as this drug could cause problems.

Those of you with heart problems will know all about this, but for those who don’t, here’s what happens during a Muga scan: They inserted an IV line and withdrew some blood. I waited for 20 minutes while they took my blood and mixed it with a radioactive isotope ( sodium pertechnetate Tc 99m for those who care) and then reinjected it.

Took me to one of those rooms containing something similar to the PET or MRI machines, attached 4 electrodes to my chest and, after I told him my left arm can’t stay over my head, put the same elastic thing they used before to keep my arms next to my body. ( My left shoulder was injured years ago and movement in certain directions.....i.e. over my head ....is impossible) The scan took about 15 minutes or so. Then he moved the machine so it was over left side and told me I had to lift my arms over my head for another 15 minutes. My left shoulder was in excruciating pain for the entire thing, shaking even. Told him I don’t know how they got any decent pictures when I was shaking so hard, but he said it was OK. They removed the IV and that was it.

Thursday afternoon I got a call and all is well with my heart because we are to start Doxil tomorrow.

1st day:

Once again Jeni, the chemo nurse, started with Zofron for nausea, then Benadryl, then the Doxil, which is bright red. (She warned me my urine might be red.) It only took 2 1/2 hours. For the first time the Benadryl made me sleepy. I actually fell asleep for half hour or so. (On the other hand, I had two very early mornings in a row AND a lot of stress.) I took an hour nap this afternoon. Unusual. Also, a few light hot flashes, that's all. Then I was hit with an allergy attack, a pretty bad one. I found some old sinus nightime, took them when I went to bed and when I woke up I was fine.

2nd day:
Felt pretty good, took a walk, did errands (with mask on), went to the grocery store with Tracy as son David is coming for dinner. The day and evening went well, felt fine.

3rd day:
Started out well, we're considering a beach day. The next three days are usually the worst, but so far, so good. Tracy said she heard the nurse say this drug kills everything. I must have been asleep as I didn't hear that.

Will report again after the the next chemo.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Last Chemo

Well, the 6 chemo series is over. So the PET scan is next. In the event you don't know anything about it, here's the description of what happened to me.

PET stands for positron emission tomography.
No exercise for 24 hours in advance, only heavy protein meat and a veg after 3 PM. Hydrate in the morning, no food.
After going through all the insurance rigmarole, a young woman took me too a small room with a barco lounger. She pricked my finger to test blood sugar, then asked me questions about why I was there. She then explained what would happen. She found a vein and injected me with a radiotracer. Exactly: F18 (that is radiation level) Fludeoxyglycose or FDG.
She then left me in the room (turned off lights) for 1 hour. No reading, no moving, no phone. This radioactive dye detects activity inside the body at cellular level. Appearance of organs and tissue, and how they are functioning.
After an hour, she took me to loo, told me to remove bra if it had wire, but all other clothes left on.
The machine looks like an MRI, but is only used for this. Because of my bad shoulder, I knew I couldn’t lie there without moving for 30 minuteswith my arms over my head, so she had an elastic band and she strapped my arms to my sides. It was comfortable.
The machine takes you out and in for the next 30 minutes. From eyes down, but I doubt the legs, didn’t look.
When I left, all she said was “I hope I don’t see you again”.

My appointment with the gyn/oncologist was yesterday. Unfortunately, the scan found three tiny little things that were partially calcified, but still were bad. that plus the fact that my CA 125 blood marker did not get below 40. It needs to be in the mid 30's. And so, in two weeks, I have to start a series of 3 chemos, same stuff as last time, Taxol and Carboplatin. I'm not happy about this, but the doctor seems to think these last three will take care of things and he will then put me on a pill for maintanence.

I won't write another of these updates unless something unusual happens, or at the end of the chemo when I assume there will be another PET scan.
Not a happy girl right now, but reconsiled.