On Beyond Cancer

My life with metastatic breast cancer

Funny Friday #2 November 30, 2012

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Ryan has jokes to share. 🙂 Have a great weekend.

 

Home sick and slight change to treatment plan November 29, 2012

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So Tuesday evening I had a slight fever and really awful chills.  I bundled up in bed and the fever broke overnight, but I decided to go to the doctor Wednesday morning anyway.  When you are on chemo, fever can be a bad sign, sometimes requiring IV antibiotics or even hospitalization because chemo generally kills any rapidly dividing cells, which includes cancer cells but also white blood cells that fight infection. (This is also the reason chemo can cause hair loss and stomach problems because those cells divide rapidly too.)   I had my blood counts checked and my white blood cells are at a normal level, I’m still mildly anemic and have low platelets (the blood cells that help your blood clot).  Bottom line is I have a garden variety virus and the doctor prescribed rest, fluids, and soup.  This is good news compared to what it might have been.  I called in reinforcements at home (thanks Jolene and Cheryl) to help with the kids and got lots of rest yesterday, so I’m doing better today.  I decided to work from home today to avoid spreading my germs and just rest a bit more.

 

While I was at the doctor, she took a look at my hands and said we need to lower my dosage of Xeloda.  My previous checkups with her happened to be scheduled on days when my hands and feet were not so bad, so this was the first time she saw them at their worst.  I told her that it’s hard for me to know when to call her and when to just suck it up.  The last few days I’ve been having trouble opening things (pill bottles, cans of soup, even peeling a banana) and she said that is definitely a sign we need to make a change.  I have been at the highest dose for my size and a modified schedule, one week on, one week off.  She recommended I take an extra week off to allow my hands and feet to heal and then decrease the dose from 4000 mg to 3000 mg per day.  I’m a little nervous making a change to something that’s working, but it would be great to get to the point where we have maximum cancer fighting power and minimum side effects.

 

Just one of those days November 27, 2012

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Today really seemed like it would be one of those days.  My hands and feet are really bad today, it’s my first day back to work after the holiday and I had three meetings scheduled, Mike had a root canal, we are in the throes of a potty training war with Ryan, and its snowing.  Ugh.

 

My hand and foot syndrome, courtesy of Xeloda. For reference, the center of my palm is what color my hands normally are.

But as one of my coworkers used to remind me, it could always be worse.  This morning I was thinking of the new Train song “50 Ways to Say Goodbye.”  (Read the lyrics here, they are pretty funny.)  The lead singer says he wouldn’t admit that his girlfriend left him and instead make up lies about her like:

 

She was caught in a mudslide
Eaten by a lion
Got run over by a crappy purple Scion

 

I have not yet seen a mudslide or “crappy purple  Scion”.  I also haven’t been eaten by a lion.  So maybe my day isn’t so bad…

 

On the home page of Somerset Medical Center November 19, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 4:05 pm

My cancer modeling career continues…last week I saw that we were on the Somerset Medical Center’s blood drive ad, and today I found out that we were on the hospital’s homepage.  Check it out here.  They are also featuring patient videos (including mine) just below the photo.  Yikes!

 

Tumor markers dropped again! Woohoo! November 16, 2012

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My November checkup went well.  My hand and foot syndrome is grade 1/2 which means its annoying but nothing needs to be done about it.  I’ve been having some vivid nightmares so the doctor suggested I take Ativan, an anxiety drug, before bed.  It knocks me out completely, only trouble is grogginess in the morning.  I just have to figure out what time to take it to minimize that.  And the best part, tumor markers dropped another 43 points to 237.  So Xeloda is continuing to work.  Keep your fingers crossed but we are surely heading in the right direction.  I asked the doctor if she would change my dosage if my disease became stable (TM s below 37 and/or clear scans) and she said I would likely continue this dose as long as I could tolerate it. So we will just keep giving cancer the one-two punch.:-)  Have a great weekend everyone.

 

Lots more Disney photos thanks to Sara and Ken November 15, 2012

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Visiting with Mickey!

Here’s one of my favorites, but you can see lots more on Ken’s facebook page here.

I’ll eventually get them all into an album and some of Christmas cards… But enjoy!

 

 

Back from our Florida trip November 12, 2012

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We got back yesterday afternoon from our Florida trip.  It was a fun time.  We had a lovely 3 bedroom home to stay in near Disney and my sister was able to stay with us too, which was great.  It was a bit chilly for Florida weather, so we didn’t have a chance to try out the pool.  We went to Magic Kingdom, Universal Islands of Adventure, and Sea World.  We also went mini-golfing and had two special meals at theme restaurants – T-Rex (with animatronic dinosaurs) and Sharks Underwater Grill (tables right next to the shark tank).  The travel was a bit rough, 12 hours each way since we had connecting flights so we are all pretty tired.  I still need to get all the pictures together, but here are a couple of fun ones.

Ethan meeting Mickey Mouse. Sara got us Fast Passes for this (and many rides) so there was no wait! Awesome!

Ethan pretending to get his hand bitten by a leopard statue. So dramatic!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to For Pete’s Sake for sponsoring the trip!

 

Frankenstorm November 5, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 4:58 pm

Hello everyone.  Just checking in after Hurricane Sandy aka Frankenstorm.  We had a rough week here in NJ.  Our power was out for about 4 days and it got down to 57 degrees in the house.  Fortunately there was little damage to the house; just a few shingles that blew off the roof and of course many tree branches strewn about the yard.  We spent much of last week on basic survival – washing dishes by hand, cooking on the gas stove, and cleaning up the yard.  The kids were a bit nervous about the storm, especially Ryan who kept crying for us to turn the lights on.  We ran a generator for the first few days to keep the refrigerator going and charge our phones.

 

The storm was much worse near the coast.  I hear that the news has been showing lots of pictures of mansions and amusement parks that were destroyed, but there are many working class people who have lost their homes or been displaced.  In my hometown of Keyport, both senior citizen buildings had to be evacuated to the elementary school due to storm damage.  Right next to Keyport is Union Beach – a lower middle class community that had terrible damage.  None of them have vacation homes or reality TV shows.  See a video of Union Beach after Hurricane Sandy here.

 

And of course cancer doesn’t stop when natural disaster hits.  Monday through Wednesday last week were my hand and foot side effect days.  I couldn’t keep ice packs cold so I had to rely more on Naprosyn and my various creams.  I start Xeloda again this Thursday, so last week I tried to reach the pharmacy to refill my prescription and found that their phones were down.  I called another local pharmacy and they told me my pharmacy was actually open, so I was able to go pickup the refill.  I suppose I should have refilled it before the storm started, but sometimes our insurance company won’t refill prescriptions if you still have too many pills left.

 

There were a few positives from the storm.  We got lots of family time.  I played many games of Uno with Ethan, the boys built a fort in the living room out of blankets, and we all worked together to clean up the yard.  After dark we couldn’t do any chores, watch TV, or get on the computer, so Mike and I had lots of time to just sit and talk or get some much needed extra sleep.  It was great to see people helping each other too.  Neighbors got milk for the boys and offered us a hot meal and warm home to visit.  The house next door to us still has no power, so Mike ran an extension cord across the yard so that they could plug in their refrigerator.  Also, trick or treating was too dangerous so one of my friends organized a really fun trunk or treating event for the kids.  Several families met at the school parking lot and passed out candy at their cars.  The kids had a great time.  When life gives you lemons…

Lord Garmadon (from Ninjago) and Optimus Prime at our trunk or treat.