On Beyond Cancer

My life with metastatic breast cancer

A busy month February 28, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 9:39 pm
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I feel like I haven’t had much time for the blog lately; it’s been a busy month.  We had a Valentine’s day dance party where we took turns with our dance game.  We were really surprised at how well the kids did with following along with the choreography.   My aunt, uncle, and cousins came to visit that weekend too. We had a full house but lots of fun.  My boys really enjoyed playing with my cousin’s 2 kids and I got to meet my sweet little second cousin Parker Joseph.  Ethan also had his first sleepover this month.  One of his friends spent the night with us.  The boys had so much fun and I could hear them chattering away for about a half hour before they fell asleep.  So cute.

I’ve been struggling a bit this month with fatigue and sore swollen feet.  I see the doctor again next week so I’m definitely going to talk to her about the fatigue.  She told me before that it’s likely being caused by anemia and the cancer itself and probably wouldn’t be helped by B12 or iron.  I know there are a few drugs to treat anemia but they have some serious possible side effects.  But maybe changing the timing of my medications, something in my diet, etc could help.  We’ll see.  Let me know if you have a suggestion…

 

Study on rates of metastatic breast cancer in young women

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 12:41 pm
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A new study out yesterday about the increase in metastatic breast cancer among young women:

The number of American women ages 25 to 39 diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer — which has already spread to other organs by the time it’s found — rose about 3.6% a year from 2000 to 2009, according to a study in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

And the question that’s constantly on my mind, what’s the cause?:

Many doctors suspect that breast cancer in young women is a very different disease than in older women, perhaps caused by different risk factors, says Patricia Ganz, who specializes in treating breast cancer in young women at the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California-Los Angeles.

Ganz notes that women are at increased risk of breast cancer for five years after giving birth. The huge hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy could fuel some of these cancers.

Women who have their first child after age 35 have a higher risk of breast cancer than if they had never given birth, research shows.

Click here to read a news article summarizing the research study.

 

Tumor markers decreased 33 pts February 7, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 9:54 pm
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Blood test results are in.  My tumor markers dropped about 33 points, from 146 to 113!  They are now lower than they were in April 2012 when I was diagnosed with mets, which is pretty cool.  Here’s a graph showing my CA 27.29 levels over time.  (Click on it to see a larger version.) This is from my electronic medical record’s patient portal.  Yes, I’m a nerd, I can’t help it.  Dates are along the bottom (x axis), from 2010 to 2013.  Normal levels (for patients without cancer) for this test are 35 or less.  You can see that the high point was in September 2012 (340) when I started Xeloda.

Chart showing my CA 27.29 levels.  Today's result is on the far right.

Chart showing my CA 27.29 levels. Today’s result is on the far right.

 

February doctor’s appointment

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 4:17 pm
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I had my monthly checkup yesterday with the oncologist. Fatigue and mild anemia are an ongoing thing, and as expected blood tests showed the anemia.  My feet were pretty sore and swollen last week, but my hands have been OK.  I also developed mouth sores with this last cycle of Xeloda.  It seems like after my week break in December my body was able to reset, but the toxicity builds up slowly with each cycle.  My doctor recommended not making any changes to the treatment plan and gave me a prescription for lidocaine viscous for the mouth sores.  It’s the consistency of molasses, clear in color, with an odd chemical cherry flavor.  It numbs the sores quickly – sort of like getting novocaine at the dentist.  So far I’ve used it mostly at mealtimes to make eating a bit easier.

 

Tumor markers should be in late tonight or early tomorrow.  Last month’s markers showed a slower decrease, probably because I took a week break and lowered my dosage, so I’m interested to see if this month shows a more substantial decrease.

 

My weight hasn’t changed much, so I’ll be keeping an eye on that.  I’m a bit frustrated that my energy levels don’t let me exercise as often as I’d like.  I’m just going to keep at it, whenever I can.  The boys have been challenging me on the dance video game.  They are really into the score and achievements, so they  say things like “c’mon mom do another song so we can get to level 5!”.  My little helpers.  🙂