On Beyond Cancer

My life with metastatic breast cancer

My hair on Halaven August 30, 2013

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Who remembers the 1980s public service announcements for drug prevention where they fried the egg?  This is your brain…this is your brain on drugs.  Haha.  So my hair on Halaven is something like that.

 

You may remember that I decided to get a buzz cut during my second cycle.  Since then, my hair has continued to fall out, but slowly.  Most of the shedding happens a couple of days after an infusion.  At this point I have about 25% of my hair left, distributed quite evenly.  The remaining hair does seem to be growing too, so Mike buzzed it again for me to 1/4 inch. It’s a bit less shocking for the kids since I do have “some” hair still left; better than being bald entirely. I’m also quite thankful to have eyebrows and eyelashes.  Halaven hair loss has been quite different than my previous chemo related hair loss with the Taxotere, Adriamycin, and Cytoxan combo.

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Finished steroids today August 29, 2013

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This morning I took my last dose of an 8 day course of steroids.  The steroids were supposed to help with the swelling and pain in my left hip, but I haven’t really noticed any difference.  The doctor did warn me that they might not work, so I guess this isn’t a huge surprise.  Anyhow, I’m glad to be done with them because they have caused me quite a lot of sleep trouble.  I’ve had problems both falling asleep and staying asleep.  Combining that with the constant, low-level pain in my hip has left me pretty cranky, especially first thing in the morning, or at the end of the day when I’m tired.  Or it could be my ‘roid rage.  Who can tell.

 

I called today to set up physical therapy.  Next Tuesday morning I will have an evaluation and then start therapy which I hope will loosen up the hip & pelvic muscles.  In the meantime, I’m taking tylenol with codeine for the pain.

 

Peppermint & Ginger Comfort Kit August 27, 2013

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Another organization providing items to cancer patients, Peppermint and Ginger Comfort Kits, Inc., focuses on personal hygiene and oral health items.  They sent me this box of goodies.  So far I have been really enjoying the peppermint tea – it is great for mild nausea.  They also included a special alcohol-free mouthwash designed to help prevent mouth sores (listerine type mouthwashes are a bit too harsh).

 

New toys- thanks Nancy and Butch August 24, 2013

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Thanks Cousin Nancy and Butch.  The boys had fun picking out new toys with their gift cards.  Ethan picked an army tank and Ryan got a voice changing transformer helmet.

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Cancer freebies from Sharsharet August 21, 2013

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I recently came across an organization called Sharsharet, that has some excellent resources for women with breast cancer.  The organization has a specific focus on Jewish women, a subset of whom have much higher than average risk for breast cancer, but they provide services to all women.  I spoke with a social worker who asked some basic questions, created a custom packet of information and useful items for us, and then offered to provide over the phone counseling if I needed someone to talk to.  A few days later we received this in the mail:

 

A “busy box” filled with toys, puzzles, and craft items so the kids have something to do when I’m not feeling my best.  Ethan really likes the Lunar Lockout logic game.

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A beautiful children’s book for kids who have a parent with cancer.

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A resource packet with various brochures and DVDs, specifically geared to young women with small children, with pamplets for my mom and husband too.

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A makeup kit that included eyebrow stencils (pretty cool if you need them).

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Chemo today

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Mom is here again this week.  She’s wearing her hooded sweater in solidarity.  Can you tell who’s who? 

Feeling good today.  My hip is still a problem, but I’ve been managing with painkillers once or twice a day.  Tomorrow I start prednisone for a few days.  I talked with Dr. T and she said that while the prednisone is worth a try, odds are good that I’ll need physical therapy.

 

Walk with me on Sept 29 August 19, 2013

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I’ll be walking in the Steeplechase Distance Run/Walk on Sunday, September 29 in Hillsborough, NJ to raise money for Steeplechase Cancer Center where I receive my treatment.  Last year’s walk was a lot of fun.  It’s a 5K walk with options for 5K or 10K run and kids sprints as well.  This year my son Ethan wants to walk the 5K too.  Walkers get a free t-shirt and snacks.  If you would like to join me, register to walk here (scroll down to bottom of the page) and then sign up for my team here.  If you have any trouble registering, please let me know.  If you’d like to make a donation to our team, you can do so here.

 

My mom, me, and my Aunt Cindy after the walk.

My mom, me, and my Aunt Cindy after last year’s walk.

Ethan and Ryan with their medals after the kids sprint.

Ethan and Ryan with their medals after the kids sprint.

 

MRI results in August 15, 2013

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The doctor called this morning with my MRI results.  He said my hip bone looks the same, or maybe a bit better compared to my last scan.  I do definitely have swelling in the muscles around my hip which is causing my pain.  He recommended steroids to decrease the swelling.  I already get a small dose of steroids (Decadron 10mg) with my chemo infusions, so he suggested I wait until after next week’s infusion, then start taking Prednisone (in pill form) the following day for a few days.  If the steroids don’t work, I may just need to stick it out until the swelling goes down on its own.  So watch out for my ‘roid rage next week!

 

Halaven, 3rd cycle August 14, 2013

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Chemo today.  Counts are good.  I had my MRI this morning and we should get the result tomorrow.  Mom is with me today and already one nurse got us mixed up.  Haha.  After the MRI we did a little shopping then had lunch at Crapplebees (intentional misspelling) where I had the worst quesadilla ever.  We are relaxing now, enjoying some snacks and looking at fashion magazines.

 

WordPress Stats August 12, 2013

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A few of the people reading this also have blogs on WordPress, so you’ll already know this, but for everyone else..the site hosting this blog collects various statistics about the blog and how it’s viewed.  It shows the number of visitors and number of clicks on various pages each day and also what search terms people used that led them here, among other things.  So I can check the stats page and know how many people have seen a post (only if they actually go to the site, not just reading the email) even if no one comments.  Not to creep you out or anything, it doesn’t show *who* viewed it, just how many people – just explaining how it works.  Anyway, I see some odd search terms come up now and then.  There is a page that shows all the search terms since the blog was started last year.  And it turns out that the most common search terms have to do with cats wearing socks.  Remember this post?  Yes, that’s right, completely unrelated to cancer.  But I am glad to help provide the world with the picture of an adorable cat wearing socks.  Most of the other search terms have to do with cancer and the various treatments I’ve had.  But there are a few other oddballs like “ninjago anemia”, “woohoo tumor”, and “needle shots on the butt.”  Pretty weird, right?