On Beyond Cancer

My life with metastatic breast cancer

Appt with Dr T March 28, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 12:52 pm

My appointment with Dr. T went well this week.  My blood pressure has started to come down to normal and my incisions from surgery are completely healed.  I’ve been on Afinitor for about a week and a half and my only side effects are mild stomach issues and a single mouth sore.  The mouth sore is really only a problem with very salty food.  She said to call if I get any more.  Blood work showed mildly elevated liver enzymes which I had already, so no liver or kidney problems from Afinitor.

My tumor marker is down about 15 points from the beginning of the month.  I don’t know if it means the Afinitor is working already or just that I’ve removed that golf ball sized tumor from my liver.

The cancer on the right side of my pelvis has begun causing some pain.  Earlier this month, Dr T prescribed me Ultram ER, a slow release long acting pain pill which caused the nausea and vomiting requiring an overnight stay at the hospital.  Obviously I won’t be taking that again.  We decided to try a short acting version of the same drug.   I’ve taken it a few times and have had trouble sleeping, but no nausea. Dr T said that at some point I would likely need radiation, but it would be up to me to decide when.  I’m a bit hesitant after the muscle damage I have on my left side.  If the Afinitor works well the bone pain may decrease or go away.  In the meantime, I’ll try to manage it with pain medication.


Handmade gift from a friend March 24, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 8:55 am


My friend Candi is married to one of Mike’s college roommates and they have two kids close to the same age as ours.  We don’t get to see each other often because they live out of state, but we always have a great time when we do.  She happens to be super handy with a sewing machine.  She also does serging and machine embroidery too.  A few weeks ago she asked if she could sew something for me.  I had just gotten a new pair of rain boots so I asked her to make some boot liners.  She got fancy and added a monogram too.  Aren’t they cute?   You can check out her Etsy shop where she sells monogrammed items, SewFlouncy here http://www.etsy.com/shop/SewFlouncy?ref=search_shop_redirect


Catching up March 23, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 5:57 pm

Its been a busy week so I haven’t had much time for blogging.  Thursday I went back to my “job”.  I felt fine and had a productive morning working on insurance payments.  It’s amazing how much work you can get done when you don’t have a wave of nausea every 10 minutes.

Friday I had a followup with my surgeon.  He said that everything looks fine and is healing nicely.  He gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek and said I should call him if I needed him, but that he hoped not to see me again. Not the first doctor who has said that to me. I’ll try not to take it personally.;-)

The boys spent the weekend with my mom and Aunt Amy, so Mike and I had a chance to relax. We slept late, lounged around, did a few errands, and had grownup food (sushi and fondue, not at the same time of course).


Baking bread March 18, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 2:19 pm

I’ve been doing some baking during my retirement.  So far I’ve tried white, Russian black, Swedish rye, rosemary and oregano, country, and Irish brown breads.  I think the rosemary one is a favorite so far.  The Russian black bread was for my grandfather who really likes that particular kind.  I didn’t get a chance to try it, but I think it’s an acquired taste.  I’d really like to make some sourdough bread, but it requires maintaining a “starter” on a weekly basis.  I’m thinking that doesn’t really fit with my lifestyle.  I can just imagine my recent hospital stays, asking someone to get the kids to school, help with homework, take care of the cat, and oh, by the way, can you feed my sourdough starter too?  Haha.  I may just try a “sourdough flavor” I saw online instead.


Country loaves.

irish brown bread

Irish brown bread

white bread

White sandwich bread




Back on Afinitor March 17, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 10:45 am

During the whole nausea/vomiting/surgery thing, I took a break from Afinitor.  Dr T said I could start back on it when I felt ready, so I started yesterday.  She said any side effects could take days to weeks to show (so basically no idea when).


Still a bit tender at my incision sites, but I think by mid-week I’ll be OK to drive and I’m planning to do my volunteering on Thursday.  I’m having trouble sleeping, which means my poor husband is too.  I’m a side sleeper and it’s been too painful to lie on either side – oddly the opposite from the surgery is MORE painful.  Last night I dug out my body pillow I used when I was pregnant so I could lie on my side without as much pressure on my abdomen.  Tonight one of us is taking the couch and I might try an Advil PM.



Feeling much better March 15, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 12:33 pm

Good news to share. Yesterday I was able to switch from narcotics to extra strength Tylenol. That was a relief. 

This morning I had to take off the bandages over the incisions. Laparoscopies are typically closed with dermabond (ingredients suspiciously similar to crazy glue), but mine were covered in steri strips and then gauze held on with a clear tegaderm bandage. Steri strips are basically tiny pieces of tape and if you’ve ever had an abdominal incision like a c-section or even a minor head wound, odds are good youve had them.  Tegaderm is a thin clear waterproof bandage. http://www.3m.com/product/information/Nexcare-Tegaderm-Transparent-Dressing.html Dr S told me to remove the gauze/tegaderm today and to leave the steri strips.  Everything seems to be OK, but I have to say takining the bandage off the belly button is pretty nerve racking. :-O. I see Dr S on Friday for a post surgical followup.

I also left the house for the first time since I got home from the hospital.  Woo hoo!  We took the kids for a Target/Starbucks trip and I picked up supplies to play some St Patrick’s day tricks on them as well as easter basket goodies.


Improving slowly March 13, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 8:15 pm

Just a quick update.  I’ve been feeling a bit better each day, but I am still taking painkillers round the clock and having trouble getting in and out of bed and chairs.  This surgery was quite a bit more difficult than my previous laparoscopic one, probably because of the location.  The first night home I slept on one of those wedge pillows and getting out of bed was really hard.  Last night I was able to use my regular pillow.  I have been using my cane to give myself a boost out of bed.  I also have switched from two pain pills at a time to just one.  My mother in law or mom have been here since I got home from the hospital because we have needed lots of help.  I’ve been taking lots of afternoon naps.  Wednesday a few former coworkers brought lunch and we had a nice time.  Also while the kids haven’t shown me much mercy, they have been especially gentle near me.


Home from the hospital March 11, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 4:04 pm

Just got home from the hospital. I am still in a fair amount of pain, so I’ll be taking Percocet for the next few days. Surgery went well.  I have 4 small incisions and the doctor said he removed a golf ball sized piece of tumor from my liver.  So I think there is much better chance of the DNA testing company to having something to work with.

Since I’m allergic to dermabond, the glue they usually use to close incisions from this type of surgery, the doctor had to use steri strips covered with gauze pads and clear tape.  I have to leave the gauze and tape on for 5 days , but I can get it wet.  I go back to the surgeon for a followup in about a week and a half.

I really want to thank my team of supporters.  My mom spent the night with me with the hospital keeping me company and helping me.  My mother in law took care of the boys and got them back and forth to school.  My friend Cheryl made dinner for Mike and Jolene.  Sonya sent me flowers.  My awesome husband took great care of me as always, including going to the store at the last minute to buy me a special pillow.  Last but not least, thanks to everyone who called, emailed, and texted us with loving wishes and positive thoughts!


Update: Karissa is resting and doing fine March 10, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarakclarke @ 9:21 pm

Karissa wanted me to update the blog to let everyone know she is out of surgery and doing fine.

She has moved from the recovery room to a regular room, and she is talking and doing well.  Initial reports are that the surgeon got a big sample from the tumor to be used in the DNA testing. I’m sure Karissa will be back to blogging soon with all the specifics.

Mike and Mom are at the hospital with Karissa, and Grandma Jolene is keeping the boys well entertained.

Thank you all for your well wishes!




Waiting for surgery

Filed under: Uncategorized — onbeyondcancer @ 12:36 pm

I’m all set for surgery.  Waiting in the same day unit.  All my paperwork is done and my IV has been started.  A nurse from the oncology floor did the IV so I could use my port instead of a vein in my arm.  I am feeling fine, just relaxing.  Surgery is scheduled for 2PM.  I’ll ask Mike or my sister to post an update later.