Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Here we go again!

Yes, I had my first dose of carboplatin this morning.  It will become a regular thing - every week for three weeks, then one week off, then start over.  Here I am, waiting for all the orders to get sorted out so I can have my infusion, which takes about 30 minutes.  It's a far cry from the six hours or so I spent in the chair when I did my first chemo treatments.  Rick and Christine sat with me...I'm never ever alone for chemo thanks to the loving support of my family.

 Nothing slows her down!

My blood counts were a little screwy today - both white and red counts were low and I'm officially anemic plus my protein level was low.  It does explain why the energizer bunny isn't feeling very energized.  More beef! 

And I got a copy of the PET/CT scan report...ick.  I have to say it was uglier than I expected.  Carboplatin needs to harness this beast. 

On a more pleasant note, we had a fabulous Christmas with our whole family.  Every year, anyone spending the night wherever I do, gets new jammies from Santa Jammy.  I usually buy for everyone (including myself) but this year I was told that someone else was taking care of my Santa Jammy.  And someone did...

Photo: She's like a deranged Easter Bunny.  She's a pink nightmare!  

Hope your Christmas had as many laughs as ours did.  Merry Christmas everyone!!!

Yes, indeed!  Remember Ralphie in the "deranged Easter bunny" suit in A Christmas Story?  Yup, you got it.  They had me walk down to the landing overlooking the living room, and the tv had been queued to the same scene in the movie where Ralphie, looking pathetic, agrees that he wants to take it off.  We all laughed so hard we were in tears. 

If laughter cures, I should be seeing a Christmas miracle!

Monday, December 24, 2012

It's Christmas Eve...

and I want to wish all of my family, friends and supporters a joyous Christmas filled with family, fun, food, and all the things that make the season special for you.

We are heading to Paul and Christine's for a family Christmas Eve celebration.  Then we'll spend the night so we are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the Christmas morning gift opening extravaganza.  If we are lucky, the grandkids will abide by their mom's "command" that they stay in bed until 6 a.m.  If it happens, it will be a Christmas miracle!

A little update on me...I had a PET/CT scan on 12/19 and it lit up like a Christmas Tree.  My oncologist said that carboplatin needs to be the Grinch that puts out the lights on that unwelcome tree.  Chemo starts early on 12/26 - we have to be there at 8:15 a.m.  And there will be three weekly treatments followed by one week off.  Rinse and Repeat.   My port site has healed  nicely so no more troublesome blood draws from uncooperative veins.  I am currently scheduled for a brain MRI on 1/22 to check the status of the brain mets.  Hopefully, they are gone.  If there are any remnants, the Radiation Oncologist may zap them indivually.  I'm not having any symptoms, so hopefully they are gone.  Also, carboplatin may cross the blood brain barrier, so it may help, too.

Thanks to everyone for your support, prayers, love, meals, cards, emails and gifts during this year.  It's been hard on everyone, mostly on my husband and kids, and we're hoping for some relief in 2013.  But I couldn't have gotten through it all without the support of all of you. 

Merry Christmas to all!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

We have a new plan...

and I will start carboplatin only on December 26th.  I saw my oncologist this morning and I was reminded why I like her so much.  She is flexible, smart and personable.   I am doing just carboplatin because single agents are the standard for metastatic breast cancer.  And it makes sense - if you do a combo and you have progression, you don't know which drug failed.  So I'll be doing carbo once a week for three weeks, one week off, rinse and repeat.  Because I will receive smaller doses at a time, it should be quite tolerable.  We'll do tumor markers at the beginning of each new cycle, and I'll have a PET/CT scan every three months unless there is a rise in tumor markers.  I'm also having a new baseline PET/CT on December 21.  If I can coordinate it with my Radiation Oncologist, I'm hoping to have a brain MRI on the same day. 

Carboplatin passes the blood/brain barrier, so that's another good reason to use it this time.  And back in May, there was a clinical trial using carboplatin and generic actos.  So we are going to add the actos to the mix and I'll stay on it to see if it helps.  This drug just got a black box warning from the FDA stating that it can cause bladder cancer if you use it for more than a year, so we'll pay attention to the length of time I use this drug.  If 11 more months come along and I'm still doing this protocol, we'll probably have to skip the actos.  But then, this would be really good news and I'd probably be in regression.  We'll cross that bridge when we get there.

I also visited my surgeon and I'm now scheduled to have the port placed next Monday morning.  It was good to hear my Dana Farber nurse tell me how much confidence she has in this particular surgeon.  I know a lot of people who have ports placed and have trouble with them, but my first one never bothered me for a second.  Unfortunately, she can't put it in the same vein so she'll have to tip my head back to get at another vein.  I'll be out - who cares?

So now I can plan the next few months including a trip to Florida, probably in February, to visit our friends who will be soaking up the sunshine.  I'm sure I'll be ready for some sun and warmth by then. 
And more importantly, I can enjoy Christmas with my family and friends!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

December is going to be a busy month!

Yes, indeed it is.  I have an appointment with Dr. Walsh at Dana Farber in Londonderry on Dec. 12th at 8:30 a.m.  Then I am meeting with Dr. Looseman in Derry at 10:30 to make a date for a new port (she's going to remind me that she suggested I leave it in a while for luck).  I'll have that surgery as soon as practical.  I have an appointment with Dr. Zhou, the radiation oncologist, in Londonderry on Dec. 19.  She has recommended I have a brain mri sometime at the end of the month.  I'll probably start chemo - carboplatin and Gemzar - in the next few weeks.  I'm going to lobby for right after Christmas but will defer to Dr. Walsh's opinion on this.  I think she'll say it's ok, it won't make that much of a difference.

And then there is Christmas...the tree is arriving today from Weirs Tree Farm in Colebrook, NH.  The plan had been to drive up there with our friends Ann and Jack, spend the night in a nice hotel and cut the tree ourselves the following day.  But when the brain mets made their appearance, I decided to just order the tree and have it shipped.  I'm sure it will be beautiful, as every tree we've had from Weirs has been.  Allison and her roommate Joe are coming Thursday evening to "deck the Halls"!

Christmas shopping has begun - mostly online from Amazon.  I love online shopping as it doesn't test my endurance and it's weather-proof!  On the other hand, a little walking around is good for me.  Yesterday I spent a couple hours actually shopping.  It was time for some holiday area rugs, a few new ornaments, and a few gifts. 

And this Friday night, we have tickets to see Mummenschanz in Boston.  This show has been around forever and a tv commercial caught Rick's eye.  So he went online, bought tickets, made dinner reservations and we have a date. 

And oh, before I forget...remember that cute wig that I got just before Thanksgiving? I told the stylist that I had a small noggin but she insisted that I measured as "average."  Well, when my hair fell out, that wig was way too big.  So I met with her again this week and I now have a completely different style...brunette, straighter, and the only choice she had for me.  Not what I really wanted but it was 40% off and she is able to return the other one.  She had a whole new line of wigs that arrived that day, but not a single small wig.  And the catalog had one - a long bob with bangs.  Ummm, nope.  I'll post a picture after I fully recover from the nasty sinus infection I've been battling for more than a week.  I'm feeling quite a bit better and I actually slept until 7 this morning.  Antibiotics rock!  Cough med with codeine rocks even!  Better living through pharmaceuticals is my new mantra!