Chemo #4

Yesterday was Chemo 4 in the second series of chemos (the first was done last year.  For a full chemo day — Taxol, Avastin, and Zometa, it went     swimmingly. To say I am pleased with the choice of meds is an understatement. The Taxol is well-tolerated by my system and I love the effects of the Avastin. The idea that no blood vessels are growing to my collection of tumors (which are shrinking rapidly all over) is just too cool for words. Yep, I’m a bit fatigued and the bloodwork looks exactly like it should for being on chemo but it isn’ bad at all. It’s checked before I’m approved for the chemotherapy, and the doc signs off on it.

Speaking of the doc — we got in yesterday to discover that Flash has moved on to a better position in a nearby city with the same outfit, Cancer Care Associates. When I saw him two weeks ago, I had a funny feeling change was in the wind — and Zarkov (husband) figured him for a short-timer here when we first met him in April 2009. NP Deb (our nurse practitioner) was left with the onerous task of telling all the clients, but we already had a feeling about it so weren’t a bit surprised. We’re happy for Flash and we know he’ll just do better work in a larger environment. A new onc is lined up for here, he’s expected in December, meanwhile our cases will be handled by Deb (couldn’t ask for better — she literally started this clinic 18 years ago and has just amazed me with what she does), and another doc that will be coming in to handle us “Thursday regulars”  until the new guy arrives. I’m basically on autopilot with my therapy as is Hubby, who just comes in for port flushes and occassional retests to make sure he’s still clear of his cancer.  Should the bloodwork go south, she’ll know what can be done to bring it back, but so far, we’re in business. My hair is starting to thin (right on schedule) and probably within two weeks it will all be out again. This time however, I’m ready with my wig collection which I’ve been wearing right along.

Ming, as I’ve written before, is there for me too, and the new bed he’s proscribed is working well. That, and shutting out the cats from the bedroom has improved our rest considerably. Hubby has a new recliner he’s happy with that he’s using as a sleep station right next to my bed so it all adds to the overall feeling of comfort and security, very important when you’re healing. I am taking five minute sunbaths between 8 and 9 am as well on our back porch to help my Vitamin D and have added more Vits to my programs, all of which seems to be helping my energy level. Breathing is good, there’s a lot of air in my lungs, I have a feeling the daily Advair is working well to help keep those airways open. That is another product I cannot say enough good things about. It is not a short-term inhaler, for that need I have another product called Pro-AIR HFA, which I always keep in my purse. I have lived with asthma and bronchial asthma (acute mostly) and allergies nearly my whole life, long before the cancer, and those don’t go away once you get cancer. You have them to monitor as well. That is something people seem to forget, same is true for High Blood Pressure (which at 61 I also am on meds for), and Diabetes (which hubby suffers from).

Some other very cool news in product, NP Deb and Flash have created some nice lotions for cancer patients that are currently in beta test. We took some home yesterday — my poor skin just dried out and discolored when Ming had finished his radiation, that happens sometimes, and I’m pleased to report that within an hour or so of spreading this lotion on the dry portion, it had regained quite a bit of texture. I was really pleased and plan on using it on all my spots today, I’ll test for a week then give her a full report. I can’t wait until that and her lip balms hit market. I’ll post the url here when I get it. A lot of products are out there, but none really for 100 percent cancer care. This is a very good thing.

In related news, my BRAC analysis is back — no mutations were detected or genetic variant, favor polymorphism. So the BRAC1 and BRAC2 genes are free of mutations and alterations. Now, I already have cancer, but its good to know this probably wasn’t the cause. Its good for my family to know as well, because both mom’s side and dad’s side have been loaded with cancer cases once you look at the data.

I suspect my cancer risk was caused by non-heredity factors (for example environment) or some other syndrome that current technology cannot detect.  I am heartened by news in some good Magazines (Cure, for example) that new drugs are hitting the market all the time, and I’m hopeing the new onc will be a very progressive guy that is open to the latest — I’d like to regard my disease as a chronic condition, not as something that will result in my ultimate death. Meanwhile, I’m just working on resting and eating. My weight was up to 118, and is climbing so I’m happy about that too.

I’m posting these progress reports to give my audience here hope and direction, in the event of their own bouts with disease. In light of world climate situations (e.g. the breakoff of the Greenland iceberg four times the size of Manhattan) and economic troubles we need all the positive input we can get, especially in situations that can be considered dire. Fourth Wave was created initially to provide categories to add information, and I’m going to get back to working on all the categories as I feel more energized, the cancer has pretty well occupied my life for quite a while — and while I’m beating the odds here — don’t want to have to have the subject take over what’s left of my life.

I plan on staying on Avastin, with permission of whatever doctor gets my case, after Taxol finishes. I’m hopeing the FDA doesn’t pull it for any reason, because it works, at least it appears to work for me.

A cute story to close with: Hubby procured some 16 really excellent donuts from Grayson’s Donut Hole here (a little mom and pop shop that makes the most excellent donuts and cinnamon rolls etc I’ve ever tasted) and we took them in to the nurses at the clinic. The head nurse just grabbed my hand and told me she was really grateful, it was so nice to hear — she says she knows that I eat well and how I live so the sight of me eating something like a donut was really cool for them all to witness — our response was for them to eat up, like Mary Poppins says sometimes a spoonful of sugar really does make the medicine go down, for those that administer it as well as the rest of us who have to take it. Next week we’re bringing two dozen.

Joule Watt

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