CANCER UPDATE: Time to Regroup

The immediate heart failure crisis is over. Time to pause; evaluate and redirect. My local doctor thinks cancer treatment is over. Heart Failure is kind of a non-negotiable for her. Her suggestion is HOSPIC care. The cancer is not going away—it appears to be spreading. I appear to be losing the battle. HOSPIC will ensure I am comfortable. HOSPIC is not an immediate shutdown and goodbye. There are people who have been in HOSPIC for years. Some enter; withdraw for a specific treatment; enter again. I know the immediate benefit for me is free diapers. Adult diapers are not cheap but are very necessary when you have urinary issues. I will have someone medically checking on me—someone a little dispassionate. DH says I tend to over state how well I am doing leading the doctor to think Im great when Im barely alive. There will also be some personal grooming assistance and a little light housekeeping. Both extremely needed. I simply cant do things I did 2 years ago or even 6 months ago. Anything I need for my comfort will be provided including specialized equipment and the O2 Ive so recently found necessary.

And then there is the other point of view….. My Oncologist doesnt seem to think I am dead. He admits the metastasis to the heart is rare but doesnt think that was the cause of the heart failing. He is looking at the CHF similarly to had I broken a leg i.e. while I am being treated for one medical condition, cancer, a second medical condition arose which needed care. We hit the pause button on cancer treatment, fixed the 2nd condition (CHF) and now we are ready to resume cancer treatment. I tend to think the cancer treatment was always effecting the heart because always after 2 months treatment, Id become very weak, very fatigued. Always. The only way to know for sure? Now that the heart is stable; all the tests normal or near normal: start the chemo. We ve agreed to 2 weeks chemo then a CT scan and more blood work……

So that didnt last…

The encouraging news of the previous cancer update has gone smash. I seem to do well for 2 cycles of chemo then take a sharp downturn. Something Im sure needs to be talked over with my oncologist but after the latest faux paux.

Almost since the beginning of chemo I have complained about the accompanying cough. I called it “bronchial” and croupy. I didn’t realize and my doctors didnt see that I was developing Congestive Heart Failure. How serious is it? Well I required a care flight from Gregory SD to Sioux Falls SD for emergency surgery. My cardiologist insisted on an air flight and immediate surgery. Painful, YES!. I said goodbye to DH twice without knowing if I would see him again.

Two more days in the hospital, recovering, and figuring out how to manage this new symptom, heart failure. I have both local support from the ER and my family doctor and I will have long distance support from the cardiologist and lung doctor. The oncologist is slightly out of the picture, at least while we are stabilizing the congestive heart symptoms.

Cancer Update

I have good news. My CT scan of Aug24th showed that my tumors have decreased in size. Also my tumor marker, CA125, has decreased from 297 to 95 (30 is normal).

Ive been on this chemo mix for 2 months. While the current results are encouraging, I do have to “take it with a grain of salt”. I have had positive initial results with other chemo mixes which wasnt sustained. But I cant help but be happy.

McCalls 6510 Circle Top

Had another bolo the other day.  A pair of shorts on which I made a few errors.  One of the errors, a botched zipper, can easily be corrected, the other, insufficient ease, cannot. So the shorts sit in the Sewing Room while I decide if I want to fix the fixable knowing I won’t wear them.

I got tired of arguing with myself over the pros and cons of trying to fix the shorts and decided upon an easy project. McCalls 6510 Circle Top View A

May look better with different colored shorts.

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Cancer Update

So some good news which makes me cautiously optimistic.  The chemo I’m undergoing has tolerable side effects plus it reduced my cancer marker by 150 points, nearly in half.  Yippeeee! But I’m cautiously optimistic because, I’ve had good initial results before. As time when on and more chemo accumulated in my body the sides effects became intolerable and any gains against the cancer were reversed.

An interesting point to me is that this chemo targets breast cancer. My insurance initially denied my claim i.e. they wouldn’t pay the bills.  But we resubmitted and gave them lots of information re the treatment I’ve already received and the interesting fact that while my DNA has the good BRAC, my tumors had the bad BRAC.

Anyway, it is a happy day for me especially since I’m now in the the Once A Month Review stage.  Means they take blood and run a panel of tests each month; every other month I get a Cat Scan too. Best news I’m not making the 3-hour one-way trip to Sioux Falls. Those were rough on me.