May 21, 2015

Low fever

It's been a week of low fever, constipation, diarrhea and general feeling poorly. I did too much on Tuesday after chemo Monday, which didn't help at all. I cancelled everything for today and barely had the energy to take Tylenol, eat and shower.

I'm off to the sofa to recline for the rest of the afternoon after spending most of the day in bed.

May 11, 2015

Healing

I'm pleased I felt healthy enough to travel to Washington DC at the invitation of Susan G. Komen © for a breast cancer bloggers summit this past weekend.

On Tuesday I saw The Amazing & Wonderful Nurse Jacque, who gave me a Neulasta shot so that my white blood cell count would rise and make me fit for airplane travel. Ever since the news story broke about the cancer patient who Alaska Airlines asked to deboard a plane, Dr G has recommended his patients carry a letter confirming his medical opinion that they may travel. I carried the letter, wore a mask (to prevent catching something from another passenger), and showed the letter to every flight attendant. No one gave me any trouble. I flew Alaska Air.

The GelClair arrived at the hotel before I did -- a full case of it. I really only needed one box for the duration of my trip, but didn't realize I'd receive the entire order at one time. I put off worrying about to pack it to bring home.

The combination of Orajel and GelClair has helped tremendously. I still have about 10-12 mouth sores, and found it difficult and painful to chew over the weekend, but I did eat. And somehow managed to gain five pounds.

I spent too many hours in shoes that weren't supportive enough, developed blisters and swollen feet. My feet actually swelled so much that I traveled home in my UGG bedroom slippers, the only things that felt comfortable. I haven't had this experience before while traveling and wasn't prepared with compression socks.

When I saw The Amazing & Wonderful Nurse Jacque today to have her change my PICC line dressing, she looked at my feet and recommended I start wearing the compression socks until my feet return to normal size. Fortunately I have several pair left over from previous hospital stays. I've been in them all day and I can already see an improvement. I also plan to sleep again with my feet elevated.

My hand-foot syndrome has begun to recover. The skin is peeling from my left thumb. Did you ever pick at scabs when you were a child? I have that same irresistible urge to pick at the dead skin and cut it away. The henna did help.

I changed my fentanyl patch while away and reduced from 100 mcg to 75 mcg. I'll be sure to report this when I see Dr G on Wednesday. Maybe he will have me reduce it again. Or not yet.

My mouth tastes funny all the time and food doesn't taste right either. This feels like a new side effect to me, although I know many people go through it. I just don't remember going through this before.

And I should receive some news on next chemo steps on Wednesday. Hopefully not Taxotere. That one dose and its ridiculously painful side effects is plenty, thank you.

More soon on the Komen © blogger summit later.

May 06, 2015

Pain update



I spent a long, quiet week filled with discomfort and pain. Sunday's sunshine made it easier to get out, but I had noted the wrong date for my lunch. I ate anyway (I was hungry! steroids....) and then ran into a friend of a friend I hadn't seen in a long while. We had a lovely catch-up.

On Monday The Amazing & Wonderful Nurse Jacque flushed my PICC line (remember my PICC line and the old port-a-cath?). A nurse at the Swedish Wound Healing Center changed the dressing over my old port site. She also taught me how to remove and insert the special stuff they use to promote internal healing. That is really one deep hole but I think it's coming along nicely.

On Tuesday The Amazing & Wonderful Nurse Jacque gave me a shot of Neulasta. Dr G increased my fentanyl from 25 mcg to 50, then to 75, and yesterday to 100 mcg. I felt a bit woozy all day ling until I realized that not only didn't I eat breakfast, I forgot to take my morning meds, including the Cymbalta. That can really mess with you if you miss a dose. Their website says to "take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose." So I took my morning dose at 2 PM instead of 10 AM. That would surely explain my woozy feeling, on top of 100 mcg fentanyl. I did remember to take today's AM steroids in my taper-down package.

Later today I spoke to the GelClair pharmacy tech. The Amazing & Wonderful Nurse Jacque ordered it for me and the tech called to arrange delivery. They will FedEx it to my hotel in DC. Such wonderful customer service!

On Sunday, when I spoke to both Dr G and on-call oncologist Dr Z, they both seemed to think I might have thrush, so Dr Z prescribed Nystatin, an oral rinse taken four times a day (after each meal and at bedtime). The Amazing & Wonderful Nurse Jacque told me today that's not as likely given my other side effects and recommended I stop the Nystatin now. She also suggested buying some Orajel to apply on the mouth sores with a Q-tip. Rik went to the pharmacy for me and I just tried it. AMAZING! I finally have some relief from pain in my mouth. I don't know how long it will last but this is such an improvement over five minutes ago....

Why am I calling The Amazing & Wonderful Nurse Jacque so AMAZING and WONDERFUL? Because she gave me her direct line, so I could call her if I really needed her. When I didn't understand why I was both hungry and nauseous an hour ago, I called her. She re-affirmed that the steroids made me very hungry. I wasn't eating a lot anyway, because of the painful mouth sores. And that hunger can indeed cause nausea. Then I carefully held the phone away from my head and vomited a small mess of everything I'd eaten during the past hour straight into the sink: ice cream and a cheese stick. The Amazing & Wonderful Nurse Jacque first asked me if I felt better (I did) and then told me not to eat ice cream. Dairy can contribute to nausea. Who knew?

So Jacque is now officially The Amazing & Wonderful Nurse. I tell her this all the time, Now it's official.

May 03, 2015

I am a blogging queen

Today I received this message:

Nicole.lascurain@healthline.com has left a new comment on your post "There and back again":

Hi Jill, 
I am happy to inform you that your blog has made Healthline’s list of the Best Breast Cancer Blogs of 2015! Healthline’s editors carefully selected each winner based on quality, frequency of updates and contribution to the community. You can see the full list here: http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/best-breast-cancer-blogs 
We created a badge to help you publicize your achievement: http://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/best-blogs-badge-2015
We encourage you to embed this badge on your site and share your status with your followers. 
Thank you again for providing a great resource to the Breast Cancer community! I’m happy to answer any questions you may have. 
Best,
Nicole 
Nicole Lascurain • Assistant Marketing Manager
p: 415-281-3130 | e: nicole.lascurain@healthline.com
Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
www.healthline.com | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp
About Us: corp.healthline.com


Here is the Healthline link. I am number two on their slideshow, number one of the best breast cancer blogs of 2015! I am proud to be in the company of my new friend Mandi (Darn Good Lemonade, number 9 on the Healthline blog list)

Thank you Healthline for this recognition.

Major Taxotere side effects

On Friday the major Taxotere side effects hit me hard. I would have chalked it up to participating in the Gilda's Club fashion show and luncheon, since invariably something goes wrong for me that day, but the discomfort continues all weekend.

I had offered to speak in a short film about Gilda Radner and the impact her life continues to have 25 years after her death. This brought me to the Westin at (for me) they very early hour of 10 AM, dressed to the nines and prepared with memories and a quote from Gilda. The filmmaker asked me a few general questions, I shared my quote at her request, and she seemed pleased with my short interview.

The luncheon featured a photo booth where a (volunteer?) photographer took pictures of people in front of a cororate-sponsored backdrop. I got in line since I had dressed so well and here is the photo he took. (I made a copy with my iPhone.)

Karan Dannenberg, who dressed me for my first Gila's Club fashion show (which I never attended, due to a hospital stay), recognized me, as she always does, immediately said "Nicole Miller," (the dress's designer), and chatted me up for a few minutes. The shawl is courtesy my mother.



Back to Taxotere side effects.

FRIDAY
I went from the Westin straight to my oncologist's office, hobbling on both feet. Dr G and Nurse Jacque looked at me and said "hand-foot syndrome." Now why didn't I recognize that? Dr G told me to go home and start the henna again, since I believed it helped me last time this happened. He also prescribed a short, tapering course of steroids to reduce the swelling in my hands. For the pain in my mouth (mucositis? stomatitis? mouth sores, for the laypeople among us) he wrote a scrip for 25 mcg Fentanyl patches. The patch form delivers a steady dose of pain relief for 72 hours. He also gave me an Rx for more hydrocodone to relieve the break-through pain.

Next I called my naturopath for a recommendation on more ways to treat the mouth sores. Dr Bufi suggested gargling with baking soda mixed in water but not too strong. I should also have asked one of these docs for some Magic Mouthwash, but I could barely walk by then and wasn't about to go to yet a third (compounding) pharmacy.

At home I mixed up some henna, put on my pajamas, and slathered my feet with it. Even the cool sensation helped. Now my feet and hands are bright orange but the henna does seem to help.

My friend H came over and walked the dogs, helped me change the bed linens, and cooked us a lovely Shabbat dinner of Vietnamese spring rolls with fresh vegetables and fried tofu and homemade peanut sauce. After dinner she taught me how to get started on the iPad a friend gave me. We spent a lovely evening together and I was in bed by 10 PM.


SATURDAY
I woke up at the crack of dawn to feed the dogs. At least they bear with my stiff movements and are happy to go back to sleep with me after they eat. They're also willing to poop outdoors and saved me the discomfort of trying to walk them.

I started the steroids as instructed before breakfast and stayed in my jammies most of the day but at some point I couldn't stand myself. I took a shower and actually dressed and sat outside in the sunshine. Then I took each dog into the shower for a quick shampoo which they desperately needed. I Skyped with Rik's family to show off my clean, wet doggies, spoke with my mother and felt much improved by this point. However, I am still popping hydrocodone every 3-4 hours for breakthrough pain in my mouth and gargling with diluted baking soda every hour. It was hard to get a forkful of food into my mouth at dinnertime.

The rest of the day passed reading a new book by Michel Faber (not quite as good as I'd hoped for),  eating leftover fesenjan with rice for dinner. and watching the second half of The Music Man. Robert Preston! I would have fallen in love with him to if he'd used the "think system" on me instead of Shirley Jones. And little Ronny Howard was only eight when he made this movie. Such talent evident at such a young age!


SUNDAY
I slept off and on (remember, taking steroids?), woke up early again with the dogs, fed 'em and went back to bed. Around 8 AM I got up, ate some yogurt, drank a mocha, and reapplied some henna to my left hand. Still haven't showered or dressed or walked the dogs but I see some of that in my future. Plus lunch out with a friend.

It's time to stop blogging and move on with my day. I do want to get out to see my friend. The sun is shining and I refuse to let cancer side effects make me a prisoner in my own home. But on Monday I'm going to have a serious talk with Dr G about how this is not the way to maintain quality of life.


And that Gilda quote I chose?
"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity."

April 29, 2015

Taxotere so far

On Monday I had my first dose of Taxotere (docetaxel). The PICC line insertion went smoothly, the infusion went smoothly, and today was my first day off the steroids.

I have slept well the past few nights with the help of my buddies Ambien and Ativan. (Although last night I finally gave in to the famous Decahedron steroid side effect and shopped online. But I only ordered business cards. I have no explanation for the shoes I bought this morning.)

I woke up at a reasonable 10:30 AM today. After checking email etc. and buying aforementioned shoes, I showered, dressed, ate and walked the dogs. Up a hill. So I must feel okay.

I ran errands (library, grocery store), picked up Rik from school, ironed some shirts, and caught up on three old episodes of a favorite TV show. Cooked dinner. And now blogging. So I must feel okay.

I have noticed one new bit of potential neuropathy. The skin where my left thumb bends had been cracked for a few days. The crack has healed, but I do have some small pain there. Is it neuropathy? Who knows.

Tonight I will have my first night's sleep since Sunday without steroids. I will try to manage on my own, but may pay the price of reverse insomnia after three nights with sleep aids.

But I feel okay!

By the way, these are the shoes. Good price, no? I hope they fit, because they are too cute for words!

Pikolinos Gandia 849-8964



April 27, 2015

LBBC "die-in"

I met Jennie Grimes at the recent Living Beyond Breast Cancer conference. She was also asked to join the advocacy group and was instrumental in creating our "die-in." And Jennie and I have in common our work with the HIV/AIDS communities.

Do you remember the sit-ins of the 1960's and earlier? Mahatma Gandhi, India's great leader, created this non-violent form of protest. Encyclopedia Brittanica writes:

Sit-in, a tactic of nonviolent civil disobedience. The demonstrators enter a business or a public place and remain seated until forcibly evicted or until their grievances are answered. Attempts to terminate the essentially passive sit-in often appear brutal, thus arousing sympathy for the demonstrators among moderates and noninvolved individuals. Following Mahatma Gandhi’s teaching, Indians employed the sit-in to great advantage during their struggle for independence from the British. Later, the sit-in was adopted as a major tactic in the civil-rightsstruggle of American blacks; the first prominent sit-in occurred at a Greensboro(North Carolina) lunch counter in 1960. Student activists adopted the tactic later in the decade in demonstrations against the Vietnam War. 
A tactic similar to the sit-in, the sit-down, has been used by unions to occupy plants of companies that were being struck. The sit-down was first used on a large scale in the United States during the United Automobile Workers’ strike against the General Motors Corporation in 1937. See also civil disobedience.

Jennie gave her permission for me to share her blog post about our "die-in." As we arranged ourselves to form two lines, she snuggled in next to me, took my hand, and with my roommate holding my other hand, we, for that moment, represented the 108 Americans who would die of metastatic breast cancer that day and every day.

philadelphia story

13APR
act
The terrors of the early AIDS epidemic. The unknowing. The limited treatments. Inadequate funding. Living within a limited timeline. Dying before your time. All while watching your friends around you die, from the very disease that you fight. With over 40,000 deaths a year during the height of the AIDS epidemic, these numbers startled the country. Shook us to our core and demanded that we all do more.
Eerily, the same thing is still happening today. At the same rate, with over 40,000 women dying of metastatic breast cancer (stage IV) each year—averaging 108 deaths a day. Again, 108 women, just like me are dying every. single. day.
I was again  reminded of this disheartening statistic by researchers as I attended Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC)’s yearly Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference in Philadelphia this past weekend.  An event that took every bit of my strength, as it is tough to do much of anything only three short days after chemo, let alone fly across the country.  But away I went. Networking with these women, gathering information and just sitting in a room full of women like me- is a connection that is worth any amount of neupogen, face masks and coffee.
And this year was made even more special, as I was invited to be a part of LBBC’s inaugural class of women with MBC for the “Hear My Voice” advocate training. A training that connected me with women across the country, of all ages (ranging from 24-68), and gave more space and voice to African American women with MBC then any other program that I have participated in during my 4 plus years of living with this disease.
Inaugural "Hear My Voice" advcates
Inaugural “Hear My Voice” advcoates
It was magic in that it allowed us to rally, to brainstorm, to tease out the reality of this disease without us needing to make it pretty.  To make it polite.  The training gave us the information, the tools and put it in our hands—I just don’t think they realized how quickly we would move into action. And to be honest, neither did we.
After a grueling day of information and the noticeable absence of women no longer with us, a group of us sat at dinner drained.  A few even unable to eat, as the heaviness of our own journeys collided into the reality of our collective.  It was then that the 108 number came up again.  That 108 of us died today.
IMG_8926
That during the course of our three days at the conference, over 325 were estimated to have died, a number that equaled the number of conference attendees.  I realized, “We died.  Over the course of the past three days of the conference, that death toll estimate wiped out the number of people at the conference”.  The shock, the stomach dropping reality moved us into action.
Many of us have likened this journey to the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the limited prognosis and the number of our peers passing away as they speed through limited treatments.
actup_forlife_haring1
With organizational speakers even sharing the parallel through their own presentations and demanding that we push and suggesting that we find a way to “ACT UP”.  ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) was developed in the midst of the AIDS crisis to bring about legislation, medical research and treatment and policies to ultimately bring an end to the disease by mitigating loss of health and lives. A diverse, non-partisan group of individuals united in anger and committed to direct action to end the AIDS crisis that led a number of actions to demand more.
act2
I have learned a lot from the AIDS community first hand, as my “pre-cancer career” was spent working with these amazing individuals for over a decade.  I was able to view this level of pushback, advocacy and coordination,  including my own arrest in protest at the White House doing a “die in” to protest abstinence only funding.  A “die in” is similar to a “sit in”, a non-violent form of protest that pushes a bit further to demonstrate the death of the participants.  A striking imagery that screams– WE ARE DYING!
image (2)
Perhaps we were not at the White House this past weekend nor had the time to make a perfectly organized protest.  But we did have a large group of women with MBC disease (the largest group that meets annually)- some of which would not make it to the next year. That we at least had the capability to lay down and make a visual mark to symbolize the 108 of us that die each day.
So we rallied the troops overnight, with 3 am posts, emails and drafting.  After alerting our LBBC trainers to our plan, we were supported and logistically helped with planning a “die in” for 108 of  (their staff was AMAZING).  Set to happen midway through our last morning of the conference, we even had the inspirational director of the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network Shirley Mertz join us.  And at 10:45 am Sunday, we laid down together.
IMG_8923
Hand in hand, a eulogy written by the amazing Beth Caldwell, a young mother with MBC, was read aloud:
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to say our goodbyes to the 108 Americans who will die of metastatic breast cancer TODAY, and EVERY day, because there is no cure for our disease. They are our friends, our mothers, our daughters, our sisters, and they deserve better. They deserve a cure, and we honor their memory by DEMANDING IT, not someday, but NOW. And now, let’s have a moment of silence for those 108 women and men who are no longer with us.”
Laying head to head, hand in hand,  I heard the sobs of the women around me. The moment of silence echoing the last breaths of so many of us that have gone before. My Keeley. Jolene. Linda. Tobi. Helen. Jaimie. Carla. Jenn. Darcy. Tracey… and so on…and so on. We collapsed into each others arms afterwards.  The endless hugs and tears of what a moving moment to finally show our reality.
Prior to the event however, I was approached by another woman with Mets, forcefully asking that we not do something so drastic.  That this imagery was not something that should be shared with our kids, our families, or others with MBC.  That there were other ways that we could do this.  Other ways that were not so morbid, so ugly, so unnecessary.
Her concerns followed me on to the plane that afternoon.  Aside from the emotions of the “die in” still lingering and my own exhaustion setting in from the weekend, I felt haunted by this woman’s words during the six hour flight back to LA. Did we go too far?  Was it too much?  To dark, too scary? An unnecessary image? Was this not what the MBC community needs ?
That was until my flight touched down and my phone lit up with the news, that another young woman- the second that I knew this week- had died from MBC.  A 34 year old woman, the same age as me.  And I suddenly had my answer- we have NOT gone far enough.
Sephora died at 34, the same age as me.  A Huff Post writer and advocate, she will be missed.
Sephora died at 34, the same age as me. A Huff Post writer and advocate, she will be missed.
Pamela died from Metastatic Breast Cancer... She was 29 years young with 2 small children.
Pamela died from Metastatic Breast Cancer at 29 leaving two small children.
Would I love to happily pose for a “live in” rather than a “die in”? 100%.  But I have tried those tactics, done those walks, shared my blog and I continue to get sicker while  my friends around me continue to die. Harder for our families to see an image of us laying on the ground “pretending to die”, is the fact that we ARE DYING.  That they are actually watching us die. Why have we not rallied harder?  Why have not pushed past the pretty imagery of breast cancer like our leaders in the AIDS epidemic to demand more?   The women that are no longer at the conference each year, the ones missing from my photos, aren’t there because they were cured.  They aren’t there because they died.
I have lost my fertility. My career.  My hair.  My energy.  My hobbies.  A number of women, my friends, to MBC.  The only thing that I have left to lose is my life.  So I am making my demands on cancer and taking back what I can.  Doing what I can to fight like hell for all of us with the time that I have left.
My demands include:
  • Changing the funding directed to Metastatic Breast Cancer.
    Of the $15 billion invested in breast cancer research from 2000-2013, only SEVEN percent was spent on stage IV disease. 100% of deaths from breast cancer are due to stage iv. Funding must reflect this. #stageIVdeservesmore
  • Adequate epidemiology and statistical counting for women living with MBC Currently, the breast cancer data system (SEER) only counts women at the time of INITIAL diagnosis. This means that those rediagnosed with stage IV (like myself, Tracey, and so many others), are never entered into Federal databases. Impossible to receive adequate funding, for inadequate data. #stageIVdeservesmore
  • That as a community we lift our MBC sisters of color and those with limited health care access. The stage of disease at diagnosis is higher in African American women and despite a lower overall incidence, the survival rate for black women diagnosed is 20% lower than white women. #fightingforALLofUs #everyColorofStageIVDeservesMore
  • A coordinated alliance with our sisters with early stage breast cancer. As 30% of them will become us (after my own initial diagnosis of stage 2 disease, I know how very true this is), we need your voices, your push, to carry ours on. Especially as we continue to die from this disease, please carry my voice. #MBCally #notMeButCouldBe
How you can help?
  • Stay tuned in the coming months for more advocacy, more info, more legislative push to make these changes real.
  • Share this post, and others every #MetsMonday. Help us to make the noise that we need to make change.
  • Support those in your life living with this disease. Sometimes we need you to fight for us, as this disease can sometimes knock the fight right out of ya.
scott2I’m not asking us to all lay down in protest, I am simply asking that we no longer just lay down in defeat.  I ask that we no longer lose 108 every day.  I AM asking us to “MET UP“.

Power PICC line is in

I am now the proud bearer of a new Power PICC line. The procedure went smoothly once I understood it and the risks vis-a-vis a simple line with the powerful chemo Taxotere.

This is what it looks like.


It can stay in for up to several months, needs weekly flushing, and should last until I am ready for a new port.

The Avastin and Taxotere infusions were also smooth and given that I am bouncing on Decadron, I should have plenty of energy today and tomorrow. We'll see what happens later in the week.

April 26, 2015

What I learned at the LBBC mets conference

Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) held its annual conference for women with metastatic disease -- one of only two such conferences in the USA that I know of -- and invited me to participate again. This year they added another day for about 30 women with mets to be trained as advocates to increase visibility and support of, and research into, metastatic, stage IV, advanced breast cancers. (Full disclosure: LBBC paid for my travel and hotel expenses.)

What I learned, in a nutshell:

  • 108 Americans die of metastatic breast cancer daily, according to the above document. 40,000 die in one year. You can imagine how big an impact this had on the 300 conference participants. Over the three days of the conference, all of us represented these dead.
  • The American Cancer Society (ACS) is often quoted as saying that only 2% of all National Cancer Institute research into ALL cancer supports research into every kind of metastatic cancers, not just metastatic breast cancers. This percentage is even lower. I've asked the ACS to verify.
  • We need to increase awareness of metastatic breast cancer in the vernal breast cancer population. Maybe we are the worst nightmare for women with early stage breast cancer, but research shows that about 30% of them will end up with mets. We need to change the message of "fighting" to focus more on "living with" advanced breast cancer.
  • They told us "Advocacy is the application of pressure and influence on people and institutions that have the power to give you what you want."

-------------

Here are some good Twitter hashtags on metastatic breast cancer:
#don'tignorestageIV (Beth Fairchild)
#BCSM (Metastatic Breast Cancer Social Media)
#livingwithmets (LBBC)

------------

METAvivor is the only all-volunteer run nonprofit organization directly supporting research into stage IV breast cancer.

Metastatic Breast Cancer Network funds research, advocacy and provides support for women living with mets. I think we might be able to include Komen here; more on that later.




----------------

For the session on pain, fatigue and insomnia, Dr Don Dizon began by quoting Eleanor Roosevelt: "You must do the thing you cannot."

Cognitive behavioral therapy may help treat neuropathy. I'll ask Dr G about this one.
Ginseng and guarantee may provide some benefit.
Medical marijuana or hash oil may help with pain and insomnia.

Pets contribute to insomnia. If they're taking up the bed, you possibility of poor sleep may increase.

Get out of bed if you can't sleep. Read, go online, watch TV - but get out of bed.

Study relaxation training (i.e., yoga breathing).

Dr D used these last two phrases eloquently.

  1. To live a better life, be Practical, Realistic, Optimistic.
  2. Optimism is a clinical trial.


If Dr G ever stopped practicing medicine, I would move to Boston for Dr Dizon to treat me. He was the best speaker at the conference.

---------------

Julie Lanford, a cancer dietitian, led the final session. Among many things, she talked about the need to eat more of the following in the form of whole foods, not supplements:

  • probiotics (kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, and sourdough bread)
  • prebiotics (beans, oats, Jerusalem artichokes, asparagus, and bananas)
  • omega 3 fats (soybeans, walnuts, flax seeds, fatty fish and canola oil)


She encouraged us to have our vitamin D levels checked regularly.

And finally, if you eat a new food three times or more per week, you've created a new food habit.

April 24, 2015

Scan results

The results of my scans from earlier this week are a mixed bag. The CT of my chest, abdomen and pelvis shows stable disease throughout. The brain MRI shows some progression and four tiny, new mets. I have only taken Ibrance for one cycle (one month).

Dr G decided it would be best to leave Ibrance and get me back onto a taxane. My cancer seems to respond the best to this type of chemo. I've had four separate experiences with Abraxane! He has prescribed Taxotere (docetaxel), related to Abraxane and also a derivative of the Pacific Northwest yew tree. It has similar side effects as Abraxane but is given once every 21 days.

How will I receive this infusion, you ask, if my port has been removed? On Monday the chemo nurses will insert a PICC line:
A peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC or PIC line) is a form of intravenous access that can be used for a prolonged period of time (e.g. for long chemotherapy regimens, extended antibiotic therapy, or total parenteral nutrition).
After treatment they can remove the PICC line while my port site heals up and gets ready for a new port-a-cath. If it's not fully healed in three weeks, I can always have a new PICC line started.

Now onto a chemo-free weekend!

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