July 29, 2012

What to do on a sunny Seattle day

We have a guest in this weekend -- Rik's high school photography teacher! They reconnected last summer while we were in Toronto, and D promised that the next time he visited British Columbia, he would come to Seattle.

It's been more-or-less nonstop photography, with lots of cameras and equipment too. I'm sure they both took much better photos than I did, but here's what Snoqualmie Falls looks like through my iPhone. You can just barely make out the construction equipment at the top of the falls. The whole place is under renovation until 2013, so we couldn't walk down to the river level, but it's still pretty breath-taking (and only 22 miles from Seattle).

Not bad, eh?

July 27, 2012

Why he's the best doc

Yesterday Dr G said to me, "I love our magic." How many other docs develop such a beautiful doctor-patient relationship?

Others agree he is among the best of the best:

Here's Dr G's Seattle Magazine Top Doctors 2012 profile.

Dr. Sheldon Goldberg
Swedish Medical Center
Specialties: Hematology and Oncology
Sub-Specialty: Molecular medicine
Accepting New Patients: Yes

What's that "molecular medicine?" Dr G's new way of looking at his practice, through the very basic building blocks of life.

And AVVO gives him a 10 out of 10 on experience, industry recognition, and professional conduct.

That's my doc!

Update from the doc

I saw Dr G yesterday. One of my tumor markers has begun to creep up. CA 27.29 climbed by about 30 points. On the other hand, CEA is substantially the same as last month. As Dr G said, the CA 27.29 curve "seemed to imply some transiency in your response" to the Afinitor combo. However, he never relies on only one point of information in making a change in treatment. So he's ordered a CT scan. We also discussed adding Avastin to my treatment plan. Avastin has worked well for me in the past, so I hope my health insurance company will cover it. I'll have the CT scan, recheck the tumor markers and get another tumor marker test all in the next two weeks.

July 22, 2012

FDA approves Afinitor combo

The FDA just approved the Afinitor+Aromasin combo I am currently taking (with high dose Faslodex, because Dr G is a genius). How's that for fast action? I only started it about two months ago...

July 16, 2012


"Cancer Has Its Privileges: Stories of Hope and Laughter"
by Christine Clifford, founder of the The Cancer Club


When I was diagnosed with Cancer:
My first friend came and expressed his shock by saying,
"I can't believe that you have cancer.
I always thought you were so active and healthy."
He left and I felt alienated and somehow very "different."

My second friend came and brought me information about different treatments being used for cancer. He said,
"What ever you do, don't take chemotherepay.
It's a poison!"
He left and I felt scared and confused.

My third friend came and tried to answer my "whys?"
with the statment "Perhaps God is disciplining you for some sin in your life?"
He left and I felt guilty.

My fourth friend came and told me,
"If your faith is just great enough God will heal you."
He left and I felt my faith must be inadequate.

My fifth friend came an told me to remember that
"All things work together for good."
He left and I felt angry.

My sixth friend never came at all.
I felt sad and alone.

My seventh friend came and held my hand and said,
"I care, I'm here, I want to help you through this."
He left and I felt loved!

New glasses

My eyes have been bothering me for quite a few months, basically since last fall. I'd been to the optometrist for a re-check on my annual exam and to an ophthalmologist to see if there was anything else happening.

In the end, I was told to wait for my annual exam. That took place in June, and at the end of last week I received glasses made in the new prescription. The close up (reading) and mid-range (computer) corrections are great, but the distance correction still wasn't right. I went back today for a re-check, and to have an exam with contact lenses. (I still like to wear contacts when performing or on special occasions.) Evidently my new prescription needed tweaking. They've ordered new lenses and I hope this pair will be a better "fit."

I'm still extremely near sighted, more in the left eye than in the right eye. But as the optometrist said, mostly it's that I'm 52. I guess middle age happens even when you have advanced cancer.

July 11, 2012

Mouth rinse

I upped the quantity of salt and baking soda in my mouth rinse and Dr Bufi was right -- if it stings a little, it means it's working! My mouth sore definitely began to heal as soon as I changed the formula.

3 teaspoons coarse (kosher) salt
2 tablespoons baking soda

I used hot water to dissolve the salt and baking soda and then filled a container with cool water to make 12 ounces of solution total. I use it at least 3-4 times a day.

This is about one week's worth of mouth rinse for me.

July 09, 2012

Mouth sore

The Afinitor has mostly been very tolerable. I've had a few side effects, but each disappeared after a day or so. So I'm unhappy to have one persistent mouth sore on the edge of my tongue for the past few days. It's in the just the right place to touch against my teeth repeatedly, while talking or eating, both of which I love to do! This has been going on since Friday.

I'm managing the discomfort with Vicodin for the pain and a home-made mouth rinse of baking soda and salt to speed healing. My naturopath says there has to be enough salt in the rinse to feel a stinging sensation in the sore. Uggh. Hope this helps!

Fallen tree

Rik and I went to the theatre yesterday afternoon in downtown Seattle. Imagine our surprise afterwards to find this tree practically atop our car!

It appears the trunk cracked and fell during the few hours we were indoors.

We called 911 to report the tree lying across the road. After waiting a bit, we realized that there wouldn't be a rapid response to a non-emergency. Rik was able move the broken trunk (it was about 12 inches in diameter) and pull our car forward. We called 911 to say we were "leaving the scene." I imagine eventually the tree was cleared from the road.


I received a copy of the radiologist's revised report on my recent CT scan. When compared to the more recent scan in April 2012, things appeared stable today. And stable is good!

July 04, 2012

No word yet

I am still waiting to hear from Dr G's office about the radiologist's review of my recent CT scan. Evidently the radiologist wanted to compare this one to the April scan, so they had to request that record from SCCA. Today is a national holiday. I will call on Thursday to get the latest.