May 31, 2011
My doctor does a thorough exam on me every time I see her. Part of the exam, she listens to my lungs and heart, she palpates (feels) my abdomen and then gives me a complete pelvic exam where she is checking for any growths or changes from my last exam.
At my last appointment, she made the interesting statement, “Firefly, you are impressive”. She was referring to my book, TIE ONE ON which had just gone to the publishers. By the way, she wrote a beautiful forward for my book.
During my exam I heard her muttering “hummmm, impressive.” My interest was piqued because I knew that she was not referring to my book! She told me that she had felt (“Here you can probably feel it, too”) a smooth mass in my abdomen. “It is the size of a canta.. no… a honeydew melon.”
I have something the size of a honeydew melon inside of my abdomen! No wonder I had urinary frequency! and mild abdominal pain! It had grown from nothing within the three weeks since my last exam with her. Even though it is fast growing, she is not too concerned about it because she thinks it is fluid filled and will resolve with the already scheduled Chemotherapy.
She gave me the option of having another CT scan, but I decided not to have one at this time because she didn’t seem to think it was necessary. Either the chemo will shrink it or it won’t. If it does, fine. If not, then we will proceed with further tests.
Now I am 9 days out of chemo and I think the chemo may have helped to shrink it… but hey, what do I know! I didn’t even know it was there in the first place!
I have continued to have lower abdominal pain which can be the result of the chemo killing the cancer. Yep, that’s what I am saying these intermittent shooting pains are!
May 29, 2011
Wow, what a great dinner was delivered to me on Friday. I knew that Jeannie would be bringing Shepherd’s Pie, but wait til you hear what else! She came into my home with three big bags and smelling like a delicious restaurant! The first thing she unpacked was the juice that she picked up at the grocery store. Next was the loaf of fresh homemade bread (onion/cheese) which was still warm; I immediately took the butter out of the refrigerator! Then she gave me the half-gallon of spumoni ice cream to put in the freezer. I knew that I’d never eat all of it so I dished out part of it and gave her the rest for her family. She totally heard me when I said that nothing has tasted very good recently and brought things that are ‘flavorful’ but not spicy. Yummy! Thank you, Jeannie.
May 28, 2011
This is the weekend to break out the barbeque grill and lawn games. Be sure to fly your American Flag as well!
May 27, 2011
Ah, yes! Today I am feeling better. So well in fact that I actually got dressed for the first time in 8 days. And then I took sweet understanding Mercedes for a nice medium walk — her longest one with me in over 9 days! And then… we went for a ride in the car. She loves to ’go bye-bye’ in the car. I needed to go to the bank, so we did the drive-through bank (which is 3 miles away instead of .5 mile) where she always gets a little treat and I picked up a Subway salad. It was nice to go out for little drive and I didn’t even mind the afterschool traffic which usually I try to avoid.
All food still tastes not very interesting… In fact, I had two grape popsicles for dinner last night! But Shepherd’s Pie, courtesy of Jeannie is on its way for my dinner tonite! I especially like it when a little dessert is also brought along!!! We shall see!
May 24, 2011
Doxil is a cancer killing drug that is administered via infusion (injection into the vein). It is ‘wrapped’ inside of liposomes so it is sort of ’slow-released’ over the course of 2 – 3 weeks.
On my other chemo drugs, the worst side effects usually occurred on days 3-5 with residual until day 10 or so, followed by the lowered blood counts until they started to climb just before the month was over. And then it was time to start all over again. The side effects became progressively more toxic as my treatments progressed.
This toxicity is the reason why some chemo therapies must be discontinued for certain patients. The reason that I am starting on this new drug is because my 2nd recurrence is coming so close to my 1st recurrence and therefore the protocol is to change drugs, since obviously the other drug did not give me a ‘remission’.
With Doxil, the maximum ill side effects do not manifest until day 5 and lasting until day 10. It is a whole different ‘ball game’ so to speak. The rules are completely different. Maybe the outcome will be different also. The main side effects of this drug ~ Doxil ~ is blisters on the hands, feet, mouth and tongue & throat. To prevent these blisters, you are supposed to ‘ice’ your hands & feet and suck on ice chips during the administration of the chemo –which takes about two hours. Then you are supposed to ice your feet and hands as often as possible for the next many days. Along with this, no pressure is to be put on the hands or feet and no repetitive motions. No typing. no vacuuming, no sweeping, no washing dishes, no chopping food, etc.
As far as food goes, there are many restrictions … nothing hot, nothing spicy, nothing citrus, nothing acid. All food is to be consumed at room temp or below so I heat up my food, then let it cool down before I eat it! Oh, no hard vegetables and I only eat my beloved apples if they have been ‘softened’ as in apple crisp! The wonderful ladies from my church (make that Suzy LaFrance) have made sure that I have had meals that I could eat. This is a wonderful ministry and one that I am very grateful for especially because I did not know of all the food restrictions prior to my infusion on Friday so I could prepare my food ahead of time.
I have alredy been on the computer too long right now… my hands are starting to burn… time to soak them in ice.
May 20, 2011
My new chemo drug ~ Doxil ~ has some pretty awful possible side effects. Most notably, blisters on the hands, feet, mouth & throat. I am supposed to ice hands & feet and suck popsicles/ice chips during chemo infusion.
I asked my triage nurse at the Onc center if I should bring my popsicles and ice. He told me to bring them because they have limited source of ice (& probably no popsicles). I am bringing the freezer blue ice packs ( I have three of them in my freezer for back pain) and my package of Trader Joes Lime popsicles! No hot drinks, no hot food, no spicy food, rinse mouth out frequently, salt water rinse is good. Wear non-restrictive clothes…. guess that means moo-moos & ‘housecoats’ for around here. No tight shoes… No acidic food. No jewelry. No HOT Showers. Groan… I love hot showers…. thank goodness that the sun finally showed itself here in Portland!!!
I also have to have an echocardiogram before I get the Doxil; guess it can be bad for the heart!! Great!!!
But… in spite of all this I am looking forward to having Chemo. Why? Because it will kill the cancer, the pain will go away, and I’ll start feeling better soon! Let’s hope! And pray!
May 19, 2011
I’ll start with the health update first. Normal Ca -125 (the blood test for ovarian cancer) is 30 or below. Mine went from 18 to 53 in March. In April it skyrocketed up to 553. Normally I would have started Chemo at that time, but since I was feeling pretty good and had no pain or major symptoms we decided to delay. I was hoping to be able to wait until next week, but that is not going to be the case.
I’ve started having constant abdominal pain and I just don’t want to deal with it any longer. Since I will eventually need to have chemo, I am ready to start now. We are trying to get my appointment rescheduled for this Friday ~ tomorrow. I still do not know what my CA 125 is at this time, but I’m sure that it is quite high. I’ll get the results at my appointment.
Since this second recurrence is coming so close to my last recurrence, I will not be able to be given the carboplatinum that I have such a good response to. My doctor will be giving me a drug that is new to me ~ Doxil. the side effects are different and I have no barometer as to how I’ll respond to it or what side effects I might experience. Some of them are quite unplesant — blisters on the hands and feet, mouth, tongue and who knows where else. So prayers are definitely in order if you are so inclined. Other than that, no hair loss!
May 18, 2011
Hello friends! I know you have been wondering if I’m doing Ok or not and there is much to tell.
New grand baby, new doggie, new recurrence of same old cancer, book sent to publishers and so life goes on. I’ll try to get you caught up over the next week.
May 17, 2011
I’ve started having quite a bit of abdominal pain, so I’ve requested to move my drs appt up a week to this Friday with Chemo to start then as well. I’m just waiting to hear back– I expect a reply tomorrow.
The sooner I start Chemo, the sooner the pain will go away and so will the cancer and then I’ll feel better!!!!
So.. it’s all good!