July 20, 2010

Time for another update. It’s been a while, and I’ve been really bad about staying in touch.

First, thank you all for all the prayers for myself and my sister-in-law Dani. She is doing well! The prayers have meant a lot to her.

I finished my Zometa treatments in February, and have continued on with the Faslodex. I am still responding to treatments, so we’re going to continue on with that line of treatment.

One of the first things I seemed to notice after stopping the Zometa (and it may be psychological, or it may be I’m getting older) was an increase in fatigue. In the past I could go all week with little sleep and catch up on the weekend. No more. Now if I don’t get enough rest at night it seems I’m just wiped out for several days. So we’ve come up with a plan for fewer hours. More on that in a minute.

At my last visit with  Dr. Smith I had an elevated tumor marker count, which he says is unreliable as an indicator, and he told me the count wasn’t up THAT much, so don’t be alarmed. However, I started to notice an increase in pain. Not so much increased levels as it became increasingly persistent and harder to kick. That meant an increase in the number of pain meds I was taking. Not my favorite thing to do, as most of you know. It tends to make me talk and feel out of control and become REALLY emotional. Yep, tears. OK, we all know I don’t need any help in that department. But you do what you gotta do.

I went for my regular appointment with Dr. Smith last week. Made Mike go with me, because I was nervous. I had been scheduled for a PET scan (first in 2 years). The insurance company didn’t think it was necessary, so we didn’t get it. Of course that becomes an emotional issue. As Barb Higdon says, that really affects your psyche. But Dr. Smith got creative and ordered at PET Bone scan, and I’m on for this week. Dr. Smith wants it as a baseline. AND, the tumor markers are down lower than they were in February. Interesting.

I’ve also hit on a better formula for pain management, I think. Instead of a whole pain pill (whacko time!), I seem to do fine most of the time on half a pill plus an Aleve. Yea!!!!! That is making a huge difference in lifestyle and the way I feel.

Now, on to the reduced hours issue. As I said I realized that having to go out to multiple meetings and go to classes was becoming more and more difficult. I’d be so wiped out the day after going out that I was having trouble focusing and stumbling aimlessly. After much thought and prayer, Mike and I decided I should reduce hours at work to 30 hours a week (basically 4 day weeks). With  Dr. Smith’s blessing and encouragement, we presented the plan at work and starting July 1 I began a reduced work load. I’m in hopes that the extra day of rest will help so much as I try to maintain the house, keep working, and have a life, too. Who knows? I may actually get my housework done! Last Friday I caught up on ironing that had been sitting for 2 months. WOW!
We’ll see how it goes this fall as classes start. I know I have
tremendous support at work, though. I’ll just have to get my priorities in order.

I continue to be grateful for Mike’s support each and every day. He takes care of all the insurance forms, dr. bills, all the nasty stuff, plus, he’s incredibly supportive of the new work schedule. Every day is a good day. Thank you to everyone for your kind thoughts and wishes.

Please continue prayers to Elizabeth Honeycutt and her daughter Phyllis, Dani, my sister-in-law, and to Leslie Priest. And continue to be thankful for the wonderful people at the cancer unit of the Medical Center and to Dr. Steve Smith. He’s our rock!

One more push, one more prayer, one more step, one more victory.