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Friday, February 25, 2011

Cancer...Hard to Swallow

Hello everyone!  I felt like I needed to update everyone on my current status.  I am feeling better everyday.  I have cracked down on taking my regular medications and supplements like I am suppose to everyday.  I am taking a food-based multi-vitamin, vitamin D3, black kohosh, an arthritis medication, 4 each of Juice Plus veggie pills, fruit pills, and vineyard (all kinds of dark berries) pills, flax seed oil, 1 prescription pill for edema, and 2 antidepressants that I have taken for years.....and finally....Prempro, a hormone.  Yes...a hormone mix of estrogen and progesterone.  This is usually a big no-no for women with a history or risk of breast cancer.  For me, my tumors were negative for all hormone receptors.  Therefore my oncologist decided that I would benefit from taking them.  For this hormone to cause me breast cancer, it would have to be a separate unrelated breast cancer.  Since I don't have any breast left to get cancer in...she said it would be O.K.  Of course this was only after begging for something to relieve me of these horrible hot flashes and night sweats.  I can't take it, people!  So far the only thing it has relieved me of is the insomnia that can go along with low estrogen levels. That was an immediate benefit.  I am hopeful that my other annoying symptoms of menopause go away soon.  Yes I said menopause.  At the age of 39 I was confirmed to be in a menopausal state.  Less than 3% of all women go in to menopause this early in life.  What can I say...I'm special!?  So because of this, I have to remember to take this little blue pill.  So I got my 7 day A.M. and P.M. pill box out and decided to get organized with my meds and supplements. This in itself makes me feel like I am approaching the nursing home soon. Within a week of doing this, I have not had to take any pain medicine.  I think that at last count I am taking 18 pills everyday, mostly supplements though.  This doesn't count my "if needed" muscle relaxer, anti-anxiety, or pain medication.  I have a neck and back that tend to go into spasms after working a full day.  Sometimes I lay in bed at night and have racing thoughts running through my head.   My mind just won't shut off thinking and worrying...hence the anti-anxiety medication.  However, I think the hormone has really helped that.  Like I said before, I haven't had to take any pain medication.  So it sounds like I have a pharmacy going within my home, but in reality, most are healthy dietary supplements, or whole food supplements. You just can't eat enough fruits and veggies.  So the big news for me is I don't have that daily onset of pain that I was dealing with before.  However, the past two days I have noticed sharp twinges and throbbing in my bones, but I am trying to ignore them in hopes that I can somehow succeed at some primitive form of "get-it-out-of-my-head-and-it-won't-be real" type of therapy.  What is really strange for me is I have never been a pill taker. With all things considered, I guess I'll do whatever I have to do if it gets me to some kind of normal.

I have a prayer request for a special lady who was introduced to me through a mutual friend.  She was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer exactly one year before me.  In sorts, she was kind of a mentor to me.  Her name is Cindy.  Through several months of encouraging emails, she got me through some very low times in my treatments.  This week, Cindy found out almost two years from her diagnosis that her cancer has metastasized after being NED (no evidence of disease) for well over a year.  I hate this cancer.  It is a wicked demon.  Please pray for Cindy and her family.  Also, pray for new treatments for triple negative breast cancer survivors.  Pray for a cure for all cancers.

As for reconstruction...just have got to pay my part and we will get a date.  Probably going to be the end of March.  I will keep you posted.  Until next time my friends...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Broken Heart

Hi everyone!  I have been busy trying to live life and forget about cancer.  It's a new year.  Thank you, Lord.  I am still trying to get to San Antonio for the start of my reconstruction.  New year means more money out of our pockets for my medical expenses.  So much fun!  Thankfully, I can honestly say that this time we got our money's worth out of our insurance last year....not many people can say that. (I am looking at the bright side here, OK?)

During this blog, I have mentioned a few women that I have met that also were battling triple negative breast cancer.  One local woman, a single mom with three kids, Kim.  I met her in chemo.  Her nice fiance would sit through her chemo and Kevin would sit with me.  I remember watching them both playing games on their IPhones while we were being infused with poisons and cancer drugs.  Kim showed me how she tied the scarves on her head that she always wore.  She was beautiful and always so positive. She was about 4 weeks ahead of me in treatments.  My last week of radiation I saw her in the waiting room as I was coming out.  She looked amazing and had grown a full head of curly hair.  She had stopped in to deliver some Scentsy candles to someone who had placed an order with her.  She had already finished all her treatments.  In the next few weeks, her facebook posting announced that her cancer was back and she was going to look for a clinical trial to get in if possible.  If not, everything else is experimental at this point.  Well, Kim married her fiance in mid January and I found out yesterday that she passed away last Friday.  She was just here.  I think I cried most of the day at this news.  My heart is breaking for her family.

Then came more horrible news...My friend Heather, triple negative in Van Wert, Ohio has been battling for her life since the same time that I was diagnosed.  We are the same age and she has two boys and a wonderful husband, 44 year old, Doug.  Heather has been receiving treatments at Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  She has been fighting with everything she has in her.  During their most recent visit to Zion, Illinois (please excuse me my details are sketchy at this point)...Doug apparently had a heart attack and passed away.  That is what Heather told me that they thought was the cause of his death.  Why????  Please someone help me to understand this....better yet speak to Heather when you leave your comments.  I am at a loss for words why one person should have to bear all this.  I know that God always knows the bigger picture that we can't see....still I am speechless.  There is this empty hole in my gut.  I can't even imagine the pain and sorrow that tortures Heather right now as she fights for her own life.  It literally hurts my mind to even try to wrap my head around this.  It hurts.  Please read my earlier blog posts to find out more about "a spec on a pig's butt" I think on May 19th 2010.

Please leave some comments of encouragement, prayers, or words of wisdom....anything....but talk to Heather in my comment section because I know she will eventually read this.  Help me, and help her.  Pray for Kim's family, especially her children and new husband.  Also, pray for Heather...until next time....:-(