Wednesday, March 09, 2011

I was hijacked by facebook....
It has been almost a year since I posted... so much has happened and so little has happened. But I must admit I got into posting on fb.... easy, quick access and friends just pop up out of my past and I get to see how great they are doing now. Love that part.
Last I posted I was facing chemo for my 2nd recurrence. I finished that cycle of chemo in August 2010 and was able to stay on a break from chemo for almost 5 months. Now I've started a new cycle of chemos for my 3rd recurrence.... this one is carboplatin and gemzar.... the gemzar is new to me. My first treatment was February 24th and side effects were moderate... the last of the 'effects' ended last night. Still/always have fatigue, but that's minor. This recurrence is a little more problematic... it's in my colon. The pathology of this tumor is showing that it's a little more aggressive than my previous tumors and I'm getting much higher counts on my tumor marker than I've had since I was first diagnosed. But we're trying chemo first, if that doesn't work, then surgery. We really don't want surgery that has it's own set of complications and risks. So for now I'm on chemo every 3 weeks. I'll know if the first round worked a little on March 17th, my next appt, that's when I'll get my tumor marker count lab results.
Emotionally we get through this with prayer, music, laughter and love. We talk about trips we've taken and trips we have planned.

Monday, April 05, 2010

To say that it's been a long time is an understatement....
Almost a full year.... a blessed year actually. I was off chemo for 15 months. From December 9, 2009 to well, last Tuesday, March 30th. My cancer has started "progressing" again. It was never gone, (ned - no evidence of disease), but it had stablized. Now it's growing again. I went back on my orginal chemo because it works for me - 15 months is considered good.
Am I scared, mad, worried, sad? No, not really. I am just one of those thousands of ovarian cancer survivors who balance hope with statistics. I know that the statistics say that when someone has had a recurrence, the likelyhood of another is great. Did I hope that I was one of very few who had beat it, yes. But did I expect that no.
Now is not the time to spend any energy worrying or crying... my energy is on fighting! I have always liked the phrase cancer warrior because we do not just survive, we fight.
I dont' know how Steve feels - I do know that he has already started talking about the trips we have planned for the next few months... he knows that it's one thing that I enjoy during chemo week. We'll talk, we'll laugh, we'll pray and we'll plan even more things we can do together when I feel good... because what cements us is our love, our freindship and our faith in Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

CA 125 fact and fiction story...
I just read another ovca survivors' blog where she implores women to force their doctors to give them the CA125 test as a screening tool yearly, when they are asymptomatic. Unfortunately she fell into the well meaning trap of since there is no early detection test, let's at least use something. This flies in the face of all the historical and current studies... here is the truth about using the CA125 test as a screening tool from Ovarian Cancer Research website:
"Did you know it is NOT an effective screening test for ovarian cancer?
Did you know that the American Cancer Society, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, and many other medical organizations recommend that the CA-125 NOT BE USED as an ovarian cancer screening test?
Why not? Because it doesn't work!
Many women have undergone unnecessary surgery (and anxiety) as a result of this test, while others have been falsely reassured by a normal result-while they actually had ovarian cancer.
E-mails circulating online urge women to get the CA-125 test and declare it is the ONLY way to detect ovarian cancer. Although this information is well-intended, it is inaccurate, misleading and fear-provoking.
Please help to spread the truth about the CA-125 test by sending this e-mail to all your friends, family and others about whom you care.
CA-125 is NOT an Effective Screening Test for Ovarian Cancer?
ALL the existing studies tell us that CA-125 is NOT a good screening test for ovarian cancer. The CA-125 blood test measures a protein in the blood which is produced by normal cells, as well as by cells from common non-cancerous conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, benign ovarian cysts, pelvic infections, pregnancy, and normal menstrual periods. Non-gynecologic conditions such as liver disease and inflammatory diseases as well as a variety of other cancers also elevate the CA125 levels.
For a screening test to be helpful, it must detect disease in individuals who feel entirely well, at a time when the disease is in its earliest and most curable stages. To be helpful, a screening test must be extremely accurate. For example, even a test that is 99.6% accurate will find 1 woman with the disease, but also will falsely inform 9 women that they have the disease when they do not (false positives).
For postmenopausal women who have an elevated CA-125 level, most will NOT have ovarian cancer. The test is even less accurate for women prior to menopause. And, in women who do have early ovarian cancer, (those women we need to find since ovarian cancer is still highly curable) the CA-125 levels will be normal in at least 50%.
If 10,000 women aged 50 - 64 are screened with CA-125 testing for ovarian cancer yearly, 300 women will test positive and require further evaluation. Twenty-four of these women will need surgery, 20 of whom will not have ovarian cancer and, therefore, be subjected to unnecessary surgery with inherent risks and recovery. Only 4 of the 10,000 women will have ovarian cancer.Similarly discouraging results are found with screening by ultrasound of the ovaries in asymptomatic women.
For Women with a Strong Family History Ovarian Cancer
Testing high-risk women, who have a very strong family history of ovarian cancer, with twice-yearly pelvic ultrasound exams and CA-125 levels is the current standard of care. Even in the research studies for these high-risk women, the testing has not been shown to be particularly helpful. If you are at high risk, you should discuss testing with your doctor."
We absolutely need an early detection test! But right now what we do have is making sure that women know the symptoms and if they get some symptoms get themselves to their doctors for the appropriate tests.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Does the president really care?
Steve calls me his "political activist baby" because on occassion I write letters to Senators, Representatives about something that I feel is important, i.e. ovarian cancer research funding. Today I sent off an email to our President about credit card policy. I'm a fiscal conservative so having the government dabble in corporate businesses kind of grates on me, but the current practices that banks have started actually grate on me more. Here is the email I sent:
Good Morning Mr. President:
In this economy I find it unconscionable that banks have sent out letters increasing interest rates to well above 20% (which to me, any rate above 15% should be usury) without defaults... just a change in the rate, starting May 1st. If they are worried about defaults why would they increase the rates so that our payments are higher and thus probably increasing defaults? We all have budgets that we try to keep within our incomes, by these increases, sometimes 3 times the current rate, they are assuring that in the least it will take FOREVER to pay the balances off, at the worst, many will have to default because they can't afford the increase in payments.
I know that it's important to keep the banks fiscally strong, but it feels like they are saying "thank you for helping us, so how can we increase our income from our credit card holders so we can post a profit?" I even saw someone on one of the financial networks applauding this practice because he owned stock in banks. I do think that all businesses, including banks, should be able to earn profits for their stockholders, I'm not saying that that is wrong... what is wrong is that they aren't looking for ways to cut costs and corporate excesses, and creative ways to increase income, they are going the easy route, trying to bleed turnips, to turn a phrase.
Please Mr. President, waiting to change credit card laws would make it too late... unless it's retroactive. Although, waiting could result in financially destroying many families.
So, what do you all think? Am I out there on my own?

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A lot done, but not very busy....

It's hard to believe that I got a lot of different things done, yet if you looked at my calendar I'm not very busy.

Lilli is 7 months old today... she's 20 lbs now, very cute and quite the social butterfly. She graduated from Puppy Training on Saturday. I'm holding her in my arms... she was one of the smallest of class. She was definately the life of the party!
She did pretty good... she still has a little problem focusing.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Introducing the newest member of our family........
San Tan Lilli Ann!
Born: September 7, 2008
Part of our family: November 23rd
Female, Cocker Spaniel

Name came from - San Tan - we live near an area called the San Tans, Lilli is from Lillie Langtry - because we loved the movie "The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean", starring Paul Newman, where Judge Bean loved Lillie Langtry, he never met her but described himself as her "champion and ardent admirer", and finally Ann, is a nod to my sister-in-law's middle name... she got a real kick that the puppy shared her (and mine) middle name.
The last picture is the introduction of the new puppy with the resident cat, "the Dude". Not great friends yet, but promising.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

It's been a long, long time...

I know, I know - I should keep up my blog, but 3 years of treatments tends to be routine... chemo, then 7-10 days of the chemo pit, then a couple of weeks of building up strength and feeling pretty good, then chemo... round and round. But, thankfully, and it is Thanksgiving after all, I'm still here because of that routine. Steve and I are very thankful that I'm still on the same treatment - carboplatin and taxetere.. it's the best and my tumors are still sensitive to it... tumors are stable or diminished.

Since I last wrote we've been on a couple of trips -
June was Sedona - we stayed in a bed and breakfast - our first try at that and we loved it! We had our own patio that had shady trees and very comfortable patio chairs. We'd get coffee early in the morning and sit outside on our patio and just look at our view of red rocks. We did take a jeep tour and thought it would be just a nice ride up into the heart of the red rocks areas... but it was a real jeep ride and it was so much fun!

July we went back to Greer Lodge, different cabin... loved the place, the forest feeling you get up there and of course, it's lots cooler. I did get to catch my first fish! Steve taught me how to fly fish... Greer Lodge had little ponds that provide catch and release type fishing... so I caught one!

October we went to Rocky Point, Mexico... we stayed at Las Palomas right on the beach. We rented one of those condos... and it was beautiful. Only took us about 5 hours to drive down and by 2:30 in the afternoon we were already unpacked and on the beach enjoying the water and the surf. They also have great swimming pools plus a "lazy river". Okay the lazy river was like my favorite place to be... just floating around on an inner tube, lazing the day away. We stayed 4 nights and it was really perfect. We took our own food and cooked most of our meals in our kitchen. We rarely cook at home, so why when we were on vacation - it just seemed right and it was. We bought fresh shrimp one day for dinner - this was amazing shrimp, came right off the shrimp boat that morning - they have a pretty large shrimp fleet. We bought enough to have for dinner, then I had left overs that worked with omelets the next morning and even a few left over as a topping for a salad for lunch... yum.
Finally for November I went to Dallas for the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition convention - it was intense... flew in Thursday at 12:30, by 1:30 I was sitting eating lunch at the first session... and we didn't stop until I was on the shuttle back to the airport at 1:30 on Saturday.
Oh yes, one more thing in November - but I'll leave that for my next post.....