Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Some scary stuff

I'm in shock - my CA125 is rising! It has gone from 31 to 40 since last month. I guess those 2 lymph nodes do have active cancer in them. Too much time without any kind of treatment and it starts growing again. Yuck!!

So it looks like I will be choosing the Cyberknife option . . . as long as my insurance will cover it. I have to talk to the patient coordinator to get the process rolling. Insurance approval is step one.

Will keep you all posted . . .

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I did see Dr. McLaughlin on Monday. Mom and John came along. He explained my options and the pros and cons of each. For those two remaining lymph nodes in my abdomen, I have four choices -
1. Do nothing. It could be dying tissue and in a matter of time it will go away. Or, it could still be active cancer and begin growing again without treatment. No way to know for sure.
2. Surgery. This isn't really an option since the lymph nodes are right next to my aorta and he explained that the blood pressure in the aorta is the same as a fire hydrant. In order to remove the nodes, they would have to take out a margin around them. That margin would include my aorta - no thank you!
3. More chemo. This will be a sure way to treat the nodes, but it will also affect my whole body meaning more feeling crappy. He also said your body can get too much chemo and the tumor can desensitize to it.
4. Cyberknife. This would zap the cancer in the nodes and prevent the possibility of it regrowing there. But it is radiation and could have side effects like ulceration of the intestines. Also, I would need an outpatient procedure to have tiny seeds made out of gold implanted in the nodes. These would be the target points for the radiation, like the tattoos were the first time. The treatments could last up to 2 hours each day for 3-5 days. I would need a driver each time to take me all the way to Kennestone in Marietta.

So, right now I am waiting for my CA125 results which I had drawn yesterday. My last one was 31. If my level is going down, then I might just wait it out and do nothing. If it's not a significant decrease, I might decide to do the Cyberknife. As much as I am ready to be done with all this, I don't want to give the cancer a chance to start growing again. And I DO NOT WANT MORE CHEMO!!!

For now, I am feeling thankful that I get to enjoy the holiday without nausea or ickiness. I hope everyone has a wonderful THANKSGIVING!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cyberknife may be a possiblity

Dr. Salmieri has sent my records to a Dr. Mark McLaughlin at Kennestone Hospital in Marietta. He is a radiation oncologist who specializes in Cyberknife. I have an appt with him on Monday to determine if I'm a good candidate for this treatment. Basically, it's high intensity radiation with a laser beam. It might work on those two remaining lymph nodes in my upper abdomen.

I've been feeling really great. My feet are getting that "pins and needles itchy" feeling which makes me believe the neuropathy is going away and sensation is coming back in them. My hair hasn't started growing back yet, but I check it every day! I'm still working and haven't had to take any sick days in a while. I'm hoping this is finally the end of the tunnel!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Biopsy cancelled

Apparently, they don't think they will be able to get to the lymph nodes in the center of my chest safely. So they cancelled the biopsy for tomorrow. I guess I'll wait for a call from Dr. S tomorrow to find out the next step . . .

Feeling more hopeful

I had my appt today with Dr. Salmieri today and I'm feeling a little more hopeful. He explained that the lymph nodes lighting up in my abdomen are not new, they were there originally. And they are going away. They may just need a little more time to get rid of entirely. Or, they may need more chemo (blech!!). I am going for a biopsy tomorrow to see if they are "necrotic" meaning dying, or if they are still active. After those results, Dr. S said he would feel more confident about making a decision regarding my future treatments (or lack thereof!!).

He said there is a possibility of radiation to those nodes, specifically the "cyberknife." But, since the nodes are right in the center of my chest/top of my stomach, the radiation would have to go through some major organs and I might have some bad effects. If it's anything like my throat was, I might want to pass on the radiation. He said one patient of his had part of her intestines burned away and had to have general surgery to resect them - yikes!

So it's more wait and see. The biopsy results will take a few days, so I probably won't find anything out until after the weekend.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Scan results - good, but not clean

I talked with Beth, the nurse practitioner, yesterday afternoon about my scan results. Overrall, she said they were good. The lymph nodes in my neck and near my breast bone are cleared up. But there are still some in my abdomen that are lighting up, aka suspicious. She said Dr. S might want to biopsy them, if that's possible to do, to see what's going on there. She mentioned the possibility of more chemo (I don't think so!), but we will discuss all that at my appointment on Wednesday.

So, for all that I've been though - radiation and chemo - I am better. Just not totally in the clear. My latest CA125 blood test was at 31, in the normal range, but not as low as it was before all this started.

I don't know what "cured" is supposed to look like for me now. Maybe "cured" is no longer an option and I can only expect "controlled" or "stable" as the best result. That would be great! I just know I am READY TO BE NORMAL AGAIN! I am so over worrying about my health and future treatment! I want my hair back, I want my feet not to be numb anymore, I want to be able to climb the stairs without getting winded, I want to not get nauseated at the slightest smells, I want to be able to focus all my attention on John and the girls instead of myself . . .

No one should have to be in constant fear of not being able to live their life normally. I should be concentrating on mundane, trivial, everyday things - housework, yardwork, making dinner, reading with my kindergartner, walking my dog . . . . . Instead I'm wondering if I am going to feel like getting off the couch from day to day. I have begun to hate my couch, can't stand how it feels or how I feel lying on it. There's no place where I can relax anymore and I realize it's not the place, it's my own body I want to get out of. For 20 weeks now, my body has been torturing me.

I truly don't believe cancer is an automatic death sentence, but it is most definitely a "prison" sentence. Except, you don't get to know the length of time it will last. Ugh. In the meantime, I'll keep looking for that light at the end of the tunnel.

Will post again after dr appt on Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Time for scans . . . and prayers!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is my scan day! I'll be having a PET scan and CT scans. The PET is a fully body scan used to detect high metabolic activity, aka cancer. Areas of suspicion will light up like Christmas tree lights. I'm hoping for that typical strand of dead lights! Not a good thing for decorating a tree, but perfect for cancer detection!

I have my next appt with Dr. S a week from tomorrow. I'm hoping to get the results before then, ideally before the weekend. Will post as soon as I know. Of course, I appreciate constant prayers until then!

Dear Lord, I pray for complete healing and permanent recovery. Your power and grace are infinite and I know that You can do miracles. I turn all my worry over to You and trust that You will make me well. I know You can make it happen and I believe.