Archive for the ‘physical therapy’ Category


January 3, 2012

my parking spot today

So, another three months has passed by, I’m still alive, and got to go to Hickman Cancer Center today for my transfusion of good drugs.   Zometa…or as I kinda like to think of it now, as “Zippity-do-dah Zometa”.

Two years and 10 months out from BC diagnosis, and I’m doing pretty damn good.   Lucky me….discovered icky cancer, had good insurance, lots of accumulated sick leave (well…not anymore…) and signed up for the most aggressive treatment options possible, including the Zometa clinical trial.  At the time, I had absolutely no reservations about signing on for the trial.  And no, it wasn’t about being nice (ha!  fooled you!) or advancing research (nice idea, just not why I signed on) but if I’m completely honest about it, I was mostly interested in staying closely connected to an oncologist.  I didn’t care what the excuse is/was , as long as I got to sign up for an onco appointment every three months, I was happy.

Oh sure, I read everything and talked to everyone about Zometa, and mostly all the medical people nodded in agreement, “probably worth a try”.  And honestly, I was, and still am, willing to do anything to prevent recurrence.  And lucky, lucky me…..turns out Zometa maybe really is one of the good cancer fighting drugs.

Last month (12/2011) researchers published results that indicated Zometa was not only helpful in strengthening bones from the damage that cancer treatment inflicts, but also seems to protect against recurrence, as well.

“The benefit persists” long after treatment ends, said Dr. Michael Gnant of Austria’s Medical University of Vienna, who presented his research last week at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.

Gnant’s study showed women who received the bone drug Zometa were 37 percent less likely to die than women who didn’t. That means that 4 to 5 more women with breast cancer out of every 100 were alive seven years later because of the treatment.

Some cancer specialists are now calling for Zometa to be offered to all patients like those in this study – younger women forced into early menopause by hormone-blocking cancer treatments.

“It’s a new standard of care,” said Dr. James Ingle, a Mayo Clinic breast specialist.

I don’t quite feel like I have my old life back yet, still get tired more easily than I think I should, still have physical therapy issues as well as the compromised immune system and taste buds.

But, I am very cautiously optimistic about the ending of this chapter of my story.


good news/bad news

August 7, 2009

good news first-

I have completed three out of four chemotherapies sessions!!!  Only one more to go in three weeks!

My nurses at Uof M are incredible.  I love JOAN, Nurse Practitioner to Dr. Schottt, and I LOVE TERRI, who is always smiling and happy and treats you like you are her first and only customer of the day, and I LOVE the guy at the pharmacy, and my Chemo nurses always do such a good job of caring for me, even though I know they are SO BUSY!!!

My chemo today went off without any bad reactions this time…….but they really threw all the meds in they could think of first before the taxotere, which is behind the “badjuju” .  Only then,  it made me way more tired.

Bad news is they cancelled my 10:30 am appointment with Geeta, the PT.  Big disappointment.  Could have left at 11:00 or so instead of 8:15 am…… 

No one gave me any compelling advice one way or another on the Radiation issue.  I guess I really am on my own with this.

Also, my being gone so much is affecting my family poorly, too.  That make me sad.  I’m trying hard to kep up with everything AND have time for myself to focus, study, and meditate, but I guess it is not working out too well.  :^(      Any ideas?

Tomorrow I’ll tell you what Dr. Schott had to say about radiation, and the visit to Renee’s Survivor Shop.


August 6, 2009


So after five days, I am finally able to listen to the tape of my visit to Dr. H, Radiation Guy at U of M.  It doesn’t really help much.

I had pretty much over the weekend decided to stop whining so much and just suck it up and at least take a positive attitude about the whole radiation thing.  But listening to the tape of the consultation, well….you tell me what you think….here are a couple direct quotes:

“”you fall into a grey zone regarding the rules of radiation after a mastectomy”  and  “there is a lot of discussion in the literature amongst the experts of what is the right thing to do in this setting, because there are some downsides to doing the radiation” .  Neither one exactly inspires me to jump up on the table and get into position. 

On the other hand….I just want to be the best patient I can be, be informed, proactive and do everything in my power to rid my body of these despicable cancer cells.  I just keep thinking about seeing Louie and Charlie graduate from High School, and then if they choose, college, too.  What can I do to ensure that I get to see those things?  Is it choosing radiation as part of my treatment plan??

Lou and I have been reading so much about this.  Looking for original studies, information prepared for the layperson, and talking to people who have been through it, and dammit there really is no clear cut answer.

Over the weekend I was surprised to see on BREASTCANCER.ORG :  Radiation may be recommended if four or more lymph nodes are involved OR for premenopausal women, at least one lymph node was involved.  hmmnnnn this is the first time I have seen the “premenopausal” clause…..I guess this is because if you still produce estrogen, it provides food for the cancer  cells (if your cancer is estrogen receptor positive, that us.)


Had three good visits today.  First, I had a “Healing Touch” appointment with Veronica at The Victory Center.  As usual, it was insightful, calming, relaxing.  She is great, and reminded me (again) to come from a place of unconditional love, and to (again) live in the moment.  To ask the universe the question and wait for the answer.  I already know all of these things, but at this juncture, I need someone to remind me of them.  I really need a Veronica in my life about every other day or so right now.

Saw Dr. Barone, my Plastic Surgeon for my last expansion on my right side (150 cc’s).  To all of you outside of Ohio….wow, too bad you can’t see this big girl.  She’s a beaut in a round-expansion implant-kind of way.   I’m thinking I gotta be careful about bumping into things until I get used to my new perameters!  Only thing is, I really got to step up buying a boob for the left side, because I am lopsided in a really dramatic way now.  God, I hope they don’t have to special order them.  I hope the boob store just has them “in stock”.  Guess that should go on the “to do” list this week right after I figure out how best to keep living.  But on the serious side, Dr. B provided the time for a serious talk about cancer options, specifically radiation.  I really appreciate this doc for his time and willingness to talk, and look me in the eye when he answers my questions.   Plus, he has the best nurses ever.  And, he has the nicest office staff, too.  Thanks Suzi for taking additional time with me today.  It meant a lot to have that additional conversation.  You are the greatest!

Last good visit was with BFF Tahree.  We just talked, drank wine, visited a neighbors’ garden and then out to dinner.  What a good pre-chemo evening, to talk to other “girls”.

Thursday (tomorrow…or by the time this posts, today)

Get records for second opinion.  See Geeta, U of M Physical Therapist Extraordinaire.  Blood work.  Appointment with Joan, NP and Dr. Schott, Oncologist.  And if I’m lucky and blood work is good, chemo at 3:30.  Send good energy my way…..I’ll be in Ann Arbor..

A big disappointment

July 9, 2009

Well today was supposed to be chemo #2 day.  I had even planned a party tomorrow to celebrate being halfway through “the treatment”.  But no, it was not to be.  I am so disappointed, I can’t even begin to tell you.

My day began with a consultation with the most excellent Physcial Therapist, Peeta.  She is very good, and shortly after beginning my treatment she looked at my chest, specifically the right breast and asked, “why is half of your breast red?  I think you have an infection.”  I felt alarmed and crestfallen all at once.  The right breast is the one with the expander implant in place and had just been expanded yesterday by my plastic surgeon.  Awww jeez…and the expansion was not even that uncomfortable yesterday like in previous visits.  How could it be infected?  Anyways, Peeta completed her PT, gave me a prescription for a compression sleeve to relieve some of the discomfort of the left arm where all the lymph nodes were removed, and sent me on my way, with instructions to show this condition to Dr. Schott, the oncologist.

Both Dr. Schott and her nurse practioner Joan were not in today, so I had a new and diligent NP, Tammy, who took one look at the right breast and pretty clearly said she did not want to take a chance at chemotherapy with even a small potential of an infection.  I kind of whined about it, and she asked if it was OK to pull another Dr. in to examine my breast.  Hell, I would let the janitor take a peek if he would have said, “Nah…it’s OK!”  So of course I said YES, YES bring another doctor in.  It took what seemed like a very long time…… I laid there on the table and tried not to cry,  tried not to feel sorry for myself, but I felt overwhelmingly sad.  Eventually a  great big Doctor came in, took one look at what honestly is a very light shade of pink on one half of the breast only, from the vertical scar to the center of the chest, and he quickly said, “no, I don’t think you should do chemo today.”   They explained that it was probably only a very slight risk of infection, but if it was an infection having to do anything with the expander implant, then undergoing chemotherapy at that time would only increase the chance of losing the expander implant.  After all the work and energy that has been put into that side of reconstruction, it would be a shame to lose it, and go back to square one.  They gave me a prescription for antibiotics, and sent me to reschedule all the rest of my my chemo appts.

Of course.  They are right.  I know they are “erring on the side of caution”.  But another week of delay means another week of missed work.  Another week further away from being done with chemo.  Another week delay of getting some sembelence of my life back. 

But I think they are right.  But I am so sadly disappointed.  I have been looking forward to this day so much.  It takes so much energy to plan for chemo, to be “up” for chemo, only to have it taken away.  At the end of today, I was going to be halfway done, and now I have to wait another week.  And I know it is the right thing to do as I write through my tears.  I wish I were mature enough to accept this today, but as with the other difficult things I have experienced lately, I guess it will take a day before I straighten up and stop whining about it.  :^(