Thursday, May 26, 2011

05/26/2011

I'm terrible at keeping this blog updated, but just wanted to inform the internet that I HAVE HAIR!! Its still unbelievably thin, but i've been without my wig or a head scarf for about a week now. Its definitely nice to be able to walk around without worrying whether or not your hair's straight on your head!

Other exciting things: Shane is graduating in less than 2 weeks, I just finished my final class for my grad program and we are moving on! Now if we could just get some sunshine all would be good!!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

5/12/2011

Posting this a few days late as blogger has been down over the weekend:

Today i'm at OHSU all day getting my Herceptin infusion and meeting with Dr. Luoh for a checkup. Things look good, according to him. I only have one mugga scan left and as long as my ejaction fraction (sounds dirty doesn't it?) is still ok then i'm going to be getting the remaining Herceptin infusions. I should be done September 15th!!! After today i'll have one more fill with my PS on the 19th of May and then a check up with my surgeon on the 2nd of June. My exchange surgery will likely take place in late September, early October depending on how things go. These are both VERY busy times for work so i'll have to know exactly what my time out will look like prior to setting a surgery date. Dr. Luoh confirmed today that when we have my exchange surgery that my port can also be taken out at that time! This news makes me elated because even though logically I know I have been told that the port would come out, I had a fear that they were going to consider me high risk and make me keep the port in case of a re-occurance. The port has been my biggest point of concern since starting this process. When I was still meeting with the surgeon in Salem, my concern was greater about the port than the actual surgery. It wasn't until my oncologist told me that the port was removable did I finally start to breathe again. Since I original thought I would be spending the rest of my life with this little critter - the thought of it being gone in less than 5 months makes me giddy! This is the best photo and explanation of a port I have found. This photo is of the port actually accessed: http://www.flickr.com/photos/goellnitz/2391111652/ It doesn't look this scary all the time. :-)


The other good news is that after all my freaking out about Tamoxifen and my lack of side effects, Dr. Luoh confirmed that I am a "normal" metabolizer of Tamoxifen!! This means that I can have as few hot flashes as I want and still know that the Tamoxifen is working in my body! THANK GOD. Dr. Luoh had previously indicated that a lack of side effects typically is associated with Tamoxifen not working well. I have had next to no side effects and have been extremely concerned since my Estrogen positive status was 100%. This is good news!!! Yay!!!

Dr. Luoh also laughed at me today when I mentioned to him that I was having back pain and thought that it might be cancer in my spine. He doesn't seem to think this is the case.

Tomorrow is also my birthday. In my case, birthdays have become slightly odd since cancer. This is my first birthday since my diagnosis. Every time I think about having a birthday I hear those stupid American Cancer Society commercials about celebrating more birthdays. Usually they have some celebrity sing Happy Birthday and then post some hubub about "Helping people celebrate more birthdays". The first time I saw one of these commercials I cried , similar to how a child would cry after seeing the boogieman. I hate them and I wish they would take them off the air. I don't want more birthdays...I want ALL OF MY BIRTHDAYS. More birthdays is simply not good enough.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

05/10/2011




Things have been so busy in the past few weeks that I haven't had time to sit down and write a blog about everything thats been happening. The first of May I went to the NBCC conference in Washington DC. I got to spend some amazing time with family and also see some great sights in the DC area. One of the great things about the trip and specifically the conference was meeting amazing women who have battled this disease and so far, won!!! There were so many AMAZING survivors who warmed my heart and changed my outlook. I was able to meet Dr. Slamon and have my photo taken. I even shook his hand and thanked him for being the force behind the drug that could save my life and has already saved so many women.



I also learned about the prospect of ending breast cancer by 2020!! I could go into the explanations of how this could be achieved or what each of the workshops at the conference was about, but instead I think its best to link you here:




This is important - so please read and please take a part if you can in making this dream a reality!! on Tuesday of the conference we lobbied congress regarding the Department of Defense Budget for Breast Cancer Research and the need for our representatives to support this deadline and "The Accelerated End of Breast Cancer Act". It was such an amazing experience to walk the halls of Congress in Washington DC!

On a personal note, I am doing well; continuing Herceptin treatment and Tamoxifen. So far, i've had minimal side effects from the Tamoxifen. I should find out on Thursday if I am a good Metabolizer of Tamoxifen (historically associated with a better outcome). Keep your fingers crossed!

I also started taking regular courses again this term. Being in graduate school again has made me realize just how hard this journey had been on my intellect and just how badly chemotherapy has left me in a mental fog. I still find myself searching for words and responding with very surface answers to questions I should be able to think deeper about. Shane is helping me write my papers by going through each sentence word for word. I'm not sure what I would do without him! The doctors say the fog will lift with time. No one has yet to give me an amount of time. I plan to start reading more and playing memory games in order to hopefully re-activate my brain cells. Until then, oh well!! I hear ignorance is bliss!!


Much love,
Heather