Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oncology visit/pregnancy nightmares

For at least 2 years, I am to be checked out every 3 months by either the oncologist or the radiologist. They don't follow any markers or do any scans; they check only for 'regional' recurrences i.e. node and breast checks. They wait for symptoms of distal recurrences. Scans are full of false positives and negatives. So many times on the boards patients are told that they are NED (no evidence of disease) and a month later come down with distal mets. If TNBC is to recur, it does sooner than later, mostly within 3 years of the original diagnosis so I am almost halfway through the scary time. All other factors being equal(stage,tumor grade,etc), estrogen positives have a much less chance of recurrence but it could happen over a much longer period of time. The very sweet lady in my cooking class found her bone recurrence a month before her 10th anniversary.
So this morning I met with the onc. According to them, I need mega doses of Vit D3 and calcium, preferably divided, to increase my survival chances. The calcium is a problem as it interferes with my thyroid hormone. Two years ago I put myself unwittingly into a severe hypothyroid state due to my constant intake of rolaids (calcium!!!!) to counteract the effects of NSAIDs on my poor stomach lining. I needed the NSAIDs for arm pain from when I broke it. The onc noticed on my history that I take Armour thyroid and wondered where I got it. It's no longer available!!! I then noticed the tell-tale smily scar of a thyroidectomy on her neck-new. So someone else needs this unavailable drug.
No new lumps so I am good to go for 3 months. My only suspicious symptom is the arm pain that seems to be more of a rotator cuff injury than cancer. They strongly recommend PT but I told them that I know the drill from my frozen shoulder (different arm) episode and the Y trainers will work with me. Mainly my new insurance won't cover it. She reviewed the signs of bone mets with me. They usually first show up in the ribs or spine or hips-not in the joints or upper arm. Plus the pain isn't getting worse in my case though my mobility is becoming more and more impaired.
So cancer is slowly releasing its hold on me. I am not sure the mechanism of injury to my now useless arm but suspect radiation damage somehow though the onc doubted it. My chemo curls are relaxing but I am still going through this annoying cycle of shedding my lower eyelashes every 3 months. The individual lash cycles are at least becoming less in sync with each other so I am not totally lashless. I did show up to Montreal fairly lashless though with little baby ones coming in and with these annoying scabby dry skin patches above my upper lip that to the casual observer, appeared that I ate chocolate messily or applied lipstick spastically.The hair on my legs still goes through furry and hairless periods-currently in fur mode. Small potatoes.
I am watching the weather with trepidation. Steve is in the middle of PA right now in a dry area but soon will hit the snowy section. Route 80 is filled with speed filled truck drivers. He's gone by numerous jack-knived semis already.It is slippery here too so no dry pavement for me to run on. Last night was spent watching the weather and advising Steve on where to stop.

Ms. Naomi came to visit yesterday between classes. She's been having baby dreams. In one, she gives birth to a very small baby, so small that she decides the best way to carry it would be in her back pocket. However, at one point she forgets about it and sits down...Damn. End of baby!!!
In another, the baby is full sized but capable of speech right from the start. The baby provides a running commentary on Naomi's parenting skills, which of course the baby finds lacking. At one point, Naomi is shopping for baby supplies with my son and the baby tells her that what she really should be doing right now is cleaning the baby's hands. Naomi calls that the smart baby dream. She said that she doesn't want her baby to outsmart her. I of course, am hoping for a smart baby.

I suggested that she take some classes. She agreed to LaMaze but thinks she knows all about baby care.Dontae is also the 3rd out of 9 so he has some experience too. I gave her some hypothetical situations and her response was that she would just bring him to me. Sounds like a plan.

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