Thursday, April 24, 2008

Donations are welcome

My favorite husband and I are walking on May 3, 2008 in the Chicago Breaking the Silence Ovarian Cancer walk. If you'd like to donate (every little bit helps), follow the link below!

I am looking forward to meeting other fighters and survivors at this function as well. Knowledge is power!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I was a little tired over the weekend, but nothing significant. So far this chemotherapy drug has been easy easy easy (knocking furiously on wood- please remain easy)! Yesterday and today my favorite husband and I went for a walk. Apparently that was a good idea, since my friend JKE signed us up for the Chicago NOCC walk for ovarian cancer on May 3. Wasn't that sweet of her? ;) She knows what's good for me though. I need to get my body out of the extreme winter atrophy I have succumbed to (and I can't even blame it on cancer! Where's my scape goat!)

I was really touched that she initiated it and wants to do it. I saw the walk listed several days ago - but didn't think anyone would want to do it with me. Now I have someone to walk with (and a few more too - she found another sucker!)

Its spring, and its beautiful outside - let's move!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

What - no side effects?

I am feeling just great! I keep waiting for the 'other shoe to drop' and for some terrible side effect to blindside me. I have no nausea, no real pain, a slight sore throat (likely from the chemotherapy killing quickly dividing cells), no tiredness, etc.

My complaint is that I am supposed to not walk too much, or do repetitive things with my hands (type, sweep, rake, rub anything, etc.) in order to prevent a common side effect of this drug which is hand-foot syndrome. I'm not supposed to grasp things or apply pressure to the palms and soles of my feet. The Doxil can cause a painful red rash and blisters on the palms of the hands, and soles of the feet. I am icing my hands and feet periodically over the next few days to try to prevent this effect. In addition, I am supposed to watch my sun exposure to prevent other rashes. This drug seems to be a skin affecting one. So I feel wonderful - but can't do much! ;)

If anyone can think of activities or things I can do that don't use the hands or feet much - please leave a comment! I must be omitting some obvious activities. I am only going to follow this regimen for another day (through Sunday) for now. Compared with my last chemotherapy, this is a breeze and I am not complaining. Now I just hope that it is killing my ovarian cancer swiftly, and completely - or at least shrinking it.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I survived!

I survived my first treatment of Doxil for ovarian cancer. It is good that I didn't have initial side effects or reactions to the drug. I am still a little bit loopy from the steroids that they give to counteract side effects, but I don't take as many as I did on my previous regimen.

The first session at my new provider was a good experience. The best news is that my gynecological oncologist sees me prior to EVERY chemo session for a check up. I can bring all my questions and concerns to her, and she is so helpful, and really takes time with me and my favorite husband. She really is a gem. Then they draw lab work, and put me in a chemo room - which is just a doctors office with two chemo chairs and a TV. The amenities are not as nice as my previous chemo -(the TV only gets two fuzzy channels) but who needs amenities! :) My new drug will only take an hour to infuse, as opposed to the five hours for my previous chemo regimen. So from start to finish, it should take about 3 - 31/2 hours. I'll bring my laptop next time or something.

Before my next treatment, I need a MUGA scan. It is a scan of the heart. Don't worry- I'm not having problems!! They just need a baseline because Doxil can be really toxic and damaging to the hearts of some patients (cardiotoxic). I believe mine is strong, and will tolerate the treatment well. Also, it is a new test that I have not yet had so I am strangely looking forward to it. I am collecting medical tests and procedures by the way... I think I have all my friends and family beat right now. :) I certainly have them beat for the most procedures in the least amount of time. Nyah nyah nyah!

Now I just have to wait a few days to determine if any side effects will hit. Regardless of side effects, I have to stay out of the sun, and as always - stay away from sick people and crowded places. So if you are sick, please don't breathe on me ;)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Its a 'go'!

This Thursday I will start a new chemo. I just got the confirmation call today (after a message left for me yesterday - telling me I wasn't approved yet. They just wanted to get me all worked up I guess!) :)

I look forward to starting chemo at a new place. I hope it all goes smoothly, with no significant side effects or reactions to the chemo drug. I'll probably be nervous for the next couple of days until I know how the drug will affect me - until I have a session 'under my belt' so to speak. Hopefully it shrinks the ovarian cancer in all of the areas that it has migrated!

There was sad news this weekend - a sales rep for my company passed away from colon cancer. I knew he had cancer, but had no idea it had progressed so rapidly or was so serious. He doesn't work out of my office, and so I rarely saw him, and infrequently talked with him on the phone. Please say a prayer for Rolands family if you are so inclined.

Also my main boss was out of town to attend the surgery for his mother for colon cancer. I don't know how she is doing yet, but she did make it through the surgery.

Finally, my wonderful father in law was diagnosed with prostate cancer. When it rains, it pours I guess. He should be starting treatment (radiation) later this month. I know it is especially hard on my mother in law - because she has had cancer touch her family many times. I am very hopeful that his treatment will be a cure. It sounds like his doctor knows what he is doing.

There was a fairy tale time when there was no cancer in my life. Now it surrounds me and those that I love.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Call from the Doctor

My gynecologic oncologist called me on her first day back from vacation! Wow - what service and dedication. I am impressed. (did I mention how glad I am that I switched docs? :) )

She said that, although she had not reviewed the slides herself yet, cancerous cells were found in the needle biopsy. No big surprise there - it was expected. She didn't say what type were found, but based on the treatment she is suggesting, I believe it is ovarian cancer. Again - no big surprise there!

She wants me to start on Doxil as my next line of chemotherapy, starting next Thursday. It is not set in stone yet, as her office needs to call me to finalize everything. However, this ball is now rolling - and I look forward to having an active treatment regimen going.

I again asked her about surgery, and she again said that it is not recommended at this time. I just hate that I can feel the tumor - or at least feel the things it is pushing out of its way. I wish it were gone. I hope that Doxil shrinks it and the other small growths in my abdomen, down to nothing.

I've been on a bit of an emotional roller coaster since I talked to her - I won't lie about that! Alternately feeling happy that I will be having treatment, and terrified of the treatment and side effects. The good news is that this chemo is reportedly not as energy-sapping as the previous type I was on. I am trying not to worry about the side effects until I know what they will be for me - but it is hard not to. One day at a time, right?

I'll update again when this is all finalized.

Monday, April 7, 2008

CT guided needle biopsy

The biopsy went well. It was truly an interesting procedure. Unfortunately, it was not painless. They didn't knock me out. The nurse said that she gave me an 'anti anxiety' drug and a strong pain killer. I asked her if I looked anxious ;) she said no. Most of the procedure was painless - however, there was a point where I really felt the needle deep inside of me. I asked the doctor later, where the needle was during the time of pain. He thought it was when he was breaching the wall of the tumor. It felt exactly what you would expect an eight inch needle inside you to feel like. Luckily, it was short lived pain.

He did have to repeat the procedure when they found he hadn't collected enough cells the first time. Ouch again! Good thing I'm tough. I remember the whole thing, but it was not traumatic.

Then back up to my room where they observed me for a couple of hours, gave me lunch (the less said about lunch the better!), and then I got to go home! They should have the results in about a week or so. I'll call my doc (who is on vacation this week) and hopefully set up an appointment for next week. Her medical resident and her medical partner stopped in to see me - that was unexpected and appreciated! Once the results are in we can determine which line of chemo to start next.

I had a whole parade of people there too. My favorite husband, my mom and dad, and my medical student. I sure felt important ;)

I'm glad that part is done, and now look forward to a treatment regimen. Look out ovarian cancer - I think this hospital and team may just have your number!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Finally scheduled!!

Finally, my needle biopsy is scheduled! I never thought it would actually happen (well, it was tentatively scheduled for last week, but I kind of knew that wasn't going to happen).

Its funny. I have been waiting for this since March 4. My old medical group couldn't seem to get it together to get me the referral. I switched, and saw my new medical group pcp on Tuesday of this week. So, I get the referral from my NEW medical group on Tuesday. I get the DENIAL from my old medical group today... Something is not right with the sytem!

Oh, and I got a bill today, for my medical records that I asked be sent to my new doc. Nice.


Plus my new group assigned me my very own medical student! OK, he is a first year student, but they are trying a program where the student follows the same patient throughout their medical experience. It is supposed to teach them the patients perspective. Poor kid. He looks so young and innocent. He has no idea what he just got himself into... :)

So, my biopsy is on Monday! I want to dance!! I want to sing!! (I want to puke a little too...) Lets get this thing rolling.