Saturday, April 28, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

Get your wallet!

Again, my friends have proven how awesome they are.

It's Susan G. Komen Walk for a Cure time. My friends live all over the United States, so it's impossible for them all to walk with me. Instead, they spent countless hours putting together a fundraiser raffle for me, for the organization and for YOU.

For anyone who has been touched by cancer... or may some day be, we need this money more than you could ever imagine.

We need a cure. We need more birthdays. We need more time with our kids and grandkids.
We need money for research.

PLEASE consider donating. ANY amount is appreciated and ANY amount helps.

It's tax deductible and my friends have donated some fantastic raffle prizes. Have I mentioned how wicked talented and wonderful they are?

Here's the blog with more information on the prizes and how to donate.
Thank you for your consideration!

We would love if you would share this link with everyone. Post about it on your blog, share it with your facebook friends, tell your neighbors! :)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another Day......Another Scan

Today, I received my first bone density scan.
It will check to see if I have osteoporosis or weak bones.

It was super easy. I didn't even have to hold my breath. :)

I read a study a few months back about Zometa being infused in patients with good results.

According to the article, researchers gave young women Zometa to "prevent complications and relapses" from breast cancer, and got "impressive" results, says Marilynn Marchione atUSA Today.

One factor, say researchers, may have something to do with how Zometa strengthens bones. This effectively makes it "tougher for cancer to spread there," says Marchione. It's also possible that Zometa might have "direct effects against circulating cancer cells or microscopic tumors," although more research is needed on that point.

 The part that peaked my attention was this:

The patients were found to have a 37 percent lower risk of death. That means that "4 to 5 more women out of every 100 were alive seven years later." SOUNDS GOOD TO ME!

I should have the results of the scan in about 3 days. At that point, I will start persuading Dr. Hartung about why I want to be on yet another drug.
The infusion is every 6 months for 3 years. 
I wish I could start it today.

Know Your WHOLE Body...not just your boobs.

I have had a few skin cancer scares in the past.
Last year, one of my skin biopsies came back as Basal Cell Carcinoma. It's a common skin cancer, but treatable if found early.

Since then, I have had a few other suspicious spots frozen off with liquid nitrogen. Here are pics of the two I had zapped today. This pic is after the nitrogen.
I seriously need to save up for Botox. This is ridiculous.

The process burns a little- and afterwards, a blister forms. I had one on my forehead and neck this time. I had been watching these for a while, but the color change was concerning to me. Dr. Pakzad thought that these spots were probably pre-cancerous and liquid nitrogen would be a good treatment.

I also had one spot on my arm that was flesh colored, but had recently become bumpy and scaly. Here's a pic. It was small in diameter, but the recent change in the color and texture of it made me nervous.
When in doubt, consult a specialist!
Dr. Pakzad felt that this one very well could be cancerous, so he did a biopsy. I should have results within 10 days. If it is cancer, I will go back to have the rest of it cut out and burned/frozen.

I will have another body check the end of May.

This post isn't to gross you out. It's just a little reminder to apply that sunscreen liberally and often.

Also, if you have any moles that you think have changed in color or shape, please see a dermatologist. Melanoma can be deadly.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Comparison Pics

I have hair now....lots of hair. It's thick and wacky and I love it. It's a far cry from my usual really blonde, really straight pre-cancer hair, but it's been so much fun.

 I have had one haircut and one color so far. I have another hair appointment next week to lighten it up a tad.

Here is a pic of Karsyn and I this week.

Here is a pic of me almost exactly four months ago.

I can't wait to see what I look like four months from now!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Metformin Trial

About 7 years ago, Eric and I sought help from a reproductive endocrinologist because we were having trouble conceiving. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.

Along with a whole gamut of drugs to help me ovulate, I was also given a drug called Metformin. Metformin is typically taken by diabetics, but was prescribed for me to reduce insulin levels and promote normal ovarian function.

It worked. I was on it for a few years but eventually went off it when we moved to Minnesota. I honestly have no idea why I went off it. It was probably because I wasn't in the market for more kids.

Fast forward to last week. I was googling more breast cancer trials. I am intrigued by new drugs that may be the answer to my prayers. I came across a Metformin trial that immediately peaked my interest.

I asked Dr. Hartung about it today and was told that I actually qualified for the trial. There's a HUGE study going on right now that approximately 3580 people will participate in. Half of the patients will receive Metformin, the other half will receive a placebo. The study should take about 3 years to fill enrollment and the results should be known in about 6 years. I did the paperwork and was signed up to begin next week.

I thought about it all the way home from Woodbury, when it suddenly occurred to me, why do I want to risk taking a placebo for 3-6 years when a drug that I KNOW my body tolerates and only costs pennies per day is available to me?

I immediately called my primary family doctor and told her about the study. I asked if I could go back on Metformin to treat my PCOS.

I'm excited to report that my prescription is at Target right now waiting for me to pick it up.
I will start taking the Met with my Tamoxifen tomorrow.

I will also be officially dropping out of the trial tomorrow. I can't take the chance that I would get a placebo.

I have a good feeling about this. :)

Just Another Bitch Slap From Reality

I went to my every three week Herceptin infusion today.
I was excited to see my doctor and nurse, who I haven't seen since late January.
I settled into my chair in the waiting room and waited for my name to be called.

While I waited, I noticed a man and woman in their 50's and a man in his 30's talking quietly. The woman was fighting back tears. The men were somber.
For some reason, I walked over to her, sat down and asked her if I could hug her.
She hugged me hard. I asked her if she had just been diagnosed. She sniffed as she said, "No, my daughter." and motioned down the hall.

I immediately started in with my success story, as I had so many times. "No worries! Breast cancer is highly treatable! I have no evidence of disease. It's not that bad...."
She started blankly at me and said, "She's 34. This is her second round."


I changed my speech to the "there are new advances every day!" line.
Our eyes locked and we both started bawling. I walked back to my seat feeling like I had been sucker punched. At that second, even I didn't believe the BS I was spewing.

A woman came to the front desk from the doctor's office hallway and started making her follow up appointments, as we all have to do.
I heard her schedule her PET scan and MRI.
She was calm. She was friendly to the receptionist.

I then watched as she walked over to the family I had just spoken to. Judging from that woman's demeanor, I would have had no idea that she was the one that had just been diagnosed for a second time in a few short years with breast cancer.

I couldn't help but stare as she walked arm and arm out of the oncology office with her family without saying a word. I also watched as all four of them embraced and collapsed the second they were safely out in the hallway.

Another sucker punch.
I had just witnessed my worst fear.
Why the hell hadn't I just minded my own business and let that lady weep in peace? Then, I would have had no idea about their story. I wouldn't have opened up my own raw wounds and emotions.

Just yesterday, I told Eric that I'm finally feeling like the old me.
Cancer thoughts weren't consuming me like they used to.

Now today, all I can think about is that poor girl. Her screening two months ago was clean. She was cancer-free. Now, her future is unknown and her prognosis is grim.
What a difference a day makes.

I'm sorry. What a buzz kill this post is.
It's reality... and sometimes, reality bites.

If anything, it's a good (much needed) reminder to not take a single day for granted.

My prayers and thoughts go out to that girl, whoever she is.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

We have stripes!!

Project #1 complete!

In between a soccer game, birthday party, church and getting ready for our garage sale, Eric found time to paint the kids' bathroom.
I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.

I want the kids out of our bedroom/closet/bathroom, so this was a much needed first step.
Their bathroom has gone untouched since we moved here in 2010.
It was white, white, white and boring, boring, boring.

Eric is a very meticulous worker and quickly banned me from the bathroom. I delivered the paint and Eric spent the weekend measuring, taping and painting.

Karsyn, Chase and Houston's bathroom is small- but painting stripes took longer than any of us would have predicted.
I don't think I will be getting more stripes anytime soon.

Last night, Eric revealed the finished stripes and today, I found a shower curtain and accessories that I think add a little whimsy to the room.

We are all excited for the kids to actually start using their new (fun) space.

We are still waiting on a few accessories, but overall, it's mostly complete.

The kids and I spent the weekend trying to stay out of Dad's road.
Karsyn and Chase spent a ton of time in the sandbox and riding bike.

Houston worked on designing his first computer program by age 4. :)

Cooper just followed us around smiling all day.

I can't wait for project #2!

Friday, April 13, 2012

I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest.

The more time I spend on, the more inadequate I feel.

If you are a stranger to, you are (kind of) missing out. Check it out and let me know if you need an invite to join.

The crafty, home improvement ideas are amazing. They're all things that I think I could do...but probably never will. Who has the time and energy?
It's so fun to look at other people's ideas, but a huge time sucker.

I DO get a ton of kids activities and art projects off there that I DO use.
I also made a pretty fabulous baked sweet and sour chicken dish that I got from Pinterest.

This weekend, Eric and I are going to work on some home improvement projects. I have convinced him that the last rooms in our house need to be painted. We honestly have no excuse, we've been here almost two years.

I'm also hoping to find some ideas for our Master bedroom. It's big and boring and empty. I wish I could afford an interior decorator. Jeff Lewis makes all the remodeling craziness look so easy.

In between Karsyn's soccer game, babysitter interviews, a birthday party and church, I'm hoping for at least one room to have stripes painted.
Yes, Pinterest makes me want to paint stripes EVERYWHERE!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hello, Old Friends!


It's been a while. It seems that now that I'm not going from appointment to appointment, I have very little to write about.
I'm really enjoying my (boring) life! :)

Here are some updates:

My scabs from radiation are gone. My boobs are as smooth as rock hard baby butts.
I'm surprisingly sleeping okay with the expanders. Only 5.5 more months until these suckers come out.

I'm starting to like the way they look. Yes, they're too high, too hard and completely unnatural...but I have to admit that I really dig not wearing a bra. I have not worn a bra since December 2011. I feel so freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!
I really think that once my implants are put in, I'm going to have some pretty rockin' tatas.

I have my next Herceptin infusion on April 16th. My list is getting pretty long with concerns I want to talk to Dr. Hartung about.
Now that I have no evidence of disease, (I'm still dancing with NED!) I'm pretty nervous I'm going to get cancer somewhere else.
It's a normal fear, I suppose.

I really want a hysterectomy. Previously, Dr. Hartung thought that the side effects would outweigh the benefits; but I want to revisit the conversation again.
I already have PCOS and have always had issues with cysts on my ovaries. I think they're little time bombs. I want all that junk out.

I also want to start taking Zometa. There are new studies out that shows it makes bones stronger so cancer would have a harder time metastisizing to my bones, if it were to come back. It will probably make me feel like crud, but it's worth talking about.

I am also at the point where I will begin taking Tamoxifen. It's a drug that I will take daily for five years. It has some side effects, but I guess I'll take being fat over dying of cancer.

I have NO signs of Lymphedema yet. My chances of getting it after chemo/lymph node removal/radiation was greater than 50%. It can still onset at any time, it just hasn't yet. I'm hopeful that's one effect of cancer that I will avoid.

My family is doing AWESOME. I couldn't ask for more.
Eric's parents came here for Easter and we had a great holiday.
We found a great new church (Eagle Brook) that even Eric's dad approved of! :)
I have already signed up for new member classes, small group and even baptism.
I feel like this is the missing piece to our puzzle- and we're excited to grow more with God.