Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Let's stay together

" 'Cause you make me feel so brand new, And I want to spend my life with you……oh let's…Let's stay together….."
 --  Well, according to the tumor markers, NED and I are staying together for a while longer!  The tumor markers were normal, and had actually dropped a little.  We are still going to do a PTscan because it has been 8 months since the last one, and my oncologist does not want to go more than 9 months without a scan.  I'm good with that though, and it sure is easier to go into a scan knowing that the numbers aren't showing anything yet.   I will have the scan once I'm back from the FC France & Italy trip later in May.  

A recent bone scan has shown that I have developed osteopenia which is a common side effect of the anti-hormonal cancer drug that I am on.  To avoid further problems, I will start taking Zometa infusions every 6 months (as long as insurance approves it).  This drug will help build the bones, and studies have actually shown that the changes can create an uninhabitable environment for bone mets, which I am happy for us to create.  The downside is that most people feel like they have the flu or like they did after chemo for a few days after the infusion.  Hopefully, the benefits will far outweigh the side effects.  We've scheduled my first infusion to happen at the same time as my port flush in June once I've finished my two big trips.  

So, while there are some changes, things are pretty positive right now, and I'll take it!  I appreciate any prayers offered previously, and would appreciate continued prayers for a good PT scan.  

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Life's ebb and flow

It has been 3 months since I last posted; so, I thought it was time for an update. Healthwise, I have my oncology appointment next Friday, 4/24, to do tumor markers and other blood work.  It will take some time for results, and this feels like one that is a big deal since it will mark 2 years of being NED.  I'm already getting nervous which is ridiculous since it is still a week and a half away, but it just feels like a milestone.  Hopefully, I will begin a third year being able to say the same thing.   I'd really appreciate prayers for good results.

As I've mentioned before, I still take an anti-hormonal pill every day to help keep the cancer from returning.   Unfortunately, that pill seems to have raised my cholesterol, and then the pill to address that has ended up raising my blood sugar.  I was put on a medicine for that as well, and I will see tomorrow if that is helping my blood sugar or not.   It is kind of crazy to have to take more medicine to counteract side effects, but I'll do it to avoid the alternative.  The blood sugar medicine has actually been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence; so, I'm hoping that it has some side benefits as well.

I'm still staying busy teaching 13 classes between 4 colleges this spring semester. Recently, though I've had a little more ebb than flow for future semesters.  I'm trying to find some new things to take up some of that slack. I would still most like to get on full-time at a college, but I am a bit limited since I'm not really able to move too far away from doctors and family due to everything.  Any prayers on the job front would be greatly appreciated as well.

Last but not least, I'll be crossing a few more things off my "Living List" this coming May and June.  I have two big trips planned: 1) France & Italy tour that my parents are leading and that I am getting to go on in a chaperone slot   2) Maui & Kauai, Hawaii where I get to stay in one of my timeshares on both islands.   Those trips were already paid for before I found out about the lost income for future semesters, and I'm glad that I will still get to do them.  It may sound silly, but it is really only in/on those trips that I feel free from the little black cloud of stage IV cancer that hovers slightly behind me all the time.  When traveling, I am just Nancy getting to enjoy a new place!

Oh, I almost forgot --  My hair has gotten so long (at least compared to being bald).   It now touches my shoulders, as you can see in the first picture, and I can even pull it up into a ponytail (bottom picture - Yes, it is a little puny ponytail, but it is one all the same).  Woohoo!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Long time no blog

     Well, I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted. This fall was really busy for me.   When going through my initial treatment, I had around 4-6 classes in any semester.  Over the last 2 years, I have slowly added more schools and classes; so, now I had 13 classes in the fall semester.  This is quite a shift, but I am really thankful for it.  It looks like I will have 13 classes again this spring term.  Adding these classes has definitely helped me to continue crossing things off on my living list.
   
     In October, I had the chance to go to Peru with a friend to see Cuscu, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Piccu. It was definitely worth the time especially since I teach about the Incas in one of my Humanities classes.






     In December before the holidays, I went with my parents to Aruba for most of a week thanks to one of their timeshares and free Southwest flights.  It is such a beautiful island, and if you are looking for somewhere to go in the Caribbean, I would highly recommend it.  I would love to go back again!







     We spent the holidays in Tampa, and then got to see the old year out & the new year in with David, Jenn, & Lylah up in Tennessee.  So blessed to get to spend a week with them! I got home on Monday night just in time for classes to begin on Tuesday for the new spring semester.  So, the new term started a little bit tired, but it was all worth it!  

     Healthwise, things have been good the last few months.  My October check-up went well with everything still in the normal range.  My next appointment and blood work is Friday, January 23rd.  So, I'd appreciate your prayers and thoughts that all of the numbers will still be in the normal range.  

                                                      Wishing all a Happy New Year! 


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Still No Evidence of Disease

I realized that I posted on Facebook, but forgot to actually post it on here.  Everything is still good, and NED is sticking around for awhile.  Woohoo!

Monday, August 4, 2014

PET Scan Tomorrow

My blood-work that was taken a week or so ago came back good with the liver enzymes decreasing so that one was even in the normal range, and the tumor markers were still in the normal range.  One of the tumor markers did jump up 10 points, but it was still in that normal range.  Since it has been 7 months since the last PET scan, we decided to go ahead and do another one.  The jump in the tumor marker makes me a bit nervous; so, this will us know for sure what is going on.   Please keep me in your prayers that the scan will continue to show No Evidence of Disease!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Coming up on 2 years….

 I am a week away from my 2 year Cancerversary, and I have a weird range of emotions going on.  At this time, I'm still NED which I am so thankful for, but I'm still a bit melancholy or apprehensive about coming up on that date.  My next labs are near the end of July which probably adds a little to that as well.  At least, I'll be having some good family time the weekend before and during the week of it; so hopefully, that will make it go by a little easier.

  One of the things recently that may be weird to some but made me very happy is that it took until the end of May to reach my deductible/out-of-pocket for this year.  That is huge as I met 2 years worth of very high deductible  and out-of -pocket within 8 months between July 2012 -February 2013.  While I know people have various opinions on things with healthcare right now, it has been a huge help to me to be able to change to a gold plan where I pay more each month than before but then have a much, much lowered in-network deductible/out-of-pocket since I have to purchase my own individual coverage.  I feel like I have at least done what I can to lower my insurance and medical costs to what I can manage, as long as I stay in-network. That is a huge relief for me!

There have been a lot of doctor visits and things of that nature in the last 2 years, but it is also crazy how much "living" I've managed to cram into that short amount of time.  I just finished creating some photo albums from 2013. (Yes, I was very behind) Normally, I have an album that is 65-85 pages for the year, but for last year, I have 3 albums that are all about that size.  I finished the album for the trip to Australia and New Zealand that I took with my parents, and I was trying to find what could be cut as I hit the maximum of 100 pages.   That was truly a trip of a lifetime, and I am so thankful that I got to go on it.  I shared some pics on Facebook, but here are a few as well.  If Australia and New Zealand are not already on your "bucket" or "living" list, I highly recommend that you add them :)



















Sunday, May 4, 2014

Quick update

I just wanted to give a quick update on my most recent blood tests.  Thankfully, the ALP test, which was the new one that had been high last check, had come back down into the normal range, and the ALT also saw some decrease.  Thankfully, that eliminates it being cancer related!  We still aren't exactly sure the reason for the rise, but I am being able to start back some of the supplements while trying to watch carbs and some other things that could impact the liver food wise.  Hopefully, the numbers will get better, but I will be following up with my primary care doctor soon as well to check on cholesterol, etc.