Monday, April 28, 2014

Lifestyle Medicine or... Put Away Your Mops

I saw this 5-minute video on about lifestyle medicine and thought I'd share.  Maybe "lifestyle medicine" will become a medical specialty someday soon.  Wouldn't that be nice??

Lifestyle Medicine: Treating the Causes of Disease

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thank a Scientist

At the cancer center, in the chemo treatment rooms, there are these tile murals.  As an artistic outlet, survivors, patients and family members have apparently painted 4"x4" tiles with inspirational messages over time.  They line the walls of the walls in different areas.  Probably 98% of them are messages of hope, inspiration and faith.  Messages like "Faith Heals", "God Bless My Aunt" and "Stay Strong".

Recently one caught my eye.  It reads "Thank a Scientist".  I love this one.  It reminds us that along with all the unknown energy that comes from our spiritual side, the health of cancer patients also is influenced by scientists we will never, ever meet.  Scientists who create drugs, design diagnostic tests, figure out why some treatments work for some people and not for others.

Today in particular, I'm VERY thankful for scientists.  We saw the doc today and tomorrow I will be starting my new drug.  I'll be calling it "Palbo" for short.  It is not FDA approved, but I've been lucky enough to be given it via Pfizer's Compassionate Care program, if you remember from months ago. We had one small change in the plan that we weren't expecting.  We thought I would be taking the Palbo in combination with an estrogen blocker, but the Compassionate Care program apparently states that the drug cannot be taken with anything else.   However, all trials and research that show the effectiveness of Palbo included an estrogen blocker.  There have been NO trials of Palbo alone.  The only people taking Palbo alone are those, like me, who have received the drug through the Compassionate Care program.  So, we don't have any research to look at to point out the possible effectiveness of Palbo alone.  

Regardless of what research says, this is my shot with this med, and I'm excited to try it.  So, send some happy, healthy wishes my way tomorrow, and thank a scientist for giving me this chance!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Happy to Be Wrong

I have never been so happy to be wrong!!  My hunch about the chemo not working was wrong.  My scans and blood work today both showed that the chemo is still working.  My liver numbers were lower and my scans showed that everything was stable except my bones, which are healing!

Still, we decided it's not a bad time to switch over to the new drug, Palbociclib.  Switching drugs takes some planning so today I took my last chemo treatment of this drug and in two weeks I will start the new drug.  YAY!  This means that hopefully by summer I will have all my hair back (and you know how I feel about my hair)!!  Because we are stopping the current chemo (Eribulin) while it is still working, we still have this drug available in the future should we need it, which is HUGE since we know it works for me.

And, in case you like science, here is a link to the newest research info about Palbociclib, which is not yet FDA approved.  

Huge public thank you to Tara for staying with my sick kiddo today so Jason could be at the doctor with me for this important conversation!!  Not only did it help us out, but it was so thoughtful of you to think of it and call to offer!

XOXO to all!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I Have a Hunch

I'm not an artist.  Not at all.  I can't draw, paint or sculpt something into any realistic or recognizable form.  Some of you are artists, though, and I'm wondering what you think a hunch looks like.

I have a hunch.  And I have no idea what it looks like.

My hunch, which I've had for about a week, is that we've gotten as much mileage out of my current chemo, Eribulin, as we are going to get.  As I mentioned in my last post, I'm meeting with my doc every two weeks to keep monitoring when we hit that point where the Eribulin is no longer working. As SOON as we hit that point, we want to switch over to the new medicine.  At last week's appointment, a couple of my liver enzymes had gone up, but the doc wasn't worried and said it could, in fact, indicate healing was going on.  My hunch was that it did NOT indicate healing was going on.  A few days ago I shared my hunch with Jason.  And then today I received a copy of my latest tumor markers in the mail.  Guess what? They've gone up slightly.  Very slightly.  But I saw it as solid confirmation of what my hunch has been telling me all week (apparently hunches must have mouths, for those working on their drawings).

I left a message for my doc sharing my hunch and asking him to let me know if we are ready to do some scans and start the new medicine.  Of course, I meet with him next Wednesday, so I probably won't know anything for sure until then.

In the meantime, please feel free to share your hunches and what they look like.  Again, I'm no artist, but I'm very resourceful on Google, so I'll just share something I found.