CDC Symptom Diary Card

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

CNET article about breath sensor spotting cancer!

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Breath sensor could offer on-the-spot cancer report

December 28, 2010 7:43 PM PST
Researchers say they've used nanoparticles to create a material sensitive enough to analyze a patient's breath in real time and detect indicators of cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.
In a statement released today, scientists at Purdue University and the National Institute of Standards and Technology said that though diagnostic breath-analysis tools have been around for several decades, this is the first time a material has been developed that's sensitive enough to deliver on-the-spot results.
"We are talking about creating an inexpensive, rapid way of collecting diagnostic information about a patient," Carlos Martinez, an assistant professor of materials engineering at Purdue, said in the statement. "It might say, '... you are metabolizing a specific compound indicative of this type of cancer,' and then additional, more complex tests could be conducted to confirm the diagnosis."
These sorts of breath-analysis tools detect changes in electrical resistance or conductance as a gas--i.e., the patient's breath--passes over sensors. The changes can point to the presence of "biomarkers," substances that serve as red flags for various ailments and physical conditions.
The Purdue and NIST technologists basically produced a more effective sensor by increasing its surface area. They replaced a flat surface with a material created using a coating of metal oxide nanoparticles, which introduced lots of nooks and crannies, and made for an extremely porous metal-oxide film.

Replacing a flat surface with a porous one lets researchers increase the "active sensing surface area" to improve sensitivity.
Replacing a flat surface with a porous one lets researchers increase the "active sensing surface area" to improve sensitivity.
(Credit: Purdue University and NIST)

They then used the material to detect acetone, a biomarker for diabetes, in a gas that mimicked a person's breath. They were quickly able, they said, to pick up on biomarkers in the parts per billion to parts per million range--at least 100 times better than earlier breath-analysis tools.
"People have been working in this area for about 30 years but have not been able to detect low enough concentrations in real time," Martinez said. "We solved that problem with the materials we developed, and we are now focusing on how to be very specific, how to distinguish particular biomarkers."
"The fact that we were able to do this in real time is a big step in the right direction," Martinez said, though tools like this for real-world use are likely a decade away, if not longer, in part because precise manufacturing standards haven't been developed for the new approach.
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Read more: http://m.news.com/2166-12_3-20026726-247.html#ixzz19TX7em81

Job hunting for the weary

Hello all,

Well, today I emaild 5 resumes along with cover letters to small business around Queen Anne and Seattle.  Most were part time office assistant positions, which
I should be able to manage.

I don't expect any responses, just know I need to do this every day now.

I am so worried.  Today I had a wave of nausea overcome me for an hour, even after taking medications.  This is concerning because I hope I will be able to keep up in a new job setting, no matter what it is.

My state DVR counselor (different from University Dept of Medicine counselor) said he's still not sure if I'm able to work yet, but does encourage PT work.  I need the income for sure, so I am happy to do all I can do to find work.

It's really only been in the last few weeks that I can honestly say I "feel" ready to do something Part time.  It's this nausea........overall it's getting better, but if I am in a public setting (work or not) and it hits me, I literally have to stop and sit or lay down, take pills and just breathe.  That's probably not going away any time soon.  Plus, my arthritis, who knows how that will respond. 

Anyway, I don't want to be a bum, and I can't sustain myself on $626 per month.  I have resources to continue through January, but I must have a job by end of January.  I still have really really good credit and am blessed for that, so I am hoping some good will comes my way in the job arena.

The news is reporting that 84% of working people are planning to look for new jobs in 2011.  That is great news for me, I can fill one of those empty jobs.

In the back of my mind, I have a target date of March 2012.  If by March of 2012 I have no relapses of ovarian cancer, then I will have a strong chance of living 5 years or longer.

So everything I do now is designed to prevent recurrence, which includes stress management.

That's why I joke about wanting to work with puppies.  I just don't want a new job setting to weaken my immunity even further and create a foundation for relapse.

I'm doing all I can do.

I'll let ya'll know if Iget any bites in the future!

Please send any ideas to me too....I'd really appreciate them.

Be Love and God Bless that all have a healthy and prosperous 2011

Denise

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cookies are great therapy


This time last year, I wasn't able to eat any vegetables and had to steer clear of excessive treats for fear of severe abdominal pain and upset.  This Christmas I was so happy to be able to bake!  Nothing says Christmas like holiday cookies in a gift bag.

Mom and I live in a really quaint little neighborhood and have super nice neighbors all around us.  Typically, the neighbrhood gets together a few weeks before Christmas for a travelling Christmas party.  They roam from home to home, bonding, eating, drinking and laughing.  Mom and I have not been able to participate in the festivities mainly because it's at night.  It's just too hard to do in the dark....but we found a way to spread holiday cheer this year.

Mom and I baked cookies!  We made chocolate drops, mexican wedding cookies, snickerdoodles, and peppermint bark.  It was so so so much fun.  We were exhausted though, it took quite a while.

We placed cookies in holiday bags along with a few candy canes, and wha-la!

The best part is that our neighbors loved them.  I hope they tasted OK, but the gesture was probably unexpected.

I think it's great therapy to bake something for someone else at least once per month........I'll see if I can do that.

I am so grateful to be able to do bake!

Happy Holidays

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Beautiful hand made ornaments

Hello all.  I hope you had a truly blessed Christmas day.  My sister, my angel, has worked hard to create these beautiful hand crafted eco-friendly ornaments.  They are 50% off.  Mandy is my other heart, as she really stepped up when I got cancer.  I look back now and it amazes me how much help I needed and how much she selflessly gave.

http://www.weatheredsilo.blogspot.com/

Today I am here to breathe.  Thanks be to God.

God Bless and Be Love,
Denise

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Repost from the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance Johanna's Law

 
THE OVARIAN CANCER NATIONAL ALLIANCE 
APPLAUDS ENACTMENT OF JOHANNA'S LAW:
THE GYNECOLOGIC CANCER EDUCATION AND AWARENESS ACT

Washington D.C. - December 23, 2010. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is pleased that the President has signed and enacted Johanna's Law: The Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act.  The 2010 version of Johanna's Law continues to authorize the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and implement campaigns to raise awareness and educate women and medical professionals about the signs and symptoms ofgynecologic cancers.  The law allows the CDC to work with national organizations to leverage public-private partnerships and avoid duplication of services and materials.  Further, in order to advance these efforts, CDC funding may be available to support public or private non-profit organizations in their efforts to increase awareness of gynecologic cancer symptoms. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance continues to work with Congress to increase funding for - and support authorization of - Johanna's Law. 

This is a reauthorization of a previous law.  The law was originally enacted in 2007 and provided up to $16.5 million over three years to the CDC for awareness and education through a national public service campaign that includes written materials and public service announcements. The CDC-led campaign, Inside Knowledge: Get the Facts about Gynecologic Cancer, seeks to raise awareness of the five main types of gynecologic cancer:  ovarian, cervical, uterine, vaginal and vulvar.  Since 2007, champions and advocates worked to secure funding to implement the law through the annual appropriations process.

Rosa DeLauro, Representative from Connecticut and ovarian cancer survivor was one of the champions of the bill.  "No one should have to depend on luck, and this bill will help to educate women, raise awareness of health care providers, and ultimately, save lives," she said.
"As a cosponsor, I am very pleased with the passage of Johanna's Law. I believe it will help inform young ladies as well as physicians about gynecological cancers," stated Representative Dan Burton. "It is extremely important that this be caught early. That is why this law is so important, because it gives women the opportunity to find out about the problems they may face so their survival rate can be increased substantially. A lot of women have lost their lives or had their lives shortened because they were misdiagnosed or the cancer was not noticed at all. This legislation not only improves awareness for the public but also for professionals in the medical field."

According to Dr. Karen Orloff Kaplan, CEO of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, "Johanna's Law is absolutely essential because it provides for robust educational programs for women and those who care for and about them - the only way currently to reduce the number of deaths from this hideous disease." Death rates from ovarian cancer have remained unacceptably high for more than 30 years; currently, fewer than half of women survive five years from diagnosis.  Because there is no reliable early detection test, awareness of symptoms is key to detecting ovarian cancer.  "Because ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecologic cancer, it is crucial that the message about symptoms be front and center in this campaign."

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is the foremost advocate for women with ovarian cancer in the United States. To advance the interests of women with ovarian cancer, the organization advocates at a national level for increases in research funding for the development of an early detection test, improved health care practices, and life-saving treatment protocols.  The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance educates health care professionals and raises public awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer. The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance is a 501 (c) (3) organization established in 1997. 
Ovarian Cancer National Alliance
910 17th Street, NW Suite 1190
Washington, DC 20006
(202)331-1332
ocna@ovariancancer.org 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Vocational Rehabilitation Update

Fabulous day with UW Voc Rehab department.  I now feel a sense of hope and confidence that there may be work I CAN do.  I met with a wonderful woman who was kind and sincere.  She took some time to warm up the conversation with nice holiday talk and then proceeded to discuss WITH me my needs and wants.

After at least an hour of talking about my vocational history, medical history, and potential hurdles we created a workable plan of action.  First thing being first, I have nothing to wear to an interview.  She will reconnect me with the state DVR to assist with wardrobe and possible free computer training.  I am going to spend some time on my own laptop to get re-familiar with the basics.  I'll probably need to be re-tested on my computer skills...ugh.  I've never really been a computer "expert", but I do learn new tasks fairly easily (maybe I need a little more time now than in the past).

The ideal scene is for me to first land a part time job that has afternoon hours, that's not sales and in a low-stress setting.  I expressed that because of my fears of recurrence and difficulty working under high stress levels, it was really important that I work with/for people who actually like me.  It sounds so "grade school" but at the end of the day we spend 30% to 50% of our time on job related activities.  That being said, why would I want to spend my last few years in an environment that's really stressful or around negative people who don't like me.  I just don't want any part of it.

I am not going to compete with anyone for a CEO job, not now.  In the past, I had dreams of owning my own company and having a stable retirement.  I could still start a non-profit group that helps women with ovarian cancer, and I'm sure I will, but I can't do that without first being stable myself.  I am not planning on using my job to fulfill my social needs, I just don't want to work around a bunch of sharks.  I want to have the chance to enjoy work for once in my life  ;-)

When it's determined that I can handle part-time work, the goal is to progress to full-time work.  That could be either growing the current part-time to a full time, or getting a new full-time altogether.

All this will depend on how or when a cancer recurrence appears.

I let her know that ideally I want a job where I work from home. If I work from home and have flexibility with my projects, then if I have a recurrence, I can restructure my workload around chemo, etc.

If I don't get the ability to work from home, then I run the likelihood of losing my job every time I get a recurrence.  That I cannot bear, I just don't want to do that.  Can you imagine?  Our economy is really not in the best of health, as everyone knows, so the last thing I need is to have to find a new job every time I finish a chemo program.

Here's where I find myself wondering why I never got married. I always wanted to be married, but no guy ever wanted me that much, so I'm alone.  I have my mom, dad, sister, brother and aunt.  I have a few good friends.  But I am alone, for the sake of my personal life.  It would be so wonderful if I had a hubby who took care of me, but I don't.  So I will forge ahead and do the best I can.

That's a whole new area of depression, that I don't want to talk about right now.

Anyway, I'm on the right track.

Be Love

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Avastin may help Ovarian Cancer Patients

http://www.cancernetwork.com/ovarian-cancer/content/article/10165/1739232?GUID=F465BF3C-0BD5-404E-A2A8-C0BF422F4322&rememberme=1

Oncology NEWS International. Vol. 19 No. 11
 

Bevacizumab offers new hope to ovarian cancer patients

By FRAN LOWRY | December 4, 2010

Results of ICON7 trial will influence discussion of treatment options between oncologists and patients.
Early results from the ICON7 trial suggest that adding bevacizumab (Avastin) to standard chemotherapy in women with newly diagnosed ovarian cancer reduces the risk of disease progression during the first year of treatment.
The findings from the large, multicenter, phase III trial were announced at ESMO 2010 by ICON7 lead investigator Timothy J. Perren, MD, a consultant medical oncologist at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, UK.
Ovarian cancer initially responds very well to surgical treatment and chemotherapy, but the benefit is short lived, Dr. Perren said. "More than half of the patients go on to develop recurrent disease from which they will eventually die, despite our best current treatment," he explained. "For the women we have included in the ICON7 trial, the average time to development of recurrent disease is about 18 months and the average survival time is about three and a half years."
Bevacizumab has been shown to improve outcomes in breast and colon cancer. To see whether it worked in ovarian cancer, the ICON7 investigators randomized 1,528 women (median age, 57 years) with high-risk early- or advanced-stage epithelial ovarian cancerprimary peritoneal cancer, or fallopian tube cancer to one of two treatment regimens after their surgery.
Women in the control arm were randomized to six cycles of standard chemotherapy (carboplatin AUC 6 and paclitaxel 175 mg/m2) alone given once every three weeks. Women in the research arm of the trial were randomized to the same chemotherapy regimen given concurrently with bevacizumab (7.5 mg/kg) for six cycles, followed by maintenance bevacizumab for 12 additional cycles (abstract LBA4).
At 12 months, the risk of developing further progression of ovarian cancer was reduced by 15% when compared with the risk of progression seen with chemotherapy treatment alone. The effect of bevacizumab was strongest at 12 months, but then fell over time. Overall, the median progression-free survival in the control arm was 17.3 months vs 19 months in the research arm (P = .0041), Dr. Perren reported. Bevacizumab appeared to have a stronger effect in patients with a particularly poor prognosis, he added.
Dr. Perren also noted that the drug was well tolerated by the patients, with high blood pressure as the most common adverse event related to bevacizumab. Eighteen percent of the patients required antihypertensive medication. In comparison, 2% of women in the standard chemotherapy arm developed high blood pressure necessitating treatment.
The results from ICON7 support the findings of the Gynecologic Oncology Group (GOG 218) trial that were announced in June at the 2010 American Society of Clinical Oncologymeeting, Dr. Perren said (ASCO abstract LBA1).
"This is the first new drug in first-line treatment since the mid-1990s to show an improvement in outcome for ovarian cancer so it is a very big step forward," he said. "The results of ICON7 and GOG 218 will undoubtedly influence the discussions patients have with their oncologists, but probably more than that, it is going to influence the next generation of clinical trials. It is not possible to ignore these data."

Friday, December 17, 2010

Psychologist moved me to January...Christmas thoughts

Feeling sleepy literally right now, so I hope I don't bore anyone.  Good day to you.

My psychologist cancelled today because she is ill, and they won't let her work in that condition.  The cancer center has high infection control procedures, so I'm just hoping she gets better soon.  This though has thrown me a bit of a curve ball.

My next appointment is Jan 5th 2011.  I'll be paying full price for the consult, and I really didn't want to do that.  My deductible is $2500, so I'll be spending money no matter what until I reach that number, it's just a downer.

I'm not sure yet if I need regular visits, or if a free local support group will suffice.  So I may just skip the psychologist altogether and see how things go with voc rehab.

Part of my depression is that I have no job waiting for me.  The down economy scares me so I am relying heavily on help from voc rehab.  I don't even have a dress or suit to wear to an interview.

I stick to my beliefs that there are no accidents and need to keep my faith clear and strong.  I just need a little help, a little nudge, a little more energy, and the right place to work.

I did my 20 minutes of quick exercise activity, felt good.  I just ran in place and did some aerobic movements to get the blood pumping.  My arthritis is acting up, the soles of my feet hurt..............but can't let that stop me.

I'm so excited for Christmas, still need a special gift for mom.

I'M TRYING TO  LIVE AS IF THIS IS MY LAST CHRISTMAS.  So I'm wanting to get out the cards, and presents to special people.  I guarantee you members of my family are frustrated because they don't want me to spend any money, they just want me to save my change.  I am so grateful to have such a protective family and they are right, I should save all my money.

But this Christmas was not too expensive, really.  I have total faith that God is taking care of me.  It's going to be OK.  I will not be a drain on my family and will be able to take care of myself.............

But at the same time, what if this is my last Christmas?  I could have a relapse before next Christmas and it's possible treatment won't work.  So today is the day to give, not waiting until I'm earning more money.

That's the problem living in NED land.  Nobody can give me any solid answers so I can't make any solid plans or decisions.

Christmas is the most special holiday for me.  I love Christmas.  Easter is hard for me, I just really get emotional, and it's just not the same.  It's a greater joy, on Easter, but the week before Easter and Lent is a lot of work and inner soul searching.

So Christmas is just joyous and a time for freely giving.  I just want to give what I can.

Love you.

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Good News

Hi,

I am so relieved that my CA125 is still at 10.  My pelvic exam went well too.  I'm feeling more secure with this news and am ready to see my psychologist tomorrow.  It's weird, I still feel depressed, and tired, but less heavy than before.  This is the life of being NED (no evidence of disease).  You live in blocks of time, until the next test.

So for now I will relish the joy of this good news.  Have a beautiful day.

God Bless and Merry Christmas

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The holidays

Merry Christmas everyone.  This is the time of year for joy, love, forgiveness and peace.  This Christmas season is so different from last year, and I'm glad.  I get to enjoy shopping.  I also get to reflect more on God's blessings.  My online ovarian cancer group lost another sister today, so sad.  The grace is that she is at peace, and no longer in pain.

Everyday we lose a dear sister, it's just so difficult to understand sometimes.  I feel a thousand emotions all the time.

For me, I am really wanting to make the most of it.  I'm putting more thought into my little gifts and really really praying that everyone just has fun.  I want to hear more laughter than ever before.  I am so lucky that I have such an amazing family.  By the way, I was happy to send Christmas cards to my surgeon, oncologist and favorite chemo nurse.  I didn't get to do that last year, I was too out of it, really.  If you know someone on Chemo, offer to help them with cards and thank yous.........it will really help them.

I have four doctors appointments in the next 5 day run.  I will find out tomorrow the results of my latest CA125. I will also see my psychologist on Friday for the first time.  Monday I get my hearing checked and have another appointment with vocational rehab.  I'm very fortunate to have these opportunities.

I finally got my new glasses, which I really needed. I couldn't read a book without a magnifying glass....sigh.

I'll be posting more as we get closer to Christmas and fill you in on the results of my appointments.

My main message today is that we only have a few days left before we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Everyone in the world needs to have a chance to smile and feel true love.  Jesus does love us all, and allow Him to comfort you during this time of great celebration.

God's Blessings to all!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Doctors can be real #1 idiots

I belong to an online support group for people effected by ovarian cancer.  Members consist of patients, caregivers, incognito health professionals, friends, spouses, family etc.  Most of the members are female patients.  Its fairly common that at some point you learn that many women on the site mention that their ovarian cancer was completely missed altogether or just very difficult to diagnose.  I have a new friend who had the worst gynecologist ever it seems.

Doc is a friend of her husband, and I think that because of that, he didn't show this woman the respect she deserved.  She had been going back and forth and back and forth to him, literally telling him that her symptoms sounded like ovarian cancer and he refused to do a CA125 blood test.

He kept telling her it was menapause, or it was fibroids, or it was this or that or whatever.  He did the same to her that my gyno did to me.  He said she was too young to have ovarian cancer and laughed it off.

I was fuming mad when  I had read it, and wrote back a little about myself and our common experiences.  She "friended" me and we e-mailed a little more.

MY FRUSTRATION IS THAT IF A WOMAN SAYS TO HER GYNOCOLOGIST OR PCP THAT SHE WANTS A CA125, AND SHE HAS SOME SIGNS OF OVARIAN CANCER, WHO IS THIS DOC TO DENY THE TEST??????????????  WHO IS HE/SHE TO PLAY GOD?????????

If I would have know the symptoms of ovarian cancer before I was diagnosed, I would have paid for the blood test myself, screw my doctor!  I'm totally serious.  Every woman should have the right to have this test.  I KNOW THE CA125 IS NOT TOTALLY RELIABLE, BUT IF YOU HAVE OTHER SYMPTOMS, THE TEST SHOULD BE DONE, PERIOD.

This could literally save a life!  Do they teach medical students about ovarian cancer?  Have they just given up on us?  Why are they so complacent to just let it get to stage IIIC?  My friends doctor kept telling her it was pointless anyway because if they found it later it would be too late anyway!

What an ass.

I try not to use profanity, but really.  She could have had early stage ovarian cancer treated and not live her remaining life in fear.  Instead she was treated as an advanced stage patient, and even being NED/remission, her chances of recurrence are incredibly high.  So are mine.  We think about it all the time.

I don't want to live the rest of my life worrying about recurrence, and I am getting help in this area.  I want to be happy.  I want to be joyous and loving and happy and fun to be around.

At the same time I want to create a huge punching bag that has all the names of the docs who have negligently allowed women to advance into later stages of ovarian cancer, and give all those women a chance to pounce!

Thats the problem.  Underneath all this healing simmers ever so slowly a burning anger that this could have been prevented.  I have forgiven almost all of my doctors, except for two.  I'm close to forgiving them.

I'm hoping to finish that by Christmas.  The docs are just plain idiots, and really don't listen to their patients.  We can't continue to allow this to keep happening.  We just cant.

Be Love and God Bless

Thursday, December 09, 2010

ERT and my naturopath

Hello all,

I read one of the articles from the previous blog's link, about estrogen replacement therapy.  Please take time to read.  I am so happy that I discontinued my estradiol patch about a month or so ago.  I just had this feeling inside that I needed to stop.  Because I am also BRCA 1 mutation positive, eventually I may take Tamoxafen to help decrease the chances of breast cancer.  You cannot take Tamoxafen while taking estrogen.  Plus, according to the article, estrogen can increase the risk of recurrence and also increase the speed of destruction.

That's just plain bad news.

So I am having hot flashes every hour or so, and it's not so fun.  The only upside is that the overall temperature is "cold" and I can just go outside for a minute and cool off.  Hopefully this will pass sooner than later, but it's nothing compared to a recurrence.  I'll deal, no biggie.

My ND (Naturpathic Doctor) is fantastic, he's just what I needed on my team right now.  I think everyone should see him.  Prior to seeing him, I had to complete a detailed questionnaire, as usual.  But it asked really good questions about my habits, body and what was important to me.  Wow.

In his office there were some awards.  He sits looking out onto the water in Puget Sound, nice.  The staff is all smiley and friendly.  Perfect.

After answering 20 or 30 very specific questions about anything you can imagine, he wrote out a very simple plan to get my GI tract back in check.  Yippie.  I do have 4 new supplements that range from enzymes to multivitamins.  I also must eat several cups of fruit ( cantaloupe or pears etc) per day.  The fruit is for fiber.  One of the supplements will help to grease my GI tract to help things move along more smoothly.

The most important thing was to increase my exercise.  He insists that I move briskly for 20 minutes every day.................aaagh.  He prefers that I walk, but any really fast moving that gets my heart pumping is what he wants.  I didn't ask "why" because I know why.  I need to flush out toxins and increase my endurance.

I have other issues to face but he just wants to deal with digestion for now.  That is what I want to do.  He affirmed that healthy absorption of nutrients can help improve my immune function, which would hopefully fend off disease.

Funny thing, he also wants me to over-chew my food.  He said "chew your soup".  This is because the salivary enzymes are a critical part of the digestion process.  I've always been a slow eater, so no problem.  I just need to be careful I don't look like a cow chewing her cud......ha ha.

I am to see him again in late January.

I don't want to invest all my hope in this area of my treatment, but it's so so so so so important to me that I do whatever I can do to help myself be healthy.  I can control what I eat, how I eat, etc. I can't control my bone marrow production, you know what I mean?

AND.....being full of energy, feeling good, appearing healthy are all part of returning to being a productive member of the working population.

It just really gets me down that I'm not healthy sometimes, healthy people have no idea how lucky they are.

If I were healthy, I could do anything I wanted.  I could climb rocks, I could be a waitress to earn extra money.............but being like I am, my options have narrowed.  So I will do my best to see the glory and sunshine, because I do know I'm meant for something.

I also was able to go to church tonight for a mass to celebrate Virgin Mary. Last year I was not able to go. It felt so nice to be able to go to church.....................so nice.

Be Love and God Bless

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

RIP Elizabeth Edwards

Rest in Peace dear Elizabeth.  One day the cure for cancer will be allowed in the hands of oncologists who want to save lives.  You are a beacon of hope and love, grace and strength.

I believe that stress can cause cancer.  I say this only in that you endured much stress the last few years, and your body just couldn't take it any more.  I am so sorry.  God is with you now.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards' illness worsens - latimes.com

Dear Elizabeth,

You have been an inspiration to me and many other women. So strong and brave. I am so sorry to hear the news that you are no longer receiving treatment for your breast cancer. I pray that God's angels carry your pain away, and that this precious moment in time with those you love is sheltered from fear and cold. God's Blessings to you.

Elizabeth Edwards' illness worsens - latimes.com

Saturday, December 04, 2010

ASA : History of Medical Cannabis...what do you think?

Hello from Seattle,

This information about the history of Medical Cannabis is quite interesting. I have not made up my mind yet on the whole mowi-wowi thing. But it does seem that there is enough evidence existing that indicates medical marijuana can be helpful to some cancer patients. I think if my last hope were medical marijuana, I'd have no choice but to try it. When your life is literally on the line, suddenly your boundaries change, your willingness increases and you think beyond the ordinary.

I pray that whatever is used to treat all cancer patients pushes them into full remission, but that is not the case. I hold no judgement or opinion on people who use medical marijuana. I just pray that if it's used, that it works!

Be Love and God Bless

ASA : History of Medical Cannabis

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Someone to talk with

Finally today I received a call from the psychologists office.  Yay.  I need to address my anxiety about being in limbo land.  For the last two days I have woken up at 5am and tossed and turned, falling back asleep around 8.  I was too tired to get out of be at 5am.  Unfortunately I also then proceeded to sleep until 11:30 or noon.

Currently I need to take Paxil and Lorazepam.  Once again, like clockwork, I had a wave of nausea and anxiety flow through me around 2:30 today.  I just don't understand it.  I literally walk in circles, not knowing what to do next, feeling like I'm going to throw up any second.  But after I take my Lorazepam, it calms in about 20 minutes or so.

I'll see the psychologist in the next week or so.

I was able to get an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor for next week, just under the wire in terms of insurance coverage.  (January is just around the corner and I have a high deductible).

I don't have that Christmas spirit yet, but hope to soon.  Maybe mom and I can get our tree up soon, that always helps.  Little extra money makes shopping hard.  All we're doing this year is buying for the kids, it's just too much.  I'd love to be able to pay for a big family getaway, so we can all get some relief from our ills.

Peace and God Bless

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Progress with resume, still boxed in

I feel like there is a screw at the bottom of my feet, and I'm spinning in circles, locking myself down.  It's just a terrible feeling.

Yesterday I went to get my hand splint/fitting for my RA, and for about an hour prior to my leaving, I was anxious, nauseous, and had abdominal pain.  I took a lorazapam and 2 colace, had some yogurt and just sat still.  This sense of panic/nausea consumes me every day around the same time (between 2 and 3pm).  How will I manage this when I get some work?  I worry that a recurrence may be under way, but then worry I worry too much.  HA

Made it home fine, splints are awkward, but necessary.

I now have my printer and have updated my resume.  It's sitting here with a huge gap, begging the question "what did you do since July of 2009?"  I have a feeling that my only good strategy will be to take a strong, bold approach, and tell them I won a battle with cancer and now I'm back.  They don't need to know that there's 80% chance it will return, heck I probably didn't need to know that either.

I had nightmares last night, woke up at 5am, fell asleep again at 8am and woke up at noon. Not good overall.  My abdomen is tight, and I feel like lead.  So I managed to review some more web based information about "ticket to work" and found nothing helpful. 

All I really need is a part time job in my neighborhood, that is not stressful or heavy duty, for now.  I feel like I can't move from this couch and "get out there". 

I was supposed to go to the cancer center to receive holy communion today, because I missed church this past weekend.  The cancer center offers communion on first and third wednesdays of each month.  I'm feeling bad, totally incapable, for missing that.

My joints hurt more today too.......................I wish Mom could have a beautiful retreat and get her "artist on" again, and I wish I could go on a retreat to get my "life on" again. 

So if you are in remission and looking for a new job, I feel for you.  The resources are limited.  Hang in there.....one day at a time, I guess.

I guess today I am blabbering, because that is how I feel today.  Need umph!

Be Love and God Bless

Sunday, November 28, 2010

That Girl...tales from the edge: Allowing myself the luxury...

Perspectives from a woman who is BRCA2 mutation positive, electing a prophylactic mastectomy.


That Girl...tales from the edge: Allowing myself the luxury...: "It is always interesting to talk with someone who doesn't quite know my full story...I will always feel the need to quickly clarify I never ..."

Friday, November 26, 2010

Blessings for this Thanksgiving weekend

It's the Friday after, and I am so happy.  I was able to eat portions of all the meal and not hurt too much today.  The hardest part about today is the withdrawl from spending time with mom, Mandy, Patrick, Laria and Addie.  We shared laughter and just seemed to have a good time, so unlike last year.  Not to dwell on the past, but from what I can remember about last year, I felt muted and was in a lot of pain.  I was in the throws of chemo, with one hospitalized treatment scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving.

This year, the time spent with family was fully enjoyed.  My poor little niece was sick, but she seemed to be coping well enough.  Those girls are full of so much enthusiasm and thirsty to please, smile and learn.

We all chipped in to make the dinner, and it was scrumptious.  I am truly grateful to God for giving me this day and another chance to enjoy the holiday season.

My printer arrived, so this weekend I'll set it up.  Next week is time to get back with voc rehab, they never contacted me.

I spent most of the day thinking about what I will leave behind for people to remember me by, whenever my time comes.  Not in a depressing sad way, but in an inspirational way.  I don't want people to remember me as a weak person who couldn't get back on her feet...........but what do I choose to do here?

I was thinking that as an Aunt, I have a great opportunity to show so much more love, support, participation, and examples. I just adore all my nieces and nephew so much.

I need them to see that I can be normal, so I do need to get back to work on some level.  I also love being here with mom.  I really do.  She does not need me here, I need her more still.  I am totally afraid that if I move out, I will get really depressed and lonely.  What if something happens to her?  I get a little overly worried about those kinds of things if I think too far ahead.  That's why it's better for me to make short term plans right now.......like a week or so at a time.

Want to go with the family to see the Picasso Exhibition.  AND I need to get a turtle in the kiln (over the summer my brother's children and he came to visit and the children made a turtle out of clay).  In Seattle, it's no easy task to get clay fired, but I must do it..........

Well, lots of little things to take care of and praying for little Laria to be better soon.  Oh and also my Aunt Kathy had good test results with her biopsy.  We are all so grateful to that and thank you for your prayers.

Be well and God Bless.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 19, 2010

CA 125 test and neutropenia

Hello all from Seattle.  Rainy and cold, per usual for this time of year.  Have any of you ever been so overwhelmed that you felt suicidal?  I don't feel suicidal, but one of my online support groups has a member who knows someone who is, and she has cancer, and it's in remission ( per discussion).  This situation was very upsetting to some peope in the group, and I don't think the suicidal person should be attacked.

How do you feel about a cancer patient being suicidal?  Do you feel compassion?  Do you feel anger towards her for not fighting hard to live her life to the fullest?  Hmmmmmmmmmmm   Something to think about.

Had a blood test (monthly test) at the cancer center today.  I do not yet know the results of the golden CA125, but hopefully will have a number on Monday.  Cholesterol is great but white counts dangerously low.  It's .5.  Ideally it would be 4.  My condition is a status such that if I get a fever I must go to the emergency room, immediately.  This problem will be with me for the rest of my life.  I seem to be destined to live as "bubble girl".

This may partly explain why I've been sleeping 12 hours per day, solid sleep.

Thanks to God and my doctor and my insurance, I will get a neulasta shot tomorrow and I'll be OK for a few months.  In a few months, the number will bottom out again, and I'll have to take another $7K shot.

How do you feel about my neulasta costing $7K?

I may need to do some fundraisning next year...........Have a great weekend.  Please also pray for my Aunt Kathy.  She had a breast biopsy today.  Let's hope the lump is nothing.  I'll keep you posted.

God Bless and Be Love

Denise

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"Wit" starring Emma Thompson

Oh how I wish I would have seen this movie several years ago.  It's about a woman going through the challenges of her life and stage IV ovarian cancer.  It is so well written and Emma's performance is spectacular.  It's hard to watch as someon who has struggled with cancer, but I am a better person for it.

Every woman should watch this movie, and I mean before they get cancer.  It helps one to see how subtle the signs can be yet missing them can be deadly.  Her life experiences come full circle in this emotional drama.

I am so happy to have seen this movie and am even more energized to find some way to be an advocate to improve the awareness of ovarian cancer.  I do not know where I fit yet.

I belong to an online support group for women with ovarian cancer.  The women are amazing angels.  We are all in different stages, some members are longtime survivors, some are caregivers, and some are newly diagnosed.  It's a place where we feel safe talking about sensitive problems and sharing our joys.

I also visited with a member of the Lance Armstrong Survivorship program this past Friday.  We are setting up a plan so I can get my lfe back together.  Everything from getting my hearing tested to setting another appointment with vocational counselors at the U of W.  I think the timing was good, I'm more energetic and feel more "ready" to add more tasks to my daily life.

Still lost as to meaning, but I can't wait for meaning to come to me, I have to find it.

Be Love and God Bless

Friday, November 12, 2010

Holiday ornaments bring warmth to your heart

Weatherd Silo was created by my beautiful sister Mandy Behrens to bring back the "old ways' of living to our current times.  She is a gifted artist, dedicated to eco-friendly products that are beautiful and inspiring.

Here is a link to her etsy shop. Her handcrafted ornaments are unlike any others.  They make wonderful gifts for this holiday season.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/weatheredsilo

Normally I don't promote businesses on my site, but these are georgous.  More importantly, made by my sister.  My sister is a rock for me.  She is truly a beautiful person, inside and out. 

Yesterday I was graced with the opportunity to see my niece perform in a school assembly honoring our Veterans.  My niece sang like a lark, and it was just so fun to see all the lovely children singing and laughing.
My sister seemed so happy.

It made me wonder how my life would have been different if I could/would have had children.  I think I would have been a loving patient mom, but also nervous as heck.  I would probably be the true helicopter mom, never knowing when to let things be and run their course.

If some guy ever finds me attractive, compatable and interesting, maybe I'll get married.  I would love to marry someone who already had small children.  In case you hadn't read my whole story, I was told not to have children when I was 17 or 18.

My juvenile rheumatoid arthritis was so bad back then I couldn't even write, let alone carry a baby or raise a child.  So I never planned on a family.  That was a very depressing area of my life.

But now I can relish in the joy of my nieces and nephew for as long as God allows me to live.

I hope to send a post tomorrow about my visit with the Lance Armstrong survivor program today.  I am a little overwhelmed because I'm stuck, don't know how to envision my life.  When you don't know how long you have to live, your priorities line up well, but your resources may not.

So after probably confusing you, at the end of the day it was a great visit.  We do have a plan of action and I think I can manage it.  I'll fill you in on the next post.

God Bless and
Be Love

Monday, November 08, 2010

My hands, something different to talk about

Today I went for an evaluation by an Occupational Hand Therapist, to evaluate the need for hand splints.  The scheduler was kind enough to call my insurance company to verify that they pay part of the visit.  I don't think they cover prosthetic/splints though. 

Both wrists have worn away, have little range of motion, and limit my function.  My right (dominant) hand and wrist are worse than the left, more pain, less range and more ulnar deviation.  Ulnar deviation is where your fingers drift towards your pinky.  When this deformity becomes permanent, it's almost impossible to do simple daily tasks, (like buttoning a shirt, hold a glass, cut food). 

She measured me for splints to wear at night.  I told her I was needing to keep the expense down, and she agreed to order pre-fabricated splints as opposed to custom made splints.  We will start with just one splint for the right hand, and then progress to the left hand if all goes well on the right side.  If I ordered them myself , they'd cost around $50.  Let's see what the cost comes out to be once the facility tacks on their fees.

I mention this only because several years ago I was placed on home neck traction therapy due to slipped disc (car accident).  It was ridiculous because I had to spend several thousand dollars in CT scans and MRI, and see a neurosurgeon for them to finally figure out the right treatment.

Good God, I was in so much pain, it made me cry just to wash my hair.  So I did traction 5 times a day for a month.  Since I needed a second traction machine, (so I could use it on breaks at work), I ordered the second one online for $29.99.  The hospital charged me over $200 for the same thing!  I was peeved at the difference in charge to me.

Anyway, it was worth it.  After several months of home traction, my neck pain went away and has not returned.  I saved them in case my neck pain ever returns.

Today I'll take a guess and say that the OT clinic/facility will charge me $300 for the splint.  Let's hope I'm wrong, but I bet I'm not too far off.  I almost asked her if I could order it myself, I wish I would have now.  The OT was super nice and professional, which was a plus for me.

Well, I'm grateful for the opportunity to get an OT eval, so in the end it's all good. 

God Bless and Be Love

Friday, November 05, 2010

My foreign bodies

It was nice today to speak with a surgical nurse about the "metal' in my body today.  Either I didn't hear my surgeon correctly or the subject was glossed over during the surgical consult, way back when.

The nurse said that in a typical total abdominal hysterectomy with optimal debulking, plus my appendix removal, it would not be out of the norm to have "clips" and sutures that will forever take up residence in your abdominal cavity.  She explained that although each patient is different, the basic surgery is the same for most women.  She had not seen my dexa-scan, so she could not comment directly.

So to close the book on this issue, I am going to request an actual copy of the film and radiology report.  Then contact the surgeon's office in California and ask them to explain the remaining clips, etc.  It''s for my own piece of mind, plus I really want to know what is in my body.

Part of me ws hoping that this foreign material might be partly at cause for this ongoing upper abdominal pain.  Then I could inquire about it's removal, but the nurse said that these clips and sutures rarely cause pain or discomfort.

Looking forward to Zenyatta's final race before her retirement.  She runs Sat at 3:15 pm PDT. Wow, lot's of pressure for this beautiful horse.  I love to watch her run because for 1-2 minutes I am only thinking of her.  I totally and completely forget about "me" and my worries.  Thank you God for Zenyatta!

Be Love and God Bless 

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

last day of antibiotic

It was such a beautiful day in Seattle!  I was out of the house for the first time in almost a week.  I have been sick with either bronchitis or pheumonia (based on med prescribed).  Either way, I have been coughing up a storm, and flat out wiped out.  My WBCs are low end of normal, so I always get nervous when I get sick.   Thank God I am on the mend.

Unfortunately poor mom is sick too, but getting a little better each day.  I feel really bad for giving her this junk. Hopefully we will have had our share of cold/flu for the fall and winter with this recent confinement.


Missed Halloween with my nieces, such a drag!  They dressed up as the "Ghosts of Laura Ingalls".  I was totally creeped out when I saw their photo, Mandy (sister) did such a great job with their costumes and the girls did just as well with their poses during the photo.  Don't they look great?

I'm getting ready to meet next week with the Livestrong representative at SCCA.  I have filled out a survey, which took over 2 hours to complete.  It was very detailed and asked a lot about my emotions.  I hope they don't toss me in the local psyche ward............ha.

I am constantly worried about recurrence, and something needs to be done about that. 

I just hope to get some good exercise this week, as I feel really floppy and tired.  My antibiotics made it hard to fall asleep, been falling asleep at 4am each day for almost a week now.  That is definitely a problem that I need to make go away.  I've been sleeping past nooooooon each day.  Bad.

Had a bone scan today and the technician goes "have you had any abdominal surgery?"  I gave him my history and then said "why?".  He goes, "well there's something on your exray that looks like a big clip or a bunch of staples, like it was left there intentionally".

I'm fairly sure my gynocology-oncology surgeon in California said that all staples from my debulking/total hysterectomy would melt away.  Huh?  So now I have to ask my current gynoc to look at the image and tell me what the heck it is.  I should be aware of all foreign bodies remaining inside of me..............

You never know what will come from each day.

God Bless and Be Love

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Keeping the train on the tracks

Funny how each day brings a truly different perspective.  First and foremost I must re-state that I truly love my doctors, the cancer center and am grateful to even have insurance.  I say this because I'm about to complain about healthcare costs.  I would never want anyone who cares for me to take this personally................

So I'm about to move into the poor farm, unless I can make a miracle happen, and I got the most ridiculous pharmacy charge of recent months.  I have been fighting this upper respiratory problem, and because of my weak immune system.  I was handling things fairly OK with over the counter meds, but today it was much worse.  It's been about a week of this, so as a precaution, I called my hematologist to see how my neutrophils were at last draw (which was a week ago).  By the way, I'm certain I picked up this bug visiting my rheumatologist who's office is in the hospital!

Anyway, they did a lab draw today, and prescribed an antibiotic as a precaution.  They did the right thing and I am grateful.  I don't need pneumonia. What I'm not really joyful over is the prescription charge.  Whatever!

My portion was just under $230........................for 7 pills.  My insurance did pay $50, so the actual price was $280.  That is $40 per pill!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  All I can say now is that they better work.  Geeze.

Now compared to a potential hospital stay, that's nothing, but still, yikes.  One prescription zapped roughly 40% (in my head math) of my income.

I am supposed to meet with the Lance Armstrong Survivorship program on Friday, but they may need me to move it out a week or so because the cancer center has real strict infection control. 

Now, part of the reason I'm meeting with them is to spend some time with the social worker to get my resources strengthened.  In other words, how can I make more money and what programs will help me with the cost of healthcare.

In other other words I just spent $230 to stave off potential hospitalization, but will delay a very important meeting that I need so that I don't have to completely lose my mind over a lousy couple hundred bucks.  The next time I see any doctor in the hospital, I'm wearing a mask.

I remember when I got my first paycheck as an OT, and I was astounded that I could earn over $700 per week, back in 1989.  After losing my lucrative income (long story about RA), I went down practically nothing, and it took me until 2009 to earn the exact same amount I earned in 1989.  It took me 20 years to get back to square one. Maybe I should have went on disability in 1995 when I was first really disabled.  I just didn't want to be "one of those people".  So I struggled to get back to a decent level.......

Then I got cancer.

I now own what would fit in my car as my brother drove it to Seattle for me.  I also own what would fit in a suitcase as my sister travelled with me here from California.  I can kind of relate to fire victims, but not in total, they had no choice on what to lose or keep.

See what they started.  I hate the feeling of being impoverished, which means I still have a lot to do in the spiritual department.  It's not that I want to have everything, I just don't want nothing.

I would be the happiest woman on earth if I had a clean studio apartment in a safe neighborhood, and the basics.  That's all.  I want to live near my mom and sister and feel like a regular person.

I make a bad interviewee right now too.  I look 60 years old and can't do basic math on paper  (funny ha ha).  Literally though, I'm slow to think and can't remember some things.  It's like I had a small stroke or something, I can't always put correct words to what I remember in my mind, or I've just blanked out the event completely.  Who wants to hire someone like that???  I know once I get back in the groove of some form of "work", I'll improve some because of the environment and challenge.

What matters most is that you love and be loved.  I just pray each day for tiny miracles to keep the train moving on the tracks.

I want to work in a church so I can be close to God all the time.

Be love and God Bless

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

New Clues to Ovarian Cancer, Pt. 3

New research is shedding light on how to prevent this silent cancer. Learn how early detection can save your life. Become aware of the symptoms so...

New Clues to Ovarian Cancer, Pt. 1

New research is shedding light on how to prevent this silent cancer. Learn how early detection can save your life. Become aware of the symptoms so...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Everything still seems hard

Hi.  Today I'm fighting a silly cold, so I have no energy. 

My good news is that my CA125 is 7.  Hip Hip Hoooray.  I still fight fatigue and abdominal problems, but feel more confident that I have some time to rebuild some assemblance of a life.

My worries right now have moved into the financial and insurance arena.  My income is a little over $600 per month.  It doesn't even cover my basic expenses, so I am walking on a tightrope.

I have not yet heard back from the Dept of Voc Rehab.  I have not applied for SSI, maybe I should.

I just need a good paying part time job to see if I can really handle working again. 

I just don't know if I can work.  My eating is so regimented now because of my abdominal problems and my fatigue is so unpredictable, I can't see an employer tolerating all my special needs.  I still have lots of medical appointments.  Next week I have three, a bone density test, eye appointment and meeting with Livestrong.

I feel like a total loser right now because of the work issue.  I just want to work from home.  I have enough in savings to go another month, then something drastic will need to happen.

I hope I don't look like a baby.  For example. I got this cold right after I went to the hospital to see my rheumatologist.  I have a weak immune system and probably caught the bug just being out in public.

That's my worry.  I really am homebound for the most part, even though I am NED.  I live on a roller coaster.  For example, after I heard my CA125 was 7, for a brief moment I felt on top of the world, ready to embrace each breath with a new level of excitation, living like I've never lived before.

Then I woke up with a sinus problem and have no energy to do anything.  How can I work if my body is still so fragile?  The answers will come.  I am willing to work, don't get me wrong, I just don't know what I can do anymore.

Another OC sister passed away this week.  That makes three in the last month, from my support group.  It is so sad.  Most of the sisters have experienced recurrences, and it scares me.  But I need my group, they understand me.  I love them all.

Be love and God Bless