Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My (stupid) Journey With Cancer

This post is mainly for me.

I want to be able to look back in a year and see how much I have gone through.

I want to see how much stronger this stupid cancer has made me.

I plan to update it regularly as I make this stupid journey. I think I will put it as a link on the side.

I would love it if you left a positive comment for me. This helps me in two ways:

1-when ever I come in to update this I will be able to read all the wonderful comments, and

2-I love comments:)

See, it's a win-win situation:)

2/11/10- MRI came back clear, PET scan showed a 1.4 cm mass of melanoma in the left hip region, go here and here, also had incision checked since it still has not healed. Apparently new skin has grown up and is not allowing the incision to close. Nurse place silver nitrate on the new skin to get rid of some of the new skin.

2/10/10- returned to MD Anderson for PET scans and MRI of brain

12/9/09- incision became infected, went to ER, started antibotics, came back as E Coli

12/2/09- surgery to remove tumor in left thigh area

11/11/09-MDA PET scan and MRI, MRI was clean, PET showed that the remaining tumor was growing, no new spots on PET, Dr found a mole on my skin, and wanted it removed. Came back clean.

9/09- surgery to remove tumor in right thigh area

8/5-8/12 leave for MD Anderson for 6th and LAST round of chemo!!! go here for Dr visit

8/4 labs

7/31 labs

7/28 labs

7/15 leave for Houston; 5th round of chemo; go here; and here; go here

7/10 labs and appt with Dr Moore Jr

7/6 labs

7/2 labs

6/22- 9am labs, 10am chest xray, 11am Dr Bedikian, afternoon-admission to hospital for 4th round of chemo; go here

6/21-leave for MD Anderson



6/12- labs

June 9th- labs WBC at a 45!, hemoglobin at a 8.43, if it gets below an 8 will have to have transfusion

June 5th labs, WBC at a 1.3

May 27th- Appt with oncologist, one mass is gone, 3 masses remain, hard to compare size because first PET was done in Wichita and 2nd was done at MD, hospitalized for tx

May 26th-PET scan and MRI, MRI totally freaked me out, PET scan was a lot of wasted time waiting

May 25th- leave for MD Anderson via flight out of OKC

May 22nd- labs and appt with oncologist in town, worthless appt

May 19th labs

May 15th- labs

May 12th -labs

May 4th-10th- Hospitialized for chemo treatments

May 3rd- Family held fundraiser, $3000 raised! Left for MD Anderson via Corporate Angels

May 1st-labs

April 28th- Blood clot in arm, started Lovanox shots twice a day, 64 units, had to have CVC removed, it will be replaced on Monday at MD Anderson

April 13th-19th- Chemo in hospital, bad side effects, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness

April 13th- Blood work at 8am, CVC placed, appt with Dr Bedikian, admittance to hospital for at least 5 days

April 12th- Drove to Ponca City and caught a flight with the Corporate Angels, caught a ride to hotel with Ground Angels

April 8th- ECHO and stress test, drove home

April 7th- chest xray and PFT

April 6th- Appts at MD Anderson, 9:00 meet with Dr Bedikian, blood work, appt for introduction of my Central Venous Catheter

April 5th- Drove to Houston, TX.

April 3- PET scan at 5:45 AM

April 2-Appt with Dr Moore Jr. agreed that the Interferon wasn't working. He did not feel that any of the treatments in Wichita are what we need. He suggested we head to MD Anderson. I called MD as we left the office and left a message. Anita called back and they are able to get us into MD Anderson on Monday. Have to head back to Cancer Center for CT scan at 1pm.

March 31-87th shot, pathology report came in, all 3 spots are melanoma, appt set up at Cancer Center of America in Tulsa. Still waiting for nurse to fax paperwork to MD Anderson

March 28th- 86th shot

March 26th-85th shot, had spots removed, Dr felt they were probably maligant melanoma, should get the results early next week

March 25th-Appt with dermatologist, wants spot on the back and two lumps on the front removed, will do that tomorrow

March 24th- 84th shot

March 21st-83rd shot

March 19th-82nd shot

March 18th-sonogram on shoulder, tech thought it was cysts not blood clots

March 17th-81st shot, appt with Dr. Neidre for lumps

March 15th-Found one lump under my skin near my shoulder and another lump on the right side of my chest.

March 14th-80th shot

March 12th-79th shot, appt with Dr, talked about muscle pain-Dr suggested going off treatment for a week, but I told him no, gave prescription for 800 mg Ibuprofren to help with muscle pain, talked about pulmonary hypertension, may schedule an echo at next Dr's appt so that we have a baseline.

March 10th-78th shot

March 7th-77th shot

March 5th- 76th shot, appt with Dr- Dr had emergency so had to reschedule

March 3-75th shot, fatigue, muscle pain, labs done today, WBC were 4.3, RBC were 3.8, platelets look good

Feb 28th-74th shot

Feb 26th-73rd shot, muscle pain. Bruising where I am getting the shots on my right arm. Have become allergic to the adhesive on the bandaids.

Feb 24th-72nd shot, really tired, muscles are really sore, talked to nurse Alta about the increase in fatigue and apparently that is normal. I guess the longer I am on Interferon the more tired I will get. Great! I am only halfway done. By August all I will do is sleep!

Feb 21st-71st shot, tired (2/23-I am so tired today. I slept pretty well last night, yet I am so tired I can't keep my eyes open!)

Feb 19th-70th shot

Feb 17th- 69th shot, tired, grouchy

Feb 14th-68th shot

Feb 12th-67th shot

Feb 10th-66th shot, tired, nauseus, thirsty


Feb 7th-65th shot

Feb 5th-64th shot, tired, had a hard time sleeping last night, still sick, coughing up lots of gunk. Trying to drink lots of fluid.

Feb. 3rd-63rd shot, tired , have a cold from our trip. Probably should have brought a mask, but didn't think about that.

Jan 31sts-skipped shot because we were in Wisconsin.

Jan 29th-62nd shot, is that really possible? 62 shots? That sucks.

Jan 27th-61st shot, Cody is out of town, I'm on my own. Haven't been sleeping well lately. Kids have been really good even though I am tired. This weekend we have to go to a funeral in Milwaukee so I am going to have to skip my shot on Saturday. This will push my treatment back 2 days:( The nurse said I can't do two shots in a row, however I did a month long IV treatment of Interferon, 4 weeks in a row, 5 days in a row, so I am not sure why I can't do two shots in a row, but whatever.

Jan 24th- 60th shot

Jan. 22nd-59th shot, had to bring both kids with me to treatment today. They were good though. Kyler even pottied in the potty at the cancer center! Yay!

Jan 20th-58th shot, nauseus, tired

Jan 17th-57th shot

Jan 15th-56th shot

Jan 13th-55th shot, Ella is sick so she is home from MDO, tired, nauseus

Jan 10th-54th shot, tired

Jan. 8th-53rd shot

Jan. 6th-52nd shot-7 more months of treatment left! Almost halfway!

Jan. 3rd-52nd shot

Dec. 31st-51st shot

Dec. 30th-CT scan on abdomen. I have been feeling lumps on and off in my stomach and so a CT scan was scheduled. Results came back normal. The Dr thought it was just food moving through my intestines and since I have lost so much weight I can actually feel it.

Dec. 29th-50th shot

Dec. 27th-49th shot, nauseus this morning. Took some Zofran. CT scan results came back, showed no abnormalities.

Dec. 24th-48th shot, nauseus. I am so tired of nauseus around the holidays. Had to take Reglan and Zofran all week.

Dec. 22nd-47th shot, headache

Dec. 20th-46th shot

Dec. 19th-CT scan of brain

Dec. 18th-45th shot

Dec. 16th-44th shot, headache

Dec. 13th-43rd shot, headache, tired, some nausea

Dec. 11th-42nd shot, Dr appt, told him about headaches so he ordered a CT scan just to be safe, kindey function and liver function looked good

Dec. 9th-41st shot, nauseus, tired, labs, WBC-3.5-still low, RBC-low, platelets- 191-ok

Dec. 6th-40th shot, nauseus, headache

Dec 4th-39th shot

Dec. 2nd-37th shot , headache

Nov. 29th- 36th shot, would have stayed at my parents house another day, but had to come back for my shot. I hate having to rearrange my life around my shots.

Nov. 26th- 35th shot,

Nov. 24th- 34th shot, went in at 8:30 so I didn't have to wait forever!

Nov. 22nd-33rd shot

Nov. 20th- 32nd shot, appt with Dr. Moore today, approached for a trial, but Dr said it could weaken the affects of the Interferon, have lost 12 lbs, Dr isn't worried about weight loss or hair loss, talked to him about possibly being depressed, he felt it was probably more exhaustion-told me to get some sleep and see if that helps (it did!)

Nov. 18th- 31st shot-labs today-WBC are up a little bit-3.6, red blood cells are still low, platelets are good

Nov. 15th- 30th shot

Nov. 13th- 29th shot

Nov. 11th-28th shot, so tired. I can sleep all night and I still wake up exhausted! MIL thinks I could be dealing with a bit of depression. I think I'm just plain tired! Cody is in St Louis all week so it's just me with the kids. Exhausting!

Nov. 8th-27th shot

Nov. 6th-26th shot, Kyler's birthday!

Nov. 4th- 25th shot, really tired

Nov 1st-24th shot, everyone has flu at our house, nauseous and tired

Oct 30th-23rd shot, Nurse didn't get all the meds in so I had to be poked twice! Took the kids to the zoo afterwards.

Oct 28th- 22nd shot

Oct 25th-21st shot, nausea today

Oct 23rd- 20th shot

Oct 21st-Nineteenth shot. Light headed and dizzy today. Very tired.

Oct 20th- Appt with dermatologist to have a skin check. All looks good. Totally freaks me out when the Dr or a nurse asks me what my prognosis is. Ummm, I'm assuming I'm going to make it. Otherwise, why in the hell am I going through chemo! I fully intend on kicking cancer's ass. I have no other choice. I have two babies that need their mom. So I guess the next time someone asks what my prognosis is, I will tell them I am kicking cancer's ass right now so I guess my prognosis is pretty damn good!

Oct 18th- Eighteenth shot

Oct 16th- Seventeenth shot and appt with Dr. Discussed coralation between trying to do much and getting sick.

Oct 14th- Sixteenth shot and labs. WBC and RBC were low. That definitately accounts for some of my fatigue.

Oct 11th-Fifteenth shot

Oct 9th-Fourteenth shot

Oct 7th-Thirteenth shot. Had to take Reglan this weekend. Tired.

Oct. 4th-Twelfth shot.

Oct. 2nd-Eleventh shot. Still feeling good. Headaches but no nausea! Fatigue is getting better.

Sept 30th- Tenth shot. No more nausea! Headaches, but could be from allergies.

Sept 27th- Ninth shot. Went in early for shot so we could head to KC afterwards.

Sept. 25th- Eighth shot. Daddy is still gone. Tired, nausea. Friday-feeling pretty good. Was able to take a nap. Hopefully the nausea will go away now that I have been on lower doses for a week.

Sept. 23rd-Seventh shot. Daddy is gone and mommy is on her own!

Sept 20th- Sixth shot. Major headaches. Some nausea. Took some Zofran and I felt much better.

Sept 18th- Fifth shot. Appt with oncologist today. Asked about side effects. Main ones are nausea and fatigue. He agreed that I could not go on like this for the next 11 months so he lowered my dose of Interferon to half what I was getting. In stead of 18 million units I am now getting 9 millions units per shot. I have a splitting headache but so far no nausea (knock on wood!) He also gave me a perscription for Zofran. Luckily, my insurance covers most of it because they are about $100 a pill! Yikes! It only cost me $1 per pill. Chem panel and CBC came back and everything is looking good. Liver tests came back great. Whew, all that drinking in college isn't hurting me now!

Sept 17th- Appt with surgeon today to have 2 moles removed from my back. He went ahead and removed 3 since it was right there and I already numb. Back is sore now.

Sept 16th-Fourth shot. Dang it that hurt! I'm not a big fan of shots anyway and these suckers hurt! It's not the poke that hurts, its when they push the meds in. Ouch!

Tired and nauseous. Daddy is gone until Wednesday night so I am on my own. Better suck it up huh!

Sept 13th-Third shot. Not to bad. Saturdays I am able to get in and out pretty quickly. That's nice!

*Sept 12th-Feeling pretty good today also. Nauseous but took some Reglan. Now I'm just sleepy. Cody should be home this afternoon. Yay! Legs are a little achy. Going to take some ibuprofren and see if that helps.

*September 11th- Second day of shot treatment. The shot itself hurt like heck. Got it in my stomach. Ouch! Side effect wise I did pretty good. I was up from 7AM until 10:30PM without a nap. Of course this was not by choice, but you do what you gotta do.

*September 9th-First day of shot treatment. Feeling ok, just tired. Forgot to take Tylenol before treatment, luckily did ok with taking Tylenol right before shot. Talked to Nurse about WBC being so low, she said it is normal and nothing to worry about.

*September 5th- Twentieth day of treatment. This is it! No more IV Interferon-WOO HOO!

*September 4th- Nineteenth day of treatment. Pretty good day. Tired. Labs, dr appt and treatment today. White Blood Cells are low-3.3. Need to improve diet! Waited in Drs office for 2.5 hours. Set up shots to be done at injection station. Hopefully can get that moved to Cancer Center-would be much quicker!

*September 3rd-Eighteenth day of treatment. So far, so good. No achiness, just tired. Thank heavens today was better then yesterday. Could not have done that again. No nausea this morning. Reglan did wonders. Usually I wake up feeling nauseous, but I feel pretty good this morning. What a nice (and welcomed) change!

*September 2nd-Seventeenth day of treatment. Bad day. Achy arms, nausea, headaches. Gave me Reglan through IV. Seemed to help with nausea. Knocked me out. I actually slept during treatment-first time for that.

*September 1st- Sixteenth day of treatment. Last week of IV treatment. Pretty good weekend. Had to take nausea medicine all weekend, but felt pretty good. Treatment in the morning, we will see how I feel the rest of the day.

*August 29th-Fifteenth day of treatment. Nausea. The Aloxi just doesn't cut it anymore. The nurses think it is because I have so much of the Interferon in my system.

*August 28th-Fourteenth day of treatment. Nausea, headaches, fatigue. Arms and legs were achy at night. Tried the Lidocaine patches but didn't work. Got up, cleaned house, took a shower, and some Unisome. Slept until 9AM. Usually keep the IV in M-W, Th-F, however had her take it out because it was hurting. Nurse thinks she is right up along the wall of the vein. Ouch!

*August 27th-Thirteenth day of treatment. Major headache. Had to take Phenergan for nausea. Really tired.

*August 26th- Twelfth day of treatment. Major headache. Some nausea, had to take Phenergan.

*August 25th-Eleventh day of treatment. Dr appt today. Have lost a couple of pounds due to lack of appetite. Bloodwork came back ok. Major headache. Lots of nausea this weekend. Did Aloxi today for nausea. Went down to 12.5 mg of Benadryl in hope that my arms and legs won't be as achy. Last night did Lidocaine patches on my legs for the aching and that seemed to help.

*August 22nd-Tenth day of treatment. Halfway point!! Switched nausea medicine to see if that is the reason my arms are so achy (it wasn't-still got achy). Ended up needing Phenagren (nausea med) when I got home. Had to take it every day this weekend. Awful headaches.

*August 21st-Ninth day of treatment. Tired and kind of dizzy feeling. Talked to nurses about achy feeling and we are going to try something different for the nausea tomorrow. Feeling pretty good, esp compared to yesterday.

*August 20th-Eighth day of treatment. Bad, bad day. Very sick in the morning, had to take nausea medicine. Treatment made my arms and legs very achy. Came home and slept from 6PM until 8AM. Must have needed sleep.

*August 19th- Seventh day of treatment. Tired, so very tired. Little dizzy. 25 mg of Benadryl.

*August 18th- Sixth day of treatment. Had lab work and appt with oncologist today. Labs came back fine. Arms are very achy from the medicine. Such an annoying pain. Can't get my arms to stop aching.

*August 15th- Fifth day of treatment. 25 mg of Benadryl, got my dose of Aloxi (nausea medicine), less saline solution because my stomach is so bloated, hurt to breathe because of all the fluid that is being injected into my system. Ugggg! What an awful feeling. Little bit of dizziness and headaches. So tired. I was actually able to take a nap today without the aid of sleep medicine. That was nice. Will be asking for a prescription sleep med on Monday at Dr appt.

*August 14th- Fourth day of treatment. Only had 25 mg of Benadryl with a constant IV drip. Had to restick me today since the nurse removed the stint yesterday. Was very tired in the morning. Did ok for a couple of hours, then hit rock bottom. Really dizzy and light headed. Tummy is really upset. Fever has been right around 99.5. Very achy. Back and neck hurt like they are bruised. They aren't-Cody checked. Hopefully I will be able to sleep tonight.

*August 13th- Third day of treatment. Only had 25 mg of Benadryl instead of 50. Kept me on a constant IV of saline. I feel much better tonight then I did yesterday. Little dizzy and light headed. Tummy is a little upset. No desire to eat anything. Really tired but haven't been able to sleep. Apparently insomnia is a side effect of Interferon. Fever of 100.5 this morning.

*August 12th-Second day of treatment. The Benadryl made me really sick. Apparently I didn't have enough water before I went to treatment. I got really dizzy, the room started spinning, and I felt sick. They gave me saline through the IV for awhile and that seemed to help. Came home and went straight to bed. I had the shakes-bad. My back and neck hurt really bad because I was shaking so bad. Can't sleep because of this awful headache. Still really tired but seem to have insomnia. This sucks!

*August 11th- First treatment is today. There has been a lot of crying today. Most while I have been at the Cancer Center. Side effects: So far I am just really tired. They gave me a lot of Benadryl, nausea medicine, Tylenol, and the Interferon. Totally drugged. Just want to sleep.

*August 4th-Set up treatments. I will begin August 11th. I will go in every week day at 2pm for the next four weeks to have an IV of Interferon. The treatment will last around 2 hours. I have some mixed emotions about all of this. But that is for another post.

*July 31st-Appt with oncologist-PET scan came back clear! YAY! The cancer has not spread. This is SUPER news! If it had spread it would not be a good situation. We discussed treatment options and really Interferon is the only way to go. We have to get rid of all cancer cells that may still be floating around in my body. 3 things showed up on the PET scan. My shin showed some type of bruise-big surprise I run into things all the time! My boobs lit up since I am still breastfeeding. That's pretty cool! And there were two moles on my back that showed up as developing into melanoma at some point. (I already have an appt scheduled with the surgeon to have those removed in Sept.)

*July 30th- Follow up appt with surgeon. Healing well. He went ahead and removed the two moles on my stomach. Surgeon called for CT and PET scan results. CT results came in while I was still there-It was clear!! YAY!

*July 29th-Had blood drawn this morning. Appt with Dermatologist this afternoon to have 2 moles removed on my stomach. Dermatologist refused to remove moles. Did not feel they were anything to worry about.

*July 28th-Had PET scan. Radioactive Glucose was injected into my body. Had to remain completely still for an hour an a half. It felt like FOR.EV.ER!

*July 25th-Had CT scan.

*July 24th-Met with oncologist. Wants me to have a CT scan and PET scan. He did not feel the cancer had spread but wants to make sure. If it has not spread I will start on a treatment plan of Interferon.

*July 21st- Surgeon called with test results. That's way to quick. The big mass of lymph nodes tested positive for melanoma, as did the one closest to it. The big mass was actually 3 lymph nodes that joined together to fight off the cancer. Most of the mass was fluid. Surgeon felt like we caught it right before it started to spread. Imagine if I would have gone in last year when I first found that stupid spot!

*July 18th-Had surgery. More was removed from the spot on my calf to check for melanoma and 6 lymph nodes were removed. Dr did not feel that the huge mass was cancerous. He sent all the lymph nodes off for testing. Will call when he gets the results. He said a longer wait was better.

*July 16th-Met with surgeon. Loved him. He was very positive. He did not feel that it had spread. Even said we could wait until August to have the surgery. I did not feel comfortable with that. Set the surgery up for Friday to have the lymph nodes in my groin removed.

*July 15th-Results came back. It was positive for Stage IV Melanoma. Dermatologist set up appts for me to visit with a surgeon and an oncologist.

*July 8th-Finally went to that appt with the dermatologist. He looked at the spot on my calf and predicted it was melanoma cancer. He removed the spot and sent it to a pathologist to look at.

1 comment:

  1. Heather,
    I commend your perserverance through your long hard journey. I stumbled on your blog and it has helped me as I start mine. I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma 3 weeks ago, have started radiation and will do interferon next. I know it didn't work for you, but all my scans and MRI (which I despised too) were clear, so I'm positive and hopeful that it will help. I can only pray it will.
    I bought one of your shirts because I want to help you fight and pray for you, I'm so happy so many people bought them too! I pray for you everyday. I too am a teacher so thankfully it is the summer for me to be doing radiation and interferon. I'm on Caring Bridge if you want to follow me as I follow you. I wish you all the best!
    Kellison Golden
    Dallas, TX