Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Tests, More Chemo, Feeling Better

Yesterday, I finished my twelfth round of carbo and taxol. I already feel better than I did three weeks ago.  And that is good.  I still have hard days ahead of me, but I think the routine I have established - reiki, acupuncture and cranio-sacral work, will help over the next few days. Feeling naseous and exhausted, but I don’t think this round will be as bad as the last. Good news is a slightly lowered CA125 and some info form Caris Target. It lets me know we are on the right path, added femara and the vitD has been a good thing to be on.  Reminds me that I am on the right path and maybe all I need is a little more time and some patience. 
It’s been a long four years and quite an incredible adventure. Recently, I asked Dr. C for some addtional testing, specifically to find out whether or not I was BRCA positive. This is testing for the breast cancer gene. The results came back negative. The really wonderful result of this news is that means that my babies most likely do not carry the breast cancer gene and are very unlikely to develop the disease.  Breast and ovarian cancer can go hand in hand and this news alleviates a lot of worries, specifically for M, who has had a cloud of worry hanging over her head for the past couple of years.
Another test I requested was to have my most recent tumor tissue samples sent to Caris Life Sciences.  Caris recently has started testing specifically for ovarian cancer patients. They take the tumor and do specific biomarker analysis and then compare that information available in published medical articles and treatments.  The results showed that I have estrogen protein markers on the surface of my cancer cells.  So now I am taking a drug called femara which has been shown to help prevent cancer recurrence in estrogen positive breast cancer patients.  The Caris report also suggested that I would benefit from taking VitaminD3 with cal/mag.  I have been taking vitd and cal/mag since Jan09 when I started with Dr. Drisko at KU Integrative Med!  There has long been evidence that cancer patients are very deficient in vitD and after a simple blood test, she was able to determine that I needed to take this.  It was a good feeling to know that I have been doing something to help myself, something so simple really.  Dr. C said for all we know this has been something that has been helping me stay strong all along!!
Finally, the Caris report suggested chemotherapy drugs that would likely be beneficial to me, as well as a list of chemos that would likely not be helpful to me. The ‘good’ list included all the drugs that I have been taking.  And one or two that I haven’t had yet, it gives me options! Both Dr. C, Richie and I left that meeting feeling a bit heady. It was nice to have new information to go on.  Keep in mind, this information is based on a tumor that was two years old, but it is better than nothing.  And a good way to look at it is that I haven’t had enough tumor growth activity to ‘harvest’ any more tumor.  Things have been tough because I have had been on these constant rounds of chemo, but I also have had no disease progression, rather I have steady disease.  It doesn’t make the day to day fight any easier, but it makes my overall prognosis seem much easier.  As TJ said, possibly the one good thing about this cancer is that it is slow growing.  And that slow growth has given me more time with Richie, M and C and with my incredible family and all my wonderful friends.  

So, tonight is another choral concert, and my handsome C will be participating. I will take some anti-nausea meds (for the chemo, not the singing!!) and enjoy seeing my baby perform his music. He has been working so hard these past few weeks and I am so proud of him!  M is doing well, working hard at school and trying to juggle all the exciting information in her college search. And she turned 17 last week! I am still reeling from that one, my baby, seventeen! Richie is doing well, too. We are all excited about some warmer temps around here this week. If we can just get a bit of sun that will be icing on the cake and I will sit on the porch and soak up some more vitamin D!!
Thanks again for all the love and support.  I can’t imagine having made this journey alone, it’s been long and scary, but also full of love and support and I count myself as a lucky and blessed individual to have had all of you with me.