Numbers

Numbers play an important role in everyone’s life.  A lot of times without even noticing, everyone is concerned about some type of number.  Sometimes numbers can be good or bad.  I know that numbers have always played a role in my life.  Whether it be birthdays gone by, number of days to vacations, performance goals, countdown starts on Monday for the weekend and the list goes on and on. Numbers play an importantly  role in cancer treatment too.  Sometimes, it easy to get caught up in the numbers instead of living life.

There are so many important numbers to look at when going through cancer treatment.  Will my blood work numbers be good enough for me to continue treatment?  What cycle of treatment are you on?  Will my white blood count be low so I have to be concerned about infection? Taking your temperature twice a day and praying the numbers don’t indicate an infection.  Will the platelet count be low to be concerned about bleeding and bruising?  Will the red blood count be low and cause anemic symptoms?   How many more days do you need to take this medicine?  How many more pills can I actually be expected to take on a daily basis?  How many more days/months until the next scan to see if the cancer has progressed or stable?  How much was that bill for?  Getting caught up in the cancer statistic numbers is so easy.   I know more about blood work numbers now than I ever wanted to know.  Some of the numbers patients do need to monitor.  You must not let these numbers dictate how you live your life.

I still find myself looking at the numbers and comparing to previous months.  Do these numbers play as important role as they did in the beginning?  I will still enjoy any good news in the numbers, yes  but I do not let the numbers allow me to get me upset.  I do not have control over these numbers.  I do not let the numbers determine how I am going to live my life.  Is God looking at these numbers to determine my life?  As long as I can,  I will live my life to the fullest and enjoy every moment I have.

Joshua 1:9 – ‘Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’IMG_0918

 

 

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Cancer is personal

IMG_0865A very close friend of mine, sister died a couple weeks ago from brain cancer.  She sent me an email yesterday. From the email I could tell that she was not having a very good day, so I called her today and she asked me why her sister didn’t fight more. I thought what could I say that would make her feel better.    It may not seem like she didn’t fight anymore. Chemo is tough on anyone. Especially when your body is weak and the cancer is aggressive.   Her sister had fought as much as she could and then left the fight in God’s hands.    Each person’s journey is totally individual.  Don’t compare them. Even though two people may have cancer, their types, treatment and circumstances are totally individual.

After the first time I had breast cancer I said afterwards , I would never have chemo again here I am getting chemo again.  Time and circumstances make you forget the bad side of cancer.  I have a friend that died from lung cancer last year and had decided that he didn’t want any treatments.  I totally understood but some questioned his decision.  Chemo is tough not only on the patient but on family and friends.  Everyone fights in their own way. Sometimes it may seem like giving up would be easier.

I was talking to my primary care doctor today.  She asked how I always stayed positive and smiled.  I wouldn’t know how to do it any other way.  I have my faith, a great family, great friends and a positive attitude.  That’s half the battle.  The side effects and treatment are the hard part.    I share my experiences just to show what I am going through.  I have my tough days too. A couple of weeks ago ,  I had a terrible day.  I had a migraine headache and it just seemed that everything hurt.  I stayed in bed the whole day which is something I rarely do.  Steve came home and I was just laying in bed wide awake.  I knew it was hard for him to see me like that.  So I mustered up what energy  I had, got up and went for a short walk with him.  I knew it would make him feel better and it made me  feel a little better too.

I told my oncologist yesterday about my back hurting more now.  He asked me if I took the pain pills he had prescribed and if needed anything stronger.  Well, I of course told him that I took them if I was I terrible pain.  He again counseled me that the pain pills are there for any type of pain and there is no shame in having to take them.  I just don’t like taking pain pills.  No real justification, just I really don’t like how they make me feel afterwards.

No one is guaranteed tomorrow.  Make the most of the life you have now.  Enjoy all the time you have.  Enjoy life’s victories!

Life truly is short. We often don’t like to think about it, but this really could be our last day to live. But that shouldn’t frighten us as Christians, because Jesus has promised that He will give eternal life to all those who put their faith in Him (John 10:28).

First cycle of chemo completed

Today is the 21st day of ibrance the oral chemo.  I was so ready for this day. I have been counting down since the beginning.  I have never been so happy to see an empty pill bottle. Thank God I was able to complete the first cycle.   I get 7 days off.  I technically am not sure why I get 7 days off but I hope it gives time for my body to recover.  I also finished my booster chemo injections so now I will get the injections once every month.  I bombed my blood test this week .  Everything was low WBC, platelets, hemoglobin, potassium, etc.  Dr. Citrin said we will continue the high dosage of ibrance and Faslodex for now.  If the blood tests still come back low then may have to lower for the next cycle.  I have to get my blood test every two weeks here.  The results are sent to CTCA.  My potassium levels are so low, I get to add potassium pills to my daily pills.   All of this may explain why I am so tired.

As a result of the low platelets,  my injections bleed for a while and left some pretty bruises.  Needless to say I haven’t been sitting for long.  I am sure they will get better soon.  I thought, not that anyone told me it was the case,  that these injections and oral chemo would be easier than the IV chemo I had the first time I had breast cancer.  I guess each type has its own side effects.  One is definitely not easier than the other though.  Or, I may not want to remember how bad the first chemo was.  Other patients have told me that the side effects can differ with each cycle.  I pray it gets better with time.  I know a lot of other patients have a lot more side effects than I do.

I know that this is a long-term plan.  It was great to hear Dr. Citrin say that I was doing great so far.  I know that God is with me!

My first oncologist Dr. Fernette used to tell me

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Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand

There have been many days that I have prayed to not only to take the cancer away but to also make each day better.  I know that God is right beside me and will get me through this like he has everything else.   I know my faith, attitude and all of your prayers and support will see me through this.  I pray for all those going through hard times.  Even though things may be rough some days,  I know that there are some people way worse off than me.

Psalm 55:22 Give your burdens to the LORD, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.