December, 2013

The lowest Count of Platelets

Since today was supposed to be a day of the infusion, I went for a blood test yesterday.  The phone call came from the hospital and I was told that today’s infusion had to be rescheduled to next week because the platelets number was 68, which was the lowest ever.

Last time the counts was 87, which was improved from 71 after postponing a week. Since the dose was reduced to 83%,   I was hoping  it would help stop lowering the counts, but the result was disappointing.

I wanted to get the 2nd opinion from Dr. Slamon to discuss this issue as well as many others, but since my appointment was canceled twice due to his operation, I haven’t heard anything from his office.  I e-mailed to the office Monday and then the response  said that  probably I wouldn’t be able to see him until after the New Year’s Day.  Another disappointment.

I will have a CT scan soon and find out if the new findings in the last CT are the sign of relapse of cancer or not, but regardless of the result, I may have to give up T-DM1 if I cannot halt losing the platelets.

Then what is next?

Perjeta is told to be very powerful.  This new drug shows an excellent result when it is used with Herceptin and Taxotere.  Yet  Taxotere failed  in my first regimen.  Taxol, which is the same family as Taxotere and removed cancer when it was spread to the lungs, was halted because its side-effects of numbness and tingling could become permanent, according to Dr. Slamon’s advice.

A cancer friend I encountered through the blog told me she was going to start Xeloda with Herceptin and Perjeta.  Maybe this combo will be my next one, too.  I should ask her about this new drug.  It is so great to be able to share the information with friends I got to know through the blog!

The Last Night With Pepper


The life is leaving from Pepper’s body.   As the time goes by minute—by— minute, Pepper’s life is slipping away inch-by-inch.

I took her to a vet yesterday when she was not able to stand up all of sudden two days ago.

When I picked her up after 24 hour fluid therapy, the vet told me that she was a little better than yesterday.  He also said, “You can spend time with her a little more.”  Receiving a can dog food to boost up her strength, I was excited, hoping to see her coming from the back of the office walking by herself.

Yet, she came being held by an assistant.  As she was placed in the back seat of my car, she was not even able to raise her head up.

My heart filled with full of hope, sank immediately and heavily more than ever.  People say a year of a dog is equivalent with 7 years of human being.  Since Pepper is 15 years old, I understand that her time is running out.  Yet I got had hope by the vet’s words.

When we arrived at home, she looked at me indicating that she knew it, too.  “We are home, “ saying to Pepper, I walked into the house holding her in my arm.

At the sunny spot in the family room, I moved her bed with food and water.  I opened the window door to the back yard, and laid her down.  I thought that was the best spot for her.

I e-mailed to my brother-in-law, who is also a vet in Japan, sending Pepper’s blood work results and asked his opinion about putting down pets.  I certainly don’t want to see Pepper suffer, but I was not sure if it’s the right thing to put a period on an animal’s life by human hand.

When I came back to the family room, Pepper was not in the bed.  I looked at the back yard.  She was collapsed on the grass.

She must have used her all strength to walk out to the yard.

“Pepper,” as I called her name, moving only her eyes, she responded to  me.

I held her again.  She was so light that it made me cry.

She loves to eat, but now she is neither able to eat nor drink.

“Heavenly Father, please help her not to suffer.  I am so thankful for Pepper.  She has been the great gift for our family.” As I pray so, I remembered many good ペパーTorrance Beach.memories with her and my tears dripped on her body. She has witnessed good times and bad times of our family.  Especially since I was diagnosed with breast cancer, she has been a great comforter.

The Bible doesn’t talk about after life of animals, yet dogs are such loyal obedient animals. I hope they will also receive new bodies and live forever like human beings.  When my time comes, I hope Pepper will welcome me darting like the wind.

Tomorrow our sons and daughter-in-law will come to celebrate Roy’s birthday.  Even if Pepper is gone, “We should say good-bye to her,” George said.

Her eyes are no more focused.  The small body is puffing up and down wearily and quietly though She is peaceful without any discomfort.

“ For God so loved the world that He gave His one begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”- -John 3:16

Remembering God’s Word, I will spend the last night on the earth with my beloved Pepper.

Peppar 2012ペパーソックス

The red stocking at the center is for Pepper, but we’ll miss her this Christmas.

Good Bye Pepper

The original meaning of “Good Bye” is “God be with you” according to George.

Yesterday, the 14th of December, around 3:40pm, Pepper passed away being unable to wait for George and our children.  Because Pepper loved to watch me cooking, in the last her hours, I moved her near the dining-room table where she could see me cooking.  She left smelling the food, which was my last gift for her.  Right before her last exhale, she opened her eyes widely and barked a few times without a voice.  I imagine she saw Jesus, who welcomed her, and she was excited.

At night when our sons and a daughter-in-law came, surrounding Pepper, we shared many of her fun good memories, giving a prayer to thank God for Pepper, and said, “Good bye.”  If I think “Good bye” means the final separation, my grief becomes double, but if I think it means “God be with you,” I feel better.

Although I understand Pepper had a good long life accomplishing her purpose that was to bring us joy and comfort, and she is as happy as she can be with the Lord right now, watching her deteriorating every minute and became a cold carcass made me cry.


God’s Promise

Since last night, I have talked about death with George. One of his main jobs is to be with a person who is dying and his/her family so that they can walk through their “valley of the shadow of death.”  God didn’t create death.  Death is the last enemy to be destroyed according to 1 Corinthian 15:26.  Everything that has life has to experience death and the separation.  Going through the fear, emotional devastation, loss, sadness, and emptiness, I said to George I understood why the Bible called death as the last enemy.  Then he said to read Romans8:18 a hundred times.

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope,  the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.  And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children, including the new bodies he has promised us. “

I cried putting Pepper’s cold stiff body into a box with flowers.  I will cry tomorrow when I will hand the box to the city’s animal control.  Nevertheless, the Bible verse assured me that her carcass, which will decay, is only her old clothes.  Even though death attacked Pepper, she is now reborn as new Pepper in Heaven!

What an awesome Creator we have!

I miss Pepper very much, but now I feel like I can move on. Believing God’s promises, I want to say, “Good Bye”again to Pepper tomorrow.

Good Bye Pepper

Pepper was put in a box for roses.  On the top our message says;                                                                     Good-Bye Pepper, We Love You!  PS: See you in Heaven



Waiting for the CT Result

How quickly a week went by!

A week after I postponed the last infusion due to the low count of platelets, I went for a lab on Monday.  This time the count of platelet was 91 while the minimum requirement was 75.  I wanted over 100, but I decided to have an infusion.

My dose of T-DM1 has been reduced to 83% already, and the last two times I even extended the cycle from every three weeks to four weeks.  If my calculation is right, this is less than 65%.  In spite of that, I have had bruises and my eye has been bleeding since last Saturday. Probably my platelets are still going down.

After the infusion, I took a CT scan, which was important to see if the last suspicious findings were signs of a relapse of cancer or not.  I am expecting to receive the results tomorrow.

The Christmas season is the busiest season and I don’t like all the pressures, but besides those regular pressures, this year I have been grieving for Pepper, working on some commitments, and depressed by recent world anti-Christ movements, and I didn’t have room to worry about the result of the CT so far.   Yet if I get a bad result, surely my burden will multiply and I will be depressed more.

Then the Bible says,

“And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” (Roman 5:13)

And also, it says,

“These trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.   So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian,for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.” (1 Peter 4:13)

The ultimate hope I cling to is nothing but the Heavenly Father.

The Best Gift Arrived on the Christmas Eve

Yesterday on the 23rd, I emailed my oncologist asking if she has received the results of the latest CT scan.  I was waiting for her reply anxiously until late at night, but it didn’t arrived yesterday.

This morning, I went to see a primary doctor for a bloody eye.  The doctor said it was just from simple stress like a bruise and nothing I need to worry about.  When she was about to finish with me, I asked if she could check my CT result on the computer.  For Kaiser has a great computer system so that any doctor is able to access a patient’s medical information, and I was afraid that my oncologist might be on vacation already and I wouldn’t hear from her for a few more days.

“Yes. You have a result,” saying so, the doctor showed me the screen of the computer.

I read,

“ Stable 9mm solid nodule…  Previously noted 3mm nodule is not identified…”

Yes!  I was relieved immediately.  This is the best Christmas gif from God! Now I can fully enjoy tonight and tomorrow.  GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!!