Test

Good Grief!

 George’s Voice 

One week after the vocal cord surgery, his voice still sounds a little raspy, but comparing with the last time, it sounds much better.

People who hear his voice, and George himself, says it sounds stronger than before the surgery.

Last time it took more than 2 weeks to be able to hear his voice loud enough to understand, so I am expecting that it will be improved more as time goes by.

We needed good news and this is it!

Toothaches

Usually while a patient is  on chemo, dental treatment is not a good idea because chemoI weakens her immune system and makes her susceptible to any infection.

My current chemo drugs are antibodies, which are not supposed to affect my immune system  like other chemo drugs, but my oncologist was cautious saying wait for the dental treatment until it’s over, that was extended until this August.

I guess my care of teeth was not good enough: My gum has been bleeding and now I have toothaches, as well.

I might wind up losing many teeth!

So with the permission from the doctor, I finally visited the dentist two years after my last checkup.

Just as I was concerned, the dentist told me that my back crown had a hole, under a bridge was a cavity, and the bridge was a due to be renewed.

I thought my finger finally would be healed from the surgery, but now I need teeth treatment; another expensive treatment.

Good Grief!

 

PETCT Scan

My due for a scan is also coming next Tuesday.  It has been since last December.

A PET scan detects cancer by injecting radioactive sugar, which is absolved by cancer and shows uptakes in the image, while a CT scan shows a 3-dimensial cross sectional image of  x-rays.

I was taking those image tests alternatively, but this time I requested having those two tests at once because Dr. Glasy at UCLA told me a PET scan only is meaningless.

Fortunately Kaiser has a PETCT scan, which has two functions of PET and CT together, and I am going to try this new technology.

 

What if a doctor misreads the result?

What if the nodules in my lung have been growing?

 

Facing the test, I am getting nervous, again.

No!  Don’t open the door of the fear!

Instead I have to focus on Jesus depending on the words of the Bible and prayers.

Possibly Metastasis

I finally received the result of the PETCT scan I had last week.

Bad news:

“ Interval development of mediastinal hypermetabolic lymphadenopathy, most likely metastatic disease.”

Since my oncologist is on maternity leave, a different doctor suggested that I see a lung specialist to have biopsy.

It has been almost two years since breast cancer diagnosis.

It has been a year and half since mastectomy.

It has been a year since the last time I found cancer in the left arm lymph nodes.

I received 4week radiation and have been still on the 3rd regimen of two antibody drugs which I started last March.

In spite of all those, is cancer still growing?

I e-mailed Dr. Glaspy at UCLA to let him know this bad news.

It is not definite yet, but because I have experienced shortness of breath, sudden cramps on my back, and chest pain continually, I had wondered if something was wrong with me.

As the time went by, my stomach started twisting and had diarrhea.

I prayed with George.

God has raised me up each time when I got dismayed facing new fears.

 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”-Proverb 3:5-

Holy Spirit, please come quickly!

 

 

It’s Time for CT Scan Again

Since my last CT scan came back with a good result, in spite of endless side effects, which send me to a couch to lie down often, I have been enjoying this summer.

Now it’s time to have a CT again.

Is my cancer gone? I wonder.

I have learned Taxol usually works well for 2-6 months, and  as I’ve been on Taxol  for 4 months, it’s still possible to have another good result.

Three weeks ago, when I talked with my oncologist, who came back from her maternity leave, she recommended I stay on the current cocktail for another two months if this coming CT result is good, and then change to Perjeta(Pertuzumab), a new drug approved by the FDA in June.

Though Perjeta is in the shadow of T-DM1, this antibody drug also has showed outstanding results in the clinical trials.  As it was approved with the condition that this is only for the patients who have not started any metastatic treatments and only with Herceptin and Taxotere, I thought I was not able to reach this drug, but surprisingly the doctor talked about this medicine as my next choice as if there were no barrier.

We didn’t discuss about the case of the bad result, but regardless of the result, I am thinking of changing from Tykerb to Perjeta soon if it’s really possible to use it, since my side effects are getting nastier and increasing.

Nobody except God knows if Perjeta will be effective on my cancer or will ease my side effects, and if the CT’s result is bad, I will go into another big storm.

Yet, my life is in God’s hand!  Believing so, I will go to take the CT scan tomorrow.

Cancer Is Stable

The email I was longing for came from the oncologist with the result of the CT scan I had last week. It said briefly “ stable,” and suggested that we would discuss details at the next office visit, which is this Friday.

Honestly, I was disappointed, as I had hoped for more shrinkage.  Yet, it could have been worse with growing cancer.  I have to be thankful for this result.

As I read other cancer blogs, there are some people who stay on the same cocktails for many months being stable with cancer, which doesn’t go away.  Yet I feel like the cocktail I had lost effect compared with two months ago, and even if I continue to stay on the same, I don’t think that the effectiveness will come back.  It may be the time to change the cocktail, which I was thinking of anyway because of advanced side effects.

I have read that weekly Abraxane, the new form of Taxol bound with albumin, has less side effects and more effect on cancer in some articles as well as some blogs in which the patients said that their metastatic cancer was gone by Abraxane only.

If Perjeta (Pertuzamab) is really available for me, I probably need it now.

In order to prepare for the meeting with the oncologist this Friday, I requested the copy of the CT scan report.   It is the time for a second opinion, also.

My life is God’s hand.  May He lead me to the right next step!

No Evidence of Disease!

Opening the door of an exam room, Dr. Lou, the oncologist, came in saying,” So it was stable. It was good news,” with a smile.

“ Yeah, I am glad that cancer was not growing, but I expected more shrinkage.” I replied.

“Well, all cancer found around the mediastinal area are gone.  So it is really good news,” said the doctor.

“ Are they gone?” Being surprised, I looked at the report in a computer together with her.

She read aloud the first line of the report:“ No significant mediastinal and hilar adenopathy (=cancer).”  I had thought that  “the no significant” was the change of cancer. I had misunderstood it! I blamed the report that should have been written with the words, something more clearly understood like “ improved” or “ not seen”, but certainly I felt better as I noticed the mistake. Pulling out the old reports in 2010 before the metastasis, the doctor also explained that other nodules described on the report could be benign as they have been seen from the beginning, and haven’t changed their sizes.

“ At least the visible cancer is gone and you have no evidence of disease now,” said the doctor.

Yay! Taxol was still doing its job, instead of losing the effect!

 New Drug Perjeta

I can’t expect any better than this news, but I have to continue the treatment because there must be still lots of invisible cancerous cells which have the stem cells that cause metastasis and relapse. I have to stay on this status of NO Evidence of Disease as long as possible.

At the beginning the doctor recommended that I should stay on the current cocktail at least for two more months, but I asked for the possibility of the new drug, Perjeta, which was approved by FDA in June this year for only newly diagnosed metastatic patients with the combination of Herceptin & Taxotere.

First she made clear that this condition would not be a problem for me because my insurance was provided from the same Kaiser system as the hospital, instead of the outside ones, as long as doctors can prove the usage is reasonable, safe, and effective.  If cocktails are supported by clinical trials for their safeties and effectiveness, they are allowed to be used.  As Perjeta is a new drug, the compatibility with other drugs is mostly unknown, but fortunately Taxol is one of a few drugs the clinical trial has shown the data.

“ It is the question of whether you want to use this card, Perjeta, now or later,” said the doctor.

I understand that all drugs are effective only for a limited time and eventually lose the power.  If I use it now, I will not be able to use it in the future.  Yet, I explained that I’d rather use it now and beat cancer as much as possible before it comes back, by switching it with Tykerb that failed to prevent the metastasis.

“You are aggressive, but I understand what you mean.   Let’s check if the pharmacy has the drug or not, and if they have it now, let’s start it today,” saying so, the doctor left the room.

I appreciated her spending time, already more than an hour with me, showing great understanding.

After all, as the pharmacy didn’t have the medicine, the doctor decided to start giving me this new medicine, Perjeta in three weeks. Meanwhile I will clear Tykerb out from my body stopping it tonight. I will be finally relieved from diarrhea!

“Trusting that He will make all things right

If I surrender to His will.”—from Serenity Prayer by Rheinhold Niehuhr.

The Lord moved a big mountain and made a path for me. God is good all the time!

 

CT Found Suspicious Density

I received a report of the CT scan I had on the 25th.  Most of the parts are stable except one new finding in the mediastinum lymph nodes–12mm soft tissue density.  The report said this is “suspicious for lymphadenopathy”.  In another words, it may be cancer.

After the previous CT scan in Aug., I stopped Tykerb for three weeks planning to change into Perjeta, a brand new drug.  I wonder if that allowed cancer to grow again.  The result was discouraging;  as I had seen  data that Taxol could be effective for 6 to 12 months, I expected the same even in my case.

I recalled the doctor’s words: “I’ve never seen such a resilient cancer.”

My oncologist said she would discuss with a radiology specialist who wrote the report and explain it to me on this Friday when I visit her.

Today I resumed the infusion that was held off for a week due to the fever and received the refill of Tykerb as well.  Yet probably I have to change the regimen again soon.

 George’s Surgery

George will have the 3rd surgery to fix his vocal cords tomorrow Thursday, after the ESL Bible study.  He had this procedure already twice this year, but his voice has become raspy again.  He will be injected with a substance to close his paralyzed vocal cords without opening the throat.  The procedure should be simple, quick, as well as the recovery.  Yet I cannot help praying for him.  I hope he can get back the voice and reduce some stress.

“Whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy.   For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” (The letter of James 1: 2-4)

Opening the Bible, I meditate on the words of James.

Jesus came to the earth two thousand years ago and told that the kingdom of God was near.  He declared war against Satan who was responsible for all afflictions and calamities including death and diseases.   The spiritual war has not been over yet but He will get the victory and complete the Kingdom— I just learned in the Bible class.

The more we are needy, the closer Jesus is to us!

Recalling His gentle face, I prayed for the success of tomorrow’s surgery and that peace, hope, and strength would be restored in us quickly again.

 

 

 

Suspicious Density Could Be Due To Cold

After George’s surgery was well done, I went to see my oncologist to discuss the results of the CT scan.

Looking at me who was disturbed by the report which found a suspicious density in a lymph node, George said not to react too soon without listening to the doctor.

I have wondered how we could deny the word “suspicious”, but surprisingly the doctor told me this could be due to a cold instead of cancer.

Size Of Lymph Node

 According to the doctor, usually a size of a lymph node is less than 1cm.  If it is bigger than 1cm, it is considered abnormal and called lymphadenopathy.  Yet lymphadenopathy doesn’t always mean cancer.

When I had the CT scan, I had a bad cold.  I might have had even a fever.  As I asked the technician if a specialist could identify cancer even though I had a cold, he said yes.  So, I didn’t think there would be confusion.  Yet, the doctor told me a lymph node could become bigger by inflammation, and because other findings were stable, the suspicious density could be by inflammation.

I remember that a pathology report after the mastectomy in 2010 said that 13 out of 21 lymph nodes were cancerous up to 12mm.  There were cancerous lymph nodes that were less than 1cm.  The size is not enough to determine if a lymph node is cancerous, but without biopsy, the size is the only clue to detect cancer in imaging tests.

  Subcentimeter, No Significant, and Stable Are All Positive Words

When I received the previous CT result, I was disappointed with the word, “stable”, thinking that means the cancer is still there and no change.  Yet as the doctor explained to me that there was no significant lymphadenopathy, I got excited.

This time I saw the description as “subcentimeter lymph nodes.” Though it is so confusing to understand such medical terminology, now I’ve learned that if a lymph node is subcentimeter, it is considered as not significant for adenopathy and being “stable” is the best result I could ever expect.

So what should I do with this “suspicious” lymph node?

Having a PET scan is another option to clarify, but as long as I am coughing, I may wind up to have the same result as the CT.  The doctor suggested to wait for another two months and have a CT again.  Meanwhile I will stay on the same regimen.

Even if this is truly cancer, she thinks two months is not too long to adjust the treatment.

My concerns about cancer coming back or how to change the regimen will be  on the shelf until the next CT.  I was not sure if that’s a good idea or not, but the doctor’s smile relieved me from the tension gradually.

After the meeting, I got hungry all of sudden. As 10 am was too early for sushi, I stopped at a Japanese bakery.  A pastry and coffee with George were just so good! 🙂

GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!

Fork In The Road

It is finally New Year’s Eve.  The year 2012, which started with granuloma followed by the metastasis in the lungs in April, including George’s three surgeries for his vocal cords, is almost over.

It has been tougher year than the previous one, but I made more friends through cancer, my faith became stronger by three Bible classes per week, and I could continue the ministry of Grain of Wheat to support international students with physical challenges and cancer patients. Being ready to welcome a New Year together with George and Pepper,the 15 year-old dog that I thought would not have made it, I am so thankful that God has helped us through all the way to the end of this year.

Pepper12-31-12

The result of the CT scan I took on the 28th will probably come after New Year’s Day.  If it is negative, that would be a great New Year’s gift.  If not, my 2013 will be most likely tougher than ever.  This is usual, but while waiting for a result, I feel as if I were standing at a fork in the road.

Yet, I know what I will have for the next regimen if cancer is progressing, and T-DM1, the medicine I am longing for, seems like it will be approved around the end of February. The strategy to hit the enemy has been prepared. Even if the battle becomes harder, I have to hang on to God, who repeatedly says, “ Do not fear for I am with you,” each time when I open the Bible, and move on.

Our routine on a New Year’s Eve is watching the count-down at Times Square in N.Y. on TV, but this year George and I will welcome the new year listening to Jazz at a restaurant.

“ The Lord is my Shepherd…You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.  You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil.  My cup overflows with blessings…” (Psalm 23)

In spite of standing at the fork in the road, I will finish my 2012 by enjoying a delicious dinner and wonderful music that is prepared by the Lord.

May Thy will be done with us in 2013!

CT Scan Clear

The result of the CT scan I took on the 28th of December finally came back.

” The CT scan shows improvement in the previous findings,” and ” No other concerning finds for cancer progression.”

Hallelujah!

I was so relieved.  Yet, the pain under my swollen arm by lymphedema has been getting intense since our family trip  last October. I first thought that lymphedema was getting worse, but now the pain became so bad  as if a muscle were torn or a bone were broken that I was worried  about the CT result.   As the CT result was “stable”,  I  now wonder if cancer has spread into bones.

Thanking my oncologist who e-mailed the result , I asked if I should have a bone scan next.  She answered that I should start from taking an x-ray.  Will an x-ray detect cancer?  I wonder, but maybe a bone scan needs some intervals from a CT scan.

I have to pass one more hurdle to cross out the concern completely.

X-Ray was Negative, Too

The result of the x-ray came back negative and the doctor denied the possibility of cancer as the cause of the pain.

Then why is it hurting??

I wish I could have a PET scan, which is more sensitive to any abnormality than an X-ray, but I have to wait at least 6 weeks.  How about an MRI? Or visiting an orthopedist?  I am waiting for the next suggestion from the doctor.

I also have been waiting for a phone call to make an appointment with a surgeon to see if there is any accumulation of the fluid – and if it’s possible to drain – since last December, but finally I could make the appointment on the 30th of this month.

Since a bad cold has been around, I was hoping not to catch it, but I did.  For a couple days I haven’t felt well; maybe this cold may be irritating my pain as well.

I am going to find the cause of the pain and stop it, but I am thankful for the good result of the X-ray.

CT Result Finally Arrived

It has been a week since I had a CT scan.  I have checked e-mails many times a day  this week, but I didn’t see any mail from Kaiser.  Finally this morning I sent an e-mail to my doctor asking if she had received the result or not.

In the afternoon, the reply came, but she said it was still pending. –Disappointing, and I pondered; maybe there were some new findings that made it difficult to evaluate.

The delay of the result made me nervous, but somehow I was so sleepy this afternoon that I fell  asleep immediately on the couch without worrying about it much.

I slept two hours soundly, and when I woke up, there arrived a new e-mail from the doctor.

I opened it bracing myself as usual as I receive the results.  The fist line said,

“ The result was stable.  This is good news.”!! \(^O^)/

The report included a 9mm stable nodule in the right lung lobe.  This was first observed in last April, when the metastasis was diagnosed, as one of  new findings which grew from 7mm to 9mm and since then it has been stable.  I wonder what this is.  Maybe cancer?  Without biopsy, probably nobody can tell if that is cancerous or not.  If so, I should just accept this result as good news.  So, George and I went to have sushi again for the celebration.

Since the results have been “stable” for 6 months, from now on my CT scan will be every three months instead of two months.  This is good news, as well!

On the other hand, as my fingers are bad shape with cracks, it is getting difficult to dress/undress and even to hold chopsticks.  The doctor told me that it is ok to reduce the doses more and even to hold off tykerb until the symptoms gets better.

Fortunately from tonight Xeloda will be on the off week.  I hope this will give my fingers time to be healed, but I am considering to change to T-DM1, which is supposed to have less side effects,  more seriously.

It is not uncommon for cancer to come back even though you have the Non Evidence of Disease status for  1 or 2 years, so I must keep on the cancer drugs.  Yet if I can buy time this way, I believe that sometime in the near future the scientists will find the cure so that I don’t have to continue the harsh drugs.

Trusting God, I am thankful for all the people who have been supporting me and am grateful for being able to share this good news!

GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME!

CT to Find Out If T-DM1 Was Effective

When I got to LAX on Tuesday, it was cloudy as though it were the extension of Japan’s sky.  My sister told me that soon after we left, Japan had heavy rain followed by unpleasant humidity affected by a typhoon.  Yet I could escape from them and my trip to Japan was blessed even with the weather!

As soon as I got home, I went to have a blood test not even taking out the clothes from the luggage.  After the great trip to Japan, I am on the battlefield against cancer again.

During the three weeks in Japan, I gained three pounds, but surprisingly my cholesterol level was a little improved, and the increasing AST, an enzyme, which shows the liver function, dropped into the normal range.   Maybe Japanese food helped though I ate so much.

Next day was clinic as well as the 4th infusion of T-DM1, and yesterday was a CT scan.

This CT scan was the fist one after I started T-DM1 in April.  When I complained about the new intermittent pain in the chest, the doctor asked me if I wanted to have a CT scan before the Japan trip, but I chose to have it after the trip because I didn’t want to ruin the good time if the result was bad.

Waiting for the scan results always makes me nervous, but this CT scan is particularly important because T-DM1 is supposed to be the best drug for me.  I wonder what if the result is bad, but I can’t think about any other strategy at now.

Meanwhile, when I went to the church, I heard from one of our church staff that her brother, who was in the terminal stage of Leukemia, could stop cancer progression and now he had a chance to have a marrow transplant.   This is great news!

He once was told no hope in the first hospital, but after he changed the hospital, he was put on a clinical trial medicine.  Though the first trial medicine failed, the second one worked and the miracle happened at the very end of the rope.

It was so encouraging and I hope I can follow this great news.  My CT result will be back in 5-7days.  I can hardly wait for the result.

 

 

First Experience of Brain MRI

Even if cancer drugs are effective for the system under the neck, the brain is a whole different arena.

HER2 + cancer will likely spread to the brain from lungs.

Learning such things, I had requested a brain MRI before I went to Japan. Maybe because ordering a MRI is costly, my oncologist was reluctant to agree with me saying it is not common to have a MRI until a patient develops suspicious symptoms, and even if something unsure is found by a MRI, until it is clearly identified as cancer, there is no treatment. Yet, as I came back from Japan, she ordered it because it was approved by a staff meeting.

Because of BBB (Blood Brain Barrier),  neither Herceptin nor even T-DM1 cannot get into the brain. After I stopped Tykerb, whose molecules are small enough to go through BBB, I thought I should check my brain periodically, just in case.

Taking off my watch, ring, and necklace, I laid down on a narrow exam table. I remember an instructor of Medical Terminology in El Camino I used to take told in the class that she would check the entire exam room before her MRI for her safety because scissors or a ball pen attracted by the magnet of MRI might fly over and hit her.

Something like a football mask was placed on my face, earplugs were given, and the table I laid down on moved into the dark narrow “tunnel”.

I now remembered George panicked with this procedure, so I decided to close my eyes until everything was done. If I saw the wall, which was so close as though I could lick it, I might have been suffocated, too.

I was in the tunnel about 20 minutes .
Beep Beep, don don don , Beep Beep, don don don, Ghaaaaa!
the loud different noises were beating out a rhythm through my plugged ears.
Then, the table moved out of the tunnel, and moved back to the tunnel again after a dye was injected through IV. This time it was about 10 minutes.

It seems to take another 7-10 days to get the result back. Though I am not so worried about the result because of the good CT scan, I still wish I could hear the result ASAP.

New Nodule in Right Lung

The result of CT I took last Sunday came back.  A new 3mm nodule was found in my right lung.  The oncologist said this could be an inflammation because the size was so small and would need to monitor it.  However, there is another finding that 9mm nodule which has been stable from very beginning slightly changed the shape.

I e-mailed back to the doctor asking if I need a PET, bone scan, or MRI for the brain.

Because the oncologist was indicating to stop T-DM1 in order to rest my body from all side-effects as I have complained about numbness, tingling of fingers and toes, and stiffness like arthritis,  I had made an appointment with Dr. Slamon, who is one of inventers of Herceptin, for the second opinion.

Halting T-DM1 is no more option and with Dr. Slamon I will discuss about a new possible regimen for the worst case.

T-DM1 was the miracle medicine I had longed for and I have been on this only for 6 months.  If T-DM1 is losing its effect already, it is too early and  it would be greatly  disappointing. I hope this is not cancer but inflammation.

The Next is Bone Scan

Yesterday at the clinic I asked my oncologist more about the CT result.  A CT scan at the hospital takes the sliced images every 2.5mm.  If the newly found nodule were less than 2.5mm, it would not have been caught.  The oncologist said because the 3 mm nodule was such a small size that it could be missed by angles of the scan, maybe it has been there for a long time and could be nothing.

Hmm.  Then how about 9mm nodule that changed the shape? I asked the 2nd question.

The doctor compared two images that were taken 4 months ago and last week.  “ This is subtle. That could be cancer, or that was cancer but now it’s dead, or an old scar is healing, but to me the new image looks actually better than the last one,” said she.  Overall, she doesn’t seem concerned about the result so much.  Yet for me what she said was not so convincing.

The 3rd question was about T-DM1:  Is it possible for T-DM1 to lose the effectiveness in less than 6 months?

She said yes:  For any chemo it is possible to lose effectiveness shortly because cancer has multiple properties which chemo may not be able to kill completely.  Cancer mutates and develops resilience to chemo.  Also, it could be just suppressed by the previous chemo, not being susceptible to the current chemo.

The 4th question was if I should have a bone scan because recently I have pain around the chest bone; especially at night the pain gets intense and wakes me up.

The doctor said, “ The report said bones were intact. But to give you peace, let’s order a bone scan.”

I have another concern of a headache, which has been bothering me for last two weeks. T-DM1 is not able to go through the brain barrier, and if it’s not working even in the body system under the neck, I have more chance to have brain mets. Yet, I also have some cold symptoms.  This headache can be caused by the cold.  I want to see a little more to ask for a MRI for the brain, and will start with a check up for the ringing in the ears.

After the clinic, I stopped by the medical record department to send a CD of my scan images to Dr. Slamon, from whom I will get a second opinion on 11/13.

That’s about all I can do so far.  I should sleep and eat well and get better from this cold so that I can have a flu shot next.

 

Canceling Bone Scan and Passed Mammogram

I had requested a bone scan, but I changed my mind to have a mammogram because the pain in the chest seemed not from the bones but rather closer to the surface. The result came back today with NEGATIVE!  It doesn’t mean the nodule in the lung was negative, but I could cross out one concern.  I decided to believe it was some kind of muscle ache like my oncologist said.

In the afternoon I went to take a brain MRI.  I hope this headache is not a serious one, either.   An ear doctor, who examined the cause of the ringing in my ears, told me it was a beginning symptom of hearing loss, but I was a little disappointed because she couldn’t tell if hearing loss was caused by aging, a side-effect, or cancer in the brain.  Once I get the result of the MRI, I will know a little more about the cause.

My next infusion is on the 12th.  If the platelets number is not improved, I may have to reduce the dose of T-DM1 or postpone until it recovers.  The appointment with Dr. Slamon, who invented Herceptin, for the 2nd opinion is on the 13th, and George’s next vocal cords surgery will be on the 8th.   So many things are going on that probably November will fly fast, too.

With a friend, who will have a heart surgery next week, we talked about having a celebration at a nice restaurant once the three of us get the good results.  It is encouraging to have friends with whom I can share something in common even if they are health concerns.

May we all get through the bumps of life!

 

Brain MRI was Negative

It was almost at 11pm when I found an email from the hospital.  The emails from the hospital don’t have specific subjects.  They simply say I have a new message from a Kaiser Permanente Office.

Without knowing what the message was about, I wondered; I am not waiting for a lab result.  It seems a little too early to get back the result of the MRI I took last Friday, yet it can’t be anything else.

I linked to the Kaiser website, typed my ID & password, and then found a message from the oncologist with the subject;” MRI brain”

“God, please be with me!”  Clicking the subject, I prayed as I did whenever I opened the tests’ results:

“MRI brain was negative. Good news. It is unchanged compared with June 2013.”

Yay!  I was so relieved because I still have a bad headache and worried about it.  Now I know  at least it’s not serious.   This could be a cold or more likely a side effect.  I can’t tell yet if the nodule in the lung is cancer or not, either, until next CT, but the results of the Mammogram and the MRI are encouraging me to anticipate  T-DM1 is still working.

I am thankful for the doctor who sent me this good news so late at night, and of course for God, who is always so good!

Reducing the Dose of T-DM1

One week after I held off T-DM1, I had a blood test again.  This time the platelet count was 87.  It was improved from 71 last week, and more than the minimum criteria to receive the infusion.  However, I wish the count were higher.

Informing the result of the blood test, my oncologist asked me what Dr. Slamon said about reducing the dose of T-DM1  in her e-mail.  I replied that my appointment was postponed due to his surgery, but I’d like to see how the side effects would change including the low platelet count by reducing the dose.

So, this week  the dose of T-DM1 was dropped to 162.3 mg, which is about 83% of  194mg three weeks ago.   According to the oncologist and Dr. M, a cancer friend, who always gives me valuable advice,  I can reduce the dose down to 80% keeping the same effectiveness.

Yet I am afraid that the platelet count may go down again because my recovery seems slow. If so, what should I do?  Should I reduce the dose more or hold off the drug again?  I’d like to hear Dr. Slamon’s opinion about this issue, also.

God, please touch Dr. Slamon’s body and restore his health as soon as possible!

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!!