Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday, November 10th, 2011 - An overall update

Hellooooo Bloggymates!

And staying true to form, I'm once again late with an update. Oh well, one can always look at the bright side... it must mean I've just been a little too busy to get back to the blog. It saddens me that this is always the case because I really do enjoy blogging and babbling on... but it seems I just have so many different projects and STILL no one has come up with a day that holds more than 24 hours! Go figure, eh??

Anywho... if I waited until I had the time to report on all that has been going on, it would be yet another month. Those of you on Facebook get a more daily kind of reporting... by keeping up with my status updates, or if you are following me (@hiyacher) on Twitter, but the rest of you... well, I try to get here as often as I can :)

So, let's start with a Health update. All is going very well right now. As we know, being staged as Stage IV, there is no cure for my cancer, but what we work on is keeping the tumours small (if possible) and stable (IE: no growth of existing ones or new ones). Back, gee, 1 1/2 years ago (?), the tumours in my lungs started to become more active and started growing. So that's when we started up with the chemo... and I'm now on my third kind of chemo since these beasts started becoming active. The good news, there were no new tumours started, but the existing ones were starting to wake up. The first chemo I went on was the oral, pill form (Xeloda)... and it worked for about 3 months, with some side affects, especially with my feet... but then in Dec 2010 it stopped working. My feet were a mess in that it was very painful to walk on them. So we had a break from chemo and started up again in February, this time with a chemo that was new to me called Irinotecan. Yikes! That has been the nastiest one yet! Most people who go on it don't really have that many side affects, but it hit me really bad. Bad nausea as well as breathing problems. As time went on, I developed Bronchialspasms, bronchitis and asthma. When I ended up at the ER of St. Paul's Hospital, then that was time to take me off that chemo. Besides, it wasn't really doing that much good anyways. Because of the breathing problems I had to be off chemo for all of the summer to try and fix the breathing. Just getting off the chemo, got rid of the asthma. It took pretty much the whole summer to get rid of the bronchitis... and only now, in November, have I gotten rid of the bronchialspasms. That meant, the third chemo was started in September and I have just finished my 5th treatment of it this week.

The good news... it seems my system is responding really well to this one!! When we started the chemo in September, my CEA reading was at it's highest at 52.0!! (my normal reading when everything is stable is 1.0 - 2.0) So 52.0 is pretty darn scary for me... especially if the chemos were not going to be working. But this one is (yayaya). My CEA has gone, in the 4 treatment sessions from 52.0 down to 12.0. At this rate, since I've now had my 5th treatment, it could be back to my normal within the next two weeks!! We will know for sure how well it's done when I have my next CAT scan which is scheduled for Nov 30th... and I'll get the results the following week when I meet with the doctor. But if the CEA readings are any indication (and they have been very accurate for me in the past), then I have a very good feeling about this upcoming scan :) :)

The downside... this chemo does an incredible number on one's skin. We've all had days where we've had dry skin, whether it's from getting too much sun or just your skin is dry and needs moisturizing. But what I'm going through is a head to toe skin that is sooooo dry, layers and layers and layers dry! I have never experienced anything like it and moisturizing only lasts for seconds then you are back to starting all over. Besides the dry skin (or because of it) is the incredible itchiness. It's horrible!! And nothing seems to calm the itch :/ Unfortunately, I can't even scratch because my fingertips (also peeling layers and layers around the nailbeds) are so sore, so sensitive... again, a known side affect of this chemo... so I can't even scratch when I really need to! And I'm having a heck of a time typing... I'm a touch typist, but right now 7 of my fingers are not able to be used when typing. Makes typing very awkward with lots of typos that I try to catch... but you all know how much I rely on the computer and/or my phone keyboard. So this is a challenge and one where I have to take lots of breaks to give my fingers a rest. Yes, they are sensitive, but it's the pain that I have a problem with. The skin has, or continues to peel and it feels like the nerves are all exposed. So think of it as typing on exposed nerves! OUCH!!

Ok... speaking of a break, I've had a couple while typing this up... but now I really have to walk away from the computer for a bit, so I'll end this entry now. I can always do a social chit chat one later :)

I hope everyone will take a few moments to remember both our fallen armed forces and our veterans who came home safely. To those I know and love who have served in the Military, and those I don't know - It doesn't matter what my opinion is on war, or defences, or what we do or don't do or should(n't) do. The fact of the matter is you provided a service that I directly benefited from in one way or another and you probably made sacrifices I have never had to make. So Thank you - Thank you so very much. ♥ ♥

Adios for now!