Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday, April 14th, 2012 - Happy Saturday, Everyone :)

Hellooooo Bloggies!

Yes, it's Saturday in Vancouver... ok, I'm pretty sure it's Saturday in a lot more places than Vancouver, but for sure I can guarantee that while I'm typing this, it is definitely Saturday in Vancouver. And a beautiful Saturday it was too! I know, I know... I'm constantly harping on how gorgeous the Spring is in Vancouver, when the weather cooperates. But then, we no sooner leave Spring and head into summer and lo and behold I'm harping on how fabulous Summer is in Vancouver, again assuming the weather cooperates. Last year, we really got ripped off of our summer, so hopefully that will be fixed for this year.

Anywho... it's already going on 9pm and I had every intention of putting in a blog entry this morning. No, I have no idea where the time goes, especially when I haven't left the apartment today!! So you'd think I'd have plenty of time! But nooooo! Well, it was a very productive day in that I got oodles of Suzy Domestic chores done... which I couldn't have gotten done without the help of Toby who lives across the hall. She is such a good friend and the biggest help! While my cleaning gal, Bailey, is off on maternity leave, there are some light household chores that I can do myself... but the others that take more energy, I can't do them. One of the biggies being LAUNDRY!! So, Toby, who does her laundry on Saturday mornings, just booked more time this morning and got all my laundry (3 loads) done! I'm very pleased tonight, knowing that all the laundry is done, even the doggy towels/bedding :) While she was doing that, I would putter in the kitchen... and put the laundry away when she would bring a finished load upstairs. Meanwhile, she had to change the bed linens, the duvet cover and the mattress cover because that takes just a little more breath than I currently have to give. But that's all done now and I'm feeling very happy with knowing the Suzy Domestics are done :)

Speaking of breath! I don't have a whole lot new to report, other than I did go see the radiation oncologist (Dr. Ma), yesterday. This was a consultation visit for him to go over what he thought he could offer me and for him to find out just what sort of understanding I have about my condition, etc. But, we do have a plan!!

The plan first is to go after the tumor that is causing the problem with blocking my airway. There are THREE tumors that my regular oncologist is concerned about, but as Dr. Ma explained it to me... when you radiate, no matter how well you line the machine up so that it's a direct hit on a tumor, there is bound to be some damage done to the healthy lung tissue around it. One has to also be careful not to touch any other parts that are in the vicinity. But he thinks we have a good chance to get this bothersome tumor... and it will be up to time to see if the tumor responds to the radiation. Once we've got this one taken care of, we can always revisit doing the other two tumors, but as long as they aren't causing any problems and aren't growing at great speeds, then he says we should not be in a rush to go after them... again because of the potential damage to healthy lung tissue. We can only do one tumor at a time, since one is right at the airway and the other two are on separate lungs.

Sometime next week, I should be getting a call from the Imaging Dept. with an appt. for another CAT scan. This is the scan that will be set up to just take a scan of my lungs/airways which Dr. Ma will then use to plan where exactly they will aim the radiation machine to get at the tumor. They will also set up little pin-prick size tattoos so that the radiation techs know exactly where the machine must be lined up to (same process that they did back in 2007 when they had to radiate my abdominal wall).

The difference... back then I was considered a Stage 3, so they were going after the area aggressively to make sure they had gotten the whole area so no cells could take hold and grow. Alas, it was about a year later that they realized that I went from a Stage 3 to a Stage 4 because the cancer had spread to the lungs. Not to the abdomen at all.. but to the lungs. As a Stage 4, there is no cure. Not only has it spread to a different location than the primary, but it means the microscopic cancer cells are now systemic and can land anywhere in the body and take root. So the treatment is now to stabilize, shrink, and keep any known tumors under control... hence the treatment for my lung tumors that are acting up is going to be radiation therapy. But just enough to get them under control.

Last radiation therapy in 2007 was Mon - Fri for 6 weeks. That's a lot of radiation!! This time, for the tumor blocking the airway, it is going to be 5 days, 5 sessions. Expected side affects:

- fatigue
- inflammed or swollen airwave so it will feel like the breathing is getting worse, but once the inflammation starts going away (after we stop the radiation), then (fingers crossed) the breathing should get much easier!
- possible inflammed esophagus... which could then create some very annoying heartburn. Hopefully we can keep that under control with medication.
- weakness, lack of energy... but this too should improve as the inflammation heals.

Soooo... once we have the CAT scan/tattoos done, the radiation sessions should start. If all goes according to schedule that should happen in the next three weeks.

Monday, I get my blood work done as well, I have an appt. with my regular oncologist. It will be at this appt. we will discuss whether to do another session or two of chemo before the radiation. I'm leaning towards no chemo until after the radiation/healing... but it will all be determined on whether the tumors are growing or are relatively stable.

So there you have it... the journey continues!! Now, before I sign off, which I really need to, just a quick note of recommendation to my friends who live in Vancouver or the Lower Mainland. Last night I saw the opening night of a co-production between Carousel Theatre and Visible Fictions (from the UK) of the production Jason and the Argonauts. Fabulous performance by two actors who play multiple roles!! Yes, Carousel presents wonderful productions for youth... and this one is no different. Although... I can honestly say, whether you have children to take to the theatre or you and a friend are on your own, no children... GO SEE THIS PRODUCTION!! The acting is amazing... two actors being able to portray so many characters, seamlessly is really a sight to see. If you do have kids, probably 8yrs+, it's amazing to see their imaginations at work. I thought Greek myths might be a little bit too deep for kids... but it certainly wasn't for the kids who were in the audience last night. They definitely got it... no problem!!

Ok.. off I go to make some toast and tea! Have a fabulous Sunday, everyone!!