Monday, May 04, 2020

Quick Update

The trip to Cancer Center in Lawton OK went quite well - scheduled for 2.15 and we were home before 4 o'clock. Boiling hot day here - car registered 97 degrees on the way there and 100 to 104 degrees on the way back!

The few elderly patients awaiting appointments were well-scattered in a large waiting room. All nurses and receptionists wore masks (as did we). Our temperatures were taken before entering, surprisingly, my husband was allowed in with me. I suspect this might be because we are not exactly "local", not regulars at that particular Center.

Blood test came first, then, after the usual blood pressure check, weigh-in, and questions about pain etc by a nurse,  we had a short wait to see the oncologist.

I didn't realise until we were back in the car, ready to leave, that the doc didn't mention blood test results, and I hadn't remembered to ask about them, so things must be alright on that score. I answered the usual questions on how things had been since my last appointment, then a chest and shoulder examination, along with (in relation to my joint and muscle pain) tests of my grip and joint strengths. All appeared as well as might be expected. Doc did ask if I'd like to change the estrogen-blocker medication, suspected of causing the joint pains.  I decided to leave as is, as the alternative was the first medication I took after my original breast cancer diagnosis, which seems like aeons ago now. That medication really didn't suit at all - side effect-wise.

PET scans have not been available for some time due to covid-19. Doc will check when these are expected to be possible again. At my request he quickly agreed that I should schedule a scan during the days before my next appointment with him, in order that a long period of awaiting the result would not cause me weeks of anxiety. I told him candidly about my current feelings. I'd like whatever time I have left to be as anxiety free as possible, to better enjoy what I can of it. I explained that, should there be more trouble discovered by a scan, I doubt that I could stand more surgery or stronger chemo at this stage. He was understanding and kindly. He said that he, as a doctor must always listen to his patients' own needs and feelings.

I shall await hearing from our local Cancer Center as to the date of my next appointment with the oncologist, and regarding schedule of a PET scan earlier that same week or so.


Anonymous said...

Always a relief to have appointments over & done, especially when all goes as good as can be expected. All prescription aromatase inhibitors have severe side effects as you know first hand, not to mention the effects of Ibrance. There are natural products having AI properties equivalent to prescription. This mentions mushrooms & tea, but a search will provide a selection of other natural products:

You might want a statin in tandem with AI:

Information to consider:

Sorry to proffer advice involving your life, but a break from the prescription Ibrance & AI while consuming natural products having AI properties would allow your body to recover & boost your immune system. Gain some weight, too.

I've not much faith in the pharmaceutical industry.

Wisewebwoman said...

Good that you had the checkup and that things are moving along and your doc is listening to you.

I like that note about worry, it truly doesn't accomplish anything and is a massive time stealer.

Easier said than done, I know. But you know what is best for you and what you can handle and what you wish your days (and hours, let's not forget those) to look like.

You have suffered greatly and you deserve some rest and quiet, reflective time without pain.


Twilight said...

Anonymous ~ Many thanks for your support and suggestions. I appreciate what you've explained, and though I kind of agree that it could be a good thing to "go herbal" with regard to helping with side effects. At this stage, though, I'm just too fearful that a sudden stop of the medications could have dire effects.

Early on in this health adventure of mine, when I began taking Letrozole I suffered side effects fairly quickly. After a couple of months or so I decided to stop the meds myself. My breast cancer was originally caught very early, so I felt fairly confident in using natural helpers - lots of blueberries, Vit C, carrot juice etc. However, I now blame my stopping the Letrozole for spread of my early breast cancer, first returning in the same breast, then spreading to bones. Maybe I'm wrong, but I do blame myself a little bit for stopping the Letrozole. So, this time I'm wary.

I have, however, after reading your words, ordered some Grape Seed Extract capsules. I will take them along with my other otc stuff (calcium, D3, magnesium and glucosamine) The GSE can't do any harm, the anti-oxidants involved can only help generally, even if not specifically.

Thank you again for your support.

Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman ~ Thank you kindly, WWW. You have plenty of experience of these kinds of things yourself, so I know you understand.

I'm kind of following intuition these days. I feel that things for me, healthwise, are not going to get any better, only slowly worsen in one way or another. The bits of time I have now, without extra stuff to worry over, is quite precious -not that it'll allow anything exciting, with us shut-in for the foreseeable future, but it does allow some level of mind-ease.

I remember something my GP (not oncologist) said early on in my diagnosis, when I told him about earlier side effects, and my stopping the culprit medication back then. He said "It becomes a matter of choosing whether you prefer quantity of life or quality of life." We all would like to have some of both, but sometimes it does become a choice.

Marmite said...

Once you're back to good, here's a Twilight Wonder Woman wrap with a free pattern!

Twilight said...

Marmite ~ Hi there! Oh - I like that! I shall save the link - thank you! That Opulence yarn sounds gorgeous also. I have found that the shawl I knitted, a few months ago, to be very useful during times when I can't decide whether I'm becoming quite cold enough to go don a heavy cardigan - the shawl is so easy to sling on and off and does provide "just enough" warmth.

R J Adams said...

My heart goes out to you, Twilight. Your courage is a lesson to us all. Mrs RJ too has her problems. Since arriving in America she has suffered severe back pain. They thought at first a return of the cancer, but then osteoporosis of the spine was diagnosed and it was confirmed that three vertebrae were fractured.She had a procedure to inject a compound into each to support and lift the collapsed bones, but then her right arm and hand developed nerve problems rendering them all but useless. The GP was concerned it could be a mini stroke and has ordered a CT scan. We await the results. To date her back is no better, but it can take time for the procedure to produce results and we live in hope.
I wonder whether the chemicals she suffered in chemotherapy, and/or the pills she is now taking to help prevent the return of the cancer have in some way been responsible for the osteoporosis. Who knows.
As you are aware I have no faith in prayer, but my thoughts and sincere good wishes are with you and AnyJazz at this time.

Twilight said...

RJ Adams ~ Thank you for your kind comments and support. I'm so sorry to learn of Mrs RJ's current worrying issues. I, too, have osteoporosis in spine, but on my bone density scan a couple of years ago it was showing at a very early stage. I refused the treatment suggested then due to what sounded like horrendous side effects, and have taken calcium and Vit. D3 twice daily instead. I'd had osteopenia (stage just before osteoporosis) for several years, anyway, so in my case it wasn't unexpected. Perhaps in Mrs RJ's case the problem with her arm and hand is a side effect, I guess it's hard for docs to be sure. It's doubly difficult for you, now, to worry at a distance. I do sincerely feel for both of you, and wish for the best possible outcome.

My next appointment with oncologist isn't until early July with a PET scan to be arranged just before that. So -I have a little span of time when I can feel less anxious, daily, and shall try to enjoy it, in spite of the continuing lock-down for the elderly and vulnerable.