My sister had an echo cardiogram on the 16th and a chemical stress test on the 20th of September.
No other doctor appointment was scheduled until Dec. 10. That was entirely too long to wait for someone to evaluate the test results and for her to not be taking any kind of anti-cancer meds.
Why is it up to the patient/family to demand attention?
We went to her oncologist's office on the 20th to calmly request that someone do something soon. Her doctor was out of the country then, so she was given an appointment for Oct.1, the day after her return. Fine.
Not surprisingly, the oncologist agreed with me about the unacceptable delay. She reviewed the test results and we were pleased to hear that my sister's heart function had improved nicely and the stress test results were very good. The doctor determined Carol was strong enough to resume her treatment of Herceptin and Tykerb. Immediately.
The doctor's office then called the oncology cardiologist office and got Carol an appointment for the next day. He agreed with everything we were told by the oncologist. He prescribed her carvedilol to support heart strength.
She started taking her Tykerb that day and is scheduled for a Herceptin treatment this coming Tuesday.
A woman was driving home after a day of shopping when she saw an elderly woman walking on the side of the road. The woman decided to be a good Samaritan and offer the elderly woman a ride. The elderly woman accepted the offer.
After a quiet minute, the elderly woman noticed a brown bag on the floor by her feet. She asked the good Samaritan, "What's in the bag?" and the good Samaritan said, "It's a jug of wine I got for my husband."
After another quiet minute, the elderly woman said, "Good trade".
After more than seven years of chemo, it's taking a toll on her heart. The last few eco-cardiograms have shown a steady decrease in pumping efficiency. Her heart is weak enough now that she has to stop all cancer meds.
They say the damage is reversible but only by stopping the chemo until the heart has a chance to gain strength. Problem is, there's no telling how long that will take. The other problem is, without the chemo, the cancer will start to spread.
She has no other major side-effects, thankfully. Her energy level is good and she does damn near anything she wants to do... drive, housework, shopping, etc.
She's been referred to a cardio oncologist for further monitoring and to determine when her heart is strong enough to resume taking the cancer meds that have kept her alive and kicking but, in themselves, could do her in. The options include going back on the same meds but in lower doses or finding something else that keeps the cancer from spreading and hopefully doing less damage to the rest of her body.
She's taking this pretty well right now but I am a full-blown basket case (inside). I have to maintain some semblance of calm for her and the rest of the family.
This uniquely written autobiography is a fun read. Every chapter is a few pages about someone in his life from Frank Sinatra to Cole Porter to MLK Jr. to his parents to Lady Gaga to his wife. Forty-two in all. It also includes much of his artwork scattered throughout the pages and lining the inside covers. I highly recommend it.
And what does Cleveland get? A freak who licks his bat and starts fights. And they bring up a pitcher who hasn't pitched in two years. Waste of time, waste of money, waste of oxygen, waste of baseballs.
For weeks, I had a feeling something bad was going to happen. It did, but could have been worse.
A couple weeks ago Carol went to church to help the ladies make stuffed cabbage. About noon she called me... from the E.R. She fainted and they called 911. I headed to the hospital.
They claimed x-rays showed results "were suspicious for pneumonia". More tests, bloodwork and eight hours waiting for a room, and they decided her hemoglobin had dropped enough to cause the fainting. More tests. More bloodwork. More tests. More bloodwork. Slightly anemic, malnurished (started losing weight during Lent) and a referral to a G.I. doctor to check her liver (even though they did a scan with no signs of cirrhosis or fatty liver.) Although chemo can take a toll on one's liver and she's been taking a variety of those drugs for most of the last seven years with no end in sight. On the fourth day they discharged her. She went for her Herceptin treatment this week and I asked them to do bloodwork and everything checked out well. Her weight has stabilized because she's eating as she should be. Energy level is good again. I hope the G.I. guy finds nothing to be concerned about. Why don't I have an ulcer from worrying? Must be all the garlic we Hungarians eat.
For anyone who was on the "Followers" list on the sidebar, I deleted it. Nothing personal toward anyone. Blogger messed with it and made it look ugly. Plus, a lot of those followers and their blogs don't exist anymore.
The blogs listed on my sidebar also include a rather big batch of inactive blogs. Some of the authors have died, some of the blogs have been deleted. I guess it's acceptable to remove those blogs from the list on the sidebar but... letting go can be difficult for me. It may be silly, but it feels disloyal. Abandonment, of sorts.
When I moved from Florida, I lost/gave up a lot of things that had a lot of meaning to me. A lot. It still hurts if I let myself reflect on it. A huge failure on a long list of failures.
Anyway. Let's end on a more positive note, shall we?
I'm completely off insulin. Only using metformin for diabetes control. Glucose levels are staying very stable with the daily average 120 or lower, depending on what and how much I eat, of course. A1c 5.6.... but the endo doc is concerned about my levels of albumin and creatinin so he sent me to a kidney specialist. Waiting on test results but I'm not worrying. I feel good so I'm going with that for now. Weight loss is slow but that's pretty much my own fault for so rarely moving my ass this winter other than to shovel snow. Still, almost 40 pounds gone. Carol is doing well. She's into her second year of daily chemo (Tykerb) and dealing with only minor side-effects. Hard to believe that she first started chemo 7 years ago this month. Followed by mastectomy and heavy radiation. I'm glad I was able to be here for her. Plus the other siblings, too. Long-awaited Spring is here today. Yet another reason to be grateful.
I have no idea what any official measure is but, we had almost two feet of snow on our cars and close to eighteen inches in the yard. We haven't seen the pavement on our street since Saturday morning.
Today is clear and sunny but still not warm enough to melt even one damn flake. I guess that will happen soon, though, because we're supposed to get heavy rain later today that will continue through tomorrow.
Then the cold and snow come back this weekend. Not everyone hated it.