Saturday, April 11, 2009

getting ready for next chemo on wednesday

Hello everyone
Well half my hair is gone now. The braids that were hanging on by a few hairs were also getting quite matted with all the hair that had fallen out and stayed in the braid.  So I talked Ken into shaving them off last night.  So the back of my head and the left side are shaved, likely the rest tomorrow.  The braids look great in a zip lock bag.
Ken and I went to the woods yesterday and walked 3 miles and I realized that I really am feeling pretty good. The abdominal pains that plagued me for months are gone, and the shortness of breath I have had for a few months now, seems to be much improved.  And of course the painful joints and bones from the chemo are also temporarily gone, which in itself made me feel good, because when joints hurt there is a sense that somehow damage is being done by the chemo, and to feel this good now, it reassures me that THAT part of chemo is temporary.

Ken and I are "reviewing" the last chemo to find ways we might do better, so as to make this time a more "pleasurable experience".  One thing will be LOTS AND LOTS of fibre before chemo, as I was unable to tolerate it after and if you do not start out constipated, hopefully you can just "maintain".  I figure that the heartburn was from the constipation because I have such a short torso there was just NOWHERE FOR IT to go.

This time I can take a lower dose of steroids, because I did not have any apparent reaction to the Taxol last time.  From what I have been reading about Taxol, it is a very powerful anticancer drug that in the past was limited in its use because of the severe reactions to it.
I read a study where a women with endo cancer with metastasis to both lungs was actually cured with the use of taxol alone. I feel fortunate that I did not react to it. Only other reason in the future that might limit my use is if I were to develop (and this is something that happens after several doses) numbness of my fingers and toes which can eventually lead to walking and hand use problems.  (none noted yet)
I will be getting blood work done on Tuesday. Chemo 9:20 on Wednesday.
This time I will be having a CA 125 done. I had one done preop and it was 27.  The norm has been under 35 in the past, more recently many consider a normal should be under 25 in post menopausal women. 
Ca 125 is a tumour marker usually used to follow the response to treatment and to predict the prognosis after treatment. It is usually used in Ovarian cancer, but has been found to also be helpful with endometrial cancer.  In fact having a low ca 125 preop is felt to be a good prognostic indicator of survival.
There are some who have advocated its use as a screening tool for ovarian cancer, however it is not very specific and many women would have unnecessary and potential dangerous operations needlessly. The other limiting factor is that it is only elevated in about 73% of patients with ovarian cancer.  It will be a bit helpful with me, to determine if treatments are effective, but will be quite limited. In women with a very high ca 125 preop and then after a few chemo treatments it drops that is a good sign that the treatments are working and that the drugs chosen are effective.
If mine were to drop down to the under 10 number and stay there, then theoretically this could be a very good test to follow me for signs of recurrence
Well have a great day, a group of very fine women and me are going for a walk this afternoon to talk more about feelings are changing about rats

love and peace
janet Bates

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