Sunday, November 29, 2015

You'll get a kick out of this

Ok I'm finally getting around to this update I promised. On November 17 I went to Moffitt for blood work, a CT scan and a bone scan. My blood work was excellent. Everything was within normal ranges including my tumor markers. Now tumor markers shouldn't be looked at as an indicator of whether or not you have cancer, but rather how much burden they are putting on your body. So for now I am a much bigger burden on my cancer that it is on me. 

I was told the CT scan looked good. Everything was stable, no new growth. The bone scan was the biggie which indicated that there was a "significant reduction in bone disease". They seemed pretty pumped about that. In fact, they were so excited about that news that they neglected to tell me that the tumor in my breast is half the size it was at my last scan. I read my reports myself or I would not have known. 

So even after being off chemo and without being put on any new cancer drugs, I am still having reduction I my disease. HA cancer, take that. (Strike a ninja pose.) 

So in short, lungs clear, lymph nodes clear, bones getting tremendously better and breast tumor down to about 1 cm from over 6cm. 

I am currently on 3 medications. One for my bones because the chemo can wreak havoc on them and two for hormone suppression because my particular cancer responded to estrogen. These two suck a little bit. The most common side effect is aching joints. I imagine it's very much like arthritis. My joints hurt for no real reason, I get sharp pains if I grab something the wrong way but it feels better the more I move around. 

So watching me get out of bed and come down the stairs in the morning is entertaining. Once I'm up and going I'm fine but once I sit down it doesn't take long to get stiff and ache again. I just do my best to keep busy without overdoing it and try not to sit around without getting up and taking a break from it. 

People keep asking me about my job. Yes I am still teaching...barely. I work less than 10 hours a week and am typically back home by 9AM, which allows me a very flexible schedule for other things. 

I have been doing short term jobs or gigs if you will. Currently I am doing interior design work for a woman who is moving to Cape Coral, repairing a gazebo that has extensive wood rot on the Orange River (tough environment to work in wink wink nod nod). I may be doing an animated video next. 

I also pick up small furniture or other items to repair, refinish or repurpose and have several art projects and jewelry projects going and teach classes about once a month. 

I am really enjoying my life right now. It gives me great flexibility and allows me to do a variety of creative type things which I love. And it keeps me from being bored which happens easily when doing the same old stuff day to day. And so far it is paying the bills. I may not have a lot of extra money right now but I have a lot of extra joy and that's more valuable. 

So if you've got a project that you just haven't gotten around to but would love to get done, call me (picture Leslie Winkle here).

Friday, November 6, 2015


I can't believe how long it's been since I've written an update. I have been off chemo for about 2 months. I am currently only on one shot and a daily pill both for hormone suppression. I have responded so well that the oncologist wanted to hold off on any other meds. They like to try and keep everything they can in their Arsenal for later down the road if and when cancer comes back. I told my oncologist that would not be needing them as I intended on being a miracle. 

No really. That's what I told her. She just laughed and said if anyone will be it'll be you. 

So the first couple weeks my hormones were a little wonky. I was bitchy and then I would cry because I knew I was being an asshole. That has leveled out thankfully. So the only real side effect I'm having now is joint achiness and stiffness. I'm sure it's probably similar to what folks with arthritis feel. The more I move around the better I feel, so I just try to stay active. Even if I'm just watching tv I try to get up ever half hour or so. My feet are the worst. It's quite a sight watching me get out of bed and trying to get downstairs in the morning. Luckily it doesn't take too long to get moving. But it also doesn't take too long to get stiffened back up. It is slowly getting better and acupuncture helps a lot. It goes away after a few months for many people so I've decided to be one of those people. 

My next scans are on the 17th. I can feel the tumor and it seems to have gotten smaller as far as I can tell so I feel it will be good news. But of course it will because I'm a miracle and no tumor is going to take that away from me.