Wednesday, December 13, 2006

spoke to Dr. Rinn

Well, today Dr. Rinn called me back (she'd been out of the office) and after hearing my symptoms she said she was not at all concerned. Femara causes joint pain (no surprise to hear that) and as she put it, "makes you creakier and more susceptable to pains." She said that the pain I had the other night was likely a muscle spasm, and that Femara might have influenced that, too.

She also said that if I needed a bone scan for peace of mind, she'd order it for me. I am now waiting for the scheduling call - I want that peace of mind. Ryan's the love of my life, but I want NED* to stay my boyfriend!

This is probably nothing. I just want to be sure.

And this, my friends, is what breast cancer is like. Lots of uncertainty. Lots of tests. Lots of needles. Lots of radioactive dye. Lots of 3 hour appointments.

I read recently in an abstract from the recent San Antonio conference for breast cancer website that there is a study that has determined that ER+ women (that's me) are most likely to recur between years 2-3 after diagnosis. This knowledge weighs heavily on me; June is my two year diagnosis anniversary. The good news is that after 10 years my odds of a recurrance are no greater than the general population, according to this study. Just waiting until 2015!


*NED = No Evidence of Disease

PS I am scheduled for Thursday the 21st; I should have results on Friday, just before Christmas.

Monday, December 11, 2006

alternate gift ideas

I got this in email today and thought I'd pass it along. My favorite breast cancer charity is the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation (they are the recipients of the Breast Cancer 3-Day and Race for the Cure funds) at , but is very informative and they do good work too.
This holiday season, give the gift of medical knowledge and personal confidence to women and their loved ones around the world. Help them overcome their fears and get the best breast cancer treatment possible. Your donation will help continue to provide our programs at no cost to over 8 million visitors next year.

Perhaps you would like to make a gift in someone else's name this holiday season. Honor your family members, friends and co-workers with a heart-felt gift that is sure to be appreciated. This type of holiday gift is life-affirming, positive, and comes in any price denomination you like beginning at $5.

Consider the beauty of a gift that never goes to waste. For example:

-- Rather than giving bubble bath, a $10 gift to can provide 22 young women with the tools to assess their own personal risk of breast cancer and make lifestyle choices that reduce those risks.

-- Instead of buying an expensive pair of jeans, consider making a $50 gift to provide 110 newly diagnosed women with the gift of knowledge so that they can fully research and understand their diagnosis, pathology report, and treatment options.

-- In place of a $100 department store gift card, a $100 gift helps distribute 75 booklets to breast cancer patients and their loved ones who are seeking answers to critical questions about their pathology report, treatment options and fears about treatment.

Please know that every $10 that you contribute allows to support and educate the lives of another 22 of the millions of individuals living today who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Thank you for your support!

To give a gift, please click here:

Our very best holiday wishes to you and yours.

Most sincerely,

Marisa C. Weiss,

President and Founder,

Hope Wohl,


Roller coaster ride

I hesitated to post this here, but since I'm aiming at honesty I've decided to post it. I originally wrote this for a post on YSC to get consolation from my breast cancer support group.

Every woman I've met (mostly online) has freaked out about mets at one time or another. I guess it's my turn to freak out...I'm still on the roller coaster ride.
Okay, it's my turn.

So far I have done a very good job of not freaking out over things. Up until now, I have not spent time dwelling on the idea of mets. Until now, I have not wondered if each little ache or pain was mets.

Sigh. I knew this would come but that doesn't make me any more prepared for it!

So it's my turn to freak out. I have had some pain in my lower back/hip area for a few months. I had chalked it up to being active and taking up running and having lots of surgeries in my upper chest/lat flap areas, so I had decided not to stress. I brought it up to my oncologist, casually, and she said, "No wonder you have a bit of pain every now and then - look at how hard you push yourself!"

But then last night I decided to have a bubble bath. I was just about to submerge myself under water, and I raised my hand to smooth my hair from my face, and suddenly I felt searing pain. I've had little tastes of that before and thought they were muscle spasms or something, but this was mind-numbnig. I waited for it to pass. I held still for 15 minutes, hoping that it would go away. Finally, I called to my husband (who was downstairs) to come up, and by the time he heard me I was sitting there crying. I couldn't move at all without searing pain in that area - sort of right above my butt, low back, on the right side. It took us 15 minutes to figure out how to get me out of the tub - I was terrified that if he lifted me the pain would be tooooo awful.

It took about 15 more minutes to get me out of the tub, dried off, and into the bedroom. Ryan helped me get in PJs, and got me some Flexoril and Vicodan (leftovers from my last surgery) and I was finally able to get into bed, where I sat without moving for another hour before the pain went away enough for me to sleep.

This morning the pain isn't unmanageable, but it's still there, and more than it had been in the past couple of months.

Now I can't make the thought of bone mets go away. I called the onc, who is out of the office today, but they'll call me back within the day. I've asked for a bone scan.

Can anybody talk me off the ceiling? Can you either assure me that this is not bone mets and a lucky pinched nerve or something, or convince me that if it's bone mets I will still be fine and live to be 100? Please?

One of the girls on the YSC site recently had something like this, but in her neck. It turns out that she "just" has a broken neck. Everyone has been cheering her and saying "I'm so glad it's nothing" and "Thank God it's a broken neck and nothing worse" and the like. She needs surgery, but the sentiment is understood: as long as it's not permanent and won't kill you, WHO CARES!

The flip side is that I know several online people who were recently diagnosed with mets (metastases: the breast cancer moved into other organs or bones) day stage II, the next, stage IV.


Sunday, December 10, 2006

Christmas Cocktail Party

We've come a long way, baby, and there is so much to celebrate!

And here I am a year ago (December 14, 2005): my last chemo treatment. Bloated face, no hair, and the fatigue and illness shows in the photos. I pray that I never feel that way ever again!