A small pill to swallow

Stuff before the cancer update:

1.  Yes, I am SUPER happy that Lane Kiffin was fired.  Coaching is about Leadership and he does not have that skill.   USC football needs a coach that will get their head up and out from behind a big play card and cheer and celebrate with the team.  I think that the interim coach, Coach Orgeron, totally gets this and will do a great job for the rest of the season.  I am hoping that he is in consideration for head coach.  Everyone likes him and he is a fantastic recruiter.  I’m still FIGHT ON for my Trojans.  This week is a bye week but a week from tonight we are going to BEAT THE WILDCATS!!!

2.  iOS 7 came out for the iPhone within the last week.   Apple is definitely pushing for everyone to purchase an iPhone 5, 5c, or 5s.  I just upgraded to iOS 7 on my iPhone 4.  While it seems to work well, I can definitely tell that apps are taking longer to run.  I’ve had to cut out of apps twice because they just hung while doing some simple processing.  I think I’m going to upgrade to a 5s (if I can) next month as a birthday present to myself.   General Recommendation:  If you have a iPhone 4 or 4s and it’s doing everything you need it to do, don’t upgrade to 7.  Just realize that over time, some of your apps won’t work.

3. If you follow me on Facebook, you’ll know that two of my anemia friends have been going through medical hell.  Happily, one of my friends just got home today after 3 weeks in the hospital with ischemic colitis.  This is a side effect of the anemia as there aren’t enough red blood cells to fuel the colon.  They managed to fix it with two weeks straight of antibiotics and a broth diet.  So happy she is home!!!  My other friend went into the hospital and had a colon issue as well but it became a septic infection.  She’s been on a ventilator and on sedation for over a week.  They also diagnosed her with both colon and liver cancer.  In good news, she has been successfully weaned off the ventilator.  Please continue to pray for her.  Her name is Michelle.

Cancer crap:

I had an appointment with a new doctor yesterday.  His name is Dr. Tripathy and he is an oncologist at Norris.   Now, I have high expectations for my USC doctors and he totally exceeded them.  (As have all of my doctors at Norris – go there fast if you get cancer) First off, he doesn’t usually do clinic appointments on Wednesdays, but knew that it was convenient for our schedule so he came in.  My next appointment is on a Wednesday as well. He is super nice and explained EVERYTHING in technical and layman terms.  It was quite clear that he had gone over my history and spoken with my other doctors and had a plan mostly in place.  Some things are still being set in stone but he had the next step ready to go.

So here is the newest plan:

I am taking Tamoxifen  as of this morning.  This is the drug of choice for hormone receptive breast cancer like mine.  Basically my cancer cells have little hands that like to grab onto passing estrogen and use the estrogen to make more little cancer cells.  The tamoxifen mimics estrogen cells to trick the cancer cells into thinking they are grabbing estrogen.   The tamoxifen then takes up all the “hands” of the cancer cells and the actual estrogen has nothing to hang on to, therefore stopping the growth of the cancer.  This medicine can also get rid of microscopic spots and shrink the original tumor.  This is given to pre-menopausal women and usually for 5-10 years.

The downside of tamoxifen (you know there was a downside) is that it can cause uterine cancer and blood clots.  Dr. T says that this happens mostly in women 60 and over, but we will monitor things.

After a while on Tamoxifen we will do another (probably) ultrasound to reevaluate the tumor, hoping that it has shrunk.  They definitely are doing surgery. Right now I’m in the middle of a big project with one of my clients so I’ve asked for the surgery to be no earlier than the second week of December.   That seemed fine with him and I just got an email from my hematologist that that was good for her as well.   They still don’t know if it will be a lumpectomy or a left breast mastectomy.  I’m hoping for a lumpectomy so that I won’t have to spend the holidays in bed.   That would SUCK!  Either way, I will just be happy to have it GONE!   AWAY WITH THE BEAST!!!

Radiation is still being considered.   Dr. T thinks that I would do fine but Dr. O (hematologist) is not comfortable.   I would really love to be at the meeting where they duke it out!!!

I am also participating in a research study.  The first part already happened.  The initial part is to analyze the doctor/patient interactions at at the first encounter – so I filled out a short questionnaire, the encounter with Dr. T was audiotaped and afterwards I filled out a post-encounter questionnaire.  In three months, they will get back in touch with me and have me do a followup questionnaire.

I’m also signing up for another study where they will take the extra tissue from my surgery and study it for something.  Hey, I’m not going to need it!

Further down the line after surgery and after things are somewhat settled, I might go on a different medicine called Lupron.   This medicine basically shuts down your ovaries to result in a forced menopause.  This can be taken with tamoxifen or with a certain group of medicines called aromatase inhibitors.   The Lupron kills the ovaries and the AI shuts down estrogen production in the other areas of the body.  There are pros and cons to this regimen as well but the pros are that it doesn’t cause uterine cancer or blood clots.

*WHEW*  That was quite the update.

My next appointments are on Weds, Oct 23rd with both Dr. T and Dr. M (surgeon).  My expectation is that we will set a surgery date and type of surgery.

Oh!  I also had to change my anti-anxiety medicine.  I have been taking a low dose of Prozac for years (at least 10!) and as of this evening am now taking Effexor.  Apparrently Prozac can make Tamixifen not work.  We don’t want that.  So if I seem a bit odd for the next few weeks, I’m adjusting.   I feel a little floaty right now in fact.

Prozac cat


Transfusion tomorrow!



One Comment on “A small pill to swallow”

  1. Lori Lewis says:

    Good to hear you are in such good care (of COURSE you are,. at USC). Keep on fightin’ on, lovie! xoxo ❤


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