Keri's Metastatic Breast Cancer Story: The Light at the End of the Tunnel Seems Farther Away
With the metastatic breast cancer treatments not working as well as we had hoped, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to be getting more distant. But, that didn't prevent Keri and me from keeping a positive attitude and praying that one day soon this would all be over. Keri will always be remembered for her brilliant smile, her cute little laugh, and her cheerful personality. I am proud to say she never let go of those things even during the scariest moments of her life. She continued to be loving, caring, understanding, and positive. We were scared, we were worried, and we were lost. Not knowing what exactly is happening is difficult, but we leaned on each other and did the best we could for one another. The one truth we could rely on throughout this time is that I loved Keri and Keri loved me. The one truth I can still hold is knowing that I love Keri and Keri loves me.
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2006 2:42 PM
I'm sorry it's been so long since I have sent a recent update and some of you may have heard some of this info through the grape vines already so bear with me. In the past month or so we have had some discoveries. One is that my red blood cells were running a little low and even with the help of some shots they were still running low so a few weeks ago I had a blood transfusion to help replenish those cells and boost some other parts. The transfusion went well and made me feel much better.
Another issue we dealt with was that I was having severe headaches for a couple of weeks and they were concerned that the cancer may have spread. Therefore we had an MRI done on my head and turns out everything is normal.
We are thinking that my headaches may have been attributed to my lack of food intake. So now I have a liquid medicine that I take in the morning to help stimulate my appetite. That medicine is working well and my hunger is back to a sort of normal. I'm eating better anyway.
Now to the most recent news. I had another scan done this past Friday to check my sacrum/pelvis area to see how things were going. The results were not good. It seems that the original tumor has gotten bigger and is spreading spots throughout that area. It has not left that bone or that bone area so that's a positive thing, but not an impossible thing.
This means that the doctor has concluded with the time frame from when this all began over a year ago that this cancer in my sacrum has always been there. It has not responded to the chemo I had before surgery, or the radiation, or the chemo that we are doing now.
He has suggested that we try a different route with the chemo drugs. We will use different ones that will attack the cancer differently. I don't know what they are yet, but I will next Wednesday when we have another treatment. The course of action right now is to continue chemo since it does not bother me too much and to make me as comfortable as possible on my pain level. He is not setting a time line he is just letting us know his plans for now.
Our plans are to continue with his plans and on the side look for a place to go for another opinion. We are looking at UAB, which is the University of Alabama Birmingham, and Moffett, which is near McDill Air Force base in Tampa Bay, and MD Anderson in Houston. We'd rather not travel by plane so we are hoping it will work out with one of the other two places.
I have a case manager on base who will be doing all the research for us and keeping contact with my oncologist as well, so all we have to do is wait until they tell us what to do and where to go. Other than that we are just asking for as many prayers as you can offer.
New meds, of course are going on now. I have a pain medicine pump now that is similar to a chemo pump only instead of getting chemo meds all day I'm getting pain meds all day. It is constantly hooked to my port and I carry the pump and medicine bag (like and IV bag) in a fanny pack. Not too bad I just have to take baths instead of showers and I have to make sure I carry it with me so it doesn't rip out of my port. Also on a new drug to help me be not so sleepy, which will hopefully get me off the couch a little more or at least up out of bed before noon. We'll see how this one works; last time we tried Ritalin and that didn't turn out so well.
On the emotional side of things... I am pretty freaking scared. I know all of this doesn't mean the end of things, but it's hard not to think about that when you get bad news from your doctor.
Doug is determined to keep me laughing and keep my spirits up. We have a couple of friends in town this week as a spur of the moment visit and what timing that was. It is best for me to have as many distractions as possible so I don't dwell on things too much. At least for now until things have a chance to really sink in and I have time to calm down about it. I know God has his plans, but holy cow this is a real mystery to me what mine is. I of course will be keeping you in the loop as much as I can.
There is a "Making Strides Against Breast Cancer" walk this Saturday that the American Cancer Society is putting on. If some of you remember I was a guest chairperson last year. They've asked me to do that again and have even provided a wheel chair if I need it. We'll see how it goes. I'm not so bad that I can't walk at all, but I do tire out quickly. Hopefully though the fresh air and time out of the house will be good for me. Okay I think that's all I've been leaving you behind on.
Oh yeah we have decided not to travel on the holidays this year. I think staying close to the doctors would be best for me and not traveling around people that you can't guarantee are not sick, you know those airplane people. Anyway we will just have to have a quiet holiday with maybe a couple of visitors down here. It is for the best though. Okay now I think that's everything.
If you know of someone not on my email list that you think would like to have this information please go ahead and forward this email to them. I am not sure if I have put everyone on my email list or not so it would help me if I knew who needed to be added. Sorry this turned out to be another novel. Maybe if I did this more often they would be pages to the novel instead of the whole book. I hope you are all doing well and that you're families are all doing well. I will try to keep in touch a little better this time. Take care of each other.
Love to you all,