Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tucson Update

Hi, everyone. Yesterday was my monthly visit with Dr. Livingston in Tucson. I'm kind of in a period where we're just having to trust/hope the chemo is continuing to work. Dr. Livingston would usually follow my progress with monthly ultrasounds, but as I've noted before, my cancer doesn't show up on them. He did draw tumor markers and they were elevated. Dr. Livingston says this is because I've started on a medication called Neupogen to keep my white blood counts up. This medication also raises the tumor marker level. He also says, at this point, my physical exam is really of no help because my cancer doesn't seem to be a mass. He continues to think the mass he is feeling is fibrous scar tissue, but says there is no way to be sure until I have my surgery.

The plan is to have the four more chemo treatments that were planned. I will have another MRI right before I go back to see Dr. Livingston next month. If that MRI shows that the cancer has continued to shrink or doesn't show up at all, I will continue on the same chemo for another month to try and give me the best chance possible of achieving a complete pathological response at the time of my surgery.

If the MRI shows the cancer has not shrunk since my last one or has grown, they will schedule my surgery. Dr. Livingston says this is because at that point whatever cancer is there will have shown itself to be resistant to several different chemos and they would want to do the surgery in time to give them the best chance of acheiving clean margins when they do it. He stressed that he doesn't think this is going to happen, but it is a possibility. He has had patients whose cancer has stopped responding to chemo.

So, I've gone from looking forward to being almost done with my chemo to hoping I get to have more. :>) I continue to do well with it. The worst part of the whole thing right now, beside stress and anxiety, is just being so very tired all of the time.

I'd really appreciate everyone's good wishes, positive thoughts, and prayers for my cancer to continue to respond to the chemo as well as it has so far.

Janaya's Birthday

Janaya turned 21 this past Wednesday while Joey was home on Spring Break. Michael was in Tucson for a lacrosse game, but she, Joey, Joe, and I went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner. We sat outside on the patio and the weather was beautiful. There were two big parties besides the four of us on the patio, so the service was very slow. It worked out wonderfully, though, because we didn't have anything else planned and we got to spend the evening just visiting and talking like we haven't had much opportunity to do lately.

Here are three pictures we took.

Janaya with Mom and Dad

Joey and Janaya

Janaya enjoying a pina colada

That's it for now.
I miss everyone and think of you all often.
Love you all tons!


Cheela said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you, Martha!! Loved the pictures of you and the family!

N-Search of Peace said...

I miss you!
Happiest and safest of 21 to Janaya!...may her life be forever surround in love and joy...
All sounds great on the "boobie" front! pun intended!
If I get tired just doing what I do in a day or in a week, I can't even imagine your tiredness in what you do in your day and week!...and there is no question that you do it with far more grace than I do!
Love you sweetie!

Jane said...

I am praying for you too! It looks like you had a great time with your daughter on her birthday. Your family is beautiful.

LoriH said...

You continue to inspire me, Martha. I will continue with prayers & happy wishes :)

Congrats to Janaya! What a milestone. She'll remember that celebration for the rest of her life!

Thanks for the updates:)

Meags said...

Hi Martha, I look forward to seeing you in person soon. I still spot the red mustang zooming by everyonce in a while but you always appear a blurrrrrrrrrrr.

Love you


Mary Monica said...

Hi Martha,
I have not checked in in a while and am pleased to see all the the Easter wallpapaer and the great music! Happy Birthday to Janaya...sounds like a perfect celebration. Your treatments and plan for the next scan sound good. Your Doctor is continuing to re-evaluate and is ready to change tactics as needed.
All is well here in Napa; the vines are just starting bud-break (new green buds on what have been dormant vines) and the weather has been sunny and warm. Love to you, Joe and the whole family.
Mary Monica