Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Things are Looking Better

Sorry for the wait. I had CT scans yesterday of torso and pelvis, and brain MRI.  Had bone scan today.  Finally heard from my oncologist around 8P which is good because she is leaving on a plane tomorrow.

She says everything looks better. My bones are healing, my liver tumors are smaller, the lung tumor is smaller.  The only thing that didn't come back (because the report has not been written up yet! Rrrrrrrr) was the brain MRI. But I'm assuming that since everything else is responding, the brain tumors are still gone.  Leaving me with a swiss cheese brain, hence the continued cognitive difficulties.

Which reminds me....Finally bought the bigger car to get my neurologist off of my back.  Ended up with a Toyota Highlander Hybrid.  I just couldn't bring myself to pay more than that.  It's nice. It's no Audi Q7, but a little bird told me that those were having problems.

People are still honking at me, but I think it's because I am driving too slowly. And I haven't even come close to hitting any pedestrians lately.

I will update on the brain MRI when I hear, but the upshot is that we are outrunning the cancer for now. And to top it all off, I feel great!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Different Kind of Warrior

Sorry that it's been so long. I was too busy being sick.

But something happened this weekend and I've turned a mental corner. I am no longer a warrior who is fighting to kill cancer until it catches up with me and kills me. I am now someone who is going to beat cancer completely.  It took 8 months for my attitude to get here, but those fuckers who diagnosed me and gave me a 2nd opinion scared the crap out of me. I was very depressed and unable (unwilling?) to do my own research and take my recovery into my own hands. Instead I have just been doing whatever the doctors tell me.

I did do the hyperbaric oxygen treatments (initially to get Mark off my back) although my oncologist told me it was a waste of my money. Eventually I did come to believe that hyperbarics have been an crucial part of my recovery up to now.

I now know that I need to concentrate not on killing cancer, but on building up my immune system so that my body can kill cancer or keep cancer at bay the way it was supposed to.  Why did my immune system stop working???  Maybe because I did a *lot* of infertility treatments where they suppressed my immune system and NK's (natural killer cells).  Stress?  Way too much sugar? Apparently, eating sugar when you have cancer is like throwing gasoline on a fire.

I am implementing some inexpensive and natural treatments that have helped a lot of people. I'm going to remain on the Tarceva because it isn't toxic. It is a "biological" that targets a piece of the cancer's DNA and causes the cancer cells to fall apart. Some of these treatments I have started and I already feel a huge difference.

Just the mental shift has made such a difference.  Yesterday (Mother's Day) Mark looked at me and said, "Oh my god, the old you is back!" I believe that the oncologist is going to have a big surprise when she sees the results of my body scans at the end of May.

I want to say a special thank you to Michael Brooks.  You know why.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ides of March

On March 9, 2007--the 2 year anniversary of our triplets' births--a judge in Oklahoma signed permission for Xavi and me to leave OK so that we could go home and begin living as a family. My arms had been empty for exactly 2 horrible years.  Xavier came home, made it impossible to not fall head over heels for him, and healed our hearts.

And now I sit here exactly 3 years after that, with terminal metastatic cancer. making it absolutely impossible for me to deny that things can change at any moment without me having any control.  The second life altering (life killing?) event in our lives as the Santaballa-Marcum family.

To update, I am feeling a million times better than I was last month. Tarceva was a monster at first, but my body settled into it and I'm moving along. I have been able to resume some of my childcare responsibilities. Tomorrow I will be allowed to drive, albeit with a bunch of restrictions in place.  This will greatly improve the quality of my life. I have to get a ride to go to the MJ dispensary.  How humiliating is that?!

As for the Audi, it is definitely out of the running. $69K??? I could buy 3 decent cars for that.  We're looking at some other alternative fuel vehicles with the 3rd row.

That's it for now.  I will let you all know how it goes on my first day of driving in 6 months tomorrow.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tarceva is no picnic.

I was told that Tarceva might give me some tummy trouble.  Oh my.  Different from the kind of sick I was from chemo--not necessarily nausea--more like sour and upset tummy.  This disease really is the pits.  In order to fight it, I have to take things that make me feel like I'm dying.

I have permission to drive effective March 11.  That will give me 6 months seizure-free.  I'm not allowed to have anyone with me in the car while I'm driving, and I'm only allowed to drive a heavy car.  I guess if I have a seizure no one in the car will get hurt.  Just the folks outside.

Mark and I had been looking at the Audi Q7 Diesel.  We walked away from what we thought was a not good deal on one a few months back.  And then Mark made one of those cancer husband statements while we were in the car driving home from my first hospital stay (for cancer): "As soon as they tell you that you can drive again, I'm getting you that Audi!"

OK, I'm ready to go shopping.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tarceva is here

We'll start tomorrow.  Start thinking good thoughts.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Morning at our house

I've received permission to be alone with my children for short periods of time.  This frees Mark to be able to leave in the morning before the nanny arrives. He's been going to a yoga class in the morning which I know makes a huge difference in his mood.

Mark is very concerned about my use of my herbal medicine--MJ.  I guess I have been heading back toward addiction.  Once an addict always an addict.  Regardless of the reasons I am using it, it's a drug that I love and I'm loving it a little too much.  So I haven't inhaled any vapors today (I don't smoke it--I use a vaporizer) and am going to try to use it only when there is preexisting nausea.  I have been using MJ to prevent the nausea from starting (it's very effective for that).  I'm not ready to give it up yet.  Addiction, addiction, addiction.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I have deactivated my FB account

Possibly temporary? Don't know. I just got tired of being the poster child for cancer.

I start Tarceva as soon as insurance approves it.

Updates will be posted here for now.