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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Bad News....sorta and Good News....sorta

So where was I ....oh yea....feeling really good and positive.....and then my world took the wrong way down a dead end street. (Well not really a dead end street....just a side road I hadn't planned on going down).

As I said, my radiation consultation was just great. Yeh, day starting out pretty good....that was Wednesday.  Thursday John had an appointment at the same hospital where I went to have surgery and where my Oncologist is housed.  While we were waiting to get into a room where we could wait for the doctor a little longer....you know that obscured sign in a doctor's office that says :if you've been waiting 20 minutes past the time of your appointment, then notify reception".....well I think that they watch a clock back behind the doors and wait until 2 seconds before it will be time for you to go to the receptionist to complain and see if she can tell you the reason your appointment is 20 minutes late......and they come out and call you in, only to take your vital signs, blood pressure, weight, age, date of birth and ask if you are having any pain.....to then take you to another room where you.................................
.................yes that's right, sit and wait   yet again.  Anyway, while we were waiting, I got a message from my oncologist telling me my Oncotype-DX test was in and she wanted me to make an appointment to come see her.  So I immediately message her back and tell her I am in the building on the floor below her office and asked if I could come up after John's appointment.....well she was busy, but I got to see her at 1:45 that same day.  I'm still feeling good and obviously anxious to hear the results of that test.

THE ONCOTYPE  - DX TEST (please read previous post for more detailed info on this test).

As you may recall from my last post on the Oncotype - DX test results are split into 3 sections LOW = 1-18, MEDIUM = 19-31 and HIGH = 32 - however high it goes. LOW = NO CHEMO, MEDIUM = A GRAY AREA AND REQUIRES PATIENT/DOCTOR REVIEW & DISCUSSION ON WHAT THEY DEEM TO BE BENEFIT VS TOXICITY OF THE CHEMO and HIGH = MUST DO CHEMO.
 Drum roll please.......Ratatat ratatat ratatat....

Mine came back 19....so right over the line from LOW...and in that big Oncotype - DX test, they also do their own version of the HER-2 test....which came back negative.  The oncologist advised based on the results from that test that the toxicity of the chemo would be more damaging to me than the chemo would give benefit....and she advised that I do not do chemo.

Good news, yeh?   It sure seemed so at the time.

The in-hospital of the HER2/neu test and those results would not be back until 1:00 on Friday- Dec. 6th.  Oncologist suspects it too will come back negative and only if it came back positive, would we then sit down again and discuss the pros and cons of doing chemo...but her gut feeling says NO CHEMO.  (Yes you may all breath a sigh of relief on my behalf)

I was very stoic when she told me and it wasn't until late Thursday night (well in the wee hours of Friday morning) that I started crying and told John I was so glad it looked like I might not have to do chemo.....I was actually leaning (and feeling safe about my decision) toward doing chemo since it is my second time....but I feel confident with my oncologist's recommendations.

 The Radiaologist called me Friday afternoon and told me she too had seen the results of the Oncotype - DX test and that because I was in the gray zone (19-31)....I would need to sit down with my oncologist and discuss the benefit and side effect % of doing chemo.  I told her I'd already met with her and she recommended no chemo.  That had been the Radiologist's opinion too.

  As I mentioned on the previous blog, I told Radiology that if I did not have to have chemo, I wanted to start radiation right away....so if she could get me into have the cat scan/marking on Monday, and they were able to start me on Tuesday, I was ready.....that would mean radiation would be done around the middle of January.

To be perfectly honest with you I don't remember much about the radiation....except that marking, the daily trips (for 6 weeks) into  town (for my 2002 cancer, since my husband had just passed away, I stayed with my folks out in the country south of San Antonio)....I vaguely remember that it made me tired.  This time I will have radiation a mere 15 mins. trip from my home and only for 4 weeks.

So you'r thinking where's the alley you turned down......... this all sound pretty great to me???

Well as Paul Harvey used to always say....." here's the rest of the story".......

Thursday night after I got the good news, I had a horrible night I forgot to mention that I had asked my oncologist if it was OK for me to get my (naa naa naa naa naa...you're 65) pneumonia shot.....she said absolutely.  So after the appointments , we headed for our local pharmacy to get my shot.

 When they gave me the shot, they explained that the shot site would possible be tender, red and swollen for a few days...up to 10.  Well boy they were mot kiddingand he even promised me he used the sharpest least rusty needle he had!!!  By Thursday evening, not only did the site hurt and swell up.....(it was given in my right arm...same side of recent surgery), but the fluid sack that was by the 3 nodes they removed (which had practically gone down) swelled up again...even bigger.  I was miserable all Thursday night. (Well not all Thursday night because earlier in the evening we had a sweet neighbor over to play a board game)....but later.... My arm and my underarm were throbbing and I woke up trembling, cold and hurting.  I was crying and shaking and at 3:00 AM Friday morning, I took two Tylenol.  I was able to fall asleep.   I woke up later in the early morning feeling like the fever had broken



Later Friday morning, I got to hurting again and feeling very low....but I took Tylenol and Lorazapam to calm my nerves and set my alarm to 1:00 so I could call for the results of the HER2/nau test.
 (more on this 'side road' story on my next post)

But before I close this post.....I'm sure you'll want to know the results of
THE HOSPITAL HER2 TEST......

 The test came back....once again equivocal (can't tell if it's negative or positive)  But the oncologist advised I proceed with the radiation and when that is done, we'll meet again and discuss the pros and cons of chemo.

'Side Road' story in my next post...coming right up...



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