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Dental Fix

Gotta run to the Dentist to get this tooth fixed that I chipped on vacation - NOT fun! I'm so not happy about the problems these medicines are causing my teeth and the fact that the dental plan only covers routine items. They cover medically necessary wigs up to $1000, but they won't cover medically necessary dental work as the result of medications, diseases and such!

What a headache - cause I'll tell ya, I'd rather be bald (from chemo) than have no teeth (from chemo and all these other breast cancer meds!) I say gimme the $1000 for the wig and let me spend it on dental work instead!

I've already seen 3 dentist in the NOLA area that all said with my meds and disease, they won't touch my teeth cause their isn't anything they can do for them other than send me to an oral surgeon to have them pulled, who is who I had to see back in November to have a tooth pulled that probably could have been saved - all because no one wants to even TRY to work on my teeth!

So we'll what happens today. I've got this chip and several other problems I need fixed and pulling them is not the solution!

Once I get back I will fill you in about our trip and post all our pictures!

Help Trusera members support Gilda's Club

We all know someone affected by cancer. Here's a practical, powerful way to help.

Trusera is teaming up with Gilda's Club this month to support cancer stories. For every person who shares their experience of cancer on Trusera before April 15th, we'll donate $10 to Gilda's Club, the worldwide network providing support for those living with cancer, up to $5000. Gilda's Club was founded in honor of comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989.

We're looking for personal experience, recommendations and tips from people who've experienced cancer personally or through a friend or family member.

Please take a minute and join the Trusera network and invite all your friends to Trusera to support this great cause.


Going Stir Crazy

Here I am on my fabulous mini-vacation, sitting all bored and lazy in the hotel room! Ruben is off giving evauls (I do believe that is what he said!) I was sound asleep when he left this morning and barely woke in time to grab some of the free continental breakfast in the lobby. Natalie is content playing with her DS, thankfully! But even being cooped up in the hotel sure beats the 2+ hours we spent in the car yesterday waiting for him in Baton Rouge. I'm not exactly sure what he had to do there - I don't really ask much anymore, and he doesn't really tell. LOL! But what he thought was going to be a 1 hour meeting took much longer as they ran into some kind of major problems. Oh well, I'm just glad to be along for the ride! During my wait yesterday I FINALLY got that call from Ochsner Oncology Department that I have been waiting for. We scheduled an appointment for the 1st, which unfortunately Ruben will be in Shreveport that day doing evauls - but I'm a big girl and can handle it on my own. So I'm feeling a little better now - and I think that once I can make my way over to the mall when he's off work today or when we drive to Texas tomorrow when things are finished up here and we find some good Tex-Mex food and spend Saturday in Galveston, I think I will be feeling a whole lot better. I know Ruben is still really worried because he wants results, but I am more at ease because I'm getting in with the specialist I wanted and the place that has a Breast Cancer Center. So that call and a lil shopping really relieved some stress for me. Or maybe it's the change of scenery. The drive here was beautiful - and even with it being an uncomfortable ride in the car, it was nice to just get away. Now if only I could find one of those drive-thru Daiquiri places like back home, so I could get a Margarita and a place to buy Nat a swim suit (cause I forgot to bring hers!) we could go relax out by the pool and REALLY enjoy ourselves while we wait for Ruben!

Hmm, guess since it's lunch time we're either going to have walk a few blocks up to Sonic or order some Pizza to be delivered. I think tomorrow I'm going to keep the car, as Ruben said he could have one of the guys pick him up - but I guess it depends on what he's doing.


The Breast Cancer Site Needs our HELP!!!

Please tell ten friends to tell ten today! The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman It takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram" for free (pink window in the middle). This doesn't cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammogram in exchange for advertising.Here's the web site! Pass it along to people you know.

I'm tired of waiting to see doctors and get results!

It's been weeks since my plastic surgeon broke the news to me about the re-occurrence of breast cancer. Since then I have been stuck with dozens of needles, injected numerous times with nuclear medicine, spent hours waiting and fasting, had several tests and scans done, and practically jumped through hoops just to get my tests results. None of it's been easy - it's caused many headaches and lots of stress! Many of the oncologists I've contacted won't agree to schedule an appointment till they review all of my medical records. As if I have all the time in the world!?! Doctors can be so insensitive some times. Does it ever cross their minds that maybe, just maybe, the patient is so worried and stressed that they need to get in with a doctor ASAP for their own peace of mind? I'm tired of waiting and want to start chemo NOW! But before I can even do that I will need to get another Port-a-Cath put in my chest. So it looks like I'll be doing even more waiting before treatment can begin! As it is, it could be anywhere from the 31st of this month till the end of next month before I even get in to see an oncologist. Then there will be more tests to do (Abdominal CT, MRI, Muga Scan and Dexa Scan just to name a few) - and I will have to find a general surgeon to place the Port, so I doubt seriously if I will be able to start chemo before May. So even MORE waiting!! Argggh!! I'm so stressed and I feel so sorry for my family for having to put up with me. Lately I have been drinking some Margarita Daiquiri's from Fat Tuesday. I figure a (mildly) mixed drink a couple times a week won't hurt me - besides it helps to relax me a bit, but still I am so stressed - and not just about this, it's everything - bills, money, family, cleaning, school - all this little stuff is getting on my nerves and I can't hardly relax. But the good news is that Ruben has to go to Lake Charles for business - about 3 hours away, so the rest of the family is going to tag along since Natalie is out on Spring Break. It will be a nice little "mini vacation" to get away from home, forget about my problems, do a little shopping (I found a scrapbook store there - YAY!!!!), and when he's not busy with his business meetings we plan on driving over the border to Texas in hopes of finding some really good tacos and carne asada like we had in Ensenada. Maybe if we have time we might drive the 3 hours from Lake Charles to Galveston. I remember going to Galveston as a child and feeding the seagulls. I don't recall what else was around there, I just remember it was beautiful there and I hope that it still is since we will be driving another 3 hours the opposite way from home. I look forward to exploring new places, taking lots of pictures, and hitting up some of my favorite stores to pamper myself - oh and let's not forget some (hopefully) awesome Tex-Mex food! I crave some homemade fresh guacamole like the kind found at Pink Taco. Mmm, I can't wait! I think this would be just what a doctor would order! A few days to get away, relax, eat good, and shop! Hopefully when I return I will be feeling better and not so worried about all this medical stuff. Despite all the stress and stuff, I am still quite hopeful - hopeful that everything will work out for the best, and things will get straightened out soon!

Oh, almost forgot. I took a load of pictures this weekend and they're all on Flickr....enjoy!


So much to say I'm not sure where to start!!!

Sorry I haven't posted lately, but there has been so much going on lately with my personal life, so much drama - obviously!

But aside from all the stressful tests, and endless waiting - I DO have some really wonderful news that I can't wait to share with you!!!

Recently I received an invite offer to become an independent contractor for the website Trusera. If you're not familiar with it, PLEASE check it out. The best way that I can describe it is peer to peer information on all sorts of medical conditions, so you get information on REAL LIFE experiences. I'm not knocking doctors - a good doctor really is an expert in their chosen specialty. BUT, I have to say, honestly, that UNLESS YOU HAVE HAD A DISEASE YOU DON'T REALLY KNOW ALL YOU THINK YOU DO! You can read up on it, go to school for it, know how to treat it BUT you do not know what it is PERSONALLY like!

I honestly believe that you can learn a lot from others and their experiences. Besides, I don't know about you, but I would like to know if someone else is going through the same exact thing as myself. It's great to have a support network of people who have gone through, or are going through the same things as you are.

So PLEASE check out the site, check out My Trusera where I will be adding my story and posting journals for the next 3 months to help the database in their Breast Cancer Community grow. Right now I am even one of the Featured Members! I'm really hoping that this opportunity will somehow produce further opportunities for me to earn money blogging, or help me to get my story published so that it can help hundreds of thousands of women worldwide!

So please support me in my new venture and feel free to join the site and talk about illnesses that have impacted your life.


Sorry for the delay.....

There just isn't enough time in the day!

I'm not sure where exactly to start, so I guess let's go back to the headache that was Wednesday, which is the day I had my bone scan schedule for.
I get to the hospital after fasting for 12 hours. I have my blood drawn - which I later found out that the idiot doctor didn't order any cancer markers, just a CBC, so I ended up having to have more blood taken Monday.
I'm not sure why the lady from the doctor's office scheduled my tests for different days, but the radiology department managed to change things so that I could do my bone scan and chest ct scan both on the same day since I had a 3 hour wait time between the injection and actual bone scan - but at least I was allowed to eat during that time!
Afterwards, I ran upstairs to the doctor's office, got copies of my records and an order for the correct blood test.

Fast forward to Friday. I spent the whole day running errands - picking up my meds, and my test results.
To summarize my chest ct scan:
The left lobe of the Thyroid is larger than the right. A single subcentimeter low attenuation focus in the right lobe of the liver beneath the dome of the diaphragm, too small for characterization by this examination. Consider dedicated abdominal CT including liver protocol and/or ultrasound for further assessment. Splenule is noted incidentally in the left upper quadrant.
When looking online to find out what a "Splenule" is, I found that it is an additional Spleen.
The report also says no metastatic disease identified. As part of my blood test I had done today, a liver panel and a Thyroid test was part of it. Now I just have to have a abdominal ct scan done when I get in with my new doctor.

My bone scan results are:
Healing rib fracture on left side (think it may have accidentally been broken during reconstruction.) Osseous metastatic disease and degenerative changes should both be considered. Correlation with plain films or MRI examination of the lumbar spine is recommended for further evaluation.
Now I'm not going to jump the gun and freak out that I have metastatic bone cancer, cause quite honestly I think given my family history of osteoporosis and arthritis - and the fact that my cancer meds deplete the calcium from my bones, I am leaning to believe that it is degenerative problems, but again, I will have to wait till I get in with my new doctor and have more tests done.

As for the PET CT scan done today, well I just have to wait till the end of the week to get those results along with my blood results.

Wish me luck! I'll elaborate more about the weekend and the actual PET test later. Right now it's well past my bed time!

All in a name....

What Angi Means
You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.
You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.
You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are very intuitive and wise. You understand the world better than most people.
You also have a very active imagination. You often get carried away with your thoughts.
You are prone to a little paranoia and jealousy. You sometimes go overboard in interpreting signals.

You are deeply philosophical and thoughtful. You tend to analyze every aspect of your life.
You are intuitive, brilliant, and quite introverted. You value your time alone.
Often times, you are grumpy with other people. You don't appreciate them trying to interfere in your affairs.

You tend to be pretty tightly wound. It's easy to get you excited... which can be a good or bad thing.
You have a lot of enthusiasm, but it fades rather quickly. You don't stick with any one thing for very long.
You have the drive to accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. Your biggest problem is making sure you finish the projects you start.


(Some) Results are in....

The results from my Bone Scan & Chest CT Scan are ready for me to go pick-up. I also have my blood test results, but the idiot surgical oncologist didn't screen for any cancer markers such as CA 27-29 - so Monday when I have my PET CT Scan I will have to do blood all over again.

Stay tuned, I will post results later - if I can interpret them!
I will also fill you in on all the hassles of the week to just GET the tests!


Weekend Recap

What a busy weekend - and losing an hour on top of it. I'm so tired, but this week is no vacation either!

Saturday I got word that a local scrap store was going out of business in Mandeville, and was selling items at 70% off. Well after driving over 40 miles, which included taking the 21 mile bridge across Lake Ponchatrain, we found the store where I stocked up on everything they had left in stock only to get to the register to find out the 110 pcs. of Bazzill cardstock I picked up wasn't included in the sale. It sucked cause we just drove all that way and I really needed cardstock, so I decided that I might as well make it worth it. I would end up paying the same amount elsewhere, and this way I was able to hand pick the colors I needed. Besides I also managed to save over $60 for the other items I purchased. Afterwards we had lunch at this nice little Italian place that was in the same shopping area. After the prior week I had had, it was nice to go out and have a nice meal, as well as an Italian Margarita, which had dashed of Sprite and OJ in it. It was a nice change from the occasional Lemon Drop Martini I get. After lunch we shopped off the meal by going to both Best Buy and Wal-Mart. We stocked up tons of new release movies and Easter items. We managed to put a sizable dent in our checking account by the end of the day. I swear shopping together is quite dangerous for the two of us!

Sunday we spent the afternoon at a Voodoo arena football game. One of Ruben's co-workers gave us tickets, as they weren't able to go. It ended up being a lot of fun. Natalie the ever-changing tomboy wanted a football, so I bought her one. They had the cutest little mini-pink football, but she refused. After the game we came home and played the newly released Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. I'm not much of a gamer, but it was fun. However since I don't know how to use any of the characters powers I gave up and requested Guitar Hero. I really have a lot of fun rocking out to that game, even though my guitar skills aren't the best.

Tonight I'm both excited and scared to start my Photoshop class. It's a 2 hour class that is weekly for the next 6 weeks. It's about time I learn how to use my Photoshop program. There is so much more I could be doing with it, so I can't wait to begin!
Tomorrow I follow up with my plastic surgeon. I'm not sure what he'll do since I don't know yet where things stand. He may just want to check my scars, as I don't know if it's okay to continue with the saline injections until we know more about the cancer and the treatment I will have to complete. Wednesday and Thursday I have blood tests, a chest scan, and bone scan - but the big test, the PET CT scan isn't until Monday the 17th. That's the test that will show if I have any other tumors, or if the cancer has spread elsewhere - and with Easter just after that I fear I may not have answers or a course of treatment until April. All this waiting is so hard to do! In the meantime I have been trying to occupy myself with scrapbooking. I started on the 3 albums for Ruben's co-worker, some of the pages I have posted to Flickr. They are simple yet satisfying. Soon I will also have to start on my circle journal as we finally have a start date set for the end of the month, which at the rate things are going will be here in a blink of an eye!


Cancer Shock

Did you hear the news about Patrick Swayze having pancreatic cancer, and possibly only having weeks to live? I hope to god it's not true! Could you imagine if he died? The mourning I think would supersede that of Health Ledger, in my opinion. Swayze is a classic, and has many followers just from Dirty Dancing alone. And this news came just after the death of Jeff Healey, the blind guitarist who was in Roadhouse with Swayze - who died from cancer. What is this world coming to? It is said that only 5% of those who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive. Those are terrible odds! It makes my news of cancer sit a little easier - knowing my chances of survival are good. But I wonder, is anyone else as tired as I am constantly hearing about cancer? I think it's about time a cure was found! What the fuck is taking so long?


Even after sleeping on it, it still isn't any easier to swallow.....

I went to bed early, at 8 last night. I just didn't have the energy to stay awake any longer after the day I had had. Instead of feeling well rested this morning, I still feel like I've been punched in the gut repeatedly. It's not about whether or not this prognosis is good or bad because I intend on surviving. I'm just in a state of shock that the cancer returned so quickly, and I wonder how many cases are out there like mine.

I'm not sure if anyone picked up on the coincidence, but yesterday was exactly 3 years and 1 day after my original diagnosis - March 3rd, 2005 was the day I found out I had cancer initially.
My surgeon joked, saying that if I hadn't asked for bigger boobs, this may never have been found - and that this may be the only case in which requesting bigger boobs may have saved someone's life. I sure hope so!

I've been breaking down all the details, thinking about how this may have re-occurred. 8 months ago when the expander was originally placed, nothing appeared abnormal. Up until June 2006, all my blood work screenings from my previous Oncologist came up negative. I haven't had my blood tested since then. I've been looking for a new Oncologist, and have even seen 2, but I didn't like either - the first doctor wasn't concerned with testing my blood, and the second I did the blood work but the lab screwed it all up, and since they don't work with anybody else I refused to go back. But even the 2nd doctor wasn't concerned about re-occurrence. So either this cancer has been developing for the last year and a half, or just sometime in the last 8 months. In either case it should not have come back. My original pathology stated my cancer thrived off of my hormones, but being that I am menopausal, I have no hormones - and what little estrogen my body does make on it's own was blocked (or should have been) by Femara, the drug I have taken since chemo ended.

So this is what I do know, based on the pathology from the 2nd tumor found:
25x15x12mm (my first tumor was 20 x 20x 15mm); biopsy revealed Infiltrating (moderately well differentiated) Duct Carcinoma (my first was diagnosed as Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma); so far there has been no staging yet (my first was Stage 2; T2 N0 M0); Estrogen Receptor Positive 90% (my first was the same); Progesterone Receptor Negative 0 (my first was Progesterone Receptor Positive 5-10%); DNA Ploidy = Tetraploid (my first was DNA Ploidy = Diploid); S Phase = 9.6% (my first was S Phase 2.2%) HER2 & CEP17 FISH = 1.1 Negative (my first was Her-2/Neu = Negative score of 1+).
So there's been little to no change there. Now it all comes down to all these tests I'm going to have done. Hopefully the cancer hasn't spread, and we can nip this in the bud with a little chemo and/or radiation. We'll see, but in any case, this won't be the death of me! I refuse to succumb to this disease - it may make me bitter, but it won't take me, cause I don't plan on dying for another 30, 40 plus years!


The Nightmare Continues.....

I went today to meet with my plastic surgeon, 1 week post-op to have my drains and staples removed. While there we were hit with some unfortunate, bad news. While performing surgery on me last week he found what looked like scar tissue in the muscle of my right breast. He removed it to be on the safe side and sent it to pathology to find out if there was anything there to be concerned with. Pathology came back that the tumor was positive for cancer. The margins were not clear, meaning I may still have some cancer cells left. Other than that I don't really know anything else. Right now the doctor that performed my mastectomy back in July is setting up multiple tests - CAT scan, MRI, Chest scan, Bone scan, and tons of blood work. He is also referring me to an Oncologist that he swears by. He is calling this a local re occurrence, as we do not know yet if it is metastatic, or spread to any other organs/parts. He talked about possible radiation, but I told him I would prefer to do chemo again so I know it is gone. He also said something about changing or adding to my meds. Of course all of this relies on how all my tests come back, which they are setting up now. So really right now I don't know anything more than that I had a tumor test positive for cancer. So I guess I shouldn't have changed the title of my blog.

Vacation's over!

Well it seems that I've been lazy long enough. After my doctor's appointment today I really need to get my ass in gear and start cranking out some album pages. Our family visiting from California left Sunday morning - and once I get these drains & tubes removed there should be nothing holding me back! I got my brand new Purple Cows 2 in 1 cutter last week. I have yet to use it but it looks so cool! It has a guillotine on one side, and a regular paper trimmer on the other. It comes with 2 blades that swap out, and you can buy deco style blades also! The 2 cutters even breaks apart, so you can take the trimmer with you to crops and stuff. I desperately needed a new cutter and did not want to start working on the 3 albums for hubby's friend until I knew I could trim paper without the trimmer eating or ruining a section. I also have to start scrapping my sign-in and instruction pages for my DRS circle journal group. We are set to mail those at the end of the month. March is going to be a super busy month for me! My Photoshop class is coming up next week. It will be 2 hours every Monday night for 6 weeks. I really hope to walk away knowing how to actually use this program - and for more than just the healing brush! Then in April I will have 4 weeks of 2 hour scrap/stamp classes. I'm betting I could probably teach this class, but it's not about that. I just want to go and hopefully meet others my age who share the same passion as myself. It would be nice to share this nice, big studio I have. Sometimes cropping, or scrapping just isn't as fun by yourself. I miss my friends back in Las Vegas. As it is, it's hard enough finding time to email or phone them when they work and I don't and there is a 2 hour difference between us. I need to start saving a little money on the side, of my own, so that maybe I can pay for a girls weekend or something. Of course that savings may interfere with my desire to save and buy a new digital SLR camera. I haven't decided which one yet, but it appears none are cheap.


The Tudors

Last night I caught an episode of Showtime's The Tudors. The new season is right around the corner, setting to premiere at the end of the month. After catching up on the 1st season On Demand, I am still quite lost, and am interested in seeing The Other Boleyn Girl . I've never been one for history, but I find this show to be intriguing. It's no doubt caused by the handsome leading man Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He's most definitely hot. I had no idea history was filled with so much sex! Or maybe it wasn't, maybe they added it to spice up the dulling moments of history! Who knows, but at least it makes it watchable.

Tomorrow I see my surgeon. It's been a week since my surgery, and I think it's time to have my drains removed. Maybe I'll get lucky and also get my staples removed while I'm there. Everything is looking pretty good, and I'm feeling a bit better. Either that, or these surgeries are seemingly getting easier. I look forward to starting my saline injections again, as I know I still have a long road ahead of me. But I have no idea when the incision sites will be well enough to go forward. For some reason he has asked Ruben to come, and I'm not sure what that means. It could be just because he intends to remove these items, or at least I hope that is all. I'm worried, but not quite ready to fear for the worst. I guess I'll find out tomorrow. Hopefully it's nothing!