Little Celebrations

Endometrial Biopsy results came back from the lab today.  Cancer free!  Probably some big polyps lining the uterine wall.  So we take our little celebrations where we find them…. I still go in for another test on Thursday (uterine saline flush with ultrasound) and schedule a procedure to remove the polyps at the hospital (outpatient I think) thereafter when those tests come back.  But life just got a little easier.

Since Sunday nite found me in the ER with high blood pressure (highest was 201/110 – 162/80 by the time I left at 10pm), this has to help!  Of course I can become apprehensive with each procedure, but knowing it is not more cancer is simply wonderful – and I don’t think apprehension will return.

Now its simply trying to get an answer from the Duke Medical Oncologist who does not return emails or calls (time for a new one, right?) who advised me to pause Tamoxifen while I take Lisinopril for the blood pressure.  Ah well…I’m going to bask in the glow of being cancer-free right now!

Tamoxifen & High Blood Pressure

Can you believe this?  11% of the population on Tamoxifen have high blood pressure as a result… and it looks like I might be part of that elite number!   We spent 8 hours (til 10pm) at the local ER because my blood pressure zoomed up to 160s and actually hit 201/110 in the hospital!

So my Medical Oncologist wants me to pause Tamoxifen while starting Lisinopril and see what happens.  Of course this has nothing to do with the fact that I had the endometrial biopsy and I’m waiting to find out if it is endometrial cancer or polyps…. so when does it start getting easier?  I think yoga and meditation may be in my near future!

 

 

Endometrial Biopsy

Today I had my first (and hopefully last) Endometrial Biopsy.  It wasn’t painful…maybe distracting…but yoga breathing helped me get through it easily.  A little residual spotting and so far, no cramps or pain!

The doctor was encouraged by the sample which seems to indicate polyps rather than endometrial thickening and cancer, but the lab will be the final arbiter.  I expect the results back by mid-week next week and have another test on Thursday if cancer is not reported.  This will be a Sonohysterography.  An infusion of saline into the uterus causes the polyps to appear to ‘float’ on the ultrasound imaging.

Once accomplished and confirmed, the treatment will be an out-patient Hysteroscopy to remove the polyps.

Carbon Greenland OC

She has arrived, and she’s a beauty!  My new kayak that I’ve waited so long for was delivered from  Estonia to NY to Charleston, and finally here in NC!   Ivory deck and black carbon hull, she’s stunning.  And best of all, my lower back issues have finally been identified with the help of a wonderful chiropractor in Greenville, S C who taught me about trigger points and massage.  So now I’m almost pain-free after 3 months!!  OMG, what an absolute joy!  This being the case, I hope to take her to the water very soon!

But let me get back to my back – it is amazing that after all these years, we still learn our bodies… what I first thought was a pulled muscle, then overly tight hip flexor muscles, turns out to be glutemus minimus trigger point muscle problems which respond very nicely to massage!  Not that it looks cool to walk around massaging my butt, but at home, easy enough!

Yesterday I had an appointment with a new ob-gyn who did an exam and will  get me in for the endometrial biopsy tomorrow (Friday).  Once we know the test results, and if it is not endometrial cancer, then I go through another test on the following Friday, most likely followed by an appointment for a D&C (dilation & curettage).  If it is cancer.. I don’t even want to think about it yet…. so we won’t!  She believes the highly likely outcome will be polyps and the process I stated above, and thats my mind’s focus.

No way am I looking forward to the biopsy tomorrow… They tell you to take 3 advil prior for pain & cramping… wonderful…. but it will subside at some point – and it isn’t like I haven’t dealt with pain before…. I’d just like a lot less of it!

So today, I simply enjoy the day, and take each as it comes, and look forward to my kayak..sometimes, that’s all you can do.  Lance was wrong when he said” it’s not about the bike”… these ‘toys’ give your mind something positive to focus on and distract us from fear…. and that’s a good thing.

Time to take up Knitting?

Called the ob-gyn office to determine just how thick is my uterine lining…. a whopping 16mm thick!  So, surgical biopsy to determine cancer, and then, most likely another medical procedure requiring hospitalization again – either a hysterectomy or D&C… more holes and cuts on my poor little body, and more recovery time….less water time…. 2012 is not shaping up as I had hoped.

I’ve done a little research and there are many options for the hysterectomy procedure…the worst and most debilitating being the abdominal incision… vaginal hysterectomy, laproscopy hysterectomy (I probably am not a candidate for either), and the Da Vinci robotics technique… 5 1/2″ incisions….

I don’t expect to like the endomentrial biopsy either – altho no visible scars, cramping and pain is a big issue.  And with my breast reconstruction, risk of infection increases so an antibiotic is required.

Is it really time to give it up? Give up kayaking and interests? My mind and my body are in conflict…. but my mind is stubborn, if not obstinate, and shouts ‘no!’.  I may never have the time to be as good as I’d like, but I should have the time to enjoy the sport after healing… and that is a goal.

I’m terribly unhappy that this has presented itself…. it seems I no sooner recover from one thing, then its on to the next…. Is this what aging is all about?  Certainly not very graceful!

So its time to make peace with what is and enjoy what is and leave behind the rest.  Sometimes more easily said than done.

Endometrial Biopsy

That should get your attention – it got mine.

My results from the Transvaginal Ultrasound came back reporting a thickened uterine lining…. the suspicious symptom of endometrial cancer due to Tamoxifen.  What I find hard to believe is that it has only been 4 months on Tamoxifen, and 4 months post-mastectomy and now I have to deal with possible uterine cancer?  This really can’t be happening!  Please, someone wake me up from this nightmare!

So on March 1st, I’ve been instructed to take 3 Advil and go into (outpatient) my ob-gyn’s office for the biopsy.  I’ll write the procedure up after that, but dear friends..I sure wish I didn’t have this knowledge to contribute.

What if?  D&C? Hysterectomy? If it is….is it contained?  Is it nothing but a thickened ‘normal’ lining?  And do I pause my treatment of Tamoxifen or consider switching to an Aramatase Inhibitor that does not do this, but does cause osteoporosis?

So many difficult decisions – none of it attractive.

I am just starting to look forward to the kayaking and biking year after missing most of last year…. I truly pray this is ‘nothing’ to worry about, and just monitor…. I’d love to have more play time than hospital time.  But what is, is… and we’ll find out in a few weeks.  Prayers welcome……

Aspirin

I’m reading an interesting book – “The End of Illness”…pretty much at the beginning, but already it has proven valuable.  It cited a study that was reported in December, 2010 that baby aspirin has shown even more value in preventing cancer than heart attacks! Part of the article follows:

Peter Rothwell, a neurologist at Oxford University, oversaw the analysis of eight previous randomized controlled trials involving 25,570 people, in which some people were given 75 mg to 100 mg of aspirin per day (baby aspirin contains 81 mg) and others were given a placebo. Overall, patients who took aspirin regularly for several years were 20% less likely to die of solid tumor cancers, such as cancers of the stomach and lung, 20 years later.

Deaths from esophageal cancer were reduced by 60% in the aspirin-takers (who took the drug for at least five years), compared with the placebo group. Lung cancer deaths were reduced by 30%, colorectal cancer deaths were cut by 40% and prostate cancer deaths were lowered by 10%, compared with the patients who got placebo.What’s more, the longer people took aspirin, the greater their reduction in cancer risk. The findings are in line with other research that has found anticancer benefits of aspirin in the lab, as well as observational studies that have shown aspirin’s protective effect against colorectal and other cancers. Researchers say the drug’s benefit may have to do with its anti-inflammatory effect.

But while the new study is compelling, cancer experts are not yet recommending that people start taking a daily aspirin for cancer prevention. And doctors warn against starting an aspirin regimen without first consulting a physician about side effects like stomach bleeding and hemorrhagic strokes.
Still, Rothwell told NPR’s Shots blog that the anticancer effect of aspirin is “quite a lot bigger” than its protection against heart attacks and strokes. “So I think in the fullness of time, preventing cancer will be seen to be the main reason for taking aspirin in healthy individuals,” Rothwell said. NPR reports:

He started taking a daily dose of aspirin a couple of years ago as the results of his study emerged. “It was looking as though there was something going on, and I thought it was a sufficiently large benefit to be worth doing something about,” says the 46-year-old researcher.

Rothwell says the “sensible time” to start taking aspirin “would be before the risk of cancer starts to rise, at about 45.” He says prophylactic aspirin is “worth thinking about” for people with a family history of early cancers.

Study author Tom Meade, emeritus professor of epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, agrees. “These are very exciting and potentially important findings. They are likely to alter clinical and public health advice about low dose aspirin because the balance between benefit and bleeding has probably been altered towards using it,” he said in a statement.

The problem with this is the same as other ‘revelations’…. studies are believed accurate and send us on a path until years later we discover mis-steps in the studies and that the findings were not as great or incorrect…

By the same token, another report came out indicating that fasting weakens cancer in mice.  Does this mean we should fast?  Would it do the same?  At what point do you do more harm than good? Or…do the yogis have it right and it purifies the body?  Isn’t it amazing that we know so little about the body at this time?

Going back to the book, the author maintains that every body is different, and we must learn our own – what works, and the effect of choices by monitoring….. be nice if insurance companies agreed!  I’m still fighting with them on the surgery bills!

 

The Human Body

An amazing piece of machinery and engineering.  It transports me and brings me to places to expand my experiences and knowledge…. and yet, when some part fails, all consciousness is brought towards the body rather than spiritual well-being.

After 3 months of lower back pain and a few chiropractic visits (and yes, I am planning on going again), I decided to try Acupuncture for relief.  And I did attain relief temporarily. An interesting process – not without some discomfort .. something like 20 needles dotted my body, literally from the top of my head to my ankles…. would I do it again?  Probably not… I’m just not that comfortable with the process, although I do believe it has value.

I believe my problem lies with my facia and hip flexors being so tight it is pulling my hips out of alignment thus causing pain…So with my focus on my body, I have embarked on various stretching exercises carefully.  Kayaking is coming up soon and this body must be ready!

 

Almost another year…

Counting down the days…. its almost here…. and I’m SO thankful!

What Breast Cancer Is and Is Not

  Eloquently articulated… are you listening Susan G. Komen corporation?  View the YouTube video.

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