And The Fight Continues

Since my last update I have had 3 rounds of chemo and with that they have now added another step in this battle. I now take Neupogen shots everyday for 6 days starting on the Saturday after my week of chemo. These daily shots help to regenerate my White Blood Cells and allows my body to not dip in to the low #’s preventing me from treatment. The draw back is that I am in some pretty significant pain for a couple of the days that I am taking them. The pain I experience is a deep bone pain so I take pain meds to help combat that.

As for the new chemo treatments the side effects seem to be sticking around a lot longer than they did after my first round. I have experienced neuropathy in my fingers, toes and in my mouth. Because of this side effect I am unable to eat or drink anything cold with ice or any of my favorites things. I have experienced a very weird taste and food just isn’t the same for me.

I try to push myself to do things as I can, as I get a little depressed when my mind is motivated and my body is not! Seems though that for everyday I do push and might over do I find that I need to have 2 days to recover!! However I want to live in the now and continue to be with the kids and Geoff doing what I am able so when the body says to stop I have to listen and just rest…

I have such a wonderful husband he has been so great in picking up and taking care of the household and the kids. I know that this has also been difficult for him as he is still working fulltime and handling such a huge load! He handles everything but there are times when I just wished I had the energy to be more of a help. I know he misses my cooking and taking care the meals!! Recently a new calendar was setup my Marla Sheik not sure if you have the link but if anyone that lives close to us is willing to help with meals here and there I know he would really appreciate it as would I. Here is the link and the passcodes.

To access Diane Gibson’s personal CareCalendar site,
visit http://www.carecalendar.org/logon/152720 and enter
the following information in the appropriate spaces:

CALENDAR ID : 152720
SECURITY CODE : 4055

I have such a huge support system and you all continue to pray for me and I am so grateful for all that and the love that you show me through the notes, emails and phone calls. It means so much to me!!!!

I continue to have a strong and determined attitude. I will not give into this cancer or into this fight!!!!!

Until next time…

❤ Diane

Update 5.30.13

I again want to apologize to you for not posting anything since the beginning of May!

After my treatment on May 1, the next week I was due to have another round however  I was not able to since my white cell count was really low. Being low means they aren’t able to continue until they come up.  My doctor decided to postpone for one week and see what my counts were then. Unfortunately, that next week it wasn’t the white blood cells but my platelets that were extremely low and if they dropped much lower than I would need to have a transfusion. So again he postponed my treatment.  On May 17th I had a CT scan and anxiously awaited the results.

Geoff and I received the call on Tuesday evening from my Dr. He had been waiting to get all of the data together and reviewed with Dr. Yuan from City of Hope. She was the doctor we saw for our 2 opinion. She still is not convinced that where my cancer started was in the breast. She and her team are still thinking that is has something to do with my GI tract. The news that we were given was not exactly what I was hoping for however it really wasn’t that bad!   The Cancer has not spread,(PRAISE GOD) although there has been some growth of the tumors on the liver but minutely. Doctor didn’t seem to concerned about that he was however concerned with the fact that my blood counts are not bouncing back quickly which is delaying my treatment!  The doctors decided that what course I was on wasn’t really working even with missing 2 different treatments. They have decided to put me on a whole new regiment this consists of going every other week I had my first treatment last Wednesday and was there for approximately 4hrs and received 2 different medications that have to be given together over 2 1/2 hrs. Then I have given a boost of another medication over a 10 minute period, once that was complete then I was sent home with a pump of the same medication to be administered over 46hrs. This treatment plan has a name it is called FOLFOX. This is known to be a treatment used for Colon Cancer.  Doctor said to me that it is a more aggressive treatment and it works on all Cancer’s in that region.

With this new regimen comes new side effects. I am not allowed to have anything cold to eat or drink in the first 5 days after treatment as this can cause my esophagus to close and have breathing issues. Neuropathy is another side effect and its pretty intense! I experienced that the first night! Touching anything that is cold or frozen sends a feeling of tingling or electricity through my hands. I have been told that I really need to wear gloves when reaching into for anything out of the fridge. That’s a hard one to get use too. Then there are the effects that I had before loss of hair, being tired and lack of energy. It literally took from Wed to Monday to finally feel like I was able to get up and around. I pray and hope that this treatment plan works. I noticed that I am still experiencing a few pains here and there and that is different than the last regimen. Once I had treatment that pains would go away. I meet with my Dr again before the 3rd round and will discuss all the questions I am sure to have by then!!!

After this first round and seeing it take me down for almost 5 days Geoff and I would like to ask for help again with meals if anyone would like to help us again. This is just one area that is such a HUGE help to our family as I was the primary cook.

I will do my best to try an update this more regularly!!

With love,

Until next time…

Diane

Update 5.3.13

I know it’s been a while since we updated here, I apologize as I have had a busy couple of weeks with out-of-town guests, the fundraiser and treatment or lack there of.

Since we last met here, I was so blessed to be honored in such a wonderful way, at such a beautiful place with so many amazing friends! Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their busy lives to come enjoy the evening with me and to those who donated and participated in every way. It was beyond my wildest dreams that so many people would come to support me and lift my spirits and you all did just that!!

Following the fundraiser I should have had a chemo treatment on April 17th but at my blood workup on Tuesday my counts were so incredibly low that I was not able to have my session and I was quarantined to my house. They call this Neutropenia. Neutropenia is a granulocyte disorder characterized by an abnormally low number of neutrophils. Neutrophils usually make up 50-70% of circulating white blood cells and serve as the primary defense against infections by destroying bacteria in the blood. My blood counts need to be above 1500 in order to receive treatment and at this lab, my counts were below 300.

The following week on April 24th (my scheduled “off” week from chemo), I had an appointment at City of Hope with a doctor for a second opinion. Unfortunately the doctor was not prepared to discuss my case because Kaiser had not sent all my test results, labs and records in a timely manner in order for City of Hope to run their own pathology reports and make an educated second opinion.  After leaving there with not much more information that we already knew, I continued to wait for Kaiser to complete the records request and City of Hope to complete their pathology.

Having not had chemo for nearly two weeks, I began to experience the same pain and discomfort in my lower abdomen (my liver region) that I was feeling when I was diagnosed in early March, which I can attribute to lack of drugs attacking and killing the cancer. At the same time I was experiencing pains, I was also a little less fatigued and had an increased appetite since the chemo was basically out of my system. Needless to say and quite surprising, I was looking forward to my next chemo (which was this past Wednesday May 1st) so that the pain would subside.

Yesterday, the City of Hope doctor called with her second opinion conclusion… she informed me that the tumor board met on Wednesday to discuss my case. Their pathologist discussed with the doctor that they feel their findings indicate that the cancer started in my GI track or pancreatic biliary. They feel that they would need to request the biopsy block from Kaiser to continue further evaluations. At this point she indicated that their diagnosis is conclusive with Kaiser (Carcinoma of the unknown primary) which is ultimately not breast cancer. They believe that Kaiser may not have enough tissue left from their original biopsy to continue testing without going back in for additional tissue (another biopsy) and this may not even give a definitive answer as to where the cancer originated. That being said, the consultation has ended for the time being. The treatment plan remains the same, they agree with Kaisers protocol and indicated this chemo covers whatever type of cancer this is, in those areas.

I have still not experienced too many side effects, I am physically exhausted which has been the norm for quite some time. I am not violently ill, just a little nauseous throughout the day, usually when I have an empty stomach. I continue to shed hair more than usual which is expected but I haven’t gone bald yet, obviously 🙂

My spirits are high and I’m taking things day by day. Love each and every one of you!

Thank you for your continued prayers, love and support.

Until next time…

❤ Diane

 

 

 

Chemotherapy Port Surgery & 3rd Chemo Appointment

Tuesday mom had her port surgery. It was a long day.

It was rough, she went from not being hungry because of this disease and chemotherapy making everything sound gross or taste disgusting  to starving because she had to fast for her surgery.

Surgery was scheduled at 3:30pm and she was home by 7:00pm. Had a hard time sleeping after the meds wore off and she has to get used to having the port and finding a comfortable way to sleep.

This is what her port looks like… Swelling should go down hopefully soon!! Her neck is tense and She’s sore but Dr says it went well!!

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ImplantablePort_2011

She had Chemo on Wednesday. This was her 1st round of her 2nd cycle. She did well, rested most of the day and then went to Aaron’s baseball game for a little bit. Overall she’s feeling pretty good, all things considered.

Today she has been down most of the day, trying to rest and keep her pain and discomfort at a minimum.

We love you all! Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and support in every way possible!

Until next time…

❤ Jaimie

 

One Round Down… Six more to go….

Although I couldn’t attend the fundraiser at Flamingo’s I want to personally thank each and every person who dined there in support of me. I can feel the love and prayers from all of you. I also want to extend a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to Lynette Brinkis for organizing these events and to Flamingo’s for coming together as part of this amazing community!! I will do my best to attend the benefit on April 13th and I hope all of you can too!!

As for my treatment…July seems so far away….

I feel very blessed to not have had any real side effects yet. The only thing I can attribute to chemo so far would be lack of energy and fatigue. I try everyday to get up and at least shower and stay out of bed for as long as possible.

This week, on Monday I met with my oncologist. He went over my PET scan results and discussed what we basically already knew. I have stage 4 breast cancer which has metastasized into my liver. His goal is to put me into remission so that I can continue to lead a full and normal life, while maintaining chemotherapy.

My chemotherapy happens for two consecutive weeks and then I have an off week. This happens to be my off week and I can definitely feel that my counts have dropped.

Next week I will be having my port placed on my left shoulder on Tuesday and then my next round starts Wednesday. I have heard that as I continue I may begin to feel more side effects. I am praying they aren’t too bad.

I also want everyone to know how incredible it feels to be part of a community that comes together when a family is in need. Thank you to everyone who has signed up on the calendar to bring meals and assist wherever needed and have been here since this all began.

I love you all!!

Until next time…

❤ Diane

 

 

The road begins… After Chemo & finally a PET Scan

I’m sure you’ve all been very anxious to hear what’s been going on the past few days.

The MRI results showed that I do in fact have breast cancer! There is no mass in either side, the cancer was thought to be there at one time and has moved to a right lymph node under my breast about 2 inches away from my liver.

Wednesday I began chemotherapy. Which didn’t seem to be too bad. I have not had any side effects until yesterday.

Yesterday I had to fast because I had my PET scan. Lack of substance in my system and only being able to drink water, may have contributed to my nausea. It was an incredibly long day waiting to get the scan. My appointment wasn’t until 12:45pm and I wasn’t seen until 2:15pm because I had to drink the contrast and wait.

The oncologist originally told me that my PET scan results wouldn’t be back until Monday or Tuesday. Around 6pm I received a phone call from him, informing me that he already had the results!

I am happy to report that my cancer has not spread anywhere except one lymph node and throughout my liver. I have officially been diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer of the Liver. My chemo will run for 6 rounds (2 weeks on 1 week off is one round).

With this news, even though I have a treatment plan in place, Im still going to get a second opinion.

Although no cancer is a good cancer, breast cancer is more commonly treated and has a higher rate of response to chemotherapy. I am very optimistic about the future and I plan to kick cancers ass!

Thank you all for your continued support, love and prayers!!

Until next time…

❤ Diane

Preparing for the battle..

What a surprise it was for Mom and Dad to have breakfast made for them today. Thank you Shari and Russ for the delicious start to the day and your amazing friendship! They really enjoyed spending time with you this morning.

Saturday was a good day for Mom, she was able to eat well and consumed a lot of protein which made her feel more energetic and she enjoyed the day with Dad and Charity, overall her spirits are high as she prepares for this next week.

We’re still trying to diagnose the primary source of this cancer. Mom had her MRI Saturday and is scheduled for her PET scan this coming Friday (unless we are lucky enough to get it moved to a sooner date), these tests should confirm the primary source and we are still hopeful it is primary breast cancer as the treatment for this type of cancer has the highest success rate.

Monday Mom and Dad go in for Chemo orientation which will tell them what to expect, side effects, protocol etc. Mom starts Chemo this Wednesday.

We don’t know exactly what to expect, but we are planning for the worst and hoping for the best. Everyone has been so generous and offering to help in whatever way they could and we are so gracious and appreciative. I knew my mom was superwoman but until she physically couldn’t do it all anymore, I don’t think anyone realized how much she really did and carried on her shoulders. She reads every post and is so completely overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support that she is receiving from everyone!

Anticipating that mom will be very sick, we have come up with a few things that we could really use some help with.

1)      Germ Free Environment- With my mom’s already suppressed immune system and the effects from the Chemo; we want to ensure the house stays as clean as possible. We are looking for referrals for a housekeeper to come once a week and thoroughly clean the house.

This person should be:

  • Trustworthy
  • Kind
  • Understanding of the situation, able to “work around” Diane
  • Inexpensive (we don’t really have “extra” funds for this)

If anyone has a referral for us, please email me directly at Jmeelyn@gmail.com

2)      This also means we are asking that all visits are scheduled, no drop by visits please. All visitors must be in good health, we don’t want to risk any exposure during this time to the flu etc.  Thanks for understanding.

3)      Dinners- Thank you so much to those of you who have brought or are bringing dinner!!  If you are signed up for a dinner, or plan to sign up for a dinner, there will be an ice chest in the front of the house to drop off dinner in case Diane isn’t feeling up to visitors.

4)      Sheets- We are anticipating a need to change sheets often, we would like to collect some extra sheets, these can be new or gently used twin size (84″ long x 36″ wide x12” deep) fitted sheets. If you can donate these, that would be incredibly helpful.

Thank you so much for everyone’s thoughts, prayers and kind words. You have no idea what it means to us as a family to know that we have so much support and love!

Until next time…

❤ Jaimie