Cancer Moonshot Conference - Today 6/29/2016
I know I have said I am skeptical about this whole moonshot conference idea. Its only one day. And the idea of spending all that money on a one day conference doesn't do much for me. But the conference is today - June 29, 2016 so I am going to see what comes out of it.I went to their website and found that they are now trying to get people involved. They are asking for ideas. They provided sharing links and hashtags.They are working with CureClick to incorporate social media and get others involved. (If you do not follow along with CureClick to learn about clinical trials and their results, I suggest you do.)So my current ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 29, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: #CanServe #MoonshotSummit Source Type: blogs

That Er+/Pr+ Thing
So I haven always known (well since my diagnosis - before my diagnosis what I knew about breast cancer wouldn't fill a post-it) that have a hormone receptor positive breast cancer had a lot of impact on your treatment protocol. But I didn't know that much about how that worked.Now I am learning more. In the past, estrogen was considered to be the indicator of breast cancer diagnosis. When estrogen was detector at a biopsy, it was considered an indicator of breast cancer. Now it has been determined that progesterone has a big impact as well."Previous studies have demonstrated that estrogen receptors react to the primar...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 28, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer breast cancer treatment hormone receptor status Source Type: blogs

There's Napping, and Then There's Napping
The best semester that I had in college was one when I managed to nap every afternoon. That way I could get up and go to class in the morning, come home and nap, and then study before going out again at 10 pm. I was young but I did get good grades and had a great social life. That is the most napping I have done in my life, until now. As a rule, these days I try not to nap too much because if I nap, I probably will not sleep as well that night. I prefer just to get my 10 hours of sleep together. However, sometimes when I can't keep my eyes open, I am forced to nap. Or I just nap where I am because I am so tired, I can't ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 27, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: fatigue nap sleep Source Type: blogs

There's Napping, and Then There's Napping
The best semester that I had in college was one when I managed to nap every afternoon. That way I could get up and go to class in the morning, come home and nap, and then study before going out again at 10 pm. I was young but I did get good grades and had a great social life. That is the most napping I have done in my life, until now.As a rule, these days I try not to nap too much because if I nap, I probably will not sleep as well that night. I prefer just to get my 10 hours of sleep together. However, sometimes when I can't keep my eyes open, I am forced to nap. Or I just nap where I am because I am so tired, I can't mov...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 27, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: fatigue nap sleep Source Type: blogs

Training the Psychiatrists
I am sure psychiatrists get all sorts of training, but from the patient's point of view, we want them to be trained to understand our problems. My first therapist ever, after a bad boyfriend breakup, was very helpful to me but she hadn't had cancer and didn't get all that part of my emotions. but she was very helpful to me.After breast cancer, I got a new therapist. She had had breast cancer. She really got that part of me. Then she retired!!!I tried a new therapist who told me about her ailments more than I told her about my ailments. Then I canned her and found a new one. While she hasn't had cancer, its okay because she...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 26, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer therapist Source Type: blogs

Will It Come Back?
Will it come back? We ponder that question. We obsess over that question. We analyze it to death. We dissect that question. We dream about that question. We have nightmares about that question. And no one can tell us anything.Once you get cancer, you never know if it will come back. Or when. That's what really sucks about cancer.I did read an article summary recently that discusses some indicators of when breast cancer might recur. A study was done to see if it could be determined which factors contributed to when breast cancer might come back. Some factors were determined to have impact and others not.A hig...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 25, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer cancer recurrence Source Type: blogs

After A Lot of Deep Thought
As a professional patient, I have met with a few million doctors over the years. I have recently done a lot of deep thought recently as well. I have decided I am glad I never even considered being a doctor.Never mind the ick factor of having to touch people you don't know and look at all sorts of mystery ailments and figure out what is wrong with them. There also is the issue of medical school and internship - way more education than I would ever want. Besides I deserve all the sleep I can get.On the plus side of being a doctor would be the ability to find a cure for all my ailments. That would be really nice. Actually it ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 24, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: being a patient career cure doctors Source Type: blogs

Perkiness and fatigue
Sometimes I wake up and am very perky. This annoys my husband to no end so that if I feel the least bit perky I make sure he knows (I love aggravating him sometimes - part of a happy marriage is being able to annoy your spouse).Recently I have been dealing with fatigue. I have no idea why I have so much fatigue but I do. I have had three two hour plus naps in the past five days. This includes sleeping fairly well at night. If this keeps up maybe I should go to the doctor... No wait a minute, I have enough doctor appointments these days. If I make another doctor appointment it will be because I am dripping blood or in so mu...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 23, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: being a patient fibromyalgia nap pain levels perkiness Source Type: blogs

Deflation
Here's another exciting new headline: Unlikely drug may block breast cancer in high-risk women. But then as you read it, you end up feeling deflated. Why? Because you find out at the end that it will take 10 years before the results of clinical trials will be available. And that it is based on a very small research pool. But here goes. So a drug, denosumab (or Prolia) used to to treat osteoporosis appears to prevent growth of breast cancer in high risk (read BRCA1+) women. This could be a prevention strategy for this group of women. This sounds like fantastic news. "For the study, 33 samples of breast t...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 22, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: breast cancer cancer prevention cancer risk Source Type: blogs

Don't Believe Statistics
Back in college, I took a statistics class and had to write a paper about the skewing of statistics particularly as done in the media. I think I did pretty well on it. And I did learn not to believe statistics as presented anywhere without thinking about them.Here's an example: A recent study said that being married or having a college education made you more likely to get brain cancer. I'll bet that result was a surprise to the researchers. But you really need to dig a little deeper into the research to understand that isn't really the truth."Using a huge registry of health and other data on all Swedes, European rese...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 21, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer research truth Source Type: blogs

I was too tired to blog
or do a lot of other things today. I took another 2 hour nap. I also took one on Saturday afternoon.Last night again I didn't sleep well. I did get up in the morning but felt tired but good enough that I went to the gym. I came home, did some laundry, took a shower. I was trying to be normal.Then I was trying to watch tv but was too tired. I fell asleep. I did mean to blog but couldn't stay awake. I think I needed that nap. I just hope I can sleep tonight. The downside to napping. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 20, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: fatigue nap sleep Source Type: blogs

The Non-Opioid Abusers
Those of us who live with chronic pain take pain medication, including opioids. There has been quite a bit in the news about the growing opioid epidemic which is killing thousands of Americans. Most of those who die are abusers who overdose. The resulting laws trying to restrict access to opioids causes difficulties for those of us who actually live in chronic pain and need the opioids to function.Could you imagine needing to go back to your doctor's office to pick up a paper prescription to bring to your pharmacy to refill it? That is what happens now. Yes really. Can you imagine being in total pain and having to drive or...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 19, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: pain management pain relief Source Type: blogs

Getting the 'good advice'
Becky, over at BCBecky blogged about The costs of cancer treatment. I read her post and then commented on it. And then, I started thinking (sorry, I do think sometimes).In her blog post, Becky talked about the costs of treatment, but not just the financial ones. And the sustainability of keeping up with her current course of treatment. Of course she has advice from people who may not have had cancer. My thought would be talk to the people who have had cancer and had to make the same types of decisions and then make your own choice.I really think that as those who have had cancer, we need to take our learned knowledge and h...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 18, 2016 Category: Cancer & Oncology Tags: cancer bonds helping medical decisions Source Type: blogs

Living with medical errors
I have a picture some place of when I went for knee surgery in 2001 of me home from the hospital with a big bandage on my right knee and the word "NO" scrawled in big letters on  my right knee. This was written by the surgeon after triple confirming with me.Then I have the memory of me after gall bladder surgery in 2008 where I heard the nurses talking about the excessive bruising on my abdomen after a laproscopic procedure. Basically I heard the doctor must have been really rough on me because of the size and speed at which the bruise arrived - and ho w long it hurt afterwards.In the past few years the stat...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 1, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: medical adventures procedures Source Type: blogs

Back to reality
While we are back from vacation, I am trying to stretch out the relaxed feeling for a few more days - until I go back to work Tuesday morning.What is reality?Getting on top of my list of doctor appointments. Refilling prescriptions neededReturn library booksCatching up with friends LaundryGrocery storeUnpackingTake care of outstanding volunteer work for two organizations.Making the cat understand we did not leave him FOREVER and are BACK for a long time.Taking the car for a very overdue oil change (don't tell my husband) Planning for a visit from college friends from out of town. Thinking about upcoming medical advent...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 31, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: reality vacation Source Type: blogs

My hyper-focused life.
My life,and my blog, seem to be hyper-focused on breast cancer. Yes I acknowledge in my (Breast Cancer) blog that I have other ailments but I have never changed the focus of my blog even though I have questioned it. I still blog about breast cancer because it is part of my life. And I write about changing the focus of my blog but haven't.However, I read this morning there is another disease which is more prevalent than the one-in-eight statistic for breast cancer that is tossed around. It is Alzheimer's. And the writer makes a valid point that breast cancer is full of ribbons and magazine articles on it, Alzheimer's is not...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 29, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: healthiness life whininess Source Type: blogs

Year round pinkification
Estee Lauder is going to new lengths to create year round pinkificaiton. In October 2014, they will offer story telling videos of four families facing breast cancer. They made sure to include young and old, Asian and African Americans so it can't be deemed racist, sexist, or ageist.They have two good reasons for running the campaign year round. The first is that with breast cancer its a year round diagnosis, not just one month of the year. That is clearly been a complaint for decades. But the other is their multimillion dollar campaign won't fit into one month. I am sure they could have made it fit into one month but it do...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 28, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: fad hype pinkification stupidity Source Type: blogs

I'm not that standardized
Here's a new proposal. Give surgeon's a black box to help prevent medical errors, like they have in air planes.The proposal:"Inside the operating room, video cameras track every movement. Outside, a small computer-like device analyzes the recordings, identifying when mistakes are made and providing instant feedback to surgeons as they operate. This is the dream of the surgical "black box." Operations could become flawless. Post-operative complications could be significantly reduced. Surgeons could review the footage to improve their technique and prep for the next big case."The goal is so a surgeon lear...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 27, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: medical adventures medical devices progress surgery Source Type: blogs

Can you cure ALS with a bucket of ice water over your head?
Is it the same as putting a pink ribbon on breast cancer? Don't get me wrong here, I think the ice bucket challenge is raising awareness of a horrible disease and it is increasing donations to a worthy organization (unless you are Catholic and have a problem with the stem cell research they advocate). Before you grab your big bucket of ice water and are thankful this challenge is going around in August and not in January, please take a moment to think.Is what the ice bucket challenge is doing for ALS more than what a pink ribbon does for breast cancer? Seriously.For everyone who wore a pink ribbon or did the ice bucket cha...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 25, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: awareness fad pinkification Source Type: blogs

Challenging myself
As you amass ailments, you start crossing things out from the list of things you used to enjoy but no longer. I have a very long list of things I used to enjoy and can't any more. I used to kayak. I liked to kayak. I stopped kayaking when my back starting going bad. Then rheumatoid arthritis complicated things a bit more. Combined with lingering tennis elbow in my right arm. I often wear a wrist splint on my right hand as well to reduce the pain in my left elbow and wrist.Then we came to Cape Cod on vacation with my family. My brother said he was bring kayaks - one hard shell and a couple inflatable ones. In my mind, infla...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 24, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: achievements challenge success Source Type: blogs

Why do I do what I do?
I'm not talking about cancer, I'm talking about volunteer stuff. I never used to volunteer. I mean rarely did I volunteer. I was too busy having a life, or trying to at least. Ten years ago, I got bit by the volunteer bug and now I seem to fill my life with volunteering.In the past ten  years I have: been on the board of the friends organization for the town library, volunteered at Komen events, volunteered with Relay for Life, volunteered at the local cancer support organization, worked at the annual conference for NEDMA, help the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation with their website for their annual fundraiser, briefly help...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 22, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: helping smile volunteer Source Type: blogs

Research turns theories upside down
I read Dr Susan Love's blog - she writes well and she knows her stuff - and I have heard her speak so I feel a connection. Recently she posted about some interesting new research which has some wide implications. While the research itself sounds interesting, I am more interested in Dr Love's comments about the research.She makes the point:"Two new papers have been published which are causing many to reevaluate their thinking about cancers and which cells are important.  Once again, our previous theories have been stood on their heads!"So what was believed was wrong. We need to remember that. As research prog...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 21, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer research change medical research Source Type: blogs

Life with chronic pain
I was very intrigued to read this article on a man's advice on living with a wife in chronic pain. I admit I might be guilty of some of the first ten myself. My husband does pick up on when I am overdoing things and cues me to take it easier.I also know sometimes when I want to do things and feel like I should do them but just don't have it in me. I try to work around it. I'll lie down for a while and then try later on. Or I'll put it off until the next day. Sometimes I ask my husband to do things for me - like making dinner - because the idea of standing in the kitchen for ten minutes just isn't a good idea.If you read hi...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 19, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: pain levels Source Type: blogs

Insurer bias - or why insure (expensive) sick people?
One of the big issues with healthcare reform was so that sick people could be insured instead of being left hanging at the mercy of their insurance company. The act did eliminate pre-existing conditions from precluding someone from health insurance. But the jury is still out as to the bias issue.Several groups are claiming that bias is creeping back into the insurance system. First patients try to figure out which plan is best for them. But the information on what drugs are covered and what are the co-pays for them are not on the top of the list of information.For healthy people, this would not matter usually. But for us n...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 18, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: ailments bias insurance costs medication costs Source Type: blogs

Double mastectomy or not?
The latest fashionable breast cancer decision is to have a double mastectomy in a preventive effort. Well there was a super secret twenty year study going on about the benefits of that very same surgery.Basically what it boils down to is that unless you have the BRCA gene or other hereditary breast cancer, there is no benefit to removing a healthy breast. And the potential complications of the surgery can have a negative effect on the patient."Tuttle and his coauthors used published data to develop a model for predicting survival rates over 20 years for women diagnosed with stage I or II cancer at age 40, 50 or 60.Acc...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 17, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer surgery survivorship Source Type: blogs

Why do they do that?
I have a policy with myself for when to call my back pain doctor. When I get to the point of needing 2-3 breakthrough pain pills to get through the day, its time to make the call for an appointment. I have been at that point for a while and got in to see him yesterday afternoon.My points of discussion with him were two: My right SI joint is in serious need of having its nerves killed off and my varying total back pain needs to be discussed. We don't always change my pain meds at a single appointment, we often discuss them over a few appointments before making changes.My right SI joint (which is the long seam joint down the...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 16, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: doctor appointments medical adventures medications ouch pain levels Source Type: blogs

What to do about my boring blog?
My blog has devolved into something just plain boring, for lack of a better word. I will say I do not write for volume, I do not write for search engines or to build twitter followers or anything like that. I blog because it helps me cope with my devolving health. I do try to primarily write about breast cancer and related issues.But my life has not been about breast cancer recently. Which is a good thing. I do not focus my life on breast cancer now. My life focuses on work, getting ready for craft fairs this fall, and coping with my back and RA issues as well as fibromyalgia pain.I have also upped my volunteer work to a l...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 15, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: blogging boring breast cancer Source Type: blogs

A day off
Today I have given myself a day off. Actually, don't tell anyone, but I have a cold. Well its not really a 'cold'. I just don't feel well, run down, tired, but no congestion. And I have been fighting it since Monday night.Due to being Mrs CIS (Compromised Immune System), I don't bounce back from little germs like I used to. Actually I don't bounce at all...I just plan on being better for vacation which starts Sunday (and to all you burglars, we have a house sitter). I can't be sick on vacation. That's a rule. I might also not blog very much while we are gone...But I must be healthy while we are away..Anyway, I also be home...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 14, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: car cold immune system Source Type: blogs

When diagnosed with cancer, get a puppy
I read a really good book last night. The whole thing. 83 pages in a 5"x 8" book so its a very quick read. 'Survival Lessons' by Alice Hoffman. Yes the famous writer Alice Hoffman.She had breast cancer 15 years before she wrote the book which came out last year. In the introduction she tells us it is her personal path to healing on her own terms. The book then shares what she learned during the course of her treatment, looking back after all that time. I hope I am as smart then as she is now.In addition to telling us to get a puppy during treatment, she is full of good advice including 'choose to plan ahead' and ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 13, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: books breast cancer bonds healing Source Type: blogs

Its a sad day
Robin Williams died from an apparent suicide yesterday. But I smiled after reading some of his most famous quotes. Here are some of my  favorites:"Goooooooood morning Vietnam! It's 0600 hours. What does the 'O' stand for? O my God, it's early!" - Adrian Cronauer, Good Morning Vietnam (1987)[Mork picks up an egg] "Hello? Hello? Anybody in there? Little hatchling brothers, you must revolt against your oppressors. You have nothing to lose but your shells.""You're only given one little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it."You can read the rest here.But the sad thing is that he committed sui...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 12, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: death humor Source Type: blogs

A new understanding of cancer
I read both these articles recently and sort of jumbled them around in my brain and thought about them. They make a lot of sense. There is current medical research which is focusing on a new cancer classification system based on their genetic make up and not on which part of the body they are found.Think about it. We may call it a head cold or the stomach flu, right? But we know they are different and treat them differently. With cancer, its the same thing. Breast cancer and stomach cancer get different treatments - but they are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation - which are fairly similar. And then doctors wonder why so...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 11, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer treatment cancer research progress Source Type: blogs

I didn't blog today
This isn't a real blog post. It is an unpost to say I am not dead or anything but we had house guests, I didn't get enough sleep either Friday or Saturday night, and I am tired. So I am not blogging. Pretend I am writing in invisible ink. I should be back tomorrow. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 10, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: blogging Source Type: blogs

Chronic can be a good thing
When I was in cancer treatment, I was told cancer was being treated as a chronic illness instead of a terminal one. We all liked that. It was nice knowing that they didn't expect you to die anytime soon. Living with a terminal disease is not fun. Your life is counted in weeks and months instead of decades and generations. But living with a chronic disease is not that great either.We all know we came with an expiration date - life is a terminal occurrence. We are all going to die some day. But with a chronic disease, life just becomes a little (or a lot) less fun.I have a couple of those chronic conditions that make life le...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 9, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: chronic conditions hope terminal ailments Source Type: blogs

Happiness
What is happiness in life? We don't realy know. Scientists have defined it as:My version of it is a bit different (and I have long since forgotten all the calculus, trigonometry and higher math I learned in college) and shorter.I think happiness is defined as contentment, meeting your own expectations and no one else's. In the scientific definition they talk about it as meeting your expectations of yourself. But do not lower your expectations. You need to set your expectations to a level that you can attain. Wow, am I getting philosophical this morning? That is too much to ask. But I digress. What makes me happy? Well, as ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 8, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: happiness quality of life Source Type: blogs

Say hello to our new pal - PALB2
PALB2, or PAL for short, is our new friend. She's a newly discovered breast cancer gene who hangs out closest to our old friend BRCA2, or B2. She also hangs with B1 but not as much. But what does PAL do? According to some new research:"Overall, the researchers found, a PALB2 mutation carrier had a 35 percent chance of developing cancer by age 70. By comparison, women with BRCA1 mutations have a 50 to 70 percent chance of developing breast cancer by that age, and those with BRCA2 have a 40 to 60 percent chance...""The breast cancer risk for women younger than 40 with PALB2 mutation was eight to nine times hig...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 7, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer cancer research cancer risk genetics Source Type: blogs

Blah, blah blah, blah, blah
Ooohhh.... more information on breast cancer risk!!! Hot damn baby, this must have the clues I need!!!Nope. Not there.Here they are:Hereditary: not me"Being obese, smoking, drinking alcohol, using birth control pills, lack of exercise, early menstruation, and certain benign breast diseases, have all been associated with an increased risk for breast cancer"I'll take the fifth here. But I wasn't fat until after breast cancer. And I have always been known to get exercise and have never been a fan of the pill.And then there is something about how estrogen metabolizes in your body and there is a new fancy test for thi...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 6, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer cancer risk medical news Source Type: blogs

Appointments can mess up everything!
We are going on vacation in a few weeks and looking forward to it. This is an annual trip that has been planned. (And no I am not giving special insight to burglars as we will have a house/cat sitter while we are gone.) As part of our getting organized for this trip, I have longstanding plans to have tea with the house/cat sitter to discuss details of what is the latest food the cat will eat as well as other general information.We are supposed to have tea (or possibly champagne and paté) at 3pm.Yesterday I gave up on my back issues and decided living on Tramadol is not the lifestyle I enjoy, and called my back pain ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 5, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: doctor appointments fun schedules Source Type: blogs

I can't decide
No this isn't about cancer. It does say 'breast cancer blog' but my life isn't all about cancer - which is a good thing.My problem/decision today is - allergies or a cold. I flew back from DC last week and was exposed to all sorts of people. As I blogged on Saturday, I am not feeling that great. But after sitting on my butt for two days instead of getting exercise and not feeling better, I have decided I need to go to plan B. Ignore it.I can't decide if its a cold or allergies so I am going to ignore it. I have too much to do this week to be sick so I am going to pretend I am not sick. If I get sicker, maybe I'll do someth...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 4, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: allergens cold germs Source Type: blogs

Unwanted interrogations
I really despise this. You reveal an ailment and get an interrogation in return. It doesn't matter how well you know the person, you just want to shut them up.Recently, when asked about my wrist brace, I said my usual 'its a combination of tendinitis, tennis elbow, RA and more'. These questions ensued:Have you had a cortisone injection? Yes, two.Do you take anti-inflammatories? YesDo go to PT? No but I go to a gym which is run by physical therapists. Do you take vitamin B6? Yes to shut them up (and then I went home and checked my vitamin bottle).Do you meditate? No but I knit and crochet and it has been shown to have the s...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 3, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: ailments questions rudeness Source Type: blogs

Immune systems and all that.
I guess I have a crappy immune system.... Or that's what they tell me. Nothing to do with cancer but that pesky chemo crap probably did something to my immune system during treatment. Now I have RA and the methotrexate definitely has messed up my immune system. Someone else's sniffles can make me sick for weeks.But I usually just ignore my immune system and do what I feel like. Call me a rule breaker if you want.When I was in chemo, they (the proverbial 'them') said I should avoid crowds and not to go to the mall, movie theaters etc. I didn't go to the mall or movie theaters. But I did work for the local community ed progr...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 2, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: germs immune system travel Source Type: blogs

I dont travel well any more
I used to travel at the drop of a hat. Skiing for the weekend? No problem. Run off for a weekend hiking in the mountains? Bring it on. Drop everything and head for the beach? Sure. A day in the city followed by dinner out? Let's go!!Now, can we go off for a day of fun? Only if I get enough sleep first. A weekend away? Let me count out my pills to make sure I am prepared. Is there plenty to do if I need to lie down for a bit (so my husband isn't too bored). Are there wimpy activities if I need to change plans? I am traveling, by myself, with my newest purchase, a four wheeled suitcase which is much easier on my back. I will...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 1, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: lack of sleep pills travel Source Type: blogs

Heebee jeebees!!!!
Do you ever wonder about new cancer treatments and their potential side effects? As medical research capabilities advance, so do the weird things they do to our bodies. Surgery used to be where they cut you open and take out the bad things. Now they leave little markers behind or radiate you (intraoperative radiation) while you are sleeping.I just found out that herceptin is not a medication in the sense that its something your body absorbs and uses. It is nanotechnology- meaning it is a created little thing that is infused into your body where I assume it decays and goes away. Nano particles sometimes are used as carriers...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 31, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer treatment Ick factor medical research Source Type: blogs

Not a practical option
Earlier this week, or maybe it was last week, I saw several articles on this new intraoperative radiation for breast cancer. This is when a radioactive probe is inserted into the breast during surgery and allows the patient to skip traditional radiation. Of course, they may still need chemotherapy and other treatments.The first articles I saw touted its benefits. I was a bit pessimistic about this. I have heard about it and think it is approved in the US (but I am no doctor so don't think I know all about this). It is only for certain early stage breast cancers so it is not for everyone.The reason for this hype is that it ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 30, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer treatment expensive radiation Source Type: blogs

Talking and working out
Yesterday afternoon at the gym, I got to talking to two other women (this is a common occurrence to stop and chat) on the topic of getting into shape/staying in shape while dealing with ailments. One woman is just done with chemotherapy again for chronic recurrent ovarian cancer and is new to the gym. The other woman has osteoarthritis among other problems and has belonged for five years or so.The woman with ovarian is trying to get back in shape so she can go on a three week vacation to Turkey and Spain. She said it is quite difficult quite understandably to get some muscle tone again. I shared that I had been diagnosed w...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 29, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: friends gym sharing Source Type: blogs

Getting even or driving your doctor crazy
We all try to be a good patient. We try to eat better foods, less red meat more chicken and fish, get 8 hours of sleep, drink less, brush our teeth, floss, yadayadayada...Huffington Post conveniently posted a list of 9 things that drive your doctor crazy:Dr Google - we all know Dr Google is an idiot.Refusal to vaccinate - which has caused more problems later onDemanding antibiotics - they don't fix everythingClaiming you are eating less and working out more but still not losing weight - obviously you aren'tAsking for a quick fix - there is no magic pill (I know this because I ask regularly)I only eat low fat - low fat is g...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 28, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: annoyance doctor appointments doctor questions Source Type: blogs

I swear they make this stuff up!
The latest breast cancer research says that sleeping in a dimly lit, as opposed to dark, room may interfere with how tamoxifen works. Really? They tried it on 12 rats. Yep. So now is news worthy.So now you are supposed to have room darkening shades or convince your local community to turn off the street lights. I'm not buying it. Even if I was still on tamoxifen I would not believe a 12 rat study. This is why they always say more research is needed.Or they just make this stuff up. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 27, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer research story truth Source Type: blogs

Did chemotherapy change your body?
A week or so ago, I had asked a doctor about change in your body due to chemotherapy. A friend and I had the same discussion yesterday. Does chemotherapy change a person's body in more ways than we think?I am talking about food and medications to be specific.Before chemotherapy, I enjoyed all kinds of seafood - preferably cold ocean water seafood to be precise. Shrimp, lobster, clams, oysters, scallops, cod, haddock, hake, salmon, calamari (octopus), and more. I never turned it down. Now I hate shrimp. I won't eat them. I can't stand them.More importantly are medical allergies. Before chemo, I was told I was allergic to am...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 26, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: allergens changes chemotherapy reactions Source Type: blogs

Medical guidelines discovered
Yesterday, in my usual scouring of the internet for the magic cure for all my ailments, I found an article about variability in cancer treatment and compliance with guidelines. Its an interesting read and how to make sure you are getting the right treatment with second opinions, good insurance coverage (plan ahead), yada yada yada.And then I asked myself, what guidelines? I have always assumed that some little group of doctors got together and over a few beers put together their guidelines for treatment for each ailment. Little did I know that NCIC provides guidelines for treatment of all cancers. Some of them are even ava...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 25, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: discovery guidelines reading treatment options Source Type: blogs

The word for the day is "Ow"
On a scale of 1-10, how is my pain today? Probably about a 4, all over my body. With spots of 6-7 in certain areas.I don't know why but for the past few days my body has be very achy and sore. I have been living on Tramadol again. I hate this. I prefer not to take pills if I don't have to. I mean I do take a lot of pills but prefer not to take any more than needed. And since everything hurts, I need tramadol to survive without rampant crankiness.And to start my day I have a dentist appointment. This is where they will go in and pick at my teeth with sharp metal objects. Its a new dentist office but not a new dentist. The d...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 24, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: pain pain relief Source Type: blogs

Does blogging=journaling?
I just read this article about the benefits of journaling - taking pen to paper. The claims are it benefits your immune system, blood pressure and lung and liver function as well as allowing the right side of your brain to be creative. It also gives tip for getting started. But I've clearly already started. As long as blogging equals journaling. While I am not putting pen to paper, I am putting hands to keyboard and my right brain is working (I hope).The tips given are:write consistentlyconsider starting each day writingnever self editwrite about the good, the bad and the ugly.I would add to that -  if you have a brai...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 23, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: blogging brainless writing Source Type: blogs