A Human Pincushion
My upper back h as been bothering me for a while. I haven't been sure if something new is going on, if it is referred pain from elsewhere in my body, or the pain was hidden by the horrible pain I had in my lower back until the successful procedure where nerves were killed off in my lower back in June.Last week I broke down due to back pain and called my pain doctor. I thought I wouldn't be able to get an appointment before October because it usually takes that  long. They said 'how about next Tuesday'. I said 'sure'. So I went.We have never treated my upper back before because it has not been a problem. Its not rheuma...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 14, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: injections back pain doctor appointments Source Type: blogs

I did get the memo but it didn't help
Eat oily fish, high in Omega-3, to reduce risk of rheumatoid arthritis. That was a memo. I got it. Wthan others. e eat a fair amount of fish - especially since we live within 10 miles of the fish filled Atlantic Ocean. Now I have rheumatoid. Now granted it is in my family but I did follow directions.What this proves is that not all research is a magic pill. I mean you eat whatever for whatever its benefit is supposed to be so you can reduce your risk of some ailment. There are two problems with these theories:Some people think that they cannot get the ailment because they did what they were told. They didn't smoke, so they...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 13, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cynicism medical research rheumatoid arthritis Source Type: blogs

Just because they tell to you doesn't mean you have to
Taking synthetic thyroid hormone pills are a pain in the neck (literally). Its only a little pill but it comes with all kinds of rules.You have to take it one hour before eating or four hours after eating.You have to wait at least four hours before taking vitamins, minerals - especially calciumYou need to take it by itself basically.The pills are sensitive to heat so you shouldn't have them shipped to you in summer. You also can't switch from brand to brand or even to generic. Some people do not respond well to different brands. There are all kinds of issues here. You can read about them here if you really want.Thirty year...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 12, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: thyroid cancer pills being a patient Source Type: blogs

Time flies when you are having fun
Or when you are a space shot. It is now 330pm in the afternoon and it just occurred to me that I did not blog today. I mean I thought I did. If you had asked me what I blogged about I probably couldn't have told you - but that's not unusual as I am a space shot at times.Also, it is 330 in the afternoon and I haven't gotten much done. I mean I didn't sleep late but I didn't do much else. I did go to Kohls for a few things bright and early. I got some gardening done. Chatted with a neighbor. Got some cooking/food prep done.But I haven't folded laundry. I haven't made the bed. And I need a nap.The big news of the day is I hav...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 11, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: idiots tired fibro fog confession Source Type: blogs

Going through life needing a nap
That's me. Yesterday I went to bed around 10pm and woke up at 9am. Today I did the same thing. I did lots of nothing and got motivated to go to the gym. Now I need a nap. I also should do laundry but that may not happen. Or I will con talk my husband in doing it.The dilemma of the day is do we cancel on a friend who was coming for dinner because I am not sure I am up to it. I'm not sure going out to dinner would be any easier either. And I am not sure we are going to the beach tomorrow even though I really, really, really, really, really, really wanted to go.If I do too much I get tired. I mean really tired. I mean able to...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 10, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: nap fatigue Source Type: blogs

Preventive Medicine or Too Much of a Good Thing
When do we draw the line for preventive medicine? The latest ASCO guidelines for high risk, post menopausal women to prevent breast cancer recommend proactively taking Evista, Aromasin, or Tamoxifen to reduce risk. I had already heard about Tamoxifen but not Evista or Aromasin.When I first read this the first thing that jumped into my tiny chemo-fogged/fibro-fogged brain is this a big ploy by the pharmaceutical companies to generate millions of new patients? That would be a huge conspiracy theory that I immediately pushed away.The next thing that leaped into my tiny chemo-fogged/fibro-fogged brain is that its getting to be...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 9, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer cancer prevention healthy living over treatment Source Type: blogs

Fifteen Days? Really?
This I do not understand. I found an article on the how this new test speeds up the testing of the sentinel lymph node in breast cancer surgery in the UK. Previously it took 15 working days (!!!!) to get the test results. That's three weeks. That's completely crazy. When I had my (bad) lumpectomy here in the US, I was told the instant test during surgery of the sentinel node had a margin of error of 50% and it really wasn't worth doing. The sentinel node was checked by the lab after surgery to confirm the results. I know several women who were told that the test they had during surgery was wrong so I guess my surgeon was r...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 8, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer diagnosis test results breast cancer waiting Source Type: blogs

DVR/Tivo dependency
Before breast cancer, I was perfectly happy with out cable tv and without recording certain shows. I would stay up late and watch shows and I would use commercials for food and bathroom breaks. Now I am a DVR/Tivo junky. I have probably nearly 20 shows I record and watch while too tired to do anything else. I am a fan of reality TV. (There I admitted it.) I prefer cooking shows, HGTV and Lifetime movies (but sometimes I think they take the same plot and recreate a new movie).I realize technology has changed in the last six years as well but I am dependent.Last night to my dismay I found out on Facebook that a favorite...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 7, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: dependency lazy television Source Type: blogs

I knew it wouldn't last
What was I thinking? Last week I blogged about privacy and not having a doctor appointment, other than a therapist appointment until October. I should never have opened my mouth. I did have a dentist appointment last week which has resulted in another dentist appointment tomorrow (no cavities).I broke down yesterday and called my back pain doctor. In spite of the procedure at the end of June, I have discovered I have a lot of pain in my upper back pretty much non stop. I don't know what is going on with my back but it hurts and isn't giving up.When I called to make the appointment with pain management, I expected to find t...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 6, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: back pain doctor appointments Source Type: blogs

Today I am a normal person
First I overslept (but still have time to blog - a tiny bit). I forgot to take all my pills last night so I have to figure out which ones I should take this morning vs which ones I should skip but I have to wait 1-3 hours before I can take any of them after my synthroid. That was after I put my pill box back together after dumping three days worth on the floor and having to sort them all out again. I think I am still missing two pills but as long as the cat doesn't eat them I can cope.I wanted to leave for work early  but that doesn't look like its happening. I have showered. I have not eaten breakfast - I will do tha...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 5, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cat work stress late medication Source Type: blogs

Test Dilemma
This week a new recommendation came out that people at high risk for lung cancer - particularly current or previous heavy smokers - should be screened for lung cancer with CT scans. This is another way that cancer can be detected at an earlier more treatable stage. 'Great,' we say. On the surface this seems like a good idea - catch a cancer early on and save more lives. Advanced testing options which have become relatively more accessible and affordable over the years have opened up testing options for millions.But, and there is a big fat BUT here, does the additional screening add false positives which equal expense and s...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 4, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: advances stress medical tests Source Type: blogs

Health discrimination
Discrimination can be in many forms. Sometimes its overt and sometimes insidious (I can use big words today but needed spell checker's help) and sometimes hidden away. But now health discrimination based on weight? That's taking it a bit too far.A chef from South Africa was told by New Zealand authorities that he was too fat to live there. He has been there for six years and has lost 66 pounds since arriving. He now weighs 286 lbs which is not healthy unless he was really, really tall. Upon renewing his annual work visa, he was told his weight would cause health problems and they didn't want him. A little ironic since obes...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 3, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: bias fat discrimination honors Source Type: blogs

The FDA - a little background
We all love to hate the FDA. I mean they are the people that take food off the market, have all these rules and things that make food cost more, delay the acceptance of new medications, and cause pharmaceutical companies to have all these years of research driving up their 'costs' (which get paid by patients in the end, one way the other). So why do we have an FDA? How did that happen? I never really knew or thought much about it. I just thought it was another one of those big Washington based alphabet agencies making rules and spending the public's money. I try to assume that people are going to do the right thing and not...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 2, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: safety medication food Source Type: blogs

A simple test
Right now the only way for a doctor to diagnose fibromyalgia in a patient is to press on a bunch of tender points. If more than so many of them are sore, the diagnosis is fibromyalgia. How easy. Not.First of all when a patient shows up complaining of pain, other tests are done to rule out all sorts of other conditions. This can take time. As in months or years even.It takes three to five years for a patient to be diagnosed with fibromyalgia. That is a really long time to live in pain. And often fibromyalgia is diagnosed with other conditions.I was told I have fibro and have rheumatoid. We are trying to get the RA under con...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 1, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: fibromyalgia medical tests medical research Source Type: blogs

Long term risks of cancer treatment
A recent study revealed that most of the survivors of childhood cancers, end up with life long health problems. I find this a bit scary. It shows that cancer treatment can cause long term health issues. Yes what was standard treatment up to 48 years ago, the length of time from the longest survivor's treatment, certainly is not standard today. Cancer treatment has been likened to a slash and burn. Cut out what can be found and then burn it with radiation and then go after it systemically with chemotherapy. It must leave long term issues as it is such a harsh system of treatment. But how are we going to be in 40 years? Will...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 31, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer treatment quality of life side effects Source Type: blogs

Lets redefine cancer
The question has arisen as to how to redefine cancer. A scientific panel states we are using a 19th century definition in the 21st century. The issue is should some precancerous conditions be redefined with out the use of the words cancer or carcinoma."In one example, they say that some premalignant conditions, such as one that affects the breast called ductal carcinoma in situ — which many doctors agree is not cancer — should be renamed to exclude the word carcinoma. That way, patients are less frightened and less likely to seek what may be unneeded and potentially harmful treatments that can include...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 30, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer diagnosis Source Type: blogs

Privacy
Somehow a change has happened. All of a sudden, I have many fewer doctor appointments. I saw my rheumatologist a couple of weeks ago. I see my therapist in mid August and then nothing until October when I see my rheumatologist and dermatologist.How did that happen? When I get my appointment list from the hospital, it goes through next July and has an empty space on it. It maxes out at 10 appointments so I have less than ten scheduled. I do know a couple are missing.My endocrinologist and my surgeon follow ups should happen in January and May respectively are not yet on the list. For some reason, those departments don't sch...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 29, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient privacy doctor appointments Source Type: blogs

Rich pharma companies, poor patients.
Pharmaceutical companies are getting rich on the backs of their patients. Don't believe me? Here's some proof.First we have an article from New Jersey on how Roche's profits are up 10% and its revenues are up 4% on profits from its breast cancer drugs. The company is now focusing on cancer drugs and hopes to find more high profit drugs as generics come available for drugs such as Herceptin.  By the way, their cancer drugs cost between $70,000 and $100,000+ annually per patient.If you ask a pharma company you get the standard lines: 'no one pays those prices', 'they are covered by insurance', 'we do have programs for t...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 28, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: patient rights medication costs Source Type: blogs

Can we undo my surgery please?
When I had my breast cancer surgery the sentinel node was tested and came back with microscopic traces of cancer. It was then deemed necessary to have an Axillary Node Dissection where they take out a lot of lymph nodes in your arm pit to see the possibilities that the cancer has spread further in your body. Mine came back negative. But the damage was done.When that many lymph nodes (20 in my case) are taken, the lymph system in your arm in permanently compromised and the risk of lymphedema is greatly increased. That would be my problem.Now there is a new study (because the researchers needed to keep working), that says th...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 27, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer research surgery breast cancer treatment lymphedema Source Type: blogs

Winter weather in summer
Part of having RA and fibromyalgia is adapting to cold weather. Why am I blogging about this in July? Because here in Boston in July its a tropical 66 degrees. Yesterday's high was 69 with heavy rain. Today it might hit that same temperature again with more rain, mist, and clouds today.How does this feel? Achy, sore, creaky, tired. Its July, its summertime. I'm supposed to be feeling better because its a nicer time of year. But between being off methotrexate and the 'tropical' weather, I am borderline cranky. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 26, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: weather crankiness rheumatoid arthritis Source Type: blogs

It is complicated
When diagnosed with a new ailment, I try to educate myself on what it is, what to expect, and how it works as much as I can. I don't go to medical school or anything but I do a lot of reading,  listening and asking questions.I think I feel more comfortable with ailments when I understand them and can comprehend how they are affecting my body and my well being. Its helpful to me to know what is common vs what is unexpected and requires further attention.At my RA diagnosis, I thought I knew a fair amount about it because my mother has had it for decades. But apparently I did not. It has been a learning curve. I finally ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 25, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: complications learning rheumatoid arthritis Source Type: blogs

I'm learning
You may call me slow sometimes but I am learning. Some medications when you start taking them  have a relatively quick impact on you. You take a tylenol and your fever usually goes down and pain subsides within an hour. Antibiotics often make you feel better with in 24-48  hours.Rheumatoid medications are different. They can take months, as in 3-6 months. When I was diagnosed with RA last fall, I was immediately put on prednisone and plaquenile and we quickly learned I was allergic to both. I was then switched to oral Methotrexate (MTX). The dose was upped to the maximum in January. I started to feel a little&nbs...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 24, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: antibiotics pain levels medication rheumatoid arthritis Source Type: blogs

A bit scary
I don't mean to target the pharmaceutical industry but I do have problems with the costs of medications which is why I always read the articles about them. Then the articles intrigue me and I start blogging about them.Last week I saw one on how Glaxo SmithKline executives were being detained in China - charged with bribery. This is not the first time that this has happened and probably not the last as well. Then this morning's news adds to that to say that GSK may have not been using good business practices in managing their clinical trials in China. They even admit that some of their executives might have broken the law. ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 23, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: medical research medication costs Source Type: blogs

How long?
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, someone told me it is a year out of your life and then you get back to some sort of normal.Another blogger this morning announced that after two years of blogging about her Hodgkins Disease she is moving on to blog about social media and other things. Her cancer adventure has slid into the background of her life - right on schedule as she had been told when she was diagnosed.The wise people who tell us the deadlines on our diseases are not doctors or medical specialists but usually other patients reflecting on their experience and what they have been told by other patients.So how do...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 22, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: living with cancer schedules Source Type: blogs

End of life issues
Modern medicine has progressed to the point that often death comes only after you are 'unplugged' so to speak. We keep our hopes up that time will be far in the future. We plan the way we want to go with our living wills, health care proxies, etc. But I do often wonder how do doctors and health care professionals decide when it does not do any good.I am being morbid here? I don't think so. I read two articles recently that caused me to do some thinking (which I know can be dangerous but not morbid). The first one discusses dying connected to a machine. Do you want to die tethered to a machine? I do not thank you. I do...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 21, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: trust death end of life Source Type: blogs

Life in cancer land
is never normal. Every little thingy becomes suspicious and requires further testing. It doesn't matter if it has any relation to previous ailments or is new or not but you always get the 'because of your history we need to be sure...' line.I was talking with a friend about it this morning. There is a nasty level in the diagnostic process that is called 'big enough to see but too small to do anything about it'. It is almost as bad as the 'there are too many thingies to think about surgery' but not really.Basically its a sh*thole that cancer people live in suspended animation for days, weeks, months or even years. Going fr...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 20, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: scans stress cancer history Source Type: blogs

I hate hot weather
I am melting. I hate hot weather as I said. I am a New Englander, 85 is too hot in my opinion. 25 is a nice winter day. I am counting the minutes until Sunday when it is supposed to top out at 75. Instead of the 100 which is due today.I want to go to the beach today. My cold is lurking in the background again. I stopped taking decongestants the other day but they were keeping me up at night so I stopped. Now I am all congested again. My ears are more clogged again.I think I just need a vacation. Too bad that's not happening for another month. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 19, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: beach vacation cold Source Type: blogs

On getting bad news
No one likes to get bad news. There are more jokes out there about good news vs. bad news. I am talking about getting bad medical news.Some people never want to hear the bad news. I have a friend who when she received her breast cancer diagnosis, told her doctors she didn't want to know anything else - staging, tumor size, node involvement, nothing. It was her way of coping. A few years later she did get the details when she was ready for them. It is my understanding that doctors often get this request - not to tell any bad news. But what is the definition of what is bad vs. what is good? There are more jokes about this as...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 18, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: coping bad news Source Type: blogs

Boomerang day
Yesterday morning my plan was to go meet with my new rhematologist, then to work, and then to attempt the gym again. Life never goes as planned.I could barely drag myself out of bed as I was so tired. I went to see my rheumatologist who is new to me. She is very nice and had a bunch of good suggestions. She was also very good at explaining things to me. I think this will work out in the long run. I go back and see her in three months.My problem is I have been on injection methotrexate for barely three months and am now skipping doses because I am on antibiotics. With methotrexate, you need to build up a certain blood level...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 17, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient doctor appointments Source Type: blogs

Optimism in the face of cancer
When one is diagnosed with cancer, all sorts of things flash in our brains - rail thin bald people, iv poles, scars, doctors, hospitals, hospices. All sorts of things loom in our future - medical tests, things that pinch, chemotherapy, and ugly hospital gowns with a draft in the back.One of the key players in any cancer journey is the oncologist. Oncologists provide hope, direction, leadership and optimism. They offer treatment protocols to heal us, they provide solutions to treatment side effects, they provide answers to our questions.They do offer optimism as I said. I read this article on an oncologist and his views of ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 16, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer diagnosis cancer treatment optimism oncologist Source Type: blogs

Friendships and Cancer or other Ailments
This is an ever popular topic in the cancer blogsphere - friends and cancer (or other ailments). More specifically the friends who either:run for the  hillsbecome a doctor instantly and tell you what treatment you needthink you will be dead in a monthBut then there are the real friends who stick around when you are coping and help as they can. AARP suggests saying a heartfelt 'I'm sorry' upon hearing someone is ill. I'm not so sure I would appreciate that as much as something more along the lines of 'well that really sucks'. But their other suggestions are good.Then there is 'A Field Guide to the Wildlife of Cancer' w...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 15, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: emotions support stress friends Source Type: blogs

Oral Parity or Time to Write Your Congressman
Does anyone know what that means? When I first  heard it, I needed an explanation. Oral means something to do with your mouth. Parity is something about evenness or equality (I am so smart I came up with that myself).So what is oral parity? Its about health insurance paying for oral medications the same way they pay for in hospital infusions and other medical treatments. You get the basics. You go to the doctor and get an IV or a shot and you pay a copay and go home. Or you go pick up your prescription and if you are lucky its a generic and costs somewhere less than $20.But if its a brand name drug with no generic ava...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 14, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: insurance costs pills cancer costs medication costs Source Type: blogs

This didn't take long
The Supreme Court announcement last month probably surprised no one more than Myriad Genetics who had 'patented' the BRCA genes. But is anyone surprised that less than 30 days later they have already sued two competitors who have rolled out BRCA tests?That's right, lose your patents, your lawyers are bored so its time to start litigation. What a productive use waste of money.Please, I am sure since the genes were first discovered others have figured out how to test them. Maybe Myriad should come up with ways to test for some of the other myriad of genes out there? (Or was that a really bad play on words?) (Source: Caroline...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 13, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: patents genetics laws Source Type: blogs

Spiraling cancer costs
I find the costs of all medical care, particularly end of life care and cancer care, to be increasing exponentially. Researchers come up with new medications based on smaller and smaller groups of patients. Drug manufacturers charge more and more in an effort to 'recoup' their research costs.Doctors understand this financial burden and are more and more beginning to take action and have discussions on this. I found this article very interesting and worth the read or the view (both in video and text).One point that they made is that new drugs may help 20% of a population but if all are treated with the drug in an effort to ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 12, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: doctors cancer treatment medical costs Source Type: blogs

Okay I learned a few things
I have had this stupid evil cold since Friday afternoon, June 28. It came to me courtesy of my husband. This is a normal event, one family member gets exposed to germs and brings them home to share with other family members.My theory on colds has always been to take good care of myself and basically ignore them unless I become fairly sick. Rarely does a cold send me to bed for more than a couple of extra naps. I have never had a problem with this theory. Ignorance keeps the colds away.This worked for decades.Not any more.In  the past 24 hours I have learned:- when you start to feel sick, stop RA drugs- when you start ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 11, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: doctors antibiotics cold rheumatoid arthritis Source Type: blogs

The real problem is not the patient's
This is crazy. The breast cancer patients covered by Britain's National Health Service will not have Afinitor made available to them - because of the cost. And Novartis' reply? A blow for the patients.Sorry I am not buying this one. It is a problem for the patients. But the real problem is for the manufacturer.The UK gave it a cost of 68,000 pounds (>$100,000)/QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Year). Now the QALY is a fancy term but you get the basic idea.The real problem is the manufacturer is putting all their costs on the backs of the patients again. I just don't have a lot of sympathy for an industry which is doing quite ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 10, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: manufacturers medication costs Source Type: blogs

More numbers again
Yesterday afternoon I went for a six month follow up with my oncologist. I realized in the morning that I should have some questions to ask her. I mean why see an oncologist if you have no concerns? So I had to think. After some deep thought I came up with issue number one - what about staying on Femara longer? New research has shown that longer is better in terms of preventing recurrence of breast cancer. I did not see her in person on my last visit to her office as she had the flu but I had spoken to her afterwards.Then I decided I needed the big question answered. What is my prognosis for recurrence? I did ask my previo...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 9, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: statistics breast cancer recurrence Source Type: blogs

Carpe Diem vs. The Future
An oncologist advises his stage four patients to 'Carpe Diem' or 'Seize the Day'. This is good advice for anyone: don't just sit there, do something. Or get off your butt or any of a multitude of other definitions.I like an optimistic oncologist. I am going to see mine today and don't expect any real doom and gloom. Optimism is always good but the patient's thoughts need to be considered as well. The oncologist thinks the patient is doing well as they cope with cancer treatment but at stage IV its not a disease that is going to go away and will in fact eventually probably do them in. The future takes a different tone.An ea...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 8, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: optimism oncologist Source Type: blogs

A cancer database
The proverbial 'they' always talk about cancer patients and success stories either in generalities full of percentages with lots of big words - 37% of patients with diagnosis A tend to show positive responses to treatment protocol Q while 82% show positive responses to protocol ZB37. Then you hear stories about individuals who had this outcome or that one.But what if it could all be consolidated into a big pie where it could be dissected and analyzed? Then the data could be  better understand and prognoses could be better predicted. Patients might even handle treatment better. Who would have thunk? Individualized medi...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 7, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer information cancer research Source Type: blogs

Oh CRAP, I did do that!
I am not a creative person at all. I can draw stick figures, barely. At one point I was in 4H and Girl Scouts and learned to sew, knit, crochet, embroider, and needlepoint. I might have won a 4H ribbon or two but they were given to all entries. That phase of my life changed around Junior High when I moved on to more esoteric pursuits - boys, figure skating, etc.A few decades later, my brother and sister in law started having children. She, my sister in law, is a very crafty person. I enlisted her help in picking out yarn and a pattern to make a baby blanket for her second child - my nephew who is now 14 and nearly 6' tall....
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 6, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: healing hobbies relax Source Type: blogs

Tellling the honest answer
So you run into to someone you know and haven't seen in a long time. They greet you and say 'how are you? You reply 'fine, and you?'. Or should you answer honestly? They say honesty is the best policy but if it makes someone stop in their tracks, fall over in shock, or run for the hills screaming, is that really the case?I mean if I gave the honest answer to that question I could say 'well, after two cancer diagnoses, rheumatoid, fibromyalgia, and degenerating disks in my back, I'm feeling just fine'. I think that's a little too much information. Maybe I should stick with the high points, 'I have been happily married for e...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 5, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: truth answers Source Type: blogs

A lttle negativity
Today is the Fourth of July and (unless you are still fighting a damn cold) most Americans will be enjoying barbecues, fireworks, the beach, and having all sorts of fun.Then the media has to come along like a wet blanket. First we have, How To Avoid Getting Cancer From Your BBQ. After the doom and gloom headline, the real answer comes buried way down. "If you’re grilling and following the proper safety tips, the risk of getting cancer from grilling food is very low."So first the fear and then the honest truth. Then we  have the fact that there are carcinogens in Pepsi. I don't think I have had a Pepsi ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 4, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer risk hype Source Type: blogs

Looking for new news
I receive several billion regular updates on advances in the treatment of breast cancer, thyroid cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and back pain, among other ailments. Every so often something pops up and grabs my attention or even the headlines on new advances that show some real significance.But they always speak of small studies and that more research is needed. And then we never seem to hear the results of anything only that more research is needed. And nothing seems to ever help me positively. All I have gotten so far is to learn that I need to stay on Femara an extra five years. But no miracle cure.After six...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 3, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: medical news medical research Source Type: blogs

Your medical records
In recent years, medical records have become more and more available to the patient. Some medical facilities make them available on line. Others offer them at the end of each doctor visit.I have tried to read translate my medical records. It is not as easy as you think. If it says 'patient denies... '  that just means you said you didn't have whatever they asked you about. They are also full of vague 'doctorisms' that are not as clear to the average patient. That is fine by me.They are full of the doctor's opinion about what is going on with me. This means they are full of the thoughts and opinions of people who went ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 2, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: medical records medical history Source Type: blogs

This annoys me
This really annoys me to no end. I get all sosrts of emails about cancer, people with cancer, research on cancer, and 'exciting' news about cancer fundraisers and other things.Recently in these emails, there have beencancer suffererscancer victimscancer survivors.Since when with people with cancer become sufferers and victims? I detest the word survivor as well but sufferers and victims? Really?These were included in the titles of actual news articles. The reporters need a bit of sensitivity training I think. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 1, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: insensitivity terms s-word Source Type: blogs

Its been a long couple of days
Wednesday I had my back procedure. Thursday my back hurt less. Friday I started to feel like crap but got a manicure/pedicure in the afternoon to make me feel normal.Saturday I started feeling pretty bad and took my temperature which topped out at 101.6 at 2am this morning. I couldn't talk and my husband had to screen my phone calls and tell people to email me instead. I feel like all I have done in the past four days is lie around and take drugs - pain meds, cold meds, and tylenol. I have also eaten chocolate chunk chocolate ice cream for its healing properties.I woke up this morning and my temperature was 98.8 so I think...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 30, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: medication cold miserable temperature Source Type: blogs

Back update
After my lovely adventure Wednesday morning where I definitely felt a few pinches, my back is doing better. After I came home, I took a nap to sleep off the anesthesia. I iced my back all afternoon and on Thursday as well as took pain meds. Yesterday I had less of a need of ice and pain meds.So far this morning, my back feels okay but I have a nasty cold and am spending the day in bed. But my back doesn't hurt.I was up until 1230 and then up again at 5 so I am a bit tired as well. I am optimistic that it will feel better for a year or more. I just have to get over my cold to appreciate it more.My brain is not working well ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 29, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: tired cold back pain Source Type: blogs

The other half of having cancer
I have touched upon this before but the other half of having cancer, or any ailment, is the impact on the patient's partner or spouse. Somehow that gets skipped. The spouse sometimes becomes the silent partner without support in a cancer journey.I know dozens of people with cancer and other ailments - either in person or online - and each handle it differently.Since we got married eight years ago, I have had five surgeries, numerous procedures, and other medical adventures and been diagnosed with breast cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and fibromyalgia as well as degenerating disks, gall stones, and I can't remember everythin...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 28, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer support cancer diagnosis loneliness husband sharing Source Type: blogs

What if Chemo came the last resort instead of the first wave of treatment?
That would be awesome. Right now most cancers are automatically treated with chemo, radiation and surgery. But with the development of individualized treatment and molecular medications, chemotherapy may be going the way of the past.This is a huge advance in cancer treatment and looks like it is not so far fetched. When I first saw this article I was very surprised but glad to see it.It had never occurred to me that cancer could be treated with out chemotherapy. In my mind I was leaning towards chemo regimens that were not as harsh on the patient than in the past.So optimism reigns in cancer land these days.By the way yest...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 27, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer treatment chemotherapy cancer research Source Type: blogs

Am I supposed to be stressed?
I am really not stressed about my big needle adventure this morning. Am I supposed to be? I am very much looking forward to pain relief. I hate/dislike needles themselves.But I have been through this procedure three times already so I  know what is expected. I have had probably six or seven other back injections as well. The last time I was there, the nurses all thought they knew me.Well I will enjoy not being stressed. I am hungry of course but will have to wait to eat - no solid food after midnight.  And I could use some water - no liquids for two hours prior to arrival.Upon my return, I will take a nap with an...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - June 26, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: procedures stress Source Type: blogs