New Updates towards the bottom~~~~ 3/07, new doctor , coughing blood , marriage, Pet/CT scan, Biopsy , insurance battle , Lupron....

3/07 It seems that now I am facing yet another health challenge. Some time ago I developed a cough, it wasn't really bad and I really didn't think too much about it at all. I have had allergies pretty much since I moved to Santa Fe and I just chalked it up to another allergy reaction. But the time had come for a doctors appointment that include blood tests. That showed an increase in some cholesterol and my blood pressure was back up. So off to see the doctor again, he prescribed some medications and as it turned out my cough got worse. I discontinued that medication and started two others. Cough pretty much stayed the same. But let me tell you, this was no ordinary cough, it wracked my whole body and most times I even threw up. X-rays were ordered and it showed some scarring on my lungs as well as a comment of possible lung disease! I tried not to panic but this scared me. Doctor said not to panic and so I tried to ignore this for awhile. He said come back about two months later and do another chest x-ray prior to that. The next x-ray mentions fibrosis. So now I'm really scared.... After doing research on the internet I'm totally freaked out but still trying not to panic. Yeah, right.... Well after visiting doctor again it seems he really doesn't know what I have. He thinks bronchitis or maybe even acid reflux. What? I don't have "heartburn" more than maybe once a month, this doesn't make sense to me. He prescribes a new medication for acid reflux and I try and ask him later about this, I don't really want to take a drug just to see if it works. He calls me a few days later and is so rude and mean I am considering filing a complaint with the state. Needless to say I will not return to this doctor. My partner picked up the prescription by mistake and after awhile I decided I might as well try this drug after all. Sadly along with all the cautions of side effects, one of them is a cough! So now we wait to see if this drug helps. In the meantime I'm seeking other doctors and other avenues of healing.

3/27/07 Finally found a new doctor, this one is a GP with a leaning towards holistic care. He is a kind and gentle man. He really believes that my cough is a result of severe allergies and that I should not panic. He gave me a homeopathic to try for a few days and it seemed to help my stuffy nose and maybe a little on my cough. This doctor also noticed my blood pressure is still high even though I am on medication so I am monitoring it several times a day. He also believes he can help my high triglycerides naturally. He told me not to run out and get all those other tests and we will get a new chest x-ray in a year. He also told me to stop the acid reflux medicine because if my cough was due to that the drugs would have helped in four or five days and I'd been on them close to a month with no effect that I could see. So I am on a new path and have hope!

9/8/07 Well the shit has hit the fan and I am definitely facing something big. I started coughing blood. Called the doctor and he thought that perhaps I had broken a capillary and to wait a little while and see if it stopped. It didn't and so we got a new set of chest x-rays. The results showed "significant findings" and a mass in my right lung. The words he used were a triangular infiltration. Oh boy, so what does this all mean, blood clots of a collapse of my lung??? Of course I'm freaked and a CAT scan was ordered. Went to towards Albuquerque for this test and awaited the results. The bad news came the next morning. I have a 3 cm mass in the lower part of my right lung and lesions on my bones in three places. Now I understand why my neck has been hurting for so long, one of the lesions is right there at what they call C6, right around my shoulders. Sigh. So now I'm totally freaking out and crying.

I am scheduled for a new test called a PET-CAT scan on the 18th and then a CAT scan guided biopsy on the 20th. Of this I'm frightened as the tumor is very far down and hard to access. The will be using a long and large needle to get a piece of it for testing. I'm crossing my fingers that they put me out for this as it will take 4 hours. Ugh.

9/19/07 The PET-CT scan went easily. The young man who injected me was amazing, I didn't feel a thing. I was in awe. This has never happened! But I admit, drinking 24 ounces of barium was not fun. The scan took about an hour in two sessions. I was really quite nervous as this was the process to see if other organs or areas are infected.

9/21/07 Biopsy day. Drove to Albuquerque in the rain. We were gifted a beautiful rainbow and I counted my blessings, this MUST be a good sign. We waited quite awhile to get into the actual appointment. Then we were briefed on the procedure, the nurse gave details and let me know I would receive a drug t help me not be worried and to ease the pain. The doctor popped in a took the recent PET-CT scan cd to review. Then we waited and waited and waited some more. Meanwhile I was so nervous mt hands shook and got sweaty! He finally returned and mentioned that there were several "hot spots" which meant that the lesions on my bones might also be tumors and he spoke with my oncologist and they decided to biopsy my right scapula rather than the lung. This was good news as the lung biopsy certainly held risks such as deflating the lung! So then the process began and I got hooked up to an IV with the drugs and wheeled away into the CAT scan room. This was a guided process pinpointed exactly where to go with the imaging machine. I did feel it though, the drugs did not numb me completely. But all in all this was pretty easy . Recovery was also pretty quick, about an hour of allowing my blood pressure to become normal again. Then we were off to a good lunch and back to Santa Fe where I was told to rest. And now we play the waiting game as we await the results....

9/28/07 The saga contines. Now I'm battling with insurance coverage. Had an appointment with my oncologist to go over the biopsy results and begin a plan for treatment. But sadly the results were not in and we waited around for the pathologist to call back. Finally we got some of the results. Looks as if the breast cancer from 2001 has metastasized into my bones. Initially the doctor who did the biopsy had thought it was the chondrosarcoma that went into my bones. So as we didn't have all we needed to know exactly what to do he suggested hormone therapy. After all, he was pretty darn sure this would be the path to follow. There was talk about removing my ovaries as well as radiation in the near future. The question seems to be is this cancer Her2/Nu positive. What all this means I am still not clear as we are still waiting on the results! And so I was scheduled for an injection of Lupron the next day. But as it turned out my insurance would not cover it at the cancer institute and I had to go do it at the hospital. So that was scheduled for the next day. BUT once again my insurance denied the treatment. This time they said it was because I needed to give them "prior notification". So I called my insurance later that day as was told, not this is not the case and I should have been allowed to get the injection. After all I do have this coverage. But,noooo, the lady at the hospital said no, that is not what the insurance company told her. So once again I'm back on the phone with the insurance company. This whole thing is driving me nuts! After many calls I still got nowhere. Then today the lady at the hospital told me it had to go to yet another company for approval. So here I am again on the phone now to that company and the gal there said this is all to help save me money. Well good,fine and all I said I was ready to just pay for it myself and then file with my insurance. But no, this was not a good idea as once the case manager gets back with me all will be simpler. I will in effect have a spokesperson to help for the rest of the treatments. Ok, so fine, now I have to wait again because the computer's are down. Sigh. This is really maddening. After all, it feels like the friggin insurance company is holding my life in their hands! And so I wait, and wait.....

10/16/07 Finally after many, many phone calls I was able to schedule and get my first treatment in my new battle with breast cancer. I had a three month dose shot in the butt of Lupron. This was originally for prostrate cancer but now it seems it is used for women like me who have had the breast cancer move into my bones. I was so nervous having not had an injection in my butt since I was a teen, but thankfully it hardly hurt at all. I was amazed! Ok, so what is Lupron (Leuprolide)? Leuprolide is related to a naturally occurring hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH influences the release of the hormones testosterone and estrogen in the body.Leuprolide is used to reduce the amount of testosterone or estrogen in the body. It is used for conditions such as cancer of the prostate, endometriosis (growth of uterine lining outside of the womb), uterine fibroids, and early puberty (before 8 years of age in females and 9 years of age in males). Ummm,well, ok so why am I taking this I don't exactly know except that it is going to mess with my brain and put me into menapause which is a good thing. This will make my body not produce much estrogen which cancer feeds on. Now the really good news here is that only a few days after having this injection the pain in my neck almost completly stopped! Right now I don't have any pain at all. This is amazing as I was almost constantly in pain around my neck and shoulders. Wow. I am so happy about this. And I have stopped couching up blood! I still do have a cough which is better some days and worse on other's. This due to the growth in my lung. We are not sure yet as to what this exactly is. Possibly an inflamed lymph node. Or maybe a tumor. My docotor seems to believe that my hormone therapy will reduce this. I am also on an oral hormone called Aromasin. So basically I am doing really well, I'm pretty darn happy and while this is a very serious thing I am dealing with it pretty well. Ok, so some days are better than others. After all this is considered a terminal disease. Sounds dreadful and some days I do get pretty down and freaked out. But on the other hand I really am doing okay which makes it a little hard for folks to understand or get that I am facing such a serious thing.

2/8/08 Good News! It's a new year and it's starting off right! My recent cat/pet scan showed no new mets and the possible tumor is shrinking!!!! I will see my onc on the 29th and am hoping I don't have to do another scan for 6 months. But most liekly it will be in 3 months, yuck, more barium and nuclear stuff injected into my arm. And oh man, this scan was hard. I had to keep my arms above my head for a half hour and it hurts..... I am one serious happy camper! Thanks to all who have sent healing vibes, good wishes, and prayers. I KNOW it all helps:)

6/21/10 okay, sorry I know I need to do a serious update, please stay tuned!!!

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