Sunday, April 19, 2015

Health Update

I have had quite a few people ask me lately how my health has been, so I thought perhaps it was a good time for a blog post on the topic.  I think the last time I posted about my cancer treatment, it was in January and I had just seen my oncologist.  She wasn't too keen on my canceling of my ovary removal surgery that was scheduled for December 2014.  She asked me to reconsider treatment involving suppressing or removing my ovaries and then wanted me to come back to see her in 6 weeks (in mid February).   But, between those two appointments I received a billing statement in the mail from the oncologist office for that short visit that I had in January.  Whoa!  We are on a high deductible plan again this year and oh my goodness those appointments are expensive. Because I had no change in peace of mind about changing my treatment plan, I cancelled my appointment.  I figured there was no sense in bringing both kids with me, waiting for a while to see the doc, and then paying a ton of money just to hear the same thing I heard last appointment (especially since I had no change in desire to get that new treatment).  In the meantime, a 6-month follow up with my radiation oncologist came up as well.   Cancelled that.   I am not even sure if I am on an every 3 month appointment schedule still with my oncologist or if it changed to every 6 months.   However, my oncologist isn't scheduling any more imaging studies on me anyway unless I have specific issues.  

I'll be honest--since cancer, I constantly have little "specific issues."   Most seem to be treatment-related, and I know if I mention the issues to my oncologist, the solution is usually to scan me to rule out cancer returning.   For example, I actually have been having some pretty severe knee pain for the past 2-3 months.  It hurts if it is touched by anything.  I am pretty sure i just whacked my kneecap with a large dumbbell during bootcamp and it is struggling to heal.  But, I am concerned that if I mention it to my oncologist, I will be getting a CT scan tomorrow.  CT scans are expensive, folks!  Also, I don't want to accumulate any more radiation in my body than necessary.  So, instead I just wait for it to heal.   I am getting much better about not constantly thinking about every little pain and wondering if it cancer returning.  I am getting much better at resting in the Lord's sovereignty and trusting Him to take care of me.   If I feel the Lord's prompting to get it checked out, I definitely will.  But, I really want to be normal.   If I hadn't had cancer, I probably would just wait a long while for this knee to heal on its own before I ran into the doctor's office.  I don't want to run to the doctor for every little pain or issue.  My body just doesn't heal as quickly as it did before. It took quite a beating from the toxic chemotherapy and radiation.

Current treatment: my current treatment still involves taking Tamoxifen daily. I also take vitamin d (5,000 i.u.), vitamin C, and DIM.   There is actually a current evaluating the efficacy of supplementing with DIM (diindolymethane) and taking Tamoxifen simultaneously:  I am trying to go as "natural" as possible in my ongoing recurrence prevention.  But, Tamoxifen definitely isn't natural and is actually quite toxic.  It is beginning to negatively affect my vision again, so I may need to make some decisions soon about changing treatment.  According to most oncologists, due to my tumor size, staging and the aggressive nature of my original cancer, I am in the high risk category for cancer recurrence.   So, according to most doctors, I should be on a drug (Tamoxifen or Aromatase Inhibitor + ovary suppression) for at least 10 years post diagnosis to prevent recurrence.

God is teaching me so much through all this.  I have learned to take life day by day---all the while being thankful for each day He has gifted me.  And, I am still praying for complete healing!  I am so reliant on prayer.

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