Archive for June, 2008

21
Jun
08

June 20, 2008

Big news today is that I’m down 2.4 pounds since Monday the 9th – total down now is 24.6. I haven’t been this light since I was at PSU 4 years ago. It feels really good!

I decided that one possible cause of the fatigue was due to a change in my medications. The insurance company recently switched me over to the generic version of Zyrtec for my allergies when Zyrtec went over the counter – I thought maybe part of the problem was my allergies breaking through because the generic wasn’t working as well. I bought some Zyrtec the other day, and have been taking it instead of the generic, and so far, it doesn’t seem to have helped with the tiredness.

When I saw the oncologist for my quarterly check-up, he told me to check back in a week if I was still experiencing excessive fatigue. So I called him, and he decided I need to have another CT scan to check for pulmonary emboli, and then he added on a brain MRI.

So every time I’m sick, I have to worry that I’ve got cancer or another PE? That really annoys me! Of course, it annoys me more that my solution (changing my allergy meds) didn’t work – why couldn’t it be that simple? I asked him why I couldn’t just go to my primary care, and have her check me out for something fairly simple – but he feels that he needs to rule out “the big stuff” before I go that route.

Shouldn’t it be the other way around? I mean, usually when you start ruling out things, you check the easy stuff first – no, it’s not bronchitis; no, you just need new glasses; no, your ears are ringing because you were at a rock concert.

Until I got breast cancer, my doctors always assumed I had “small” stuff – if I had pain in my chest, it was due to overtaxed muscles; if I was coughing, it was a cold; if I had headaches, it was sinus problems or stress.

Now I don’t need to be a hypochondriac – my doctors are doing it for me.

Brian says, “Great, you’re outsourcing!”

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13
Jun
08

June 13, 2008

Can you say “hypovitaminosis”? I knew that you could!

The test results from my first quarterly check-up with my oncologist are back – no thyroid problems, no organ function problems, but I am Vitamin D deficient. Not radically so, the number is just on the very low end of the normal range. The doctor wanted me to take another 200 I.U., and while I was on the phone with the nurse, I told her that I am already taking 2000 I.U. daily in a Vitamin D supplement, plus I think there’s some in my Calcium supplement (I’ve been on this dose for a couple months). She checked with the doctor, who said that I should maintain this dosage for three months and we’ll do a re-check at the next quarterly appointment.

I asked if D hypovitaminosis (isn’t that a fabulous word?!?) could be the cause of my general fatigue, but she didn’t think so, and based on a quick google of the disease, it’s not a typical symptom. On the other hand, it is possible that I have had a deficiency of Vitamin D all my life, since my knees are valgus ($20 word for knock-kneed) – this is one way in which rickets presents in children.

Recently, Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a predisposition for some cancers, including breast cancer; it also is listed as a predisposing condition for IBD, MS, ischemic heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and others. I so do not need any of these!

For now I’ll operate under the presumption that my fatigue is related to recovery from surgery, even though it is more than 3 months since the last one. If it continues, I’ll pester the doctor again prior to my quarterly exam.

In other news, since I’m not downtown today (taking the day off), I’ll weigh in on Monday, then try to get back onto my normal Friday weigh-in meeting schedule. According to my home scale, my weight is stable since the last weigh-in on Monday. So last night I stopped at the store and bought some rabbit food, because I haven’t been eating enough fruits and vegetables the last couple weeks. It may be too little, too late; but then again, better late than never.

09
Jun
08

June 9, 2008

Considering what a bad girl I was last week, it hardly seems fair that my weight went down. Only 0.6 pounds, but hey, down is down. I suspect that the long working hours, the short sleep, and the hauling of boxes, walking from event to event, and general busyness counterbalanced the fried foods; the cheeses and sauces; the pasta, breads, pastries, baked goods, and desserts; and the 1/2 Lemon Drop and one Hefeweizen. I also tried to eat small portions, so even though I had a lot of unhealthy things, I didn’t eat much of any one thing. At one meal, there were no vegetables other than artichoke poppers, spanikopita, and caesar salad drenched in dressing – so I grabbed some tomato wedges that were garnishing the salmon platter. So far, I don’t seem to be having any symptoms of salmonella.

The symposium went extremely well, and with only a couple hitches that were fairly easy to rectify. The early mornings were hard, but plenty of coffee got me through the day. By the end of the 3rd day, my feet were killing me, and wearing heels messed up my back a little bit, although it does seem to be recovering fairly quickly. Interestingly, I can’t remember having a single hot flash during the symposium – however, I was having them the night before, and I have had a couple since. Go figure.

I had my first quarterly exam with the oncologist today, and he seems pleased with how I’m doing. When I complained about being tired (after I’d already told him about the nasty cold and the very long hours), he responded (in a manner that bordered on snarkasm) that who wouldn’t be, after all that? However, he did check my blood oxygen level to confirm that I don’t have another pulmonary embolism (my cold symptoms were similar enough to PE symptoms that he just wanted to make sure); and I’d already had a thyroid blood test scheduled because I’d been complaining about being tired prior to the cold. My blood counts (both red and white) are normal, so I’m not anemic, and hopefully I should have the results back on the thyroid test in a couple days. Since I’m losing weight, I suspect that I’m not hypothyroid – my skin is definitely not dry, either, which seems contraindicative. Apparently a lot of people have few or no symptoms of hypothyroidism – and my older brother is hypothyroid, so it’s possible it runs in the family. Guess I’ll find out. . .

03
Jun
08

June 2, 2008

Woo-hoo! I weighed in today – the first time since May 16 (nearly 2-1/2 weeks ago), and I’m down 2.8 pounds! I’ve reached 20 pounds down, plus some – and last week was a *bad*, *bad* week in terms of what I ate.

This week is starting out OK, but will be challenging on Weds thru Friday, because I’ll be working our user symposium, which means that I’m not going to have a lot of healthy food choices. I’ll just have to be vigilant and very focused on avoiding the really bad (i.e., good) stuff. I won’t be able to get back to my regular Friday weigh-in this week, due to the symposium, so I’ll weigh in again next Monday.

I’ve also been fighting a cold the last two weeks, and am finally getting over it – not completely, but nearly there. It hit me really hard – I have pooh-poohed everyone who has been telling me that I shouldn’t overdo it, because I’m still recovering; but obviously there’s been a lot of denial on my part. Usually, if I do catch whatever is going around, it’s fairly mild – in general, I’m pretty darn healthy. So for something to exhaust me the way this has means that my body is still very depressed (physically, not mentally). I’ve been telling people that I’m no longer immune-compromised because my white blood count is back to normal, but the reality is that the immune system is just that – a system composed of several parts. Apparently other parts of my system are not in as good shape as the white blood cells. This is at least the third time I’ve been sick with something since mid-January (2 weeks after my last chemo), two of which have been since I went back to work at the beginning of April.

In other news, I’m a redhead once again. I decided to dye my hair again, and this time went with a red that matched my chemo wig. The first day or two it looked pretty purple in certain lights, but has settled down to being a lovely auburn. The only problem is, with it being so curly it kind of looks like a ‘fro, or a darker version of a short-haired Bozo wig. But in its natural color, basically salt-and-pepper (heavy on the salt), it was starting to look like the stereotypical little-old-lady perm. It’s going to be interesting getting through the growing-out stage where it’s not heavy enough to hang down at all. I have a vision of it being like an aura surrounding my head, perfectly spherical except where it breaks around my neck and face. That should be an interesting look, especially if I decide I don’t want to keep dying it, and have salt-and-pepper roots with red tips. Shudder!

Frankly, I liked the bald look better than the Dickens urchin look.




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