Monday, June 1, 2009

Progress for Everyone, Progress for Me

Monday, June 1, 2009

I have mentioned Susan G. Komen for the Cure on here before and I have mentioned American Cancer Society as well. These are by no means the only quality organizations out there raising money for cancer research, but they are two of the best. Susan G. Komen for breast cancer specifically, and ACS for cancer in general, are causes that ANYONE could get behind and really who of us couldn't use another tax write off?

So...if knowing someone with cancer and your wanting to do good and give something back isn't enough of a reason for you to donate to such a cause, read this article that I found today on my Google news feed.

This is the kind of research that your money goes to when you give to these types of organizations. Please read the whole article because this is a truly exciting breakthrough.

For those of you who don't really have a clear understanding of what chemo does, let me break it down. Chemotherapy attacks rapidly reproducing cells, which basically means it attacks your DNA and destroys the cells that aren't supposed to be there (i.e. cancer cells). This has been shown to be very effective obviously. Radiation works in much the same way, it's just more targeted. But Megan, you may ask...why does cancer come back if chemo and radiation kills all the cells? Cancer is very agressive because it's basically a has evolved. Enzymes called PARP enzymes allow cancer to remain because they repair the damage done to the DNA by chemo and radiation. Damn those PARPs!

The drug discussed in this article is the first effective one of its kind, designed to block those PARP enzymes. Thus...chemo and radiation kill the cells and damages the DNA (On purpose! It's a good thing!), this drug blocks the enzymes that WOULD be there to repair the DNA, and ideally prevents the cancer from ever coming back. It basically ensures that the chemo and radiaiton can do their job and do it for good!

Anyway, read the article. It's enlightening and exciting. And...the research was specifically done on breast cancer patients so it all ties in! Enjoy! For now, I'm off to chemo treatment #5.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

If you're confused at all by the double post, don't be. I started that one yesterday, went to chemo, promptly fell asleep and stayed that way for the remainder of the day and night. Therefore, I never finished yesterday's post. Now, we've moved on to the bi-weekly post-chemo report get two posts combined into one today.

Yesterday was chemo #5, which for those keeping track means that I am MORE than halfway done with only 3 treatments to go. I saw the doctor yesterday, which is always an enlightening experience! Yesterday I learned the following:

Originally, my tumor measured 1.9cm x 2.0cm x 2.1cm on an MRI and ultrasound, but in physical exam measurement, it measured 8cm x 8cm for a 64cm tumor. It measures larger on a physical exam for a couple of reasons: scarring, tissue inflammation, thickening, etc. The actual cancer is reflected in the 2cm measurement, whereas, the affected area is reflected in the physical exam measurement. Yesterday, my affected area measured just 3cm x 3cm! We have not yet seen another MRI or ultrasound measurement for the actual size of the cancer, but it's reasonable to believe that the cancer has also been reduced in size by well over half!

My oncologist has also encouraged me to go ahead and make a follow-up appointment with my surgeon and get on the schedule for my surgery right after my 8th chemo treatment. Looks like chemo will be over and this thing will be out of me by the end of July! I was starting to worry that I may have to re-title my blog to six or seven month journey, but it looks like we're potentially sticking to five!

I've also discovered that this chemo drug, Taxol, is SOOOOO much better than the last two I was getting. I have no nausea, food sounds and tastes just fine to me, and I don't have my killer headaches. Mind you, my worst day was never the day after. It has also been 2 days after, so I'm holding out my final verdict until tomorrow, but so far I feel much better on this one--much less sick. Here's hoping that keeps up!

All around, more good news and we're truckin' toward the home stretch! Courage...I've got. Serenity...I'm working to maintain. Wisdom...I never feel like I have, but people tell me I'm succeeding with that one. Prayer for the ongoing thing, so keep 'em coming!!

Love to you all, as always!

1 comment:

  1. That's amazing that you're on track to be done with the whole thing by the end of next month! Wow! I'm still sending you good vibrations like the Beach Boys and all that. Hope you're having a good day! :)