Santa Monica . . .

19 Dec

Hello all,

I want to thank everyone for their support, kind words, messages, prayers, positive vibes and love.

I saw my oncologist today. It was a quick appointment. I had hoped that I could see the nurse so that I would get more of a physical exam done (the nurse does a more extensive physical exam and I was hoping she would do that and give me some reason to allay my fears a bit, as in, well, I don’t feel anything suspicious). But, I knew that my oncologist would order a breast MRI. It is the only way to tell if there is something going on there. So, my appointment pretty much went as expected.

Menopause Three

Seriously? "Menopause, the Musical"??? (Image by David Jackmanson via Flickr)

I was also chastised for not petitioning my insurance company’s denial of the genetic testing (to determine if I have the Braca gene or not). I will get on that tomorrow. It is so stupid that my insurance company denied it when both my oncologist and the genetic counselor requested it. There is no basis really for my insurance company to deny it. But, they did. Anyway, it is nothing new, battling with insurance companies. But, it is something I decided to take a break from doing (since at one time it was pretty much a full time job – back during chemo – it was a constant battle to get meds approved – the same meds each chemo round would get denied . . . as if I was no longer in need of the medication . . . very odd). I would love to some day make a change in that, I don’t know how someone who is elderly or sicker than I was copes with all of that during treatment. But, I digress.

I need to get off my butt and file the petition and make my insurance company do what they are getting paid handsomely to do.

The other concern my oncologist has is that I am still ovulating (or at least that is what she thinks given I still have pretty regular menstrual cycles despite all the chemo, despite taking Tamoxifen) . . . I know, aren’t you all thrilled to hear that?!! TMI, right?!!

The point is that I am still pre-menopausal, still producing estrogen (the hormone that the cancer I had loves) so that is a concern. Tamoxifen often causes menstrual cycles to stop (as does chemotherapy). When a woman goes into menopause from chemotherapy it is called “chemical menopause”. Some women never come out of that chemical menopause. I had that during chemo. But, as soon as I finished chemo, my ovaries kicked right back in. At the time I thought that was a good thing, thought it was a sign of my body being resilient. And now that I have been on Tamoxifen, but, am still having menstrual cycles well, it is not something my oncologist is very happy about I guess.

I am not really certain about that actually. Except that she keeps asking me “are your ovaries still kicking?” (which kind of bothers me a little bit, sort of, okay, maybe I am being ultra sensitive . . . I LOVE my oncologist, she is so great and I owe her so much, I really believe that I owe her my life. BUT, this whole, why-aren’t-I-in-menopause-yet thing is really getting kind of annoying.

Her concern is well placed . . . the more estrogen the worse my chances of a recurrence since the cancer I had was fueled by estrogen (and by HER2 gene expression – if I am even saying that right, don’t know that I am, so don’t hold me to it, I am too tired to look it up). Premenopausal women with estrogen responsive breast cancers do not get as much of a benefit from Tamoxifen (Tamoxifen is more successful in post-menopausal women as are the alternatives – aromatase inhibitors). Still, Tamoxifen is shown to help reduce the risk of recurrence in pre-menopausal women too, it just isn’t quite as effective.

Anyway, I am rambling. I’m thinking I should wrap this up.

Okay, so the upshot of my appointment was exactly what I expected: get an MRI. Hopefully it will show that everything is fine. The pain I am having can be due to surgeries and the redness can be from the radiation I had to that area (skin changes can occur for many years to the areas that have been radiated). Anyway, that is the latest.

It is unlikely that I will be able to get the MRI before the end of the year . . . which is just fine with me.

So, now it is back to planning Christmas dinner . . . going to repeat the Tapas Christmas dinner I did last year (although different dishes).

No turkey here . . . unless I decide to go for turkey empanadas . . .

I am so over cooking Turkeys, Hams or Crown Roasts . . . don’t think I will ever do that again. We had so much fun last year doing the Tapas dinner that we decided it should be a new Christmas family tradition. So there we are. I plan on thoroughly enjoying the holiday and putting all of this cancer crap out of my mind.

This morning I visited a friend of mine who had breast cancer surgery today. This is her second time through breast cancer and it will hopefully be her last. She is strong and beautiful and courageous and I am grateful to know her.

I don't know anyone who can rock a surgical hat like this woman 🙂

I will go see her tomorrow (her surgery was today). I am hoping and praying that the pathology report is good. Some women have what is called a “complete response” to Herceptin and chemo treatments prior to their surgery (meaning that when they get to surgery there is no more active cancer left). I am hoping and praying that she gets good news.

Please keep me and my friends (who are still waiting on results) and my friend who is currently having surgery for breast cancer in your prayers. This cancer stuff seems like an epidemic some times.

Well, all is well for now. I am sitting in a cafe in Santa Monica waiting for the traffic to improve before I make my way back home. I have to say the people watching here is great!

Third Street Promenade . . . one of the things I enjoy about my oncology appointments . . .

Thank you for your continued prayers and support.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday, peace and health!

Love,

Lisa

7 Responses to “Santa Monica . . .”

  1. Sally Peck December 20, 2011 at 12:23 PM #

    I’m sorry you have to contend with insurance company. Obama caved to insurance companies’ greed. Their profits are the main reason healthcare is so expensive. He/we should have demanded universal healthcare like every civilized, industrialized nation has.
    No one should profit from others’ illness. Our country/economic system is so sick. That’s why we Occupy.

    • cancerfree2b December 20, 2011 at 3:47 PM #

      Thank you Aunt Sally. Yes, it is very disappointing that we have such a sick system, it really is broken. And it isn’t just insurance companies that profit from illness, it is some of the non-profits – Susan G. Komen for the cure (TM) is definitely profiting from breast cancer. It just makes me sick. Well, hopefully . . . not actually sick 🙂 But, you understand what I mean. Exposing the fraud of Komen would be a full time job. When you have a chance you should check out an organization that is truly making a difference and is exposing Komen for what they are and aren’t – Breast Cancer Action . . . their web address is: http://breastcanceraction.org They are a great organization and have worked for real change in products (convincing Yoplait yogurt to eliminate harmful chemicals – breast cancer causing chemicals – from their product line and they have had many other campaigns … they are really doing good work).

      All the best to you and much love always,
      Lisa

  2. Kathleen D. Hoffman December 20, 2011 at 3:13 PM #

    I will continue prayers for you and also for your friend…happy holidays to you as well, Kathleen

    • cancerfree2b December 20, 2011 at 3:47 PM #

      Thank you Kathleen, Your prayers are greatly appreciated!

      All the best in health!
      xoxoxox
      Lisa

  3. BreastCancerSisterhood.com December 21, 2011 at 1:06 PM #

    Cancer treatments & the ensuing wondering & worrying is taxing, isn’t it? I’m glad you’re taking time to people watch.

    Have a Merry Christmas. Tapas sound fabulous. I will keep you in my prayers.

    Brenda

  4. kyrani99 January 13, 2012 at 9:17 AM #

    I am trying to reach people with cancer to share my findings and my own experience. Spontaneous remission can be made to happen. I have done it more than once. Cancer is not what the medical industry is claiming I have found. Cancer is all about stem-cell mediated immunity erroneously ignited in the body owing to ideas. Once you understand who in your life is stressing you and in what way and once you identify the ideas that are problematic you can address the problem easy. You need no drugs nor medical procedures. I am willing to answer whatever questions you may have. You are welcomed to come to my blog at http://kyrani99.wordpress.com/ . I have yet a some time before I get to the subject of cancer but the early stuff is important to read in preparation. You can email me at ani.eade@yahoo.com.au
    sincerely Ani

  5. Cancer Warrior January 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM #

    Congratulations! You have been nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award. To accept this nomination, you must do three things:
    -Thank the person who nominated you (that would be me, http://www.perksofcancer.com)
    -List 7 interesting things about yourself.
    -Nominate 15 fellow bloggers.
    You can learn more by following this link:
    http://perksofcancer.wordpress.com/the-versatile-blogger-award/

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