Post-Surgery Update – December 13, 2022

Thanks for all your well wishes. I had my hip/pelvis stabilization surgical procedure yesterday. Everything went fine. It was an out-patient procedure and we were back home around 6pm. My oxygen levels were quite low so I had to hang around for the afternoon until those got back up to acceptable levels. I am mobile and could walk immediately afterwards.

Glen is in Chicago for work so Nancy flew out and it taking wonderfully good care of me.

I have 2 incisions. They injected some cement and put in 2 screws in a cross-cross pattern that are about the length of a pen 😳. I don’t have much pain but that is probably thanks to the OxyContin.

I will have a post-op appointment in January. The second step in all this is some radiation on my pelvis to knock down any cancer. That will also be after the new year.

I very much appreciate you all – I feel the love with all your texts and messages. Thank you.

Plan A and Plan B, and C, and… – November 30, 2022

If you know me well, you know that I’ve always got a plan and a backup, and a few more backups beyond that. I gotta say, my current life situation was no where in my planning or remotely on my radar.

This being said, we’re not fortune tellers, so we have to give ourselves a little grace if life doesn’t go as we plan, hope, or desire.

Short update: Had my monthly visit to the cancer center. Pretty routine – awesome blood draws by the lab techs, lovely chats with the Nurse Practitioner and front receptionist, and once the IV was in my infusion was smooth. The second stick for the infusion is always tricky. My one good vein is used for the labs and then they pull in the rock star nursing staff to get a vein the second time.

Anyway, this was a routine check to make sure nothing weird is going on and everything is A-ok.

Perk of a mask is that it keeps my face warm as I exit the cancer center tonight in the cold.

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Longer update: You will recall that with Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) there is no cure; only treatments. Once you run through all the treatment lines you run out of options and the cancer wins. So, the goal is to stay on any treatment as long as possible.

There is general guidance for treatments that are based on the subtype of MBC you have. The oncologist and patient talk about the wiggle room in that guidance and make a personalized plan.

Right now it appears that my current treatment line is working (my scans in October were stable). However, it’s always good to be looking forward so we can sort through options and come up with a good plan.

To that end, I got a call earlier today from the Clinical Research Coordinator reaching out with information about a potential clinical research trial that is an option when my current treatment line fails. She gave me paperwork today to read through so I can learn more.

(Fun fact for those of you familiar with the IRB process. The pre-screening informed consent form is 15 pages long. The informed consent for the trial is 30 pages long. A tad bit more detail and information than the ones we fill out for education research!)

I’m somewhat familiar with the particular clinical trial and am eager to learn more. It’s important to note that clinical research trials are not a last resort! There are many that provide standard of care while also investigating new treatments.

I love to have information – and yet – I’m not gonna lie, it was a bit of a gut punch to hear her say ‘when the current treatment fails’. No one wants to think about that, but we have to. Well, I have to. I cannot bury my head in the sand and pretend like the current meds will work forever. I firmly believe knowledge is power and I’d rather be in the power seat with cancer.

One more note – my hip has only gotten crankier. I am hoping to have a procedure done next week (December 5), it’s not confirmed (believe it or not). The not-knowing is frustrating and challenging. I’ll share more once I actually have information.

My Cranky Hip – November 12, 2022

I mentioned briefly that my hip has been bothering me, so much so that I purchased a cane to help me walk.

Woman holding up a black cane.
This is my “fancy” cane. Lovely fleur-de-lis in white on black. It’s collapsible and comes with a bag so I can fold it up and carry it in my handbag.

I can’t walk unassisted, basically. I don’t want to continue to live like this because my quality of life (QOL) is not great.

So, I went to see an orthopedic oncologist in Denver.

I learned that the cancer has compromised my pelvis right exactly where my femur touches it. So, it’s painful whenever there is pressure or force exerted on it.

Dr. Lerman is in Denver and developed a novel approach to helping stabilize the pelvis of people with cancer. Rather than do a full hip replacement, he and Dr. Brown developed a surgical approach that will relieve my pain, take only a couple of hours of surgery, and have minimal recovery time.

It looks like I could have the procedure done after the Thanksgiving holiday. I don’t have any more details at this point, other than to share a short video of Dr. Lerman talking about what they do for the surgery.

I’m very glad that this looks to be an option. At the same time, I’m reminded that while my mind wants to move forward with life and do all the things….my body is riddled with cancer that is dictating everything.

I’m grateful for the access to care that I have. It’s also a struggle mentally and physically.

Thank you all for your support and checking in on me. I post about cancer stuff on this instagram account: @nottodaymbc