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Archive for January, 2008

A1C

Well, the A1C was not so good, but not surprising considering my diet for the last few months has been awful. I mean the basis of my diet is okay but there’s been a LOT of sweets and crappy comfort carb eating, all kinds of things I normally don’t eat. Since I was diagnosed with prediabetes years ago it’s not really a new diagnosis, but I just can’t keep my head in the sand like I have been the last few years since my endo cancer diagnosis and my big weight gain. I have to face the fact that even with prediabetes I have to basically eat like a diabetic to keep things under control. The first time I was diagnosed with this I lost 60 pounds and over the last few years gained 50 of them back (although I’ve lost 5 or 6 in the couple weeks). I knew what was going on without the test results, which is one of the main reasons that I had been so depressed about each pound I gained back. I knew it would cause this, but in spite of my knowledge and my fears and my concerns I avoided going to an internist and dealing with it. So now I’m back to hyper-controlling everything that goes in my mouth (like I’ve been the last few weeks) for the rest of my life. It’s just so depressing, especially when I’m not looking at a normal life span to begin with. I really like the philosophy of life is short, eat dessert first. Oh well…

I don’t have the weird dryness syndrome (Sjogren’s syndrome) and my blood counts are otherwise normal except for the CA125. They use this as a tumor marker with ovarian cancer and recently they’ve started using it in endometrial cancer also. It’s not a real reliable indicator unless it’s been tested from the very beginning and it’s been shown to actually follow a pattern that makes sense for a particular woman. Since I have never had the CA125 test before one result is kind of meaningless, except for the fact that I do have measurable disease and it is elevated. But honestly, who cares, I know I have cancer already!

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Work in progress

This is a really blurry cell phone shot of the painting I’ve been working on in my oil painting class. Kind of has a dreamy quality to it with the blur. I got to stay for the whole class today which was great, I’ve been having to leave early a lot due to drs. appts this past month. I love the class, the painter who teaches it has such great insights that really help me move along. I don’t know that I could keep at this on my own, I’d probably get frustrated. With her I can work and then when I’m not sure what to do next she says something that makes me look at it in a new way. It’s got a ways to go, I haven’t even touched the background besides a quick color wash and everything else has a lot more work to be done, but I am happy to paint away at it every Wednesday morning for however long it takes.

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Home sick…


… and torturing the cat, I mean loving the cat (to death). Z.’s been home with a cold the last few days. Calvin is so “thrilled” to have her around every minute of every day! He’s such a patient little guy. He’s got a good hiding place in the basement when he’s had enough.

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Blood sugar woes

I’ve been on Megace for about a week and a half so far and doing well except for one thing. My blood sugars. They are high and continue to rise. If I weren’t on Megace right now and had these readings I would be diagnosed as a diabetic as the fasting readings are above 125 (even though I am being careful with my diet, keeping it low glycemic and not overeating, in fact I’ve lost 5 pounds since starting the medication). I am taking my own readings every morning, but only started 4 days ago, so don’t have any pre-Megace readings to compare them to (I was delayed a bit by having a script faxed in for my old meter which I then discovered was broken). In the last year I have had 3 PET/CT scans and they always took a fasting reading for those and they were normal (below 100). I’ve been keeping in close contact with my internist about all this and emailed him a bit panicked this morning as the reading today was 18 points higher than the one 4 days ago and I’m really trying hard (seems to me by the way I’m eating they should be holding steady or going down). He called me within a half hour of my sending the email (I love this new dr.!) and was reassuring. He said that if I were actually diabetic he would be happy with these kinds of readings so to keep working on the diet and exercise (oh yeah, I’m supposed to do that too LOL?) and we’ll just take this slow, no need for medication at this point especially if I end up going off the Megace in a couple of months (if it doesn’t work, or if does work and the med onc switches me to a different type that doesn’t raise blood sugar levels). I will go in and get an A1C blood test, which will help determine if I may have been diabetic before the Megace (it gives you a sense of you blood sugar levels over the last 2 or 3 months). He didn’t think this short period on the Megace would make much of a difference in those results. So I’ll go do that tomorrow.

Meanwhile I am getting really paranoid about eating. First I have to watch my sodium intake because of my blood pressure (which has been pretty good at home, but awful at the drs. lately), then I have to watch everything else because of the high blood sugars. It makes me afraid to eat and I find myself spending a half hour to an hour before each meal trying to figure out what to eat. I’ll get used to it, it’s not like I haven’t done this before (when I was pregnant and had gestational diabetes and also all those years on The Zone) but it’s a PITA and I’m not happy about it. I probably should go back to The Zone diet as it works real well at keeping my insulin levels stable. I am kind of doing that now, without all the calculations and paranoia about any carb that is not a vegetable (meaning some whole grains and legumes are okay).

I hate this, it just sucks all the joy out of food and cooking and eating for me. I love food, I love cookbooks (I have over 1000 at least), I love eating. I hate deprivation, I hate calculations, I hate feeling like food is the enemy. I’ll get over it (hopefully) eventually, but for now I’m feeling pissy about it all (my typical initial reaction to having to make life changes for my health’s sake).

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First salad!

Here is our first salad from the Aerogarden! We decided to keep it plain, no tomatoes or cucumbers or other things to take away from the flavor of the lettuce. We used a new salad dressing we bought at Marshall’s which is a Pear Champagne vinaigrette, light in flavor but very good and the perfect accompaniment to the delicate, cut fresh and brought right to the table lettuce leaves. There is just nothing like the taste of lettuce leaves from your own garden that you cut moments before eating. We grow it in the outside garden some years but the birds love to dive bomb it, the squirrels dig it up and when we cover it the aphids like to munch on it. The season seems so short, before you know it it’s bolted, and it’s a lot of effort for a few lettuce leaves. Being able to do it inside like this is great! Makes me wish I had two, one for lettuce and one for herbs (you aren’t supposed to grow them together because they have different light and nutritional needs but maybe I’ll give it a try sometime and see if it’s really so bad). What I really want to grow in it in the summer is green beans. We’ve given up on growing them here as the Japanese beetles massacred them last time (we got maybe three pathetic beans). 

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Energy

I started the Megace (progesterone- the hormonal therapy that 2 of my onc’s wanted me to do) last Thursday evening and since then I have had this incredible amount of energy! I am waking up earlier and I am someone who does not like to wake up before 8am (okay, before 9am) and I’ve gotten up in the 7’s a few times. My body doesn’t have that bone tired feeling by 5pm that I usually have if I have had a busy day (which is most days). I was able to go to my gyn cancer support group last night (it’s the driving at night that I am usually too tired to do) even though I had woken up at 7am, spent the morning in oil painting class, rushed home to eat lunch and then go to a drs. appt. (the med onc), waited there for over 2 hours to see him, spent too much time trying to get out of there, went back to our area to Z.’s music school to pick up Z. after her piano lessons, had a fight with her in the car about piano lessons, get her started on homework, and then realized that I had group so put together a sandwich for my dinner and then rushed out as soon as A. was ready to take over. I got home at 8:30 and stayed up till 2am! I did sleep in a bit later today, but I got about 7 hours and I normally need at least 8 to feel human.

I’ve been zipping around cleaning out closets, getting rid of old clothes, running errands, etc. with a kind of clarity I haven’t had in a while. It’s like when my body is tired and my back is aching I can’t think well enough to go from one thing to another without a lot of effort. Which leads me to the other miracle, my back stopped hurting!! I was using 6 to 8 ibuprofen a day the week before I started the Megace, had gotten down to 5 to 6 a day a few days before after having acupuncture on Monday. The day after starting the Megace I had 2 ibuprofen and in the days since have had 1 or 2 each day. Yesterday I was thinking about the fish oil capsules I take daily. One of the reasons I take them is to reduce inflammation. I thought about how that was what the ibuprofen was doing (only with the unwanted side effects of stomach trouble and increase blood pressure) and looked closely at the amount of EPA and DHA that was in each capsule. I had been taking 3 a day and decided to take 6 a day instead as it seemed closer to the amounts that Dr. Barry Sears (the Omega Zone guy) recommended. Today, so far at least, I have not taken any ibuprofen at all. I’ll probably end up taking one before bed, just to be safe, but hey, this is a huge leap in such a short period of time. I have no idea why it is, but whatever it is, I’ll take it!

So, I’ve probably got another week or so on the new medication to really see what side effects I get (increased appetite, high blood pressure, high blood sugars, edema, blood clots etc.) but so far; I have all this energy; my appetite is less, not more; I have lost 4 pounds. Granted I have been trying to be more conscious of what I am eating (in particular my salt intake, but also snacking), but since I have basically gone up and up and up in weight since my original cancer treatment in 2004, this is pretty incredible. Since they prescribe Megace as an appetite stimulant, it’s also amazing, however this could always change as I’m on the drug longer.

The important part is hopefully this is helping the tumor shrink. We’ll find out in a couple months.

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New (to me) rad onc

A. and I went this afternoon to meet with the rad onc that my med onc recommended we see. It was an interesting appt. I had pretty much expected to have him say, no, can’t do anymore radiation, sorry. But he didn’t say that. He didn’t say that I could do more radiation either, but there is a possibility.

He wants to see some more specific records of my previous IMRT radiation that I had a year ago. It will help him determine whether it is too risky to consider more. He feels that my greatest risk is the bowel, with the possibility of putting a hole in it and being stuck with a colostomy and/or a bag. But until he sees exactly what has been done previously he doesn’t know. The issue with surgery is the tumor being too close to aortas, especially the kidney aorta. But in radiation aortas don’t matter, however the radiation beams, no matter how precise, have to go through things to get to their target. In my case things like the kidneys and bowel.

He was actively interested in figuring all this out, talking to us as he was thinking things through and explaining everything to us. I really like when a dr. is like this, it’s when their creativity and enthusiasm shows.

Where we left it is that I will start the Megace and have the scan in 8 weeks and see if it’s working. If it is, then that might be an easier solution, at least at that time (could be that if I am a good candidate for more radiation that it could be done later on, who knows). In the meantime I will get the records he needs to him and then in about 10 1/2 weeks I will meet with him and we’ll see what he thinks, whether I should have radiation and if so what type.

So I guess tomorrow I’ll go fill the prescription for Megace that the gyn onc gave me yesterday and get started. No reason to wait till next Wed. when I see the med onc as both him and the gyn onc have already discussed and agreed on it. None of this prevents me from pursuing other possibilities, but besides the things I already have set up I am not sure which ones I might want to pursue just yet.

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