Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mostly Good News

My scan and visit to the oncologist went well on Wednesday. My blood work continues to look good, and while my scan had "mixed responses", we are generally pleased with the results.

We got to look at my current scan compared to the last scan in May. Some of the tumors remained the same, some might have actually shrunk, some look less dense, and some did grow, but not by that much. My oncologist feels the Xeloda is really making the difference. He says these are the best results we could hope for. He keeps reminding me that I will not be cured, we're just hoping to increase my life span, to slow the disease progression down, and it looks like we're making steps in that direction.

I did have the infusion of Gemzar as well. I started back on the Xeloda last Sunday and should have taken my last dose tonight for the week, but my hand-foot syndrome is kicking up. My feet are red, swolen, sore, and peeling, so I decided not to take any more Xeloda for a few days.

I am having a port inserted next week. They usually have to poke me two to five times to draw blood and get my IV for chemo inserted. I'm very squeamish, so I'm ready to have the port. This enables them to easily access a vein near the collarbone. I can still go swimming or soaking in the hot springs with this. It has a slight risk of infection.

Dr. Bergen doesn't want to start the Avastin until the port has been in a week or two as it will also inhibit healing along with the two chemo drugs. Again, the risk of infection is small, but if it happens, it's hard to get it to healed.

I am no longer anemic. My blood counts had me above the borderline this week. I had a big steak dinner the night before the blood draw - don't know it helps, but I've been adding more red meat to my diet. I need to call and get the results of my tumor marker. Weight is still good, down a pound, and no temperature. However, I felt hot today, my face was flushed, and my feet got red and sore. These side effects mean the chemo is working. Also had a bout of the D-word.

We are headed tomorrow to Buena Vista for the Contin-tail (a tail gate rock swap on the Continental Divide). I have never been to this outdoor rock swap before so I am looking forward to it. Unfortunately, we don't have any help in our shops tomorrow night, so we'll have to come racing home.

This week on my radio show, I am doing a program to celebrate the 37th anniversary of Woodstock. The president of our Woman's Club was there, and she will be one of my guests to tell what it was like. She also has a cousin who was partners with Bill Graham in the Fillmore concert halls, so she got to go to a lot of concerts in the 60's and 70's. She was in the back row of a concert when Eric Clapton premiered Derek & the Dominoes. A guy came in late and sat down next to her, and after he left she realized it was Bob Dylan. Another man in Ouray who buys a Sunday paper each week at the bookstore also went to Woodstock, but found it so miserable after the first day that he left. He was also an extra in the film Alice's Restaurant. He is very shy and I'm having trouble talking him into doing the radio show. I told him just to come down to the station, sit in the back, and just yell out things in the background. I have also spoken to C.W. McCall (Convoy was his big hit in 70's during the CB craze, "Ten-Four, Rubber Duckie"). He lives here in town and he said he would do my show sometime.

All for now. Just up here in Ouray, trying to stay off my aging hippie feet and get the swelling to go down.

Go chemo, go chemo, go chemo!

Sincerely, Caroline

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