Sunday, October 08, 2006

Good Chemo Day, Bad Bowling Night

Before I jump into the latest update from the doctor and my bowling scores, I want to do a few "shout-outs" of appreciation.

The support from friends and family I have received is so heart-warming and sustaining - thank you so much! I'd like to thank my cousin Beverly Graves Chestnut in Falls City, Nebraska, for her many cards as well as from her fellow church members. Thank you for your prayers - I think it's helping. To my sister Suzie's friends from the Duncanville, Texas class of 1967, thanks for your letters and messages - Nina Maloney, Charmayne, Jan, Cookie, Katrina. Thanks to aunts & cousins both in Nebraska and Kansas City and down in Florida, too. One of the upsides of cancer is to be drawn closer to family. So many other friends from all over the country plus right here in Ouray - you've been great. And to my husband Robert and my sisters Suzie & Diane (and bro-in-law, Al), I can't tell you enough how you've helped me through this and how much I love you.

My blood chemistry was improved this week, except my tumor marker CA19-9 was up to 2280, up from 1800 the week before. Red blood cells were up almost to normal, so I didn't have an Aranass shot this time (to stimulate red blood cell production). Dr. Bergen says he is very encouraged about how my cancer is responding to the chemo. He also contacted Mayo Clinic about clinical trials, but it doesn't look like anything is open right now of interest. (Mayo does have the Avastin & Tarceva Phase II trial, so if any of you reading this are new cholangio patients, you may want to check that out.) Dr. Bergen and my surgeon at CU Med Center discussed some ablation methods that involve heating or freezing tumors or planting radioactive seeds in certain arteries. There's no evidence that any of those would extend life, and the procedures involve surgery, so for right now, we are not considering those. I have no desire to go through surgery again unless absolutely necessary.

I did get a bigger dose of Gemzar this week, and I'm feeling pretty good, except some pain in my abdomen and hip which could be side effects of the Xeloda and Araness. I have been taking my Xeloda in pill form each day, but I suspended it on Friday becasue my feet blistered up on me. I did a twelve hour day in the bookstore, and that usually will bring the foot problems on. It's getting better today, so I think I can go back to the Xeloda tomorrow. It's the Xeloda that we think is really doing the trick, so I try to stay on it as much as possible.

I bowled a 94, 92, and 81 in my three games on Wednesday night. I made a concerted effort to bowl the best I could, but the Elks had the lanes professionally resurfaced. I think they are still warped, but my ball just wouldn't go down the middle. I tried all kinds of thing, but to no avail. It's okay though, since I was setting my handicap. I wonder if they mounded up the middle boards a little bit with extra surfacing and that's why my ball would go left or right. Of course, it could be my floppy wrist. In the third game (the 81) I tried backing up and throwing the ball harder, but I had less control. My hip was hurting that night and I couldn't get as low as usual when releasing the ball. I did pick up one spare with a slight split that felt really good. Bottom line - it was so much fun to bowl again! (With the new smoking laws in Colorado, the Elks Lodge is nicer - the smokers have to go outside.)

I won't get to do my radio show today as I have a rehearsal for the "Vignettes of History" fashion show, a benefit for the local museum. I'm portraying Verena Jacobson who was born here in 1907. She just passed away this year. She taught school in Sneffels up by the Revenue Mine and had to walk to Ouray in the snow to be home on Christmas.

Last night was Oktoberfest here in Ouray and the winner of the jeep was a man from Dewey, Arizona who has been buying raffle tickets for 20 years at the Variety Store.

I'm almost done reading The Utes Must Go by Peter Decker, and I give it a thumbs up. It is a well-researched account of the political climate both of Colorado and the U.S. leading up to the Meeker Massacre and the subsequent expulsion of the Utes from Colorado.

Just up here in Colorado enjoying the very last days of fall. We're supposed to have snow on Wednesday. They say our winter is to be wet, but warmer than usual.

Sincerely, Caroline

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