Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Long overdue post

So on Thursday 9/25, I went in for my blood work as a follow-up/ pre-appointment for my first round of the new chemo. This was to see my liver and blood count before starting round 2. When they took my vitals my 02 was super low, I was having trouble breathing and I had a fever of 100.3, so my oncologist sent me to the ER. I was admitted immediately and the tests began. I had a chest x-ray, two leg ultra-sounds to check for blood clots, an ultra sound on my liver again to look for any fluids. I then had a CT scan to look at my liver and abdominal area. They drew several vials of blood to look for infection and to check my liver levels. I was placed on oxygen to help me breathe.
Waiting in the ER for a bed
My liver levels were raised, my WBC and others were super low indicating infection, I was immediately given antibiotics through an IV and a blood transfusion was ordered. Basically,  over the following five days, I had x-rays, ultrasounds, a total of 4 blood transfusions, various different antibiotics and whatever possible to bring my liver levels down and blood levels up

I had a pureed food diet, just like Cora. 
Finally, on Monday, the Drs decided my infection had cleared and that I could go home on oxygen. After they told us that, it took about 5 hours for us to actually be discharged and get home. 

We know that everyone is very eager to help us and our family right now, but currently, I am just trying to gain my strength back, we are trying to keep everyone germ free and are doing our best to keep things normal for Ellie and Cora. Currently the freezer is full of meals and as we see a need for more we will set up a meal train so people can help. 
Thank you for all your support!

Meg, Sam, Ellie and Cora.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

It's back

So mid-August, I started feeling a little off, almost like I had a UTI, and I made an appointment with my primary care physician. I saw Dr. Taylor on the 15th of August and she ran a urine test which came back inconclusive, so she ran a more specific one that was also inconclusive, and then ran a culture to rule out any infection.
By Sunday, the 17th, I was feeling worse so I went into Urgent Care where they ran an array of blood work and ordered an x-ray. The blood work showed elevated liver counts (ALT and AST) and the x-ray showed that I was slightly constipated. They also ruled out gallstones, kidney stones and any type of infection.
I had my regularly scheduled follow-up CT scan on 8/20 and a regularly scheduled appointment with my oncologist, Dr. Miller on the 25th.
The CT scan showed that there were more lesions on my liver and that my liver was enlarged. This enlargement is what is causing the pressure and discomfort in my abdomen.
At my appointment on the 25th, Dr. Miller ordered another liver biopsy to see if the lesions were cancerous, Dr. Miller gave me a prescription of Norco to help with the pain.
By the evening of the 26th, I was in such severe pain (even on Norco), I had Sam take me to the ER. There they put me on morphine. which took the edge off the pain (didn't get rid of it), so they gave me dilaudid which helped the pain go away. They performed an ultra-sound that showed the same thing as the CT scan and sent me home with a prescription for extended release morphine.
The morphine pretty much wiped me out completely for a week and caused my constipation to worsen, which did not help the abdominal pressure at all.
On September 3rd, I had my liver biopsy where they took four samples this time around. I have a severe bruise in the spot.
On the 5th in the afternoon, Dr. Miller called me to inform me that indeed my cancer is back. This means that I have stage IV Breast Cancer. This is not a new cancer but the return of the breast cancer to my liver. Chances are that the last time when my biopsies came back negative it was because the chemo I was on had stopped the growth, once off the chemo, the lesions were able to continue growing hence why it seemed to recur so quickly (3 months)
When I saw Dr. Miller on the 8th he started me on an oral chemo, Xeloda, which I began taking last night. This will involve me taking 4 pills with a meal in the morning and 4 pills with a meal in the evening. With recurrence, they will try to be more direct and try one chemo at a time since with the liver there will be no getting rid of the cancer completely, just shrinking and prolonging life. As of right now my prognosis is 2-3 years.
At Monday's appointment Dr. Miller also ordered an ultrasound guided drain of fluid and referred me to palliative care.
Today (Tuesday 9/9) I had my ultrasound appointment, unfortunately it found that there were no significant pockets of fluid to drain, but I did see that my liver is taking up over half of my insides (which explains why I look 5-6 months pregnant.
Tomorrow (Wednesday 9/10) I will have my appointment with palliative care. Their focus will be to help me manage my pain and the other side effects with the hope of making me more comfortable.
I know this is a lot of information, which is why it has taken me a while to update. I've had lots of great texts and e-mails from you I'm not ignoring you, but it is a little overwhelming trying to keep up especially when I am trying to stay awake to spend time with Ellie and Cora which is difficult given my discomfort level. I will be trying to keep my blog updated as much as possible. Thanks again for all the offers of help and support.