Hello Mermaids! It’s been quite awhile since we were last together. So much has happened in this time. Let’s begin with the good news.
Towards the end of February I received an email from ROCK’N ROBIN PRODUCTIONS, which “is a full service broadcast and digital production company creating new and exciting programming for network, cable and online audiences.” It is headed by Robin Roberts who is best known as co-anchor on Good Morning America.
The email explained an upcoming Robin Roberts five-part series about advanced breast cancer featured on WebMD.com. My blog was found during a search for this series. I was interviewed by the company and chosen to be part of this series as a woman living with advanced breast cancer. I am truly honored. Filming was so fun and exciting! I don’t want to give anything away, but I will let you know all the details when I can including how and when you can view the series online.
Health-wise, things went downhill after filming.
I started having double vision. It just happened out of the blue one day. I thought it might not be anything of importance until it was there the following day. I put a call into Dr. M. My nurse practitioner called me back, and it was decided I would need a brain MRI. Oh great, the dreaded MRI. But, I knew I needed it… ATIVAN, are you there?
I received a call from my nurse practitioner a few days after the MRI. It wasn’t the worst possible news, but it wasn’t the best. It appears I have another cancer growth on the outside of my brain. That’s the good news. No, really, that’s good news. The bad news would be if the cancer was inside the brain. See, it’s always about perspective.
The following week after receiving this news, I had CT and bone scans. Two days later, I met with Dr. M to discuss CT and bone scan results and review the results of my MRI.
Things went way downhill.
The PARP inhibitor I have been on apparently was not inhibiting PARPs. The lesions on my liver grew, and there is a new nodule on my lung. Oy!
So, what do we do now? First, I need to have brain radiation therapy for 10 days. That’s right. The double vision became worse, and now I have blurry vision, right ear pain/hearing loss, numbness on the right side of my face/head, and jaw pain with my right lower jaw moving way over to the right side of my face. Second, we begin a new chemotherapy called Gemcitabine. I will receive this treatment on a cycle of two weeks with chemotherapy and one week of a break. My infusions won’t start for a few weeks though since radiation must come first.
I started my first brain radiation treatment yesterday. I had to wear a head mask, which makes it very uncomfortable. Brain radiation is quite scary when you learn the symptoms and side effects associated with it. The main symptoms of brain radiation are fatigue, rash, and swelling. Additionally, the symptoms you are already experiencing can get worse. The rare side effects include blindness and paralysis. The radiation oncologist, Dr. K, explained to me if we did not do radiation, the cancer would continue to grow and cause these side effects anyway. Well then, zap my brain! I remember when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, going to radiation without a care what would happen, but I digress.
The sooner we finish up radiation, the sooner we can start chemotherapy. I’m looking forward to telling those cancer cells to take a hike. The weather is going to be much warmer soon, they won’t mind.