Monday, June 25, 2012

Grateful today

Well, I still sit here waiting....patiently as I try....for the results of my PET scan that was done back on 6/15. Those of us who undergo these know that the clock can tick slowly while waiting for the results, but come on, 10 days? Give a chemo brain a break! ;)  I should be a grateful little soldier in that I am well taken care of by our Veteran's Administration and that there are others who, unlike me, may not have access to these medically necessary scans.  So my thought for today is, thank you VA from a grateful ole soldier, but please forward my results. wink wink.

On another note, my Making Strides page is open - please, if you have not yet donated to the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign, please consider making a donation at my site.  Your donation is tax deductible!   June 2, 2012, was three years since my diagnosis, and honestly, I have met hundreds of other women with breast cancer. Many are still with us, many are not.  I am determined to help ensure that as time goes by, that percentage of survival increases and that my family will never have to worry about this dreaded disease again.  On October 20, 2012, I will once again walk for, and carry those with me, who can no longer walk for themselves. I AM trying to making strides today for "our" breast cancer family tomorrow.  I could list so many names right here, but there wouldn't be enough room to represent them all.

I must believe that one day, breast cancer will never steal another year from anyone's life.

Cheers for an awesome and hope-filled week! Hugs

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

MDS symptoms

As I posted yesterday, Robin Roberts is once again fighting the battle with MDS, a form of leukemia. To follow up on that post because she is also a triple negative, I thought some of you might be interested in the signs or symptoms of the disease.

As taken from the mdsbeacon website and originally published by Biblia Kim 5/1/09, it is as follows:
The symptoms of MDS will vary depending on the severity of the disease. Nearly half of those with MDS display no symptoms upon initial diagnosis.

Anemia, or low red blood cell count, cause the most common symptoms because red blood cells are responsible for distributing oxygen throughout the body. In MDS, the percentage of healthy red blood cells is below normal; therefore, the body does not receive adequate oxygen.
Signs of anemia include:
  • Chronic tiredness or fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Heart palpitations
  • Pale skin
  • Chilled sensations
  • Cardiovascular symptoms, such as chest pain (older patients)
Neutropenia, or a low white blood cell count, is another symptom of MDS. A shortage of white blood cells, which are responsible for fighting infections, increases the likelihood of acquiring an infection or fever. Of the various types of white blood cells, most people with MDS lack neutrophils, rather than lymphocytes, making them more susceptible to bacterial than viral infections. It is possible to have a defective immune system despite normal neutrophil counts.
The common infections associated with neutropenia include:
  • Skin infection
  • Sinus infection accompanied by nasal congestion
  • Lung infection accompanied by shortness of breath or a cough
  • Urinary tract infection accompanied by frequent and painful urination.
Thrombocytopenia, or low platelet count, is also a symptom of MDS. Platelets are responsible for blood clotting.
People with MDS have a greater frequency of the following symptoms:
  • Nosebleeds (epistaxis)
  • Bleeding gums
  • Flat, pinpoint bruises
  • Rashes of small red dots(petachiae).
Less common signs of MDS include:
  • Enlarged spleen (splenomegaly)
  • Enlarged liver (hepatomegaly)
  • Abnormal shape or size of cells
  • Chromosomal abnormalities. 
Keeping in mind that I would think that periodically some of these things are part of our "normal". But, if you have been reading the above and checking some of the concerns off, then I would recommend you make an appointment with your oncologist for a consultation.  It is likely nothing to worry about, but we as cancer patients know, it is better to be safe than sorry because our lives really do depend on listening to our bodies.

Blessings to all! Have a great week. And don't forget to say a little prayer for fellow cancer patients!!


Monday, June 11, 2012

Robin will be fine

Triple negative breast cancer is a disease that keeps giving. Even when one battle ends, another may begin at any time. If you know someone with breast cancer, please offer a helping hand.  The emotional, physical, and life toll it can take on an entire family is tremendous.  If you are a survivor, please don't forget about those who still need YOU.  Your friends, your family, patients, neighbors.  Cancer may have changed your life in many ways, but it does not define who you are unless you let it.

And so now we hear that Robin Roberts is facing a new challenge in her life.  After surviving triple negative breast cancer, she has now been diagnosed with a bone marrow disease.  She is under going a "pre-treatment" of sorts to gear up for blood transfusions that will help her.  This woman is a rock.  She was one of the very first people I recall looking up with TNBC.  Reading her story helped calm the storm that raged fear within me.  I was terrified and reading her journey quieted that fear, some.

Learning of her illness makes my stomach do flip flops for her, because I know she will have to undergo that dreaded red - or green - devil again, but she is a tough cookie. I read what she had to say about her diagnosis and just like Robin, she is completely positive that her outcome is good.  Some TNs might wonder what is to come for them, too.  Don't worry about tomorrow, we can only control what we have today.

That being that case, I am positive that I will be praying for mercy and intervention on her behalf.  Please, won't you pray for this woman who has come into homes every day with a smile and a story to brighten the lives of millions around the world.

Have a blessed week all.  Hugs.