So Many Appointments...

So Many Appointments...
Thank you for your continued prayers. We really do appreciate it!

So here are all the updates I have.

Devin had his MRI on Saturday. He has a partially torn Soleus tendon (it's one of the calf muscles). They are referring him to physical therapy and it should be healed in 3-4 months.

I had 4 appointments on Tuesday. . Endocrinologist (Dr Sudhakar) - she looked over my labs and my thyroid looks good as long as I continue taking Levothyroxine. She set me up for a followup in 6 months.

Then I saw my orthopedist (Dr Patt) - He took a few sets of pelvic and lumbar x-rays. He watched me walk and we talked about the tingling/numbness I have in my left leg. We also talked about the foot drop I am experiencing. The prednisone I was put on for it by my oncologist (Dr Brown) has helped some but not fully. He is referring me for a lumbar and pelvic MRI. It is scheduled for early October. He is also referring me to get a nerve conductivity test of both my legs so they can make a comparison. That is scheduled for next week. I will follow up with him after both tests are done.

Next up was routine labs. All my labs looked good!

Lastly, we saw my oncologist (Dr Brown). We discussed my prior appointments that day. We talked about how the prednisone was working some but not fully. As it turns out I did better with the left leg nerve pain when I was on higher doses of the prednisone. The symptoms started to come back as we weaned down the dose. So, she put me back on 40mg per day of prednisone. I will take that for the next week and then halve it the next week. Because there is a chance that this is a side effect of Keytruda my immunotherapy drug we decided to cancel my infusions at this time until all testing is done. Apparently Keytruda can cause neuritis. I will see her in 2 weeks for a follow up. She also referred me for a neurology workup but that isnt scheduled until right before Thanksgiving.

I had to return to the lab after I saw Dr Brown because she ordered a special test that gets sent out called Signatera. It checks my blood to see if any cancer cells are still floating around in it. I am not sure when I will get the results of this back. She said she would feel better about holding the Keytruda infusions if my blood was clear. I feel the same way!

Yesterday ( Wednesday) I saw my palliative care team. It is usually Dr Kadakia but last time and yesterday I saw his 2nd in command Anna Catherine Morris, PA. She is really nice and in my opinion just as knowledgeable as Dr Kadakia. We discussed all my appointments from the day before and we talked at length about my left leg. She decided to double my prescription for gabapentin. I will now be taking it morning and night. We will see if this helps with the nerve pain until we get this all figured out.

  1. That between the prednisone and gabapentin I can continue to get relief from the nerve pain and be able to do things around the house. I've been doing some purging and organizing.
  2. That Devin's tendon would heal fully.
  3. That my tests would reveal what is going on in my body so we can treat it and get back to fighting the cancer. Remember that Dr. Brown initially said this would be a two year fight with infusions.

Determined to Get Stronger...

Determined to Get Stronger...
My next Keytruda infusion is on Wednesday September 13th.

Since my last update I have been focusing on gently detoxing and getting back into taking my supplements that I was told to stop while I was doing chemotherapy due to possible interactions. Dr Brown (oncologist) gave me the go ahead to resume while I do immunotherapy.

Here is a list of what I do on a daily basis. I will expand upon them in the coming weeks since I get asked a lot about what I am doing.

Therapies - 
  • vibration plate
  • lymphatic drainage cream
  • laser treatments to my leg, feet and brain
  • liver and thyroid castor oil packs
Nutrition - 
  • H2 Boost Molecular Hydrogen
  • Oola AM (Mind) & PM (Body) multivitamin
  • Lysosomal Glutathione
  • Regenerate stem cells
  • Various homeopathic sprays for bone and nerve regeneration
I am happy to report that I feel like I am getting some feeling back in my heels! I am praising God for this as my oncologist said I probably wouldn't be able to improve the tingling and numbness. Since I have just recently within the last two weeks started adding these additional items I am very hopeful that it will continue to get better with time.

  1. For sleep. Still having troubles due to the steroids. I have ordered some organic tart cherry juice that hopefully will help.
  2. For my upcoming appointments next week with ALL my doctors. We will be forming our game plan moving forward.
  3. For Devin. He is scheduled for an MRI on his left ankle/lower leg on Saturday.
Pic: Some of the additional homeopathic sprays I've added into my routine.

Praising God in the Storm...

Praising God in the Storm...
Thank you to all my faithful prayer warriors! I am so blessed to be covered by so many prayers.

Wow, I can't believe its been 20 days since my last update. Sorry about that but there wasn't much to report until this week. I've just been busy trying to enjoy the last of summer. School starts Monday for us.

So, about a week ago I started to notice some additional pain and neurologic symptoms in my left leg. It has made it very difficult to walk and I had to start using a cane. Some of the symptoms were sciatic pain, inability to even lift my leg out of my shoe with out assistance, tingling/numbness on the outer portion of the lower leg, inability to lift my toes off the floor and some slight swelling. This made it very difficult to walk as sometimes I would catch my toes on the floor. I decided that it didn't warrant an ER visit since I was going to see my oncologist 5 days later.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023
We saw Dr Brown(oncologist) after my routine blood draw in the lab. She reviewed my bloodwork and everything looked real good. I explained my symptoms that were going on with my leg. She asked me a lot of questions and I showed her my limitations I was having. She explained that Keytruda (immunotherapy drug) can have a side effect of neuritis. Which is inflammation putting pressure on nerves to decrease their function. She said they can come and go and can attack anywhere in the body. I was supposed to have my next infusion the next day (Wednesday). She made the decision to cancel the infusion and start me on high dose steroids for the next 6 weeks. She said that we should know by Monday if the steroids will help with what is going on in my leg. I am happy to say that I have gotten some reprieve in the last three days. The pain is less, swelling is coming down and I can move my toes a bit better.

Friday, August 25, 2023 
My PET/CT showed NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE  for a second time! I am PRAISING GOD for this!!!!! I will be honest with you. I was a bit worried that maybe the cancer had come back in my sacrum or pelvis and was causing the leg issues. So that was a huge relief for me to read the report. I know I had a lot of people praying for this and I can't thank you enough.

I'm not sure what this means moving forward for my treatment plan. I do see in my portal that I am set up for my next Keytruda infusion on September 13th. I will be touching base with Dr Brown on Monday to tell her about how I am doing with my leg and discuss the plans moving forward.

  1. That the steroids continue to work and resolve all my leg issues 100%.
  2. For sleep. The steroids have been messing with my sleep the last two nights. A common side effect I am told.
  3. For my doctors to be able to make a good game plan as far as my treatment plan moving forward. We want to keep the cancer gone and keep my symptoms at a minimum.
  4. Devin - yes he needs prayers again. About five weeks ago he woke up and his left ankle hurt so much he hobbled around for a few days. It helped when he used sports tape to tape it up. He finally got in to see an orthopedist yesterday. They did an x-ray and exam. They will be setting him up for an MRI. Meanwhile he is in a walking boot until then.
Pic: A YUMMY rootbeer float to celebrate my PET scan results!

Infusion #9 in the books...

Infusion #9 in the books...
Last Tuesday 8/2 we had a meeting with Dr Brown (oncologist) after some routine bloodwork. My bloodwork was all good. We talked about how to keep my white blood cells up while continuing my infusions. The plan was to get an injection 24 hours after my chemo infusion to help stimulate white blood cell production. This would hopefully keep me out of the hospital with Febrile Neutropenia. We then talked about how in the last 3 weeks the neuropathy in my feet has gotten even worse. The complete bottoms of my feet are now numb/tingly. It is making it extremely difficult to walk as I can't feel my feet. With this new information we decided to discontinue the last two chemotherapy drugs that I was on. This also means that I don't need the injection for the white blood cells.

So, what does this mean? Moving forward for the time being I will only be receiving Keytruda the immunotherapy drug every three weeks. A new PET/CT scan is scheduled for the end of the month. If you remember the last PET/CT showed no evidence of disease. We are praying this remains the same.

On Wednesday 8/3 I saw Dr Kadakia (palliative care). We discussed how every time I am hospitalized I lose strength in my legs. Which makes it even harder to walk. I will be trying to regain some leg strength at home and we will discuss starting physical therapy in 6 weeks when I see him again. He stated that once people are off chemo some will reverse the neuropathy in 2 months - 2 years. This gives me some hope, as others have told me it will most likely be irreversible. Time will tell. Fingers crossed!

  1. For some good healing sleep so I can start to rehab my legs. My legs just feel like jelly most of the time.
  2. For the neuropathy in my feet to reverse.
  3. For a no evidence of disease PET/CT at the end of the month.
Pic: Just a great reminder to myself that my struggle is a sign that God is up to something great in my life!

Hospital + Surprise Visits...

Hospital + Surprise Visits...
Thank you to everyone who has kept us in your prayers. We really do appreciate it.

So after my last update, Devin and Kylie both ended up on more medications. Kylie was tested for everything, even mono. Everything came back negative. As it turns out they both just ended up with a very bad summer virus. I am happy to report that they have both turned a corner and it seems like we can finally put this cold behind us.

The day after I wrote my last update I started to run intermittent fevers. Just like last month. I contacted my team of doctors and they sent me for bloodwork to see where my white blood cell count was at. Since it was late on Friday afternoon when they did the blood draw, we were informed that we should have the results back on Saturday. They called me at 11:30pm to tell me that my count was 0.57 and I needed to get myself to the hospital. Needless to say I was already sound asleep and didn't get the message until the morning. So Devin dropped me off at the hospital and made sure I was all good and then I sent him home, since he didn't feel well. Devin and Kylie rested at home for the weekend while I was in the hospital. They gave me the same shot as last time to help bring my white blood cell counts up. I was given this shot both Saturday and Sunday nights. On Monday morning my white blood cell counts were high enough that they discharged me and sent me home. I was glad because they didn't let me get much sleep.

On Thursday night I got the biggest surprise. My sister and niece came to visit me for a week. We have been having a blast catching up. It has been good for my soul! Today we ventured into Charlotte and went to the Museum of Illusion. If you have kids or teens this is a must to check out. We had a lot of laughs.

  1. That we can figure out what needs to be done with my chemo treatments to keep me out of the hospital. We meet with Dr Brown on Tuesday.

Fatigued + Sore...

Fatigued + Sore...
Last Wednesday, July 12th I had my 8th chemotherapy infusion. Dr Brown and I decided to do only 3 of my chemo drugs and not do Avastin this time. We wanted to allow my body a little more healing time of my anal fissure. All went well with the infusion but I woke up the next day feeling very fatigued. This fatigue has continued to plague me everyday since. I am feeling a little bit better today. So, hopefully on the mend from this.

Besides the fatigue my legs have felt very shaky and I have been having some low back pain. On the upside though my leg pain has not existed since my infusion. It seems Dr Kadakia was right. The steroids I get during my infusion help the leg pain.

Today I went to see my colorectal doctor (Dr Hill) for a follow up. I am happy to report that the anal fissure is healing nicely and I will not need to see him again unless something changes.

On the home front, Kylie is still suffering with congestion and cough from her trip. She has finished medications that she was prescribed and she is still not 100% yet. She has also shared her sickness with Devin. The two of them went for some IV Therapy today so fingers crossed within 24 hours they will be much better.

  1. That I don't catch whatever it is they have. I am now in my low white blood cell days following my chemo.
  2. That they would get over the sickness and feel better.
  3. That my fatigue will subside so I can get some things done around the house.
Pic: My dogs keeping me company all week. They love to take naps on me!

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