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  • All about Gertrude

    Gertrude is the name we decided to call my cancerous breast hence the title of this blog. Although I had to keep my breast through chemo and radiation due to the nature of IBC - once it 'blew up' it no longer looked like my breast and I couldn't wait to get rid of it. Calling it Gertrude was a way of seperating it from myself. This main page is where I write about the general goings on that relate to Gertrude, there is another page that are more a diary of treatments etc This blog is a public blog so although I am being very honest about my battle with Gertrude I have "changed names to protect the innocent" - because everyone can see it if you write comments on the blog pages please use the same abbreviations for other family member or friends that I do. Please feel free to ask questions if you want clarification because then other people who might have been wondering the same thing can read your question and our answers.
  • Abbreviations

    OH- Other Half (Hubby), OD- Oldest Daughter, MD- Middle Daugher, YD- Youngest Daughter, SB- soulja boi MD's fiance in the army (now ex fiance), OD's R OD's partner, BS- Breast surgeon whose initials just happen to be BS as well, BC- our GP (family doctor), Dr H- my medical oncologist, all other friends family etc will be referred to as initials etc
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    No Princess Alone button

Bigger not better

I had my oncology assessment appointment on the 25th of October to get the results of the CT scan, unfortunately because of the long weekend the official report had not been done and put in the system but the CT itself could be accessed so the Oncology registrar Dr KH ( who knows me rather well from my many visits to Ward 64 and Acute Oncology 2 years ago) pulled up the CT and we all: Dr KH, OH and I looked at it together.

We concentrated on looking at the larger tumor on my liver and in a split screen comparison with the June scan it was obvious that we were looking at progression, i.e. the tumor had almost certainly grown.  We discussed my next treatment option and I suggested one that I knew some other people had been on that I hadn’t tried yet and she agreed to take it back to Dr H for his approval and said she would put my name down to start it but it would possibly 3 weeks before I got on the schedule for Adriamycin.

Much to my surprise a day later I got a call from the scheduler saying they had scheduled me to start on Thursday the 3rd of November.  Given that we still hadn’t the official report and that I had my exam on the 7th still to worry about I was a little taken aback by this and rang the hospital and Dr H to see what was happening.  Dr H confirmed he had talked to Dr KH and they had agreed on the change in chemo but he said I would need to talk more to Dr KH to get the results and to change when I was starting Adriamycin.

Dr KH rung me back on Monday with the official results and they are as follows – both tumours have grown since the June scan the large one has grown over all, and the smaller one has just grown ‘fatter’

Above is a drawing I did (on the computer) That’s a ruler with millimeters showing at the bottom – the tumours shown : the  filled in purple circle is current size, the darker purple line size in March and the lighter pink/purple line June measurements.  They now measure  5.1 cm x 4.2 cm for the larger one and 2.5cm x 2.3cm so as you can see the large one is significantly bigger than it was.

Dr KH was happy to postpone my start of weekly Adriamycin, another IV chemo (my poor veins!!) to let the toxicity from the Xeloda chemo disperse a little more.  Although she would have been happier if I started next week or the week after I managed to convince her to give me a mini chemocation (as it looks like I won’t be getting the larger one I hoped for) until after I have attended the PONZ conference in Hamilton on the 18th and 19th of this month (more about that in another blog post.)  So my new start date for Chemo is the 24th of this month.  The Adriamycin will have  the usual chemo side effects of nausea and neutropenia (low blood counts) but hopefully having it in smaller weekly doses rather than a bigger dose every 3 weeks will alleviate that.  I will lose my hair again but I am surprisingly OK with that,  after all it is one of the reasons I have kept my hair short and not grow it long and curly again – because I knew there might come a time that I had to lose it again.

Now we have got the official word and the official plan I am surprisingly upbeat about things.  As my friend L (my local ‘IBC sister’) said when I told her last night she has got to know that is ‘typical Jenny’.  Others I have told this week have been equally surprised at my demeanor but I have always said that it is the ‘not knowing’ that does my head in.  Once we have a plan I am fine.

I  will write some more catchup posts later this week once I have got my last exam out of the way.

But for now I will leave you with one of my favourite quotes that my IBC/BC mets sister ‘Just Enjoy Him’ put on Facebook today which is very much how I embrace my life at the moment

“I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really:

get busy living or get busy dying.”

~ Andy Dufresne ‘The Shawshank Redemption” (1994)

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  1. feistybluegecko

     /  November 4, 2011

    Thanks for sharing your update, Jenny, I have been thinking of you and I know you were preparing for these results. I am glad your treatment plan is in place and I totally hear you when you say “it’s the not knowing that does my head in”! Absolutely! I am wishing for chemo to be kind to you and destructive to the tumours. Thanks for your open and honest post. Carpe diem indeed 🙂
    Sending you love and warm wishes
    Philippa xoxox

  2. I can completely understand the “not knowing” anxiety versus the “knowing & getting on with it”.
    Best of luck for the exam, and then for the chemo. And big hugs!

  3. You are one tough cookie!! So glad you have a treatment plan. May this be “THE ONE” 🙂 Lot of love and hugs coming your way!!

  4. I am so sorry Jenny. Just as Kate said I think its always best to know exactly what you are dealing with so you can get on with treatment, but at the same time, it has to be taking a toll on you knowing they grew at all.
    I will continue to pray for you, my friend.


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