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Nov 14, 2017 · Talking Frankly about Living with Advanced Cancer in Cancer

I have been battling metastatic breast Cancer now for almost 7 years. I never thought I would live this long. I’m at the point where I’m afraid I will run out of money before I die. I had a terrible time this summer with pain due to a fractured vertabra. I had to hire full time (40 HR a week) help to do most everything for me. I didn’t bother to see if I could afford it because I just simply needed it not to mention a dog sitter for my two dogs while I spent 23 days in the hospital. Things are finally getting better–much less pain after spine lapindectomy and radiation. More radiation for brain tumors and a tumor in my jaw. I’ve told my caregiver I need her only 20 hrs a week now which didn’t go over well. I’d like to have her more but I just can’t make ends meet. I’ve told everyone not to expect much for Christmas. My problem is when all this was going on I made my peace with death and was ready to go. I’m still ready. I don’t have much quality of life, my money is running out and I’m afraid what will happen next year when I turn 65 and have to go on Medicare. I have good insurance now through my last employer but my understanding is Medicare
has lots of co pays for everything. Then there’s that donut hole which I’m sure to hit fairly quickly with these out of the world cancer meds. I know I have the option of throwing in the towel and saying no more treatment but my cancer is actually fairly indolent most of the time and even if I just get palliative care I could live indefinitely. I could have said no to back surgery but I would have ended up paralyzed fairly quickly so I’m glad I did it. The brain lesions might or might not have lead to my death but I didn’t want to end up severely cognitively impaired in my last time with my family. I am on blood thinners because I had a couple of DVTs last summer as well as a PE. I could stop taking those and see what happens

Sep 29, 2017 · Staying Motivated for the Long Haul in Healthy Living

You are lucky to be able to do that. I never could, pre-cancer. Part of the pleasure of eating was eating too much. Not having the stuff in the house was hugely important. It’s amazing the lies we tell ourselves. Often I told myself that I needed to have the foods for my kids. I knew I was lying to myself as I was thinking it.

Sep 28, 2017 · Staying Motivated for the Long Haul in Healthy Living

I used to be exactly like you. Even when I was on course I still thought about my favorite foods all the time and when I was “off” I binged those favorite foods sometimes. Since then I have had a recurrence of breast cancer that I assumed was cured 16 years ago. Now I have very little appetite. Food means very little and many times it’s hard for me to find anything I want to eat and sometimes I give up and have an Ensure. It’s such a strange state to be in for a life long food addict. I’m losing weight without trying but it has convinced me that this is a chemical thing that you cannot help. I’m not saying you can’t lose weight but I am saying your desire for food is not your fault just as my lack of motivation to eat is not my fault. Your description of a switch being on or off is so accurate but I think the switch is in your brain not in your will power. One thing I found that helped me in those times is reading motivational articles and books. I’d keep a collection of weight loss readings that had inspired me in the past and read them like crazy. Also Id give my self credit for doing any exercise at all such as walking for ten minutes. I also found the app, “lose it ” very helpful. Good luck. You are fighting a battle that your brain does not want you to win so don’t berate yourself just keep trying. Until science catches up and comes up with a treatment that really works you’re stuck with this battle.

Aug 30, 2017 · My dad has to have open heart surgery. I'm so scared! in Heart & Blood Health

I just had to add my best wishes to to you, your dad and your family. I’m 63 and I’ve had many friends and family members over the years who have had this surgery. It’s amazing how much more routine it has become since those early years and the doctors and their teams have become better and better at it. Your dad will undergo some rehab and you can be there to help and encourage him. You say this came from out of nowhere but I’ll bet once he’s recovered from surgery he’ll notice how much better, less tired less winded than he used to be.

Jul 21, 2017 · Metastatic breast cancer: Anyone else? in Breast Cancer

Thank you. You’re very kind. When we get wrapped up in ourselves we forget who’s really in charge.

Jul 21, 2017 · Metastatic breast cancer: Anyone else? in Breast Cancer

While on Ibrance my cancer progressed as shown in my PET scans and my tumor markers went up (but my dr. doesn’t put much store in them). After the first two rounds at 125mg my WBC went way down as expected however they didn’t bounce back after my “off week.” My dose was lowered to 100mg–that’s when the bad PETs started. I proposed going on Neulasta to bring my counts up so I could go back to 125mg but my doctor wasn’t keen on that idea. I wonder if Ibrance might have worked if I could have taken the higher dose. I say Ibrance failed but deep down I always feel like I failed Ibrance. It’s the over-achiever school girl in me. I hope your poor nose gets better. It’s not like you can cover it with a scarf or a brooch. It’s just there in the middle of your face. We don’t need these additional insults on to of everything else.It must have been one heck of a tenacious basal cell to require that kind of treatment.
My next trial is I’m seeing a neuro surgeon on Tuesday because my T8 vertebra is gone–totally replaced with tumor which is growing into my spinal cord. Something needs to be done ASAP and I’m scared.
It’s good to meet you, Rae. Keep me/us up on what going on with you. I live in Atlanta, Ga by the way.

Jul 20, 2017 · Metastatic breast cancer: Anyone else? in Breast Cancer

Hi Rae: we’re almost twins. I’m new to this site too. My BC came back after 16 years and like you I was active and all my symptoms were thought to be soft tissue injuries from running and lifting weights. I endured a lot of useless painful physical therapy until I got a weird pain in my ribs. I’ve been on just about all the hormonals, including Faslodex, none of which worked for very long but here I am alive after six years. I too have been on Xgeva the whole time and I’m about to start Affinitor and Anastrozole after Ibrance failed me. Anastrozole was actually the first hormonal I took and it worked well until it didn’t. My onc is trying to mix things up to delay my having to go on chemo as long as possible. Until last summer my tumors were confined to bone–lots of bones–then I got a tumor in the brain. I thought it was curtains but I had radiation “surgery” and it’s almost gone. Just wanted to say “hi” and you’re not alone.