Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Joint Pain Linked To Commonly Used Breast Cancer Drugs

Since this report came out there has been further research suggesting that the risk to bone density caused by aromatase inhibitors (such as Arimidex) might weigh against taking these drugs for some women --- that the risk to bones might outweigh the benefits.

I was glad to have confirmed by this research that the joint problems many of us experience as a side effect of the aromatase inhibitors IS NOT inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune disease. 
Joint Pain Linked To Commonly Used Breast Cancer Drugs:

Researchers exploring why some women who take a common breast cancer drug develop serious joint pain have eliminated two possible causes: inflammatory arthritis and autoimmune disease. Because of these findings, researchers say women should be encouraged to continue taking the medication to gain its full benefit.

For many post-menopausal women with breast cancer promoted by the hormone estrogen, aromatase inhibitors (AI) can dramatically reduce the risk of their cancer coming back. Doctors say the AIs must be taken for five years to gain the full benefit, however, the development of joint complaints in up to 35 percent of women forces many of them to stop early out of concern that the pain signals a more serious condition.


Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy And Prolonged Fatigue

Reading reports like this provide me some solace. It SO annoys me that I'm still so tired a lot of the time. And then I wonder why? What's wrong? Everyone kept telling me I'd feel myself again after about a year. It's now been 2 years since my last radiation treatment and I've since come to realize that I never will feel "myself again".  It's comforting for me to read so many other women report that they, too, were told "one year to normal" only to find it laughable. What annoys me the most about that isn't just that it was misinformation for me but that it's misinformation for people who haven't had cancer who then expect those of us who have had cancer treatments to be back to ourselves after that magical year. I realize that there are some people so snap back faster than others but there are a whole bunch of others out there for whom there is no real snapping back at all.

So I take comfort in knowing that eventually research catches up with reality.
Breast Cancer, Chemotherapy And Prolonged Fatigue: In a follow-up study, researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center and colleagues have found that patients who receive chemotherapy for breast cancer might experience prolonged fatigue years after their therapy.


Treat Cancer With IV Vitamin C - Recent Clinical Success

I've read about women who have gone this route. Unless something has changed, your oncologist won't tell you about this as a possibility.

Treat cancer with IV vitamin C - Recent clinical success:

The use of IV (intravenous) vitamin C to treat cancer is growing in popularity around the world as positive research continues to accumulate and build a strong case for its effectiveness. The latest cohort study out of Germany is one more example, showing that IV vitamin C markedly improves the quality of life for breast cancer patients.


Breast Cancer Drug Causes Substantial Bone Loss

After my AWFUL Arimidex experience (I ended up with the joints of someone 150 years old), I commented that I felt as though I'd been a guinea pig for the drug. I wasn't far off. They're coming out with so much more information about Aromatase Inhibitors (Arimidex and other Exemestanes) and have finally come to the realization that the side effects are serious enough that women and their doctors really need to examine an individual's risk factors to decide whether the side effects are really worth taking these drugs.
Breast Cancer Drug Exemestane Causes Substantial Bone Loss: "Women considering exemestane for the primary prevention of breast cancer should weigh their individual risks and benefits. For women taking exemestane, regular bone monitoring plus adequate calcium and vitamin D supplementation are important. Long-term studies are needed to assess the effect of our findings on fracture risk."


Silver Compounds Found To Be Toxic To Cancer

I look forward to a day when chemo (and the damage it does while trying to save lives) isn't necessary. Better yet ... a world without cancer ... *sigh* ....

In the meantime ... silver?

Silver Compounds Found To Be Toxic To Cancer: lab tests have shown that it is as effective as the leading chemotherapy drug - and may have fewer side-effects.

Results from the study at the University of Leeds, published in Dalton Transactions, show that particular silver compounds are as toxic to cancer cells as the platinum-based drug Cisplatin, which is widely used to treat a range of cancers.

The crucial difference is that silver is thought to be much less toxic to healthy human cells, and in some cases, can be beneficial. Silver is currently used for its antiseptic and antibiotic properties, in bandages, wound dressings and water purification filters in the third world.


Merry Christmas to Me!

I had a little Christmas money to play with and this is what I bought! I've been looking for a living room rug for many years but everything I've found that has the right colours is just not quite right. This, for me, strikes the right note and I'm especially pleased that I like it even more in our room than I did in the store. It's got the right colours for our home, is intricate enough for me, folky enough for me, and, most importantly - cheery without being garish!



Isn't She Lovely?!

I received a FABULOUS and UNEXPECTED gift! Yes, this beautiful little head vase!

If you don't know, I already have 5 different ones that I love. I found one several years ago at a garage sale and fell in love. Since then my Mom found 4 more and I cherish them all. They look very pretty with flowers in them.

And then this little beauty arrived! An unexpected and unnecessary gift from Shelley. I just LOVE her! And I LOVE this little head vase, too!

My night time photos don't do her justice. I need to photograph her in proper daylight. She's just a little bit smaller than 4 of my head vases and then I have one head vase that is just a bit bigger than the others. I hadn't seen one this size before. So sweet!

Shelley also sent 3 jars of what I guess are home-canned salmon! Kevin is especially eager to give that a go.

Thanks, Shelley! SO MUCH!!

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Old Handkerchiefs

These well worn hankies are about to become a quilt for a little girl. There are holes in some of the hankies but I have plans to deal with those. It's time to get out my machine and start sewing this and Robert's quilt, too.

And I have fabric for Luke's quilt ... and ...

Well, let's just say I have a lot of quilting projects in mind and time's a tickin'.
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Remember Me?

I'm probably just talking to myself now, it's been so long since I blogged anything! And why is that? Welllll ....

Mostly I've just been pretty absorbed in a project. That and I'm still trying to get my groove back after the exhaustion that was Christmas, the lead up to Christmas, the unexpected extra stuff going on over Christmas, and being sick almost all of December and half of November. Don't get me wrong -- I love Christmas! It's just that I struggle a little with fatigue during a normal work week and it doesn't take much extra activity to suck the life out of me. Trying to do everything while having bad colds is just a bit of a kicker on top of that. In fact, Kevin is still not really over the cold he caught in November after he got back from Uruguay. It gets a little better ... and then worse ... and then a little better ... and then worse. We both be TIRED!

These first two photos represent the project I've been working on. Mom came to stay with us for just over a week in January and she brought with her about 5 green garbage bags stuffed full of scraps. Scraps from all the clothes she sewed all of us when we were growing up and even some of Grandma's scraps! We sorted ... we washed ... and while I was at work during the day, Mom ironed. And ironed. And ironed. And since then I've been cutting. And cutting. And cutting. The top photo was taken when I was at about the half way point. It's enough work to cut up scraps left over from quilting. Mostly they're squared a bit already. Cutting from clothing scraps takes a little more finesse.

This box of fabric holds all the squares and rectangles ready to be made into a bunch of quilts ... all from those 5 bags of scraps (which is only a small portion of the scraps Mom still has at home). It took hours of cutting! But, when the time comes to start making quilts with all of this, it will be so nice to have the cutting done. And now I'm very glad to be able to set this box aside and get back to working on the projects I was hoping to have not just started --- but FINISHED --- by now. Ha!

I started taking my Tamoxifen again mid-January. It's been 5 weeks now and so far so good. It hasn't been bothering my stomach so far and the other side effects are easily tolerated. Mostly those are cramps every now and then, hot flashes that I manage quite well by now, and my joints are a little more stiff and sore again but, again, nothing that troubles me much. My mood seems to be holding at "cheery" despite feeling so fatigued most of the time and despite still having what is nothing more than the tail end of a cold. It was helpful to have a long weekend. Man, I needed a long weekend. A long weekend with no demands. Time at home ... lots of sleep ... quiet. Just what I needed. It would actually be good for me to take a whole week at home. That's what I really need but I resent having to use my holidays for something other than FUN and TRAVEL. Since I returned to work after finishing treatments, I've used a week or two of holidays each year just to cope. I never had to do that before and so it bugs me to use my holiday time that way. In the big picture, though ... whatevah!!

We do have some fun holidays planned, by the way. We'll be going to Louisville at the end of March to see Luke. Hopefully he'll be playing by then. Their lacrosse season has just gotten underway with 2 games under their belts ... a loss and a win. The bummer is that Luke took a nasty hit during a practice and has had a concussion for the past 4 weeks. There's no way to know when he'll be able to play again ... he has to be headache free for two weeks first. My guess is that he'll be playing or at least practicing by their March 2 home game. But what do I know?! Otherwise, Luke is doing great.

Hannah and Matt are still seeing the world! Hopefully we'll see them here or even in Louisville in March or April.

These two kids are staying with us this week! They -- Gus and Ellie -- belong to Dave and Laurel but they very kindly went on vacation so we could pretend we're dog owners for a while. They are very sweet pups!

It was so pretty last week that I fired up my underused camera and took a few photos on my walk from the parking lot to my office. Very pretty! It makes me so happy that we have so much more daylight now!

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