Thursday, December 7, 2017

A Rough Week

I've been galloping along going to my Opdivo treatments every two weeks for my Lung Cancer AND going to my BCG treatments for my Bladder Cancer every week.  This week proved to be much more of a struggle.

The treatment for Bladder Cancer is very irritating to your bladder.  There are several know side effects and this past week, I've had the feeling each day the side effects were getting worse.  So much so, that the night before my next treatment, I was waking up every 20 to 30 minutes with an extreme urgency to pee.  I would get up - blindly walk into the bathroom - and maybe 3 drops!  By the time my head hit my pillow, I think I was passed out that quickly, but would soon awaken to repeat this sequence of events.  This went on alllllllll night.  By the time I got to my Urologist office, I felt like a zombie.

Prior to each treatment, the nurse does a urine test.  As I was describing to her how my side effects have continued to worsen over the past week, she determined I had  a Urinary Tract Infection and a Kidney Infection.  WHAT??? I've never in my life had a Urinary Tract Infection.

I felt so stupid.  Had I known or given my symptoms a second thought I would have realized this is not normal.  Now I know!! Due to the infection, my BCG treatment was cancelled and it looks like next Tuesday's will be cancelled as well - they won't do the treatment unless everything checks out okay in your urine sample.

So here I am, 48 hours later, still in pain, still having these horrible issues and still waiting for the culture results to come in.......Soon, please soon :)

Sunday, November 19, 2017


As we grow up and become parents, friends, etc., we know life doesn't last forever.  We don't know when it will happen, but it "happens to all of us."  Well, with a Lung Cancer diagnosis, we realistically open our eyes and ears and know that end may come much quicker than we thought.  That's when we fight with a flame we never knew we had inside of us.

This fight is also about awareness.  How many of us knew what we know now when we were diagnosed?  Now is the time to spread awareness.  This fight, our treatment, forces us to hold close what is important, love what is dear, and do what is love.  This has forced me to think about my own mortality.  

If God wants me before I can become an old lady with a cane, slippers and my robe, then I want to do as much as I can to help others before my time is up.  Our family has participated and created many community projects.

Now, while I am feeling well, I have decided what I would like to do as another way spread lung cancer awareness is donate my wedding dress in the name of Lung Cancer Awareness.  I have found an organization that takes "cleaned" wedding  dresses and with a team of seamstresses across the country, they create gowns to be worn by stillborn babies and preemie babies who crossed that bridge with the others.  Parents should never have to experience the loss of a child, but in this world, we know it happens too often.  "Angel Gowns" have a team of volunteers who meet monthly and use wedding gowns to create gowns for the babies to be buried in.  I, as a mother, cannot imagine being told to go home and pick something out.

PLEASE consider joining me in making one thing in these parents lives, a bit more bearable. 

If you would like to participate, please contact me (contact form is on right side of my blog).  Below are the details:

  • dress must have been cleaned
  • dress is mailed at your expense
  • PLEASE consider adding a roll 3/8 or 5/8 white satin ribbon to help make the angel
  • if there is a portion of the dress you'd like to keep, please use scissors and cut it off before mailing the dress
  • Add a note with your name, date of your wedding and mention your donation is help spread lung cancer awareness
This is NOT a 501(c)3, so your donation will not be tax deductible.

I hope to hear from many of you.  God Bless and Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving.

Below is a picture of my wedding gown that I will be mailing.  The second picture is a sample of the Angel Gowns that are made from our dresses.

p.s.  they accept flower girl white dresses as well 

Monday, November 6, 2017


I have always been honest in all of my writings.  Whether it's for my blog, Lungevity or, I say the good with the bad.  So here is what I know and don't know.

As you know from reading my blog, I am preparing for my next TURBT this Thursday, Nov. 9th.  I had a hard time with the last two (which had one tumor) so this time knowing I have 5 plus, I'm extremely nervous.

I'm nervous.  Take that with a grain of salt.  Doc chose to switch my medications last week.  She wants me to take Klonopin instead of Xanax.  Ok, I thought.  Let's try it.  I took it for 3 days. NO. NO. AND NO.  On day 3 and 4, I was a basketcase.  Hands shaking, voice shaking, crying if I couldn't find the new roll of toilet paper.  I was a mess.  I couldn't stop thinking, "I have cancer.  I'm going to die."  This is what we say at initial diagnosis.  Not four years in.  So I called my doctor on call and he said to immediately stop taking new stuff and go back to old until I talk to my doctor this week.  That phone call took place yesterday and I can't begin to tell you how much better I feel.

Now on to the lungs.  My latest CT scan does show several minor/tiny changes.  Multiple lung nodules and lymph nodes are stable - no change.  One nodule grew by 4mm.  And a new one has appeared. 3mm.

Bottom line my doctor is ecstatic about my lungs....still.  She feels since I have tolerated Opdivo for so well for so long that I am the 1% of patients that make it to/past 5 years.  (My 4 year canserversary is this January).  She feels even though there are very minor changes, the other nodules staying the same proves to her Opdivo is still working and we will continue it.  She is cautious because of new growth, but it is so small we will simply watch it during my every 3 month scans. She specifically said to me, "even with these changes I am no where near saying we are at the end of the road."  This is a great thing!

The lung scans also show I have "moderate diverticulitis."  This may explain my stomach issues and a diet change can possibly change this.

So overall, good scans.  I say that lightly because the day I found out about the tiny growth, was one of the days on the new medications, so I was a basketcase.  Now that I'm back on my original, I'm ok with this - no growth means I'm still winning. As I said earlier, "I have cancer  I'm going to fight this monster and kick its ass."

(P.S.  Nurses were filming the entire thing while laughing hysterically.  The poor woman in the beginning in the red vest was a volunteer and had NO idea what was going on)
The volunteer must have worked the front desk because as we were exiting the building she started yelling to her co-workers, THERE SHE IS!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Bladder Cancer News

Four months ago, my Bladder Cancer was found by accident while getting scans to check on my Lung Cancer.  A cystoscopy is a procedure that allows your doctor to examine the lining of your bladder and the tube that carries urine out of your body (urethra). A hollow tube (cystoscope) equipped with a lens is inserted into your urethra and slowly advanced into your bladder. I had my first cystoscope on July 11, 2017, confirmed it was a tumor and was scheduled for the TURBT surgical  procedure.  My TURBT was performed and confirmed it was a tumor and it was only on the lining of my bladder.  TURBT is a procedure in which bladder tumors can be removed from the bladder wall. This is a procedure performed completely with a scope that is inserted through the urethra into the bladder. It is generally performed in the hospital setting as an outpatient with the patient anesthetized.

Protocol for patients after having a TURBT with tumors only on the lining entail:
  • For six weeks, you go one day a week to your Urologist.  He uses a catheter to put the chemotherapy/immunotherapy solution directly into your bladder.
There are two medications used for this treatment.  BCG - is a form of immunotherapy, therefore I cannot have it due to already being on immunotherapy Opdivo for my lungs every two weeks.  Mitomycin is the second medication.  I began this and during week three developed significant side effects and was told to stop.  I was also told we would wait for another cystoscope in October.  

Well, today was that day.  The day.  The first time we would look in my bladder since removing the one tumor.  He began the procedure and we could instantly see on the monitor as the tube was being moved in.  

What I saw was horrifying.  A lot of things that looked like my originial tumor in various spots on my bladder.  My Urologist immediately withdrew the cystoscope and said, "We see 4 and I didn't even look around.  No need to make you look at it now.  I'll take care of it in surgery."

So almost exactly 3 months after having the TURBT the last time (and everything looked clear and great), there now appears  4 new tumors are growing and we don't know how many there are.  The plan is November 9, 2017, I will have another TURBT, he will scrape my entire bladder, then we do the cystoscope 3 months after - February 18, 2018.

Certainly not the news I was looking for but onward I go.  I know I can have several TURBTS but I can't imagine getting this done every 3 months.  Not sure how that will go but will certainly keep you informed.