Monday, June 21, 2010

Zometa part II (zoledronic acid)

I've now had my second dose of Zometa. I'm happy to report that the drug seems to work just like they said. While I had extreme fatigue with the first dose, I didn't have the same symptoms this time. According to the manufacturer's information, it usually only causes heavy fatigue in the first dose.

My doctor has me on it once every three months. I queried him on this as my "warrior" individual says I should have it monthly to fight it more! It also seemed like most of the information I found on it was that it was given monthly. In fact, I received my first dose when my doctor was on vacation. The nurses automatically put me done for a monthly shot, but I told them I was fairly sure that he wanted me to have it only once every three months.

When I was able to discuss this with him, he told me that he doesn't usually prescribe this for monthly unless I have extreme pain or in cases of multiple myeloma. He said that current studies indicate that having it more frequently doesn't ensure a more favorable result, and it does carry greater risk of negative side effects such as kidney failure and Osteonecrosis of the jaw. Frankly, I'd rather not have these side effects.

It's difficult to explain what Zometa is to my family and friends. Since it is given in 15 minute IV drips, everyone assumes that it is chemotherapy. It isn't. It is a bisphosphonate, and is the same compound as Reclast, for those who may be familiar with that from all the direct advertising.

They don't know quite how it works, but it does work well for some patients. I just hope I'm one of them.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sometimes you just want to scream

Sometimes people want to help. Sometimes you just want to pop them in the nose. A week and a half ago, I realized that shoveling was getting difficult for me. I worked in the garden moving plants and shrubs several days in a row and my pelvis (at the joint between the femur and the pelvis) was aching severely.

I realized that this is the area which has been recently diagnosed with cancer more severe than in other places....and yet I also know that this is the same area which was fractured in the fall. It is my right leg. Surprisingly, because I'm left handed, this is the foot I put on the shovel, the one which carries the power.

I thought maybe, if I just used my left leg instead....I'm pretty ambidextrous in most things...only I felt like I was a clown wearing big shoes when I tried. I sulked. I mentioned to my neighbors that this was getting hard. I'm also getting a little concerned that I won't be able to keep this up.

I also know that my gardens are too full of plants as I love plants. I need to make divisions, send some things on to someone else that I don't particularly like after all....or whatever. So, I emailed my quilty friends that I needed to simplify my gardens as I won't be able to work on them like I least for a while. . .

A couple of days later, one of my neighbors came running over. "Lisa! Lisa! I've solved your problem!!!" "Problem?" I thought.... "I talked to the woman who does my gardening for me. She's a member of the Hosta Society!!!! They'll come and dig up all your hostas, haul them away and even PAY you for them."

My jaw dropped open.

If you take a look at my other blog, you'll see how important my gardens are to me. Most of my hostas were brought down from Connecticut where I had over 100 different varieties. I had to keep on saying to myself "She means well." I had to make sure I didn't say "BUT I'M NOT DEAD YET! I'M STILL ENJOYING THEM!!!!" I was really dumbfounded that anyone would make such a suggestion to me with as much enthusiasm as this particular neighbor.

It will be a cold day in hell before I have the Hosta Society come least while I'm still alive. If anyone digs up all my gardens and takes them will be at a garden party at a time of my choosing, when the end seems near. I'll call in all my friends and ask them to bring friends who garden. They may come...have good food and drink, then take home what they want, leaving a more reasonable garden for Carlos to enjoy...especially since he doesn't garden or understand.

On the other hand...I put out to the local quilt guild and some of my other quilty friends that I have plants to share and plants to give away as I can't do this like this any more. Instead of coming to destroy my gardens, I've had three days of people coming to help me take out things which I point them to, weed and move things around to better locations. They've taken home things that I have pressed on them, not that they hovered over like vultures. What a more caring way to deal with this. I am enjoying working with everyone and I think they are getting something too, in addition to plants. Much to my amazement, the guild has offered to come and help me on a weekly schedule throughout the summer. Hopefully, I'll get the mulch down and everything and we won't have such a mess as I do now...but what a sweet and thoughtful thing to do.

My hip doesn't hurt so much, I've found, if I don't press my luck and go for several days in a row.

On another odd note.... On Sunday, May 30, I fell at Bruckner Nature Center while taking photographs. I stepped on a steep path and there were little twigs which caused my foot to roll...and fell on the side which I was holding the camera. I turn my wrist to protect the camera and heard a snap as I hit it. I have an occult fracture of the radius...and after three days in a splint, the orthopedist took it off and told me to use it, but if it hurt, don't do that particular motion. This would help maintain motion in this joint.

Now the thing I find interesting is this: In 1997, I stepped off a curb and rolled my foot, causing a torsion fracture. Two weeks later, I was diagnosed with a recurrence of breast cancer which I later found out to be stage IV. What a strange co-incidence that two weeks ago I discovered I had some more lesions (shoulder, ribs, sternum, pelvis) and then I broke another bone.