Thursday, September 22, 2011

6 month follow up and still loving my best friend NED

Today was my second 3 month follow up since completing the investigational chemotherapy. So i got up at 6 AM and drove to Gainesville for CT scans with contrast and lab tests and physical exams.

All Great news - physical exam No Evidence of Disease (NED)


Labs - CA-125 = 4 (anything under 30 or so is normal, so it is totally meaningless that the values have declined from 7 to 5 to 4 the last 3 tests. Never the less, knowing it is meaningless, still I LOVE it. So in other words - LABS = NED

Other measures -

I have worked up to 4 hours a week with a trainer - 2 hours of weight training, 2 hours of pilates - and starting Sept 1 I added 2-3 hours a week of water aerobics depending on how often I can get to the classes. That is a big difference from January 2011 when I would do half an hour with a trainer and then have to take a nap before I could shower.

And while I have not yet made it back down into the PHS approved weight category, I have moved 5 pounds down which is at least movement in the right direction.

So all in all - all indicators are good. And I am very very glad. Now I am looking forward to 2 serial weekends of 40 year high school reunions - this weekend in Sylva NC and next weekend in Magnolia Arkansas - 2 good places to grow up!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

It is possible!!!

I am here to witness that no matter how old you are, how fat you have become, and how tired you start out -- If you make a consistent effort to eat servings that are just a bit smaller than the ones you were used to, AND to increase the proportion of your meals that come from fruit, vegetables, grains, fiber, and protein, AND to avoid eating empty calories (ie things with sugar and alcohol), AND try to drink as much ice water as possible in place of any flavored beverage, AND in addition to try to actively (if gently) exercise 4 hours a week or more AND if you keep it up long enough YOU CAN LOSE 5 POUNDS!!!

How long is long enough? Well, let's just say I am looking at life style changes, not short term benefits. AT this pace, however, if I manage to keep it up consistently enough I fully expect to be back at my preferred weight sometime prior to the close of 2020...

Since the last PHS officer requirement that I have not yet been able to achieve since returning from Chemo is getting myself back down into the acceptable weight range, this is a step in the right direction.

YEAH!!!!!!!!!!! Pat on back Pat on back Pat on back Pat on back...Whoo Whooo Whooo Whooo Whooo!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The significance of the moment

"The trick is not to count the moments, whether backwards or forward, but to experience them for what they offer in and of themselves."

The quote above is copied from the blog of a college friend who was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer about a month before my diagnosis. The context of the quote is ruminations on the significance of the 9/11 anniversary in the context of her own situation - just notified that the 4th line experimental chemotherapy that she has been taking is not working, and her only remaining option is a broad spectrum nonspecific drug that is likely to have little impact.

Gina has throughtout her disease not only show courage and grace, but been a remarkable source of support to others and of eloquent description of experience. Her sentence, shared above, captures very excellently the challange before us at every moment of our lives. It is, however, easier to adhere to it when you have something to strongly focus your mind.

Thanks, Gina, for another eloquent expression of what matters most.

My second 3 month check up occurs 12 days from now. CT scan, physical exam, and another blood test for CA-125. Fingers Crossed, all will continue to be well.