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3 MONTH CHECK UP TODAY

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

Going for my first 3 month post treatment check up today. Nervous as a cat. I woke up with butterflies in my stomach. I haven't had any problems still I am apprehensive. Every little ache and pain grows in my mind into something dire. Guess it is like this for most people when they go for their checkups. The past 3 months have flown by. Seems like I just got the all clear NED yesterday. I am keeping my fingers crossed all will be fine. I know God will take care of me whatever the outcome.
It is all part of the experience I guess. The waiting and hoping for the best. AARRRRGGG!
I am such a control freak. Have to go with the flow. Not easy for me.

I know we all have to go through these checkups. You reading this have been through it too. Reading about how the ladies here have coped gives me strength and hope. Thanks for being there. Thank you for being beautiful courageous women who have shared your stories.

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1227
Joined: Nov 2009

Sending wishes your way so all will be fine. Hoping for the best for you! I know what you mean about butterflies! As you are driving down the road to your appointment, it just seems that you get jittery and then they wonder why your blood pressure is up!

Sending {{{Hugs}}} your way! And smooth calming thoughts!

Kathy

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Norma,

I know how those check-ups can create some anxiety...that is natural, but nevertheless it doesn't make it feel any better! Will be thinking about you and sending very positive energy your way! Let us know how it goes!

Karen

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Norma,

I can relate as it's part of the routine....checkup jitters!!! Or as a gal in my personal group therapy calls it -- scanidos!!!!!

Know we're right with you and all will work out. I try to think of anything but the appt, but gosh even that's tough to do. Visualize yourself hearing the doc tell you it's all clear and see you in 3 months...

Good luck and know you'll walk out with GREAT NEWS!!!!
Jan

A1pena's picture
A1pena
Posts: 93
Joined: Jan 2010

best of luck to you! I'll be praying for a clear scan!

in my thougts,

Amanda

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

norma,

i hear it gets easier, these 3-6 month checkups, and maybe they do, but they're never easy. just know we've all gone through it, and are with you now. there is every reason in the world to believe all is still ned. let us know when you know. i think we're all "control freaks" when it comes to these life issues, so not to worry about that. soon you'll be embarking on your next 3 months. my chemo doctor said i could stretch my checkup to 6 months, so if i'm still feeling good by the end of august, i may just keep stretching out the time. why not??in the meantime, maybe by the time you read this, you've already learned you're still dancing with that ned fellow.
sisterhood,
maggie

nempark
Posts: 596
Joined: Apr 2010

Hi Norma: I know what you are going through. I love you and wish you all the best. Whatever it is, we are now equipped to take care of it. God bless. June. By the way my hair is now about 3/4 of an inch long and salt and pepper. Love it!!!!

kumar
Posts: 93
Joined: Aug 2009

Gud luck to you.

Cheers Kumar

Cecile Louise's picture
Cecile Louise
Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2009

Yes, indeed, waiting for these checkups is nerve-wracking. It's been about 2 years since my last chemo and I've found that my anxiety level pre-check up has lessened somewhat. Although I am still sensitive to pains, aches and changes in my body, I'm not quite so nervous & jittery about upcoming exams. I hope it will be so for you as well.

Love,
Cecile

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

I wish I could hug each of you around the neck!!! Soooo comforting to come home to all the sweet messages!!! You guys are the best!!

The good news is that I am fine. My doctor at MD Anderson Cancer Center is the head of the department. So when he comes to visit there is always an entourage of people. 5 doctors crammed in this tiny room, me legs up on stirrups and exposed to the world. They each take a look...I felt like asking if they wanted to invite folks from the waiting room for a gander. There was even a visiting doctor from China who just smiled and nodded a lot. Seriously I like being treated at a teaching hospital. Lots of opinions and ideas.

I asked about the sugar and turmeric. Concensus was it can't hurt to take the turmeric and could possibly help. As for the sugar they said everything in moderation. Eating a healthy diet is important.

My CA 125 was between 10 to 13 during chemo and radiation Nov thru Feb.10 Was 23 last visit 3 months ago which was one month post chemo. Yesterday it had gone down to 17.9. Yippee!!! It all looks good and I am doing the NED DANCE!!!

Next visit in 3 months they will do a CAT Scan with contrast.
Again thanks to all you wonderful gals who sent encouragement {{{ Kathy, Karen, Jan, Amanda, Maggie, Nempark, Kumar, and Cecile}}} !!!

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

Norma,

You and I can hold hands and do the NED DANCE...yeah! I'm so, so happy for you and bet you're on cloud 9!!

I can visual the 5 docs coming into the exam room to take a peek and comment. Crazy how that works, but that way have a good group commenting.

Sorry can't remember your treatments, etc, but when did you finish your treatments? Assuming your doc does scans every other time? Mine just decided to do CT every 6 months vs. every 3 months and now working on not doing them at all unless have issues with my CA-125 or blood work. I completed treatments last July.

Congrats and enjoy a nice "adult" beverage with red grapes!!!
Jan

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

I finished treatment in Feb/2010. Stage IIIC Grade 2 was the diagnosis...more details in my info.

Seems like the trend is to do a CT scan every 6 months for the first 2 yrs. Visits are 3 months unless symptoms present themselves. I asked what symptoms and the nurse praticioner said "You'll know". I though "I'll know???? Is she kidding?? I'll know WHAT??? When I had the cancer all over inside of me I didn't know!!!"
They asked me the following:
Nausea
Vomiting
Swelling
Lumps, bumps and other unexplainable things
vaginal discharge or bleeding (if I start bleeding I am going to run not walk to the hospital...)
Fatigue
Weight loss
Change in bowel or bladder habits
Frequent or burning urination

Thanks Jan for your support...you are a sweetie!!! {{{{BIG HUGGGG}}}}

lindaprocopio's picture
lindaprocopio
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

Congratulations, kiddo! 3 glorious months to be free of treatments and to push cancer from the forefront of your mind! DANCE ON AND ON AND ON!!

I know what you mean about the request to report any symptoms. It's crazy because who can guess where in your body that a recurrence would even occur, so what little twinges count and which are just gas bubbles or a surgery adhesion? I had no symptoms BEFORE my cancer the 1st time, and none related to my recurrences at all either. (& that little bit of vaginal bleeding I had was 100% UNrelated to my recurrence in my armpit & just a radiation side effect,...so that's not always an indicator either!) So, I guess we all just report everything odd and let them sort it out.

So, DON'T be afraid of every twinge. LIVE! ASSUME you are cured and live with joy! Life is good.

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

Thanks so much!!! you are right!!! Life is good!!!

nempark
Posts: 596
Joined: Apr 2010

This is exactly what is happening to me----being afraid of every twinge. I am going to take your advice and LIVE AND ASSUME I am cured and live with joy! life is really good!!!
You will be better soon. Love and hugs June

jazzy1's picture
jazzy1
Posts: 1387
Joined: Mar 2010

That's what I love about this site, we're all a group who hold hands and help support each and everyone....wonderful!

Didn't read your bio as had no clue you have one...dah! I've noticed many don't fill in a bio, and I find it quite helpful...just I don't always remember to check first. Read yours! You and I have similar setups with cancer, I've got the more aggressive one which was in the uterus tumors, but when it moved to the 1 pelvic node (like you) it wasn't but the same cancer as you've got. So I'm a bit of a mixed breed of cancers...hum? In all honesty I don't think about what type, etc, just know I'm a fighter and will never, ever give up...I'll fight the fight to the end!!

Interesting comment when you saw the docs at appt yesterday....about the turmeric, etc. That's really what my doc would have mentioned to me -- just don't have research on this stuff so do in moderation and probably won't hurt me. I just do what I think is best and don't really ask my doc anymore. They're so schooled in medicine that the alternative options aren't part of their understanding. At least mine was honest.

You'll know the symptoms???? Hum that's quite interesting from the nurse. Who would have thought I had cancer last year, as had some minor spotting (pinkish not RED) and I was feeling great. The spotting could have been attributed to perio-menopause per my doc....just so happened I had doc appt for yearly exam.

Congrats!
Jan

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

You are a fighter...and I know you are beating this thing!!! Fight on, honey!!

upsofloating's picture
upsofloating
Posts: 473
Joined: Dec 2009

Wonderful news - dance on, dance on!!!
I'm with you on what to report - how do I know what is relevant. I also am treated at a teaching hospital/clinic - but never had quite that large an entourage. The things we never thought we'd get used too, lol. Enjoy your summer!!! Annie

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

You have a great summer too, sweetie....

kkstef's picture
kkstef
Posts: 706
Joined: May 2008

Norma....what great news! Know how happy and relieved you must be! Keep dancing!!
Nothing like having a room full of docs "peeking in there"! You should feel confident that if there was anything amiss, ONE of the 6 would have found it!!

Again, wonderful news....I like that!

Cheers!

Karen

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

thats what I figured too, Karen. Lots of professional eyes looking for the least thing wrong. thanks for the dance!!! {{{Karen}}}

A1pena's picture
A1pena
Posts: 93
Joined: Jan 2010

What great news :) I hope you stay that way!!

-- Amanda

maggie_wilson's picture
maggie_wilson
Posts: 616
Joined: Nov 2009

that's the best possible news, may it be the only news you ever get.....that's funny about all those men (any women among them?) peeking in to take a look, but when it's such good news, who cares? one does tend to lose one's modesty in these kinds of situations.

so, lots of dancing and dancing to be done. hope ned has time to dance with the rest of us as well.

sisterhood,
maggie

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

the gyn/oncology center at MD Anderson has more women rotating through the service than men. Nurse praticitioners, residents, and doctors. I remember when they made rounds when I had my surgery the only male in the room was my gyn/onc who is a professor at the University of Texas. The rest of the 5 doctors were women. I was impressed. This recent visit there were 4 doctors, 2 nurse praticioners, and my attending physician. 2 males and 4 females...we ladies are making strides in the medical profession.

nempark
Posts: 596
Joined: Apr 2010

Good for you Norm. You will have many more of these good news. Love ya. June

clscurnutt's picture
clscurnutt
Posts: 26
Joined: Nov 2009

A day late, but I'm so happy to hear your results. I'll send along this song as I did to Kumar from an old Three Dog Night Song...

CELEBRATE! CELEBRATE! DANCE TO THE MUSIC!!!

Lynn
Never give up! Never surrender!

Cecile Louise's picture
Cecile Louise
Posts: 135
Joined: Dec 2009

I will join the circle, grab your hands, and dance the NED dance with you as well!

Best. News. Ever.

Love,
Cecile

Ro10's picture
Ro10
Posts: 1484
Joined: Jan 2009

So happy for you. May you dance for a very long time. Celebrate.

I too never had any symptoms before I was diagnosed with UPSC Stage III- C, so it is not reassuring when I have no symptoms now. But yet my CA 125 continues to rise. In peace and caring.

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 1227
Joined: Nov 2009

I am sooooo happy for you! Keep smiling! Sending hugs your way!

{{{{{Hugs}}}}

Kathy

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

hugs rightbackatcha...{{{{Kathy}}}

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

I hope your CA125 goes down!!! I will be praying for you.

daisy366's picture
daisy366
Posts: 1493
Joined: Mar 2009

I'm so happy you got good news.

You should have charged all those docs for the privilege of "getting a gander"!!!!

Enjoy, Mary Ann

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

thanks for the encouragement Mary Ann!!! I appreciate it very much.

TiggersDoBounce's picture
TiggersDoBounce
Posts: 413
Joined: Oct 2009

Celebrate!!!

Laurie

california_artist's picture
california_artist
Posts: 860
Joined: Jan 2009

A wonderful moment to take a deep breath. sometimes we are so caught up the whole process that we forget to breathe. I wil be breathing with you.

claudia

P.S. It's the combo of turmeric and black pepper that is the kicker. the studies are being done at M.D. Anderson so someone there knows quite a bit about it. I'll see if I can get the doctor's name. Also, if you get a few minutes in the book Foods that fight Cancer along with the mention of how pepper makes the turmeric 2,000 times more useable by the body is the suggestion that it be heated mildly in olive oil. I like to add all three to spaghetti sauce.

Again, what a wonderful time for you and us, as no cancer for one of us is great news for all of us.

There is a more recent study than this. I just wish they would combine it with pepper and olive oil to make it more potent. They often do studies combining chemo drugs, so perhaps they'll get around to doing that here.

I googled md anderson turmeric, here's the study:
From OncoLog, September 2007, Vol. 52, No. 9 Printer-friendly version

Can a Common Spice Be Used to Treat Cancer?
by Dianne C. Witter

Dr. Aggarwal is conducting laboratory studies on the apparent anticancer activity of curcumin, which is the main ingredient of the curry spice turmeric.

Razelle Kurzrock, M.D., rigorously evaluates the laboratory data behind any new pharmaceutical agent she considers moving into clinical trials at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. As a physician, she is cautious; as a scientist, she’s a skeptic; she wants unbiased, evidence-based information. And that, to her own surprise, is how she became interested in studying curcumin—the primary ingredient of the curry spice turmeric—as a possible anticancer agent in humans.

“Dr. Bharat Aggarwal, chief of the cytokine research laboratory in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics, came to me and said, ‘I want to show you some great results we’ve gotten in the lab with an exciting new agent,’” said Dr. Kurzrock. “But he wouldn’t tell me what the agent was—he wanted me to see the data first.”

Dr. Kurzrock, professor in and chair ad interim of M. D. Anderson’s Department of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics (formerly the Phase I Clinical Trials program), was impressed with the data. “It was clear that this agent was just as potent at killing tumor cells in the lab as any experimental drug I’d seen from pharmaceutical companies,” she said. When Dr. Aggarwal told her this active agent was curcumin, she was intrigued and began designing a clinical study to test curcumin’s efficacy in humans.

Shutting down the master switch

Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties have been valued in Eastern medicine for centuries, but its specific mechanism of action has only recently been identified. In 1995, Dr. Aggarwal and colleagues demonstrated that curcumin shuts down nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kB), which is involved in the regulation of inflammation and many other processes.

By blocking the activity of this “master switch,” curcumin appears to interfere with the cancer process at an early point, impeding multiple routes of development: reducing the inflammatory response, inhibiting the proliferation of tumor cells, inducing their self-destruction, and discouraging the growth of blood vessels feeding tumors. These effects can shrink tumors and inhibit metastasis. Furthermore, shutting down NF-kB can enable traditional chemotherapy drugs to destroy cancer cells more effectively.

Hundreds of laboratory studies by Drs. Aggarwal and Kurzrock and others have demonstrated that curcumin is biologically active against many types of cancer cells—melanoma, and breast, bladder, brain, pancreatic, and ovarian carcinomas, to name just a few. “In the lab, we haven’t yet found a type of cancer it doesn’t show activity against,” Dr. Aggarwal said.

While it’s a long road from lab to clinic, Dr. Aggarwal sees promise in curcumin both as a possible preventive agent and as a cancer treatment. As a medicinal agent, its potential extends far beyond cancer. Laboratory studies have demonstrated curcumin’s promise in a number of different diseases that are also affected by inflammation, including arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, and others. In light of these findings, the number of clinical studies of curcumin has grown substantially in the past few years and continues to rise.

Studying activity in cancer patients

The clinical research on curcumin in cancer is new but promising. Early studies at M. D. Anderson and elsewhere have shown curcumin to be well tolerated and non-toxic at high oral doses.

Dr. Kurzrock is designing clinical trials of curcumin, based on promising lab results.

Dr. Kurzrock and colleagues recently conducted a trial of curcumin in 49 patients with advanced pancreatic cancer, which is notoriously resistant to treatment. Two of those patients had clinically meaningful responses and remained stable for 8 months and more than 22 months, respectively. Another had a brief but dramatic response (73% reduction in tumor size).

“In advanced pancreatic cancer, the response rate to the Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments is only about 5%, so we were very encouraged that we saw any activity at all in this group,” said Dr. Kurzrock. “That tells us curcumin does have biologic activity in pancreatic cancer—there was a true antitumor effect. It’s too soon to know if it will affect survival rates, but more study is definitely warranted.” The fact that some patients benefited is encouraging, since there were questions about whether therapeutic concentrations could be achieved with oral administration.

To address the issue of absorption, Dr. Kurzrock is leading the development of an intravenous, liposome-encapsulated delivery system for curcumin that she says has so far been “very potent” in the lab. Liposomal curcumin would be given intravenously, thereby circumventing the problem of poor absorption.

“The fact that the curcumin did show some activity in the study even though it was poorly absorbed suggests that if we can develop a more effective method to get it to the tumors, it may well have promise as an anticancer treatment,” said Dr. Kurzrock. She hopes to have the liposome-encapsulated delivery system ready to test in a phase I clinical trial for patients with a variety of cancers in 2008. Whether the intravenous formulation would have more side effects in patients because of the higher blood levels of the agent is not yet known, but preliminary testing in mice has shown no toxicity, even at maximum doses.

Currently under way at M. D. Anderson is a clinical trial of curcumin in multiple myeloma, and researchers are seeking funding for a trial in breast cancer. Trials of curcumin in colorectal cancer and in myelodysplastic syndrome are in progress at other institutions. Curcumin is also in clinical trials as a treatment for non-cancer diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and psoriasis.

Food for thought

Dr. Aggarwal, for one, is not surprised at the evidence that curcumin may have efficacy in treating cancer. He feels curcumin has the potential to one day be an inexpensive and nontoxic alternative to harsher oncology drugs; a chemopreventive agent; and an adjunct to chemotherapy. But he notes that progress in developing curcumin for medical use is likely to be much slower than for pharmaceutical agents because curcumin can’t be patented on a broad scale and therefore is unlikely to attract the interest and the funding of pharmaceutical companies.

For his part, Dr. Aggarwal takes a curcumin tablet every day, and he offers this food for thought: “The combined rate of the four most common cancers in the United States—lung, prostate, breast, and colon—is at least 10 times lower in India, where curry is a staple in the diet.”

For more information, call Dr. Aggarwal at 713-794-1817 or Dr. Kurzrock at 713-794-1226.

Other articles in OncoLog, September 2007 issue:

norma2's picture
norma2
Posts: 486
Joined: Aug 2009

Dear Claudia,
thanks for this article. When I went for my check up at MD Anderson last week they had this article in the lounge for people to read. I don't know if you have ever been there but, MD Anderson is a wonder of a care center. You would love the Alternative Medicine Department (yep, there is a whole section headed by a doctor and staff that promotes alternative forms of treatment.) Yoga, accupuncture, massage therapy, music therapy, and others. Each day there are classes that are free to patients. The accupuncture and massage therapy do have nominal fees attached but, they are affordable.) There are also support groups that are promoted. The Uterine Cancer Group meets once a month. Someone from the staff usually attends to answer questions if needed. I have gone to several of these.

In September of this year there is going to be a 2 day seminar there where the author of the Anti-Cancer Book and others will be hosting numerous discussions. I am going to try and attend. Right now the Anti-Cancer diet is all the rage there.

My CA 125 had been between 13 and 17 during chemo and treatment. It went up to 23 for my post treatment check up and kind of scared me. I started taking a turmeric 500 mg cap in the mornings. Did so for the next 3 months and when I went for my 3 month check up it had dropped to 18 and they found me in remission. I like to think the turmeric helped. I also cook with it. Cauliflower lightly sauteed in olive oil sprinkled with the turmeric and black pepper. Sprinkle it on my eggs with black pepper too...very tasty.

You are a doll to share your information, Claudia. I have read lots of your posts and they are a big help. I love your fighter attitude. Like the Simon and Garfunkle song "THE BOXER" we are fighters. Lets all keep on fighting and winning. Each day we gain is a victory.

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