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General Discussion.
5/9/2017 4:29:34 PM

Amy Lowenstein
Amy Lowenstein
Posts: 1599
It’s been a while since my last update, chiefly because of tax season. I had last written on 3/15/17, since when I’ve had a “nuclear stress test” in Princeton (more about this below); an April appointment with Dr. Lainie Martin, my oncologist at Fox Chase, delaying chemo but giving choices for later chemo; a CAT scan at St. Mary in Langhorne; and a May 8th appointment with Dr. Martin (exactly 3 years after my complete hysterectomy by Dr. Stephanie King that confirmed doctors’ suspicions of my ovarian cancer), where 5/8/17 chemo had to be rescheduled to May 12 (when I also see the pulmonary nurse-practitioner for a follow-up from my March visit).

When I had written in March, I had “lost” the right “bootie” of the compression-garments I wear at night. The next day my husband found it stuck in the bed sheets. I had already ordered another right bootie, so now I have two of those, just in case.

Those compression garments may be a bit cumbersome to use and take time to put on and take off, but they do a great job of keeping my legs compressed so that presumably I’ll never have a repeat of that swelling and “cellulitis” that I’d had from September to December of 2016. Additionally, the compression pump, which I use approximately 3 hours a week, also keeps excess fluid out of my feet and calves.

The “nuclear stress test” (by the way, yet another in a series of tests to see if my heart had anything to do with my shortness of breath, yet another confirmation that my heart has nothing to do with my it) reminded me in some ways of a stress test that I had had done in a different Princeton facility in 2005 (after my mother had died suddenly of a heart attack and then I had had left chest pains three weeks later). In 2005, one had to avoid anything that smacked of caffeine for TWO days (“caffeine” meaning tea, coffee, decaf tea, decaf coffee, chocolate, and carbonated beverages). This time in 2017, one had to avoid those same substances for only ONE day. That seemed like progress. In the 2005 stress test, I first walked on a treadmill for a while, then had some coffee they provided from a large coffee pot (which coffee they described as strong, but which was nowhere up to my standards in those days and tasted pretty insipid, as I recall), then repeated the treadmill test with the caffeine in my system.

On 3/17/17, five of us patients shared a waiting room and took turns being called in to experience various parts of the test, so we got to know each other a bit. By the way, halfway through the tests, they gave me individually-brewed coffee from their machine, and this coffee tasted great. It was Wolfgang Puck coffee, which I don’t think I’d ever had before, but it was certainly a lot better than the pot of coffee the other place made 11 years earlier – no comparison!

One of my fellow patients was a doctor that all the nurses knew; they called him “Dr. Smith” or whatever his last name is (which I do not recall). I guess he works either at Princeton Medical Group or at Princeton Hospital. Another patient was another doctor, whose first name is Daniel, and the staff did not know him professionally, so they called him “Daniel,” the same as they called me and 2 other women by our first names. Part of the time, Daniel and the other doctor spoke to each other in French, but mostly in English, about a conference in Africa that both plan to attend this summer. Daniel came from Africa originally but came to the US at age 17, studied to be a doctor, and started a program in Africa to eradicate childhood diseases (because he had seen so much of it earlier in his life and wanted to do something for his fellow Africans). Every time he goes back to Africa now and sees healthy children, he says everything he has done has been worth it.

For a month, I was back on Physical Therapy as an insurance-paid patient, when the pulmonary nurse recommended it. Insurance stopped paying after a month, so now I’m back on the “Healthy Endings” program where I pay $35 a month and can go in there and use their bikes and so on to do the exercises on my own. I think my shortness of breath has lessened (lack of chemo – or physical therapy – who knows) but my husband thinks it hasn’t. We’ll see what the pulmonary nurse thinks on Friday, 5/12.

When I saw Dr. Martin on 4/10 and said I thought maybe the shortness of breath was a side effect of the Pemetrexed, she wasn’t sure about that but suggested 4 weeks off chemo, also suggesting 2 different treatments I could choose from when I came back to see her yesterday, 5/8. When my husband and I read the side effects on the other 2 treatments, we realized that a lot of them were the same side effects as Pemetrexed, so we figured we may as well stick with Pemetrexed after all.

Fox Chase no longer schedules CAT scans the same day as the doctor’s visit (unless you live very far away, which I don’t). But I’m not fond of making two 50-mile-plus round trips for a CAT scan and a doctor visit, so I arranged to have the May 3rd CAT scan at nearby St. Mary, who sent the results to Fox Chase. The CAT scan protocol at St. Mary is a little different from the one at Fox Chase, so I’m not sure which facility I’ll use in the future. The results of the CAT scan (taken about 9 weeks after the 2/27 CAT scan at Fox Chase but with a lot of breaks from chemo in between) show there’s been some growth in some of the lymph nodes, but none of those nodes is over a millimeter, so the doctor isn’t worried yet. When we said we’d just as soon stick with Pemetrexed, that sounded all right to her. She couldn’t give me the Pemetrexed yesterday (5/8), as she’d asked the insurance company for pre-confirmation on only the other 2 treatments I might have chosen. But by Friday of this week, Pemetrexed will undoubtedly be cleared for me. And only if I find that I have really bad side effects a couple of weeks later, would we not repeat the Pemetrexed.

I suddenly noticed pain in my knees a couple of weeks ago. I hope it doesn’t mean I’m getting arthritis, but at least I’ve lived a nice long time without arthritis. There are certain days I’m supposed to take steroid pills (the day before and the day after chemo), and when I recently took these pills, my knees felt much better.

Meanwhile, I will sign off, as usual, with the humorous and/or inspiring quotes I always find.

The first two are Chinese cookie fortunes:
“Change is inevitable, except for vending machines.”
“It is better to have beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear.”

Then there are 3 “Figgerits” from “Dell Solver’s Choice Crosswords & Variety Puzzles, Fall 2015.”
#3: “When all else fails, why not try hard work?”
#5: “Give others the gift of your full attention.”
#20: “Some men’s only exercise is pushing their luck.”

Finally, there are 2 Anacrostics from the same magazine.
#3: “It seems that there are fringe benefits to being President. After leaving the White House, Dwight Eisenhower was asked if he noticed anything different about his golf game. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘A lot more people beat me now.’ (From “Great Sports Retorts” by **** Crouser)

#6: “Some people do tell me dogs and cats are too much bother. We never found it so. … There is comfort and restorative power in the soft muzzle laid gently on your lap, an ecstatic tail wagging, or a small head rubbing against your neck.” (From “Country Chronicle” by Gladys Taber)

As usual, I thank Elizabeth Palmer for sending me all those variety magazines last July. The Fall 2015 issue is one of the ones she sent me. I will be quoting them for some time to come, but I've finished working on them by now.


Amy Lowenstein
edited by Amy-in-PA on 5/9/2017


6/26/2017 4:40:57 AM

Posts: 2
Hi Amy, your more than welcome for the puzzles, I am glad they went to good use.
take care

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