Saturday, July 24, 2010

Zometa Flu Blues

"If you are going through Hell, keep going."  Winston Churchill

Last Friday was my 3rd dose of Taxol.  Along with the additional drugs they put into my port to help me tolerate the allergic affects of the Taxol, I received a new drug that is given every six months called Zometa.

One of the side effects of chemo is bone weakness, and often when breast cancer decides to spread or metastasize to other parts of the body, it is common for it to go to the bones.  A study was done giving breast cancer patients an osteoporosis drug to help with the side effects of chemo, but an additional benefit was discovered.  The spread of breast cancer to the bones was greatly reduced.  The FDA has not officially approved osteoporosis drugs as part of breast cancer treatment, but they will pay for its bone strengthening benefits.

ScienceDaily (June 3, 2010) — The bone-strengthening drug zoledronic acid (Zometa) can help fight metastatic breast cancer when given before surgery, suggests research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

When the drug was given along with chemotherapy for three months before breast cancer surgery, it reduced the number of women who had tumor cells in their bone marrow at the time of surgery.

Every day, tumors shed thousands of cells, which spread throughout the body and are referred to as disseminated tumor cells (DTCs). Breast cancer DTCs often lodge in bone marrow where bone growth factors help them survive.

Chemotherapy can increase bone turnover and bone growth factors, potentially exacerbating the problem of DTCs in the bone, which can resurface later to cause metastatic disease in cancer patients.

Bone marrow seems to be a DTC sanctuary, allowing them to adapt and disseminate to different organs, where they're a leading cause of death," says study leader Rebecca Aft, MD, PhD, associate professor of surgery and a breast cancer specialist at the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine. "We believe that zoledronic acid inhibits the release of growth factors that help support the growth of DTCs."

Zoledronic acid is generally prescribed to reduce and delay bone complications due to multiple myeloma and bone metastases from solid tumors. Two recent studies showed that zoledronic acid improves disease-free survival when used along with estrogen-lowering therapy before breast cancer surgery. Estrogen-lowering therapy, like chemotherapy, potentially increases bone loss.

The researchers also found that of those patients who had no DTCs in their bone marrow at the start of the study, 87 percent remained negative after three months of combination treatment compared to 60 percent of those who received chemotherapy alone, a result that was statistically significant.

Zoledronic acid treatment with chemotherapy had additional benefits. Women in the combination group experienced significant gains in bone density after 12 months. This is helpful for breast cancer patients, who often develop osteoporosis as a side effect of chemotherapy and other breast cancer treatments.

The study also suggested that zoledronic acid may help fight certain types of breast tumors directly. Aft speculates that the drug may stop the tumor from making its own blood supply, modify the immune system in a way that makes it harder for tumor cells to survive or even cause the cancer cells to commit suicide.

Yeah baby, nothing I like to hear more than that, cancer cells committing suicide!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Eff you back to hell bitch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When the flu-like symptoms hit this morning, it threw me; I had forgotten about the Zometa in my IV.

The following side effects are common (occurring in greater than 30%) for patients taking Zometa:

•Fever usually mild and short lived
•Flu-like symptoms; mild fever sometimes accompanied by malaise, chills, fatigue and flushing. Usually occurs with first treatment with Zometa only.  From

I have a very bad ache in all my joints:  at my thumb and that puffy piece of skin on your hand; my ankles; knees; elbows; all through my shoulders and in my back.  This evening I have a slightly elevated temperature of 99.6 I am keeping on eye on.  I finally had to take a vicodin tonight, which also means get out the laxatives and stool softener cause I sure don't want to go through the poop thing.  Don't forget, every time you have chemo, you have to take the stool softeners for a few days.

Thank goodness, I only have the Zometa every six months.  I'm not sure for how long.  I forgot to ask that.  I think it might be for some time.

I meet with my plastic surgeon, hello Duncle Dody, yes, your favorite girl!  I was very impressed with her website and of course my uncle's glowing recommendation of her.  I gave The Good Witch a list of other plastic surgeons on my plan for her to look over so I can see a couple of other people.

I talked to the lovely Good Witch about quite a few things on my mind.  I told her my first choice is to have my reconstruction at the same time as my primary surgery, and I'd like my plastic surgeon to recommend a surgeon.  I am really hoping I can do this.  I'd also like to do the tummy tuck.  Oh, I made an error naming this in an earlier post.  The TRAM flap is where they use the skin from the upper abdomen.  The DIEP, the one I want, is where they do the tummy tuck and use that skin to make new boobies.

Remember, my Duncle Dody said I will be like Pooh Bear, rubbing my boobies when I'm hungry and saying "I'm so rumbly in my tumbly."

During this time I have left on chemo, I am trying to educate myself and come up with all of my optimums.  It doesn't hurt to ask up front for what you want.  I know I will need to be very flexible.  That is one thing I have learned.  Nothing seems to go as you anticipated.  You have to be resilient and you can't plan too far ahead.  One day at a time.  It's really true.

Next week, I have a few things I am looking forward to.  I have a nutrition class with a top oncology dietitian, and an appointment at the Cancer Society for a free wig.  I am also heading back to swimming classes next week.  I need to start rebuilding my stamina.

Batman called tonight.  He is still on tour and the Blue Devils are in first place.  He has spent the weekend in Texas, with a show in Dallas on Thursday, Houston on Friday, and tonight in San Antonio.  He is very happy about having a free day tomorrow in San Antonio.  He hasn't done laundry in two weeks!  They will also get to hang out at the River Walk, which I have always heard is beautiful.

I know he's six foot tall, with a six pack and size 13 shoe, but he is still my baby.  "I'm a grown ass man mama!"  Yes, yes, I know.  I miss him so much.  Especially right now.  Check out the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corp videos on Youtube or at the website.  They are incredible.  My Batman is the tall handsome one.  Hee hee.  Don't forget, he's a snare player.  We are so proud of him.

They broadcast the live quarterfinals from Indianapolis in movie theaters around the country on Aug. 12.  Of course we are planning to go and watch, along with Baby Bear and a contingent of Batman's friends.  I can't wait.

In other ecstatically happy happy news, Midge got engaged!  I am so so happy and can't wait for next year's Fall wedding in the Napa Valley.

and my friend the Cowgirl, should be having her twins any day now.  The "G" girls!

Great happy news.  Sometimes you get so focused into this cancer thing, you forget that good things are still happening out there!

Check out this wonderful video on Youtube that my friend mft sent my way.  Its called something like "Free Hugs in Sordino, Italy."  It's just wonderful.

I would like to do it.  I am a great hugger.  I'll let you know where and when I will be giving out free hugs.

Hope you are having a great weekend.  Much love.  Thanks for listening.

Oh one more thing.  I told you about how my nephew Wolfie messaged me with an "I effing love you" message in honor of my using the "f" bomb lately.  I guess he told his Dad, my bro about it, and this morning, my brother Ronald messaged "Have an effing great day!"  I laughed my sore ass off.

I told my bro "I guess I am trying to find a balance between positive trusting spirit, healthy fighting anger and comforting healing raw humor."

Thank you to all the ladies at the Network of Strength message boards who have supported me during my angry phase, and sent glorious messages that they were in stitches regarding my blogs.  Thank you Ladies.

I have always loved Richard Pryor.  Now his genius is resonating with me and I think about him all the time; how he turned wicked trauma, pain and suffering into hilarious poignant comedy.

Thank you Richard,

from one honky honky who loves you.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Sweet Lady ~
Yes, he will always be your Baby; no matter how tall he is. My 6'8" (size 17EEEE) son will always, always be my baby too. I call him Shorty so I don't embarrass him too much ... hee! hee! I'm sending you a letter soon. I would love to be part of your HUG TEAM. Stay strong and know you are loved "most." xoxox

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