Sunday, November 23, 2008

Skin Cancer Vaccine testing

From Stand Up To Cancer blog: "The same Australian scientist who developed the cervical cancer vaccine believes he may have developed a similar skin cancer vaccine. It works the same way - by targeting papillomavirus, this time in the form of a very common skin infection that can linger in the body, eventually leading to cancer. Already shown to work in animals, the vaccine starts human trials next year and could hit the market as early as 2014. "

It is not a cure, but it is a step in the right direction which could save thousands of lives each year. This guy is amazing and I am happy that his focus is on cancer research.

Below is a link to the article describing the vaccine.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Not so celebration dinner

We did venture to Oregano's Thursday night for dinner, however, I did not feel well. There is a nasty virus going around my school and I caught it. I felt fine all day on Thursday. Teya and I even went for a bike ride. Well she rode her bike and I walked. It was a great afternoon and we both enjoyed the activity. When we returned home, I was pretty tired and fell asleep on the couch. Todd woke me 30 minutes later so we could go to dinner. Well everything was down hill from there. By the time we got to the restaurant I was not feeling well. An hour later and I was really not feeling well. I couldn't eat anything as my stomach hurt and I was nauseous. Luckily I made it home before getting sick. I then spent the entire evening being sick. I didn't get any sleep. I stayed home from work on Friday and literally spent the entire day in bed. I swear it felt like 2 hours, but it was all day. Thank goodness I did feel better Friday evening and I was able to keep some food down. I slept pretty well last night and I am happy to say that I feel better today. Not 100% yet, but much better.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Feeling better

I finished round 2 Monday night and I am now beginning to feel better. I am thankful that my energy is returning and that I don't feel wiped out anymore. Hopefully I'll be back to high energy just in time for family and Thanksgiving. Tomorrow Todd, Teya and I are going to go out for a round 2 completion celebration dinner. I think we may head to Oreganos. Yummy!

Tonight Teya wrote (well I wrote, she dictated) her very first letter to Santa. She insisted that it get mailed tonight, so we put it in an envelope and she placed it in the mailbox all by herself. She was so proud. I wish I would have had my camera to take her picture when she was skipping back to the house. The look on her face was pure happiness.

I have my first CT Scan since my surgery on Monday. Prayers and positive vibes for a clean scan would be wonderful. Thanks!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Round 2 almost over!

I have been really tired this round. I am hoping that my energy level will go back up once this round is finished, which is Monday night. Other than being lethargic, I have been feeling good. My side is finally not sore to touch and undergarments are once again part of my wardrobe. Nothing to tight or with wires, but I'm so happy to be able to wear something without the pain.

This week we will be getting ready for Todd's family who is coming to town for Thanksgiving. They arrive next week. Courtney, Mike, Alec and Brian fly in Sunday night and then Penny and Paul on Monday evening. We are very excited for their visit.

Teya has been in dance and she is really enjoying it. It is a program at her school and is once a week right after lunch - 1:00 on Fridays. I went to watch her this past Friday and I know I am her mom, but she did great. Below are 2 videos (click on the arrow key to play).

Teya warming up

Teya dancing

Monday, November 10, 2008

More good days

I have been feeling good. Besides a rash at the injections site, I have had no other cranky side effects from the treatment. Thank goodness as I have been busy with holiday cards. Most of you know, but I have a custom made stationary business (cards, invitations, announcements, etc.) called Party Essentials ( I have a few holiday orders already and it is so great to be back in business doing something I love to do.

Todd, Teya and I went to a Lymphoma Walk yesterday at the Phoenix Zoo. A co-worker of mine, Alicia, has lymphoma. She has been a real support to me since I found out about my reoccurrence. I didn't even know about her cancer until my returned. We had a lot of fun at the event. Teya loved seeing the animals. I made it through one lap around. My lungs felt good and thanked me for the workout and my body thanked me for the extra oxygen. My side was sore with all of the movement and I still cannot wear a bra of any kind so that didn't help, but it was all worth it.

Alicia and Me

My friend Pete started his treatment last Wednesday and I am happy to report that he did not have a reaction to the drug or extreme side effects. We still do not know if he is getting the drug, but he is a trooper and is going forward with a positive attitude. Thanks to all who have sent him positive thoughts and prayers.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Good day

I am happy to report that the ugly side effects of my treatment happened while I was sleeping. I did wake up to chills and body aches throughout the night, but was still able to get some pretty good sleep. Thank goodness, when I woke up this morning all was well.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Round 2

Tonight I begin Round 2 of my treatment. As soon as I am finished posting this entry I am going to give myself a shot and then get in bed. My hope is that I will not experience the same negative results as I did the first 2 days of round 1 (drop in blood pressure, bone aches, chills, etc.) I'll let you know tomorrow.

Also, I had an appointment with my oncologist on Monday and all looks well so far. I had an appointment with my dermatologist today and my skin looks great. Good news there!

Some of you are following my friend Pete's story - thank you & he appreciates the well wishes. I had lunch with him on Monday to celebrate him getting into the trial. We went to Oregano's, which is a fabulous Italian restaurant. The weather was awesome, in the upper 80s, so we sat on the patio.

He is traveling down to Tucson first thing tomorrow morning for his first treatment. He will spend the majority of the day there as the chemo & drug are given through an IV drip and it takes 3-4 hours. He will then need to stay for an additional 2 hours after for monitoring to ensure that he doesn't have a reaction. His mom will then drive him home, which is about a 2 hour drive. I am praying that he gets the drug and that he does not have an allergic reaction to any of the chemo. Also, I hope he has an uneventful drive home. If all goes well, I will hear from him on Thursday.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Teya on TV

Teya and The Sutton Kids (Reed and Rachel) were on 3 TV news (a local tv station) the morning of Halloween. Janie received an invite from one of Reed's friends from school for them to be a part of the station's morning Halloween segments. Janie invited us and so we headed on into the station at 7:30am not really knowing what to expect. Well, it was worth getting up early. When we arrived we were told the segment was being broadcasted from their set. I am a 3 TV watcher, so it was pretty cool to be on their set and meet the hosts.

The kids were front and center stage. It was so cool. All three of them sat on stage and were very well behaved. Teya was a Care Bear - Cheer Bear, Reed was Batman and Rachel a cat. They raided the candy stash before they were supposed to, so Teya and Reed were both enjoying their lollypops at 7:50 in the morning. Below is the first segment. Listen closely to Reed when asked to speak - he says "You Goofy Head!" to the announcer in response to him saying dress the kids in goofy outfits. Classic response for Reed! Everything ends in head (same goes for Teya). (To play video press the arrow key below the video.)

After the first segment, we were asked to stay for the Trick-or-Treat segment, which aired at 8:11am. Of course we said yes. Well, the kids stole the show as you will see. Watch closely and you will see them sneak to the front of the line.

Oh, at least one of the lollypops the announcer is referring to is from Rachel. She loves those lollypops and has to have more than one at a time. She is too cute!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

My friend Pete

A friend of my Pete, is also Stage 4 melanoma. I met him 2 years ago when I was undergoing my chemo. He started 2 weeks after me. Then while I was in the hospital recovering from my surgery, he was admitted to the same hospital for stomach/digestion pain. After his surgery, he was told that the pain was caused by a tumor in his intestines. The tumor was melanoma, it had spread. Unfortunately, all of his cancer cannot be removed. The good news is that he has been accepted into a clinical trial down in Tucson (STA-4783).

This clinical trial has been very promising for melanoma. This is the first time in over 20 years that there has been a drug that the melanoma team down in Tucson at the AZ Cancer Center have been excited about. This drug has proven to reduce melanoma tumors by at least 50%. Some patient's tumors have completely gone away. This is so exciting I get emotional every time I think about it.

The trial is a combination of chemo and a new drug. The only downside to the trial is that some patients will receive a placebo instead of the drug. He will still receive chemo, but the drug they are testing along with chemo he may not. Pete is a pioneer and hero to all of us affected by melanoma. I ask for your prayers for Pete to receive the drug as his participation in this trial could not only shrink or get rid of his tumor, but if the trial continues to be successful, it could one day do the same for many other melanoma patients.

Thank you all!