Damn hip is fracturing again. The slight nagging pain got to be enough of a problem to get it xrayed after this week's chemo. We barely got home when we got a call from our oncologist. Hairline fractures are showing up in Karen's right socket area. She's been spared spontaneous breaks for over six months. The combination of the chemo (Taxol) and Xgeva have been working.
Now, for some reason there is new uncertainty in our lives. Uncertainty is frightening. We don't know what the next steps will be; that is beyond referral to a specialist, and hints of surgeries to pre-empt a hip fracture.
Uncertain about the chemo; has it stopped working?
The uncertainty will probably go on for several weeks as appointments are scheduled, tests and imaging scheduled and read. It all moves like a glacier when you want speed, options, answers and relief.
Karen has been upbeat in general despite the dire nature of her diagnosis. The setbacks are expected but they seem to flair up just when we dare to think we might make plans for the future...even a month in the future.
The saddest thing is with each new uncertainty there is a point where we move from shock to profound sadness and all we can do is have a cry together. The tears flow and then we move on with life. We're already doing all we can do.
photo..stock image..just another place the cancer is destroying.
Another Thoracentesis; this makes number four. Two on the right lung and now two on the left. At least breathing becomes easier for a while. We had hopes that doing the procedure once on each lung would be enough. The fates say no and this seems to be a new normal to have fluid drained alternately from around each lung.
Karen has been an inspiration through every treatment thrown at her.
Some good things and some difficult things arise as the summer passes. We're spending time at the lake house trying to beat the heat. We've even been able to find a tube with a nice seat so that Karen can do a bit of floating.
The chemo has been taking it's toll yet it continues to slow the cancer's advance. We've decided (along with her oncologist) to cut back a little. We were on for an infusion once a week for three weeks and then a week off. The new schedule is two weeks on then a week off. It's a risk but calcium levels are low, blood pressure is low and fatigue is becoming more of a problem. Breathing is getting difficult again and we keep upping the supplemental oxygen levels. Probably fluid is building again around the lungs. Karen did an xray yesterday and we'll get the results Monday. Draining the fluid is an absolute nightmare of a procedure and she's had it done three times and probably this will be a fourth.
She continues to balance rest and doing the things that she's always loved.
Photo - Karen pruning a holly bush.
William and Karen - Karen and I have been married for 41 years. Karen's breast cancer has reached stage 4. This is what happens next.