Monday, April 30, 2012

One of these moments

Last year after the shock of receiving the news of cancer I made a list of activities in my son's life that I have to be present at in the future and I must do everything in my power to make sure I am healthy for all these years to come and be able to see each one of them.

Some of these activities were first time riding a bike, first book read, soccer games, first school graduation, communion, first girlfriend, college years, wedding, his children.......

This weekend we did the first one and I was so proud of him and it was magical to see how happy he was with his own achievement. Attach is a proof of one of the videos I did.

When he went to bed, he said to me...."mommy, I am a big boy now" and I said "yes you are" and then he said " mommy, I love you", Ahhhhhh!. This is one of many more important milestones in his life, and I am delighted to be present.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Support me on Latinas Contra Cancer

As my friend Marcela will say I have got a mission in my life, it has taken me a few months to find two good ones but now I will be focusing on both of them:

1 - Susan G Komen or AVON as national support, these two organizations are the only ones who have got the power to make a difference on the fight against breast cancer so I will always support both or one of them every year. We have raised so far close to $40,000 for Susan G Komen, amazing!!!, thanks very much to everyone who has donated to the team.

2 - A local organization where I can make real impact to real people and that organization is Latinas Contra Cancer. I am really involved helping on their annual walk and I hope to raise some money for them.

To all my international friends you can help supporting this group by clicking on this link and register as "pledge" only and donate as little or as much as you can. Please indicate you are donating for my name.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nervous break down for a few days

People who have had cancer will never be the same and will always have a cloud over them and wondering what is going to happen next. I think everyone I have spoken to who have had cancer a long time ago says that it gets better with time but that time has not arrived to me yet...

Last week I noticed that I had a brownish discharge and called my OB for check up. I have not gone to my OB office since last year breast cancer diagnosed so I had a level of anxiety going back to her office. She did the annual check up and after explaining to her what I had noticed she said that it was better to do a biopsy of the uterus as Tamoxifen could produce uterus cancer and one of the signs are bleeding. I almost fall over when she said she was going to do a biopsy there and then, it was like last year was coming back to me and I was getting upset by the minute. The biopsy was quick and almost painless and she did explain that she did not think it was cancer for several reasons but it was better to be checked. When she left the room I literally started crying like a child, I felt I was on square one again waiting for a result of a biopsy that could change my life even more. Alberto got upset with me as I told him not to come with me and when I arrived home and saw how upset I was he wished he had been with me there.

This was Friday afternoon and of course it was waiting time...I told her to send a copy of the pathology report to Dr Chen my Oncologist as I can get hold of her easier and quicker for results. I knew that if they did not call me on Monday or Tuesday the latest I would be OK as here they call you as soon as there are bad news, they are really fast on that!, today I could not wait any more so called them and the nurse called me back confirming that the biopsy come back negative to cancer and the pap smear was normal. OH MY GOD!!, what a relief!, I have been so stress and sleeping so bad for the past few days, now I can relax and wait for the next test I guess.....I just hope that it does get better with time!

Indentity theft - Here we are again

For everyone who follows my block will remember that my identity was stolen last year after I started my chemo treatment. For my European friends who might not know how identity is stolen is simple to explain, in the US if someone gets hold of your social security number, your date of birth and your name you are in big trouble!. With that information and Internet they can try to open credit cards, bank accounts, phone accounts and everything you can imagine. How can they do it when using a different address?, well really easy they ask for credit limits of $500 and most of financial institutions out there do not move a finger for security checks on checks for $500 so there are no any serious reviews if the request is genuine.

Last summer I went through hell to protect myself and my family, we changed bank accounts, we put theft alerts on all the 3 national bureau, I reported to the police, to the federal trade commission and who knws what else I did. We contracted a credit insurance which is a service that monitors any company that will ask for a credit report from you, in the US if you want to buy a phone and open an account with AT&T the first thing they do is check your credit report to see if you are a good customer to have. Every time anyone asks for any credit report about anyone in our family we receive an E-mail inmediatly. I so thought I had taken care of everything! but how wrong I was!!.

This weekend my tax person was filling electronically our tax return with the IRS (Inland revenue service or Hacienda in Spain) but it got rejected becuase SOMEONE has already filled a tax return with my social security number. WHAT!!!, You can not imagine how upset I got, not sure who that person might be but hell I will not answer to any logic reaction if in front of me. my social security number is still out there and being used so I am now in bigger trouble to have more legal expousure myself.

Why somone will fill a tax return with someone else social?, two reasons I could think of, to claim a refund from the IRS or someone who is living ilegally in the US and is building their history for work purposes. So here we are again, this week I called the police and updated my report, put new alerts everywhere, called the Federal trade commission, talk to the IRS. Now I have to send a full repor to the IRS prooving who I am in case that person is claiming refund that the IRS does not go after me for the money. I also called the social security office to see if I should change my social, however they believe changing social will not solve any problems to me as my old one will still be in the market.

Now the question is.....what else are they going to do with my social???, if they have got the guts to send a tax return to the IRS I am really conccrned what else they will do.....

And yes I still believe this is a leak from the medical routes, someone has sold my data to someone but of course I will never find out who it got out there so will try to get stress about it!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Latinas contra el cancer

When I first was diagnosed with cancer I went to Internet asking for help, I wanted to know everything about my cancer, I wanted to be ready with every single doctor appointment and be familiar with all the terms that were going to be discussed. I also used Internet a lot to look for local support groups or for local associations that I could go to, not that I knew what I was looking for but I just looked for help. I found great support in English but I was really surprised that living in San Jose where the Latino community is large I did not find any supporting groups in Spanish.

When I started my conversations with Susan G. Komen to become educational speaker I found out that one of Susan G Komen board of Directors founded a Latino organization in San Jose called "Latinas contra el cancer". I google them and realized they are local support for the Latino low income families, the services they offered are education, case management,  support and patient navigation. I was really lucky to have a good medical insurance in the US and a fantastic group of doctors but I can imagine all the people who might not have health insurance and might not speak the language how difficult this process could be.

After I learned more about this group I knew I had to get involved so I sent a message to the founder Ysabel Duron offering my help and support. So today I met a group of them and agreed to be part of their committee for their next event which is a 2 mile walk on mothers day in May 13. I am delighted to help this organization and be part of a group so focus to make a difference for the people who will unfortunately be diagnosed in the future and will not have the resources that I was lucky to have.

Details of their event are Sunday May 13th 2012, registration starts at 7:30 and the walk is 2 miles. Cost of registration is $25 and that covers a T-shirt, brunch, music and raffle tickets. It is a great event to celebrate mothers day and the funds are going to be used locally for a fantastic cause. Hope to see all my local friends there!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Herceptin II

Have not written for some time which suppose to be a really good sign as I am really busy between work, walking and social events...

Need to give an update about Herceptin as all my worries and concerned have been for nothing. As I mentioned before I had a MUGA scan done in February that showed that my heart muscle was weaking and the heart injection had gone from 66% to 56% so I had a risk of having to stop Herceptin. The thought of not finishing my full 12 months protocol of Herceptin got me really nervous and allowed my mind to go wild on what will happen if I had to stop.

Last week I went to do a new MUGA scan, my doctor prescribe this time Valium to have my heart at the more relaxing state. I hate to take pills and specially the ones that make you drowsy so I did not take it at home but took the pills with me to the Hospital. I had a different technician from the one that is normally there on my previous tests, and I mentioned about the Valium and he told me: "I do not think you need it but it is up to you". They first drawn your blood, then they mix it with the radioactive dye or whatever it is and half an hour later they inject it back and they lay you down in the scan. When he started the process, I started my thousand questions that I normally do when I am nervous......and after the question number 20 he said: " I think you should take that Valium!". At the end I took half of it as I was too scared to take the full pill and make a fool of myself falling complete sleep at the scan table!, I kept imaging myself not being able to wake up and they would had to leave me there until the effect of the pill will finish. When I took it, he did not allowed me to go back to the waiting room, I had to stay there with him in case I had a reaction from it.....So I spent 30 min with him while he danced for me, he sang who knows what and told me everything about his life, bless him!!, have to say he was quite entertaining. After that time the scan started and by them Valium was doing something as I was really relaxed!, the scan is in three series, two of 5 min and one of 10 min and during that time you have to hear your heart monitor doing the "beep, beep...." which is really annoying.

The scan was Tuesday and Dr Chen does not work on Wednesday so I had to wait until Thursday morning for her to call me with the results. She did call me early in the morning and my result was 70%!!!. I had a feeling that my scan was going to improved but I did not expect the 70%, she did not say much apart from great and very impressive results and lets talk more about it on Monday.

So I had my Herceptin treatment yesterday and talk to her about the scan, she says that sometimes the dye they use might not do the work and the reading is incorrect so she is going to disregard the Feb scan. She can explain why I am higher than Nov one: I am doing much more sports than last year, but she can not explain any magical recovery in 6 weeks of my heart from Feb to March scan. So my question to her was: "how can I trust this scan going forward?", she says she does trust it when it is high, when it is low we look at it more closely (do more scans) to see if it is correct.

Yesterday I had a full check up, my blood results are great and even if I am still doing Herceptin every three weeks, she does not want to see me until July!!!, I am kind of going to miss her that I have been seen her almost every 2 or 3 weeks for the past 9 months!.

I am starting to believe that the big changes that I am doing in my life are starting to pay off, eating healthier, doing more sports and in general enjoying my life is making a big impact on me and the results around me are speaking by itself. I think I have said it before but it is ironic that I am probably now the healthiest that I have ever been.