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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

5 years of exhaustion


The results from my 17 vials of blood are in and have mixed results. Before I launch into that, though, I did some interesting research while I was in Houston last week. I took along all of my medical notes that I had made since 2007 and spent the week reviewing them. That was around the time I started noticing symptoms that were not normal for me:

extreme fatigue
never feeling rested upon waking
no endorphin rush from exercise
back pain
joint pain
muscle aches
headaches

My notes to every doctor I saw from 2007 until this year contained this litany of complaints and I got every kind of response from fibromyalgia, not enough exercise, too much exercise, not enough sleep, too much sleep, weak core strength, lack of vitamin D, overwork, stress, infertility treatments, pregnancy, nursing, adoption-related stress, and having 2 toddlers. Over the years my condition has worsened so that there is never a day that I wake up feeling good. I live in chronic pain in most of my joints, my back and now my muscles.

When I have asked the various oncologists what symptoms I might have had with this tumor they all said "none at all to any of the things I had listed".  Well, that was definitive.

NOT.

I personally am convinced that this tumor could be the cause of why I have felt so bad for so long.

That said, I have gotten the blood tests results and here's what they found:

All of the following tests were within normal range:
Vitamins A (retinol), B12, C, E and Folic Acid

MMP-9 (a marker related to normal tissue and development such as wound healing. It is an enzyme that cancer cells use to degrade surrounding connective tissue and spread in the body. Elevated levels have been found to promote tumor growth and progression and angiogenisis (the formation of blood vessels to tumors))

Fibrinogen antigen (this is the precursor to fibrin, which cancer cells may use to coat themselves to hide from the immune system. It can also increase your risk of heart attack and stroke)

Leptin (leptin released by fat cells regulates body weight in part by suppressing appetite) I am AMAZED that this was normal....

IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1 is a growth hormone that plays a role in promoting cell growth and replication. Low levels can contribute to fatigue)

Activated T-cells (T-cells coordinate the immune response and kill virus-infected and tumor cells)

Raji cells (this is a measure of the immune complexes in the body which is a measure of the antigens which address infection or foreign substances in the body)

And all of these tests were abnormal:
Vit B6 (required for normal red blood cell formation)

Vit D (deficiency has been found to be a major factor in the pathology of 17 varieties of cancer as well as a host of other nasty diseases)

Coenzyme Q10 (facilitates the transformation of fats and sugars into energy. The body uses it for cellular growth and to protect cells from damage)

Zinc (helps control inflammation, functions as an intracellular signal molecule for immune cells)

C-Reactive protein (is a marker of systemic inflammation. High levels of inflammation have been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and cancer)

Interleukin-6 (it is secreted by T cells and macrophages in the immune system to stimulate immune response to inflammation. High levels can lead to muscle wasting and cachexia)

Prothrombin Fragment 1.2 (I knew I had this problem as I was diagnosed with thrombophilia after my second miscarriage. Basically it is an increased risk blood clot formation)

Insulin and C-Peptide (they want to retake this as I was not fasting when the test was taken which showed a higher glucose score than they wanted to see)

NK or Natural Killer cells (white blood cells that help fight infection and disease. They have a special ability to clear the bloodstream of metastatic cancer cells)

So, what to do now? Dr. Block did agree with MD Anderson that radiation sounded like the best treatment plan but he wants me to work on my diet, exercise and stress levels prior to treatment so I can be in better shape to withstand treatment. He also prescribed some supplements that can help with my deficiencies listed above.

Len and I are going to take a step back while I work on these areas and regroup in a few weeks. We are pretty sure, should we choose radiation, that August 6 is just too soon to uproot ourselves to Houston, especially considering that all of the doctors have agreed there is no big rush to treat it.

We will keep you all posted but for the next 2-3 weeks, we are taking a cancer vacation.

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