Thursday, July 19, 2012

Girls' Checkups and Oncology update

We took the girls in to Dr. Ettner yesterday for their checkups (vaccinations). Both of Lucy's ear tubes are still in with no sign of swimmer's ear from our hours in the water this month. Lucy also has all of her molars. Kate has one of her molars but we're still waiting on the other three.

Here are their updated stats (with their stats from May 8 in parenthesis):

Weight: 30 1/2 lbs (29 lbs)
Recumbent length: 37 1/2" (35" standing height)
Head circumference: 48 1/4cm (47 1/2cm)

Weight: 28 1/4 lbs (28 lbs)
Recumbent length: 36" (33" standing height)
Head circumference: 46cm (46 1/2 cm) oops on the measuring I guess!

They were both scheduled to get the DPT booster but he was out of stock on that so we just did Kate's polio booster. We will go back in 6 weeks for the DPT.

On the cancer front, here's the update. I've cancelled the radiation at MDAnderson for now while I do some more research. The oncologists at Northwestern were strongly recommending that I seek an opinion privately from the medical oncologist at MDA since I did not meet him while in Houston. I called to schedule a phone consult but alas, it's not billable unless I am there in person. I mentioned that to Dr. Ettner and he offered to write up my questions on his letterhead and he will send it doctor-to-doctor to save me another trip. So that's in the works now. I've also got an appointment scheduled with the radiation oncologist at Northwestern to find out why he didn't recommend radiation.

In the meantime, I've also requested all of my ultrasound pictures from my infertility treatments back in 2007 as well as all the ultrasounds I had while pregnant with Kate to see if the tumor is visible on any of the scans. It may help to show how long (or fast growing) it may have been there.

I'm also going back to the gynecological oncologist to find out what the ramifications are if I do proceed with radiation in terms of instant menopause, radiation damage to my other organs in that area, etc.

I'd also like to get another MRI in a couple of months to see if the tumor is growing or maintaining status quo before making a final decision.

And finally, I just got the results of my last test, an adrenal stress test. The test evaluates the adrenal glands and hormone balance. Basically, when the body is under chronic stress, pregnenolone, the precursor to all other steroidal hormones, is diverted to produce cortisol. This then depletes DHEA and is detrimental to all other steroidal hormones (progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen). Cortisol helps the body adapt to stress but chronic stress eventually leads to adrenal fatigue. Long-term effects of chronic cortisol production include fatigue (check), irritability (check), insulin resistance (not yet thankfully), central obesity (ummm , yes), osteoporosis (again, not yet), and impaired immunity.

Cortisol is released rhythmically throughout the day, with the highest levels in the morning which helps to energize you. Lowest production should be in the evening.

Here's how I fared on the cortisol/adrenal test:

Morning (6-8am) = 8.4 (normal should be 13.0-24.0)
Noon (12-1pm)   = 5.0 (normal should be 5.0-8.0)
Afternoon (4-5pm) = 2.3 (normal should be 4.0-7.0)
Nighttime (10pm-12am) = 1.7 (normal should be 1.0-3.0)
Cortisol sum = 17.4 (normal should be 23.0-42.0)
DHEA-S average = 2.28 (normal should be 2.00-10.00
Cortisol/DHEA-S ratio = 7.6 (normal should be 5.0-6.0)

The prescription to fix adrenal fatigue?

1. Balance your blood sugar by eating small frequent meals every 3-4 hours starting at 7am. Avoid refined carbs.
2. Vitamin C of 2000-3000mg/day
3. Omega-3 fish oils in the form of cold water fish, flax, walnuts, hemp seeds
4. Avoid caffeine
5. Avoid stressful situations (heh heh--LOVE that advice. I mean, who wouldn't avoid stress if they could??)
6. Exercise in the morning if you have low AM cortisol or in the afternoon if you have low PM cortisol.
7. Sit and stand up straight--helps with proper breathing.

8. Perform relaxation techniques regularly (meditation, prayer, deep breathing, etc)
9. Get plenty of deep, uninterrupted sleep (Right. I'm working on a future post about this particular subject in our house. Suffice to say that deep, uninterrupted restful sleep is but a wistful memory).
10. Supplements to consider: Siberian ginseng, pantothenic acid.
To end this post on a high note, here's a pic of the girls after their doc appt on Tuesday, all excited about their new und**.  They were happy (and I was even happier) that we made it to the doc office, out to lunch and home with no accidents!
 Love the mirror image effect of this shot.
Lucy will still not tell me if she needs to go (in fact, she denies that she needs to go even as she is peeing/pooping!) but Kate does tell me so I just take them both to the bathroom whenever Kate says she needs to go. For now, that is working, although Lucy bitches and kvetches EVERY.SINGLE.TIME. And yet, neither of them will wear diapers now that they've had a taste of freedom.I'm hoping Lucy's NO phase will come to a speedy death--it is very wearing to listen to her whine ALL DONE! over and over even as she's dropping a deuce.

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