This morning I was back to the lab (again) for a few more blood tests related to my recent ER visit for kidney pain. Three tests: uric acid, calcium, and PTH (parathyroid hormone). Additionally, I picked up my container for a 24-hour urine collection. Oh, yay. I guess I’ll do that part on Sunday and return it to the lab on Monday. Yes, you need to pee directly into the container. I did this once before, many years ago, and I suffered from “shy bladder” since I was so worried about missing the container! Really looking forward to that, but I’m hoping all is clear on the test. If it isn’t, my urologist will be recommending that I take Allopurinol. My goal is to not end up taking any prescription meds.
I don’t go back to the urologist until the end of August, since the 24-hour collection takes 4-5 weeks to get results. I’ve been drinking a lot more water since my ER trip and am hoping that helps. (I know. Duh! I’m trying here!!)
For my birthday, I had asked for an Instant Pot. I had never heard of such a thing before joining the Facebook group “Plant Based Junkies” but people in that group swear by it. It is a “7-in-1 Multi-Functional Cooker: Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Saute/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer & Warmer”. I can’t wait to try and will let you all know how it goes. (Note: there is a 6-in-1 version as well, but my hubby got me the better one, of course!) 🙂 Thanks, honey!
I tried a new recipe tonight: Spicy White Bean Pitas, from Dr McDougall’s Quick & Easy Cookbook. They were pretty good, although a bit messy! The mixture that goes into the pita was a little wet and dripped through the pita. And I had trouble finding the alfalfa sprouts in the grocery store (which I now think should be optional). But other than that, the recipe was pretty good if you like spicy!
Follow up appointment day at the oncologist. Ah, the joy of waiting for over an hour, as usual, for a 10 minute appointment.
Blood work looked great. I’m just waiting for my tumor marker results; the doctor is supposed to call me tomorrow with those.
My blood pressure was high (systolic) for the second time in a row… both times following the start of Femara. Prior to that, my systolic pressure typically ranged 100-110. Coincidence, or something else? Remember, Femara increases your risk of heart disease. And so it begins… The nurse said that the BP could be higher due to the joint pain, but the doctor didn’t seem to agree.
I asked about my seromas (the pockets of fluid from my mastectomy). I had read, or had been told, that they go away after about a year. Since I am fast approaching the one year mark, I thought I would ask, since they haven’t really gone away at all. The doctor indicated that for some people, they never go away. In a way, that’s good, but I was curious.
Calcium was still at 10 and she said not to worry. 10.5 is their high normal mark, so I am well within that. Clearly no need for me to take a calcium supplement.
I asked about lymphodema and she brushed that off as nothing I need to worry about, not even if I fly. I’ve read that it can still be an issue, but we will have to wait and see. No plans to board an airplane any time soon.
The subject of colonoscopy came up again. We are on, I believe, our 4th attempt to get prior records from my primary care physician. Time to try another route… I sure wish I remembered where I went for my 2008 colonoscopy…
And lastly, the Femara… I tried my best to broach the subject. Any options? No. They are all the same. Anything I can do for side effects? I can take a blood pressure pill. (Drugs to chase other drugs.) I can take a sleeping pill. (Yet more drugs.) She talked about vitamin E for the hot flashes (not my primary complaint), and her best recommendation for my joint pain is one 200 mg Motrin each day. Seriously??? She apparently didn’t read my pain scale today, or even listen to me talk about waking up in tears this morning from the pain. A Motrin? I think not. Next steps for me? Additional research on Femara versus no Femara, evaluation of the recommendation from the Swiss doc, and appointment with my naturalist. For the record, I did NOT take my Femara this morning, but I probably will tomorrow.
The good news is that I don’t have to go back for 3 months! Woo hoo!
I received the results of my blood work from earlier in the week today and I’m confused. My PTH level is actually low (14 in a range of 15-65). According to my Google searches, if your PTH is low, that is HYPOparathyroidism, which is rare and results in calcium being too low. It is the HYPERparathyroidism that causes calcium levels to be too high. Hmmmm…
My calcium levels are still on the high side(10 again… just within the 10.2 high end of the range). I guess I’ll be calling the doctor tomorrow. The two really don’t jive based on what I am reading, so I definitely need to address my confusion.
At www.parathyroid.com, I did find one comment that said “If the blood calcium level is too HIGH, it should be associated with a LOW parathyroid hormone level, if the parathyroids are normal (a normal parathyroid will shut down and go to sleep if the calcium level is high).” This same website reports “The sole purpose of the parathyroid glands is to control calcium within the blood in a very tight range between 9.0 and 10.1.” So I guess that would mean that all is normal, but I do want to confirm.
As far as the reference to “dazed”… I’ve been really tired this week. My sleep has been slightly improved, but I still wake up so tired. Although the week has been good, it’s just dragging on and I can’t believe tomorrow is only Friday. Bring on the weekend!
In other news…
Tried a Lebanese restaurant today (a first for me)… it was recommended by my radiologist… and it was amazing! We enjoyed hummus, grape leaves and spinach pies, and the food was all delicious!! I can’t wait to go back, although they are closed most of July for vacation.
My new favorite snack? Sugar snap peas! Someone had them at work yesterday for a “food day” and I ate almost all of them. When I saw them at the store tonight, I just had to buy them and add them to my salad!
This time of year is so great for healthy eating. I have been enjoying gigantic salads with leaf lettuce, various colored peppers, tomatoes, green onions, etc… very colorful! Adding a drizzle of olive oil and red wine vinegar, and a bit of Himalayan sea salt..mmmm…
Dad’s appointment with the oncologist has been set for next week.
I made myself an appointment for a massage… July 8th… can’t wait! It’s been so long since I’ve had one and my body is in desperate need.
I’m looking forward to some quality time with family and friends this weekend. Jewelry party with the girls, and two graduation parties on Saturday.
Yes, there is actually a movie with this title, a “mockumentary comedy” from 2004. I Googled movie titles with the word calcium, just for fun, and was surprised to actually hit upon something!
As you can tell, today’s blog is about calcium. As I mentioned in a prior blog, my primary care physician had ordered a repeat of blood work from my pre-admission tests back in mid-May because my calcium levels were elevated. He asked if I was taking a supplement at that time (I was, to counteract one of the side effects of Femara) and I was ordered to stop the herbal calcium and repeat the blood work.
In the meantime, I had asked my urologist about the “elevated” levels and he indicated it was nothing to worry about. I was only slightly elevated and, from a cancer standpoint, I need only be worried if it was in the 11-12 range. (Note: the normal range is 8.5-10.4 or 8.7-10.2… depending on whose scale you look at.) In looking back at all my lab results from the start of chemo, my calcium levels were always on the high end. My repeat blood work in May was 10.2. So within the range, but high end.
About a week or so ago, I was surprised to get orders in the mail from my urologist to have additional repeat blood work. The script included calcium and PTH, which of course I had to look up. PTH is parathyroide hormone which “acts to increase the concentration of calcium”. Further investigation of parathyroid disease led me to a page that explained how this resulted in high calcium in the blood. And before you think I’m getting paranoid or reading too much into this, guess what some of the symptoms of parathyroid disease are? “Bones hurt. Don’t sleep like you used to. Wake up in middle of night. Trouble getting to sleep. Headaches.” Sound familiar?
Again, I”m not worrying unnecessarily, but I certainly will be interested in the results. The thyroid was one of the areas that my naturalist made recommendations to strengthen, and there were just too many coincidences for me not to investigate a little further. I’m hoping all is well, I just found the linkages to be quite fascinating — and I learned something new, even if it turns out (hopefully) to be nothing. I am grateful to my urologist for pursuing this. It never hurts to be too cautious.