Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone! I hope you are all entering this short week well rested and, ideally, with a nice tan. It turns out,  the Big Man and I actually had a great weekend.

Last Wednesday, after I cried "uncle" to my oncologist, I went in for a physical and some blood tests. Turns out, the back pain wasn't my only problem. My platelets, which help with clotting if you get a bruise or cut, had fallen even further and were in dangerously low territory. Low platelet count is considered anything under 100,000. If you are 100,000 and above, you are OK for surgery. Below 100,000, you need to be careful because no one will operate on you if something goes wrong!

My platelet count on Wednesday was 15,000. Not good.

15,000 platelets + horrible back pain = my doctors were eager to get me off of the pill, GDC-0941.

My docs said they had never seen these sort of side effects so quickly in other patients. Another patient had complained of back pain, and others had had trouble with blood counts, but I was the first to complain of both at once and so severely. So I was ordered to stop taking the pills.

Apparently, doctors are good people and like to follow, not only side effects, but also a patient's recovery from those side effects in these Phase 1 trials. This means, I am still allowed to be in the clinical trial! YAY!  I am going off of the pills, but I am still in the trial. I will keep visiting the doctors regularly and I will still be closely monitored, but my only drug regimen is a chemotherapy infusion through IV every 3 weeks. My next TDM1 infusion is scheduled for June 9th and Mamma has already made plane arrangements. The Family is back and ready to fight!

This past go-round, I did notice that I have a couple of sick days after getting the TDM1 infusion.  I feel flu-ish, sleepy, and run a fever, but I can handle a couple of low key days easily; I've been doing that for years. Bring it on!

So, armed with that good news, the Big Man and I went to a fabulous wedding this weekend. We gave lots of hugs and kisses and sage advice to the beautiful couple.  We have been married for eight months and already know everything! I had to be a bit of a hypochondriac because of my low platelet counts, so the Big Man drove everywhere (to his utter delight), I was limited to only one glass of wine all weekend, and I was not allowed to cook all week for fear of a knife accident when slicing potatoes. We ordered in, snuggled up, and enjoyed our friends and good weather. This week, I am looking forward to kicking off the summer in good spirits. My back pain is gone, my energy is back, and I am so happy.

I will leave you all with a few thoughts on Memorial Day.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the men and women in uniform and to the veterans among you. I was a freshman in college on September 11th. Hamid Karzai, the President of Afghanistan, spoke at my college graduation four years later on May 25, 2005. President Karzai spoke to my classmates and me just two weeks before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Perhaps because of that juxtaposition of our war on terror and my illness, I think often about the sacrifices of our brave men and women in the US Army. I extend to you all today a heartfelt, personal thank you. Because of the work you do at home and abroad, I am safe and able to visit my doctor for treatment. Our country is at war, but so far, we have taken the war overseas. If the war were here on US soil, I would not be able to get the five star treatment and attention that I so desperately needed this week. I complained of pain and was brought in to be seen the very next day. That prompt attention meant my doctors found out immediately about my low platelet count. For 48 hours last week, I was being monitored constantly in case I should need a blood transfusion.

My life depends on the work of our military. My life depends on the amazing United States health care system, and my life would be in turmoil if we were not at peace here at home. Not a day goes by when I don't appreciate that. Thank you!


lolacooks said...

hey you - so glad to hear you had a good weekend and that they took you off that drug with the bad side-effects!! miss you lots - maybe we can chat this week! xoxo b

Liliana Holtzman said...

Dear Bridget, I have been thinking of you the entire weekend and hoping that you were better. Thank goodness that you were.
It made me so happy this Monday morning to find out that you had a good holiday and that you are back in the fighting mode. My very best. Liliana

Wendy said...

Just checked in to get the she's letting you stay on the trial and that the pills have been discontinued. I hope recovery from that ordeal is speedy!!! FYI - Yuka is now seeing our fab oncologist...I made the appropriate intros...Yuka is thrilled. We are planning a day at the beach in July and I hope you'll feel like joining us...big man is also invited!

Julie Baber said...

Dear Bridget-- you are a warrior of Amazonion proportions, and my inspiration! Keep on keepin on, and get the hubby to cook and drive you around all you want! :)

Stacy said...


I would like to share your story on our non-profit Breast cancer organization Fight Pink. Can you please email us at so we can chat?

You are an amazing women, and your story is so inspiring!

Stacy Griffiths-Martello
Founder of Fight Pink
Breast Cancer survivor