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The Bernster's Health Page
Thursday, December 4, 2014

I have been getting a lot a requests for updates on my recent health issues, so I decided to repeat a feature from 10 years ago where I chronicled my progress with an injury and subsequent discovery of cancer, which is ironically the source of my current issues.  (I had the upper right lobe of my lung removed due to a nodule that was determined to be cancerous.)  Here is the original web page.

On October 1, 2014, I was diagnosed with a recurrance of lung cancer from 2004.  There was a small mass putting preasure on my spine and 2 ribs and causing me intense pain.  I have received 28 radiation treatments and 4 chemo treaments, which ended 3 weeks ago.  I have a CT scan scheduled for next Monday, Dec. 8th and will meet with my oncologist and radiologist on Friday, Dec. 12th to go over the results.

I "feel" better and hopefully the treatments have done some good and I will be closer to getting back to a normal life.  I have not been able to work in my standard mode because of pain medications that make it illegal to drive!  I have been weaning off of the meds, but still have at least a month to go on that process.

More updates next week!

Monday, December 8, 2014

I had a CT scan today.  Should get results on Friday.

Friday, December 12, 2014

I got the results from Monday's CT scan today and it looks good!  Both my radiologist and oncologist were very pleased with the results.  The mass has shrunk almost in half and moved away from my spine.  The remaining mass may be benign, but have to wait until February to get another PET scan to see what is left in the mass.  I will see the oncologist again in 5 weeks and he will schedule the PET scan at that time.  In the mean time, I will continue to wean off the pain meds and try to gain some weight back.  The doctors did note that effects of the radiation and chemo may continue for several more weeks and further reduce the mass.  At the rate I am weaning off the pain meds, it will take me 7 more weeks if I don't experience any pain along the way.  Keeping fingers crossed I won't have any difficulties and I will be able to drive again!

Monday, December 22, 2014

So far, so good on reduction of the pain medication.  I am on the last day of just 2 fast acting pills.  I will go down to just 1 fast acting on Tuesday.  I still take 4 long lasting time released pills a day (2 in the morning and 2 at night).
For those interested (I have received requests for this info), here is a recap of the drugs used so far.
Chemo treatment (4 treatments, one a week for 4 weeks)
Paclitaxel (aka Taxol, Onxai)
Carboplatin (aka Paraplatin)

Pain medication
Long lasting time released: MS Contin, 4 tablets a day
Fast acting: Hydromorphone (aka Dilaudid), 8 tablets a day to start, 2 at a time, 4 times a day
I have weaned off 1 tablet a day per week since chemo and radiation completed.  When I get to no fast acting pills without any pain, I have to call my oncologist to get intructions for weaning off the long lasting pills.

My next appointment with oncologist is January 16th.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

I successfully weaned off all fast acting pain medication (dilaudid) and have started reducing the time released (MS Contin) meds down to 3 a day.  No pain experienced so far.  My oncologist was very pleased I was able to wean off the didlaudid without any problem and approved the same method for weaning off the MS Contin.

Tuesday,  January 13, 2015

Started 2-a-day time released pain med today.  No adverse effect of only having one pill this morning.  I had my first physical therapy session on Friday and legs gave out before lungs, which is good!  Right ankle is weak due to mangling 10 years ago and left ankle is weak as a side effect of chemo.  Fortunately, the cure for left ankle is exercise! I will continue PT regimen at home and go into clinic every other week.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

I saw my oncologist on Friday and he was pleased with progress.  He scheduled my next PET scan for February 9th and then another appointment with him on the 12th to go over results of the scan.  I had a physical therapy session yesterday and it wore me out, but I am getting stronger!  Therapist also gave me some tweaks for my home regimen that will help a lot.  I am now down to 1 pain med per day!  I will go to none on Sunday and I will be narcotic free! Provided there are no adverse effects, I will be able to drive again next Monday.  

Monday, January 26, 2015

I cut the last pain pill a day early with no adverse effects and actually ran errands on my own on Sunday!  

Tuesday, February 11, 2015

I'm a bit behind on updates, but all is good.  I had a PET scan last week on Feb. 9th and got the results on Thursday, Feb. 12th.  The mass has been reduced by 60% and the "sugars" level is down from an initial reading 4 months ago of 11 to current level of 3.  The lower the number, the better!  I will now see the oncologist once a month and alternate getting a simple chest x-ray and CT scans each month.  
Still going to physical therapy every other week and making gradual improvements.  The remaining hurdle is the side effect of chemo, which is known as neuropathy.  It usually affects both ankles and feet, but it only affects my left ankle and foot.  It creates a very uncomfortable and annoying sensation that prevents me from getting to sleep and/or staying asleep.  It doesn't happen every night and isn't always real severe, but on occassion it is absolutely maddening.  Therapy is helping and hopefully will eliminate it altogether.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Had a CT Scan on Monday, the 13th and received results today.  My oncologist is very pleased with the scan.  There is absolutely no change from last scan and that is exactly the result he wanted.  Only remaining "issue" is the neuropathy, but that is getting better little by little.  I will continue to see the oncologist monthly for the next 3 months, alternating chest x-rays and CT scans each month before I see the doctor.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Just adding a status update.  Still seeing oncologist every few months as follow-up and all is well.  NO RECURRANCE OF CANCER!
I am getting a CT scan on June 1 and will see doctor on June 6.

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Updated May 24, 2016
2016 Update - The continuing saga!