Good News

The results on possible genetic blood disorders have come back and the news is good. I don't have the "faulty" gene that messes up my blood clotting abilities (or rather ability to stop clotting at the right point) or any other conditions that increase susceptibility to clotting and the blood clots are most likely from the Tamoxifen after all. This means I don't need Coumadin just yet and pressure stockings, walking and a little bit of daily aspirin should do the trick.

It was so uplifting to be told that I don't have an inherited condition
that I might just become a hypochondriac and go get tested for all
sorts of things so I can hear that I don't have them. Let's see, I know I don't have an under active thyroid, I'm not pregnant with quadruplets (even if I look like I might be...) I don't have plantar warts, my liver is healthy, my cholesterol is low(per to monthly blood tests)...there is all sorts of good news.

Today we take M to the junior high school for uniform fitting and purchasing a couple hundred dollars worth of gym suits and authorized school shoes. J's uniform already seems a little small even though we bought it "large enough to grow into" last year so we'll probably be a little more generous on the growth predictions this time around.


I had my 2nd Zoladex injection on Wednesday and got results from last week's ultrasound of the veins below my heart down to my ankles. I'd had a blood clot in my left calf two years ago when I was on Tamoxifen and now that my onco. wants to combine the previously ineffective Tamoxifen with monthly Zoladex, he wanted to monitor how the veins are handling it. It turns out that what I had thought to be sore muscles from ice skating around and around and around counterclockwise in the indoor skating rink was actually a 5cm clot in my right calf.

The soreness went away, but the clot was still visible by ultrasound last week. Knowing of my concern regarding Factor 5 Leiden (a genetic blood disorder), my onco. thought he should send me to the top hematologist in Japan for testing before prescribing warfarin etc. This means a trip with a letter of introduction to another hospital (Keio) between the cancer center and my home. I went right away, that same day, to be turned away at the reception desk for arriving 5 minutes after the 11 a.m. deadline for outpatient service.

I did learn that the "top specialist" would be on duty next Tuesday, so I'll try again then. Here's hoping that he won't need me to stay overnight for Heparin and observation....I'm wondering if taking an aspirin a day might be enough, but I guess this is something that I should let the experts look at as I really don't want a dislodged clot reaking havoc when it reaches my lungs and heart.

In my rush to get to the new hospital, I forgot to stop by the pharmacy near the Cancer Center and pick up my prescription so I had to go to 6 pharmacies near my home this morning to find one that carried the specific brand (not Nolvadex but a cheaper equivalent, which the pharmacies and doctors don't like to offer because their commissions are lower and they feel loyal to the drug companies for some reason) my doctor prescribed. What a pain in the...but good excercise, cycling around the city.

It was fun terrorizing all of these places just by walking in the door. They see blue eyes and immediately start pushing at each other to see who should attempt to help the foreigner, like penguins pushing to see which bird will jump into the freezing water first. Then two or three of the pharmacists will approach the counter together to help each other if I should suddenly say something in English. When I greet them in Japanese and explain what I need, the extras all bow and retreat to continue whatever they were up to before I graced their establishment. The next Zoladex shot will be on Feb-13, when the four hard core survivors have their elegant ladies lunch, to which I've been invited as a fifth member. Then I get a CT scan w/contrast on Feb-22 and discuss the results of that in early March to see if the Zoladex and Tamoxifen are working or if I should start Herceptin (if I can figure out how to afford it without taking food out of my children's mouths...) I really hope that the Zoladex and Tamoxifen are working for now so I don't have to make any big decisions just yet.

Anyway, I feel fine and am glad that things are calming down at home now that DH is recovering from his surgery and the kids are back in school after New Year's vacation.


City Jr. High School Art Exhibit

J forgot to show us (or even look at it herself) the newsletter from school with the names of the students whose art had been selected to be displayed at the civic center art show this year. A lady in the supermarket alerted us to the fact that J's art was on exhibit over the weekend, until today, with works for some of her good friends and upperclassmen. Good going J!
Sorry my photography leaves so much to be desired. The first few shots showed only white paper because of the flash. As I am generally very technically challenged, I had trouble figuring out how to set the camera onto manual and leaving the flash off. I finally just manually covered the flash with my fingers and tried to take the shot.
The art project was to draw a picture drawing only ink dots on white paper.


Fun On Ice

N and L enjoyed skating so much last month that we had to go again last week. L even wrote an essay about it for his homework. They're all asking when we can go again already. It's only about $15 per child, including round trip train fare, admission and skate rental (a few dollars more for adults).

2007 New Year's Day Breakfast

We only made a few of the traditional New Year's dishes for this year. The student who helped us with S's classes in December came over with his sister to help us cook and take a little home with them so we wouldn't have too much. We also had hot soup with "mochi" glutinous rice dumplings. I shared some of our black beans and mashed and strained satsuma-chestnut stuff with the 76 year old woman from the 3rd floor. She was happy to have a few traditional things to eat on New Year's morning.


Happy New Year

Just a quick post to say that S continues to recover and we're all well. We've been busy with the usual New Year's traditions and even had some help from the student who took S's classes last week when we cooked the New Year's dishes. He brought his sister along and we managed to cook most of the special dishes in a single day. We've been ice skating again and plans are to go swimming on Sunday. J will go to an Escher exhibit with a friend in downtown Tokyo tomorrow. School starts on Tuesday after the final holiday of the New Year, Coming of Age Day, on Monday.