Compression Socks

I never knew, but lots of people wear compression socks, nurses especially.  All my life I’ve gone barefoot whenever and wherever I could.  The only time I’d wear shoes in summer would be to places that wouldn’t permit my bare toes.  Not so anymore – at least not if I want to have ankles!  Be it cancer (they do call them “cankles”) or medication, I have some fat feet. So, the solution to this problem of fat feet and cankles (swollen calves and ankles) is to wear compression socks.

How do compression socks work anyhow?  Well, for a comprehensive answer (and a pretty interesting one) check out this site: Berkeley wellness compression socks  In my case, they’re needed for leg swelling – I’m not really worried about those varicose veins like all the young nurses I know – so, here’s what they’re doing for me:  “By squeezing the leg tissues and walls of the veins, compression stockings can help blood in the veins return to the heart. They can also improve the flow of the fluid that bathes the cells (referred to as lymph) in the legs. Improving the flow of lymph can help reduce tissue swelling.” (Berkeley wellness)

Back to my bare feet!  Not many things cause me to feel depressed, but the idea of not going barefoot was leaning that way.  I decided there must be some way to deal with this blow, and then my daughter-in-law introduced me to Sockwell compression socks, a little more fun than typical compression socks.  From there a quick check on amazon.com led to the discovery that while my toes may not be free, they can be very happy!

Since we “rebuilt and refilled” our home after the 2015 fire, I’ve not wanted any extra anything.  No more clothes in the closet that don’t get used, etc. – that includes socks.  I only owned four pair of socks at the time I was introduced to my fancy compression socks.  I tiptoed slowly into compression sock ownership, purchasing just one pair to start.  Oh yeah!  Comfy, snug, keeping my feet and ankles under control, and oh so stylish! That was about a year ago.  I actually wore holes in that first pair recently. (Maybe that’s because I don’t wear shoes with my camp socks!) Presently I have four older pairs for camp wear, and four pair for wherever wear. Shop around for the best prices as they are quite pricey.

Now that’s not to say my toes aren’t ever so grateful when I undress at night or when they’re paddling in the ocean, free as a fishy.  But really, you know, there’s a way to make any situation a little bit better, and if fancy compression socks can do that, well…!

Nurses and technicians at Dana Farber admire my compression socks when I go in for tests, especially my puzzle pair. I think they understand.   puzzle compression socks

 

 

Phone calls

Funny thing thinking about phone calls and this journey.  It was that phone call on my cell phone in a restaurant that first caused alarm.  Thursday (8/24/17) afternoon, sitting in traffic on 95 north of Boston, we were waiting for a phone call.  Usually my MRI and scans have been read by the oncology radiologists and seen by the oncologist before my appointment last thing in the day on my TEST DAY (MRI, Scans, BloodWork).  This time, the first TEST DAY since being in the clinical trial and on Lorlatinib, the oncology radiologist wanted the neurology radiologist to look at my MRI before making a firm statement.  Everything in the rest of the body was the same (radiation scarring, but not tumor showing in the chest, and same tumors, but no bigger on the liver), and the radiologist and the Dr. said the brain meninges changes are so subtle that all they could say is that there wasn’t any worsening – good news. I am glad they were doing this, just anxious to leave without REALLY knowing.

So, here we were, headed home, with the news that MAYBE the med was working.  Luckily for us, the research nurse understood that we really needed to know, and she said she would call us as soon as the neurology radiologist read the MRI.  She did!  Sitting in four lanes of stopped traffic, chatting about all the cars with just the driver and how many people were texting while driving, my phone rings through the car system,  True to her word, as soon as she heard she called, and the news was not to be dreaded, but hopeful.  A partial response to the drug after six weeks, 40% reduction in the “enhancement”.  Time to cry in relief, and then move on.

What will tomorrow bring?

Today is the end of cycle 2 of the Lorlatinib trial for me.  Each cycle is 21 days.  Labs, EKGs, and oncology visits are every three weeks; MRIs and scans every six.  Tomorrow will be my first scans and brain MRI since beginning the targeted therapy  drug Lorlatinib (compliments Pfizer and Dana Farber Cancer Institute).  After 16 glorious months on Crizotinib, it became evident that my dear friend Criz could no longer protect my noggin.  But, miracle of miracles, a clinical trial appears tailor made just for my circumstances. Lorlatinib not only targets ROS1 (my cancer mutation) in the body, it treats the brain.  You see, since March 2017 there has been increasing “enhancement” in my meninges on the MRIs of my brain.  So, the change was made and tomorrow is the day to see how this new friend, the one with few side effects beyond making me chubby, is doing.