Saturday, October 18, 2008

Science Lesson

First of all, our trip to St. Louis yesterday went GREAT! We met with the surgeon, who took out my drain (Yay!!) and said I could start running again...her actual words were "Take off!" So that was awesome! Then we had a little break before we met with the oncologist. We went across the street to Applebee's, had a bite of lunch, then went back to the medical center. I REALLY like my doctor! He was fantastic, optimistic, and took sooo much time with us...all the things that are very important to me.

Are your ready for a science lesson in breast cancer?? Here goes...Breast cancer is fed by a certain receptor in the body,estrogen, progesterone, or the HER2 protein, these receptors act as vitamins for the cancer. HER2 is the least common, occuring in 20% of cases...ready for cancer is fed by ALL THREE. Geez. He said it's actually a mixed blessing to have the HER2 because while it makes the cancer more aggressive,the medicine given for it makes the whole chemo process 50% more effective. The drug for it, Herceptin, is given along with the chemo and has little to no side effects. He said he has no
reason to believe that it has spread, but there is no way to know until they do the scans. So, my treatment outline is:

Surgery next Tuesday to remove the last microscopic bits of the cancer...theyare extremely confident that this will happen.

Chemo will start in 2 wks (from now). I am having the TCH therapy (abbreviations for the names of the drugs, with the H being the Herceptin). I will have 6 treatments, each being 3 weeks apart, but the Herceptin portion will continue up until the year mark. So I will be going to STL every 3 weeks for the next year for treatment. But the good news is, after the 6 chemo treatments, it will just be the iv Herceptin, with no side effects so my hair will start to grow back, more energy, etc. So, like my hubby was saying, after that it's just a shopping trip! Yeah!

After the 6 chemo treatments, 6 weeks of radiation will begin, daily 5x/week for the 6 weeks. That's the part that will totally suck because we are 3 hrs from STL..lots of driving, lots of trips. Meh. But one trip at a time, different "partners in crime" to go with me, and it will fly by I'm sure.

I will also have to start anti-estrogen pills, and get my IUD taken out, since it's the Mirena and emits a low amount of progestrone.

He said that we are not treating this cancer, we are CURING it. It is a total fluke that I have it, with no family history, no genetic mutations, etc. He said we are going for the CURE. YOU HEAR THAT?? THE CURE! That was music to my ears, and exactly what I needed to hear! We left there very positive and excited! My prayer right now is that when we do the scans on Tuesday, it will show no spread anywhere else and we can continue treatment as it has been laid out. He told me to keep running, keep doing what I'm doing. He said running is good for me and as long as I feel like it, to do it. Yay! He said I may be tired a couple of days on the weeks of the chemo treatment, but he will give me medicine for the nausea, and I will def lose my hair. I think I surprised him when I saidthat's ok, cause I have already bought my wig and I actually like it better than my real hair! Ha!

So, that's it in a nutshell. We are ready to rock and get started and get it over with! Thank you for your continued prayers, please continue!


VeggieGirl said...

So glad that the trip went well!! Hooray!!!

Wow, VERY interesting information about breast cancer - I didn't know ANY of that, about what "feeds" the cancer cells and such. And SOOOO amazing that a cure could be possible!!! Exciting!! As I always say (and mean!!!) I wish you the best of luck on your journey.

Love the new blog layout!!

Sammie said...

What a beautiful new layout!!!
Wow, that is a lot for you to take in all at once - you really are a trooper. I hope that everything goes well. I am always thinking of you and wondering how you are - thanks for the update.

Anonymous said...

hey erica! for some reason your blog had gotten deleted from my bookmarks but i found it again and didn't realize you had found out you had breast cancer..i just wanted to tell you your in my prayers and your outlook on it is wonderful! I'm a nursing student so if there's anything i can do or answer my email is :)

Anonymous said...

I am so in awe of your strength. You certainly are an amazing woman.

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