I finished my 25th infusion of Herceptin yesterday and have just 5 more to go now before completion, just before Christmas. Then I will officially be done with one year of chemo therapy! While at the hospital, I got to meet with my new oncologist. This new doctor is actually the head of oncology at Walter Reed, and has agreed to take me on as his patient. I had begun an oral chemo medication in May, designed to block the hormone receptors which feed breast cancer, but I developed a reaction to it in the form of daily hives. After meeting with the doctor yesterday, I am no longer taking the medication and he sees no reason for me to take anything else orally. Because chemo therapy put me into early menopause and I am no longer producing the volume of hormones that I was prior to my surgery, he feels that I am not susceptible to the hormones feeding any rogue cancer cells. He feels that with the chemo therapy and Herceptin which I have been given, I have every possible chance of remaining cancer free. This was very good news to me, since the oral therapies given women after breast cancer carry with them some undesirable side effects and risky complications. My doctor believes this is mostly because the field of oncology just doesn’t know what else to do, and the fact that other than Herceptin, there have been no ground breaking breast cancer treatments in the last 30 years. We are still using surgery, chemo therapy, radiation and oral hormone blockers to fight recurrence. Despite all of this, women continue to get new breast cancers at epic proportions. I am reading and researching what are believed to be the major causes of breast cancer and find it interesting that so much is directed at funding the pharmacuetical companies and their studies but NOT determining and fighting the causes, namely hormones. That would put a lot of big name manufacturers out of business. Unfortunately beating cancer is very political and financial.
At any rate, I am feeling great and doing well, and look forward to celebrating my one year survival point next month! In celebration, I bought myself a new kayak last week! I loaded her up last weekend and went with a girlfriend out on the water Saturday! I call her MY SURVIVOR”SHIP“ ! Now, you may be wondering how I got that 42 pound boat up there all by myself while Tim was out of town? With much determination! Where there’s a will, there’s a way, and I don’t let much stop me anymore…that is one positive outcome in my fighting cancer – I have a new-found strength within. (In case you’re wondering, I bought Tim a matching kayak too.) Now when our local marina closes for the season at the end of September, we can still get out on the water and explore the local rivers during peak fall foliage! The leaves are already beginning to fall here in Virginia!
I loved what a new friend had recorded on her home answering machine the other day. After the usual message of “leave a message at the sound of the beep”, she reminded me of this:
The hand of God will not bring you to any trial where the grace of God will not protect you!