Saturday, September 22, 2012


This neoadjuvant (fancy term for before surgery) chemotherapy is weird.  I completely get the logic of doing it this way, but walking around with my big mass of cancer for another five months or so is mentally taxing.  Actually, it should technically be getting smaller as the months go by, and maybe disappear altogether.  According to both Dr. Garreau (surgical oncologist) and Dr. Raish (medical oncologist), it is not totally uncommon after neoadjuvant chemotherapy to find no evidence of disease in the surgical biopsies.  This is called a complete pathologic response, and this is what I am hoping for.  If this happens I can skip the radiation chapter post surgery, and have a better chance of normal arm function.  My swimmer self really requires good use of my right arm.

Upon reflection I find that what I believe in strongly right now is science.  Developments during the last decade have made my particular variety of cancer curable.  Gene mapping in the last dozen years has made it possible to produce targeted therapies for several cancers, including some childhood cancers, with concrete results in the form of lives being lived.  Research is made possible, at least in part, by government prioritizing science, and education.  I would make an educated guess that the isolation of HER2 ( an important marker on my cancer, for which targeted, successful therapy is coursing through my veins) and subsequent development of said therapy, was at least partially funded by the NIH in the form of research grants.  I am also guessing that not everyone involved in this lifesaving breakthrough went to private schools paid for by wealthy families.  I imagine that some of these intelligent people went to public school.

So, I believe in science, government spending for the common good, and public school.  How this thought I had about how not having surgery right away makes me feel kind of filthy with cancer turned into a political rant, I do not know.  Oh well, my blog...  I get to say whatever I feel like.


  1. I have been thinking in exactly the same way. I also know that if I were to do it all over, I would be a biologist involved in cancer research.

    In the meanwhile, I am sending your good cells strong vibes!

  2. I'm glad I get to be your friend. T

  3. Amen, Sister!