Wednesday, December 10, 2014
At left is my radiology report from Monday, discussed with Dr. Raish yesterday. To summarize, it says, "bla bla bla bla "NO CURRENT EVIDENCE OF METASTIC DISEASE" bla bla bla bla bla.
Dodged another bullet! I am six weeks past my last chemo treatment, feeling pretty great. I will continue having infusions of Herceptin (trastuzumab) and Perjeta (pertuzumab, the wonder drug) every three weeks until my scans show disease progression, which will happen sometime but for now I am trying to feel just a little bit normal for a while. After seven months as a stage IV cancer patient (and over two years of heightened cancer anxiety) I am trying to let out the panicked breath I have been holding. I am willing to hope, and to attempt again to live my life without always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I have no illusions, of course, because that is me (realists unite!) - I will always have metastatic breast cancer, for as long as I live. I will be in treatment for it, for as long as I live. But, to emulate an amazing woman in my support group I will allow myself to judge the state of things by how I feel, which right now is relatively well, despite my diagnosis.
Treating MBC involves drug regimens in order (first-line, second-line, etc.). Inevitably after some unknown period of time on each regimen, the cancer adapts and changes and progresses, or the treatment is no longer tolerated by the body. At that time, a new treatment is begun, hopefully after discussing options with one's oncologist and family, and making decisions together as a team. According to the Cleopatra study, which I have discussed before, the median survival time on this regimen is almost five years. This means that if I am lucky, I could have at least five chemo-free years before disease progression. There are several good options available for down the road, and if the recent past is any indication (Perjeta was not an option just two years ago; Kadcyla was still a trial drug just one year ago), the longer I hang around the more options will become available.
This may be more optimism than you are used to from me. I don't want to go too far over the edge so I'll end this post. This is the other side of scanxiety, a nice place to be.