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Old 01-01-2017, 04:39 PM   #41
agness
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Re: My leptomeningeal journey

Posting a long overdue update on me...

In July I started feeling facial numbness on the right side. My neuro-onc wasn't sure what it was and so we decided to rescan in a month. She thought it might be pseudoprogression, this is when there is leakage of the gadolinium contrast into an area that it healing, it might be tumor or not. My neuro-onc didn't order a spinal tap, evidently that can show different results than spinal fluid taken from the Ommaya reservoir in the top of the head given the weight of cancer cells. I asked about doing hyperbaric oxygen (HBOT), assuming that it would be paid for by insurance given the uncertainty -- why shouldn't it be offered? My doctor said no, she wouldn't recommend it and she kind of worried about if there was tumor there if HBOT might exacerbate it. The thing is I had researched HBOT during chest wall rads for use in the brain (the proton source had to be replaced and while waiting in the lobby I met a lot of primary brain tumor patients and had researched complementary therapies that might aid treatment). HBOT has never been shown to cause tumor growth as cancer is hypoxic, surviving in the absence of oxygen and HBOT is about forcing oxygen into your system. My other neuro-onc who was consulting on my case, in spite of the concerns about my scan, was unavailable -- I later found out he was about to go on vacation and was subsequently taking another job. Sheesh.

I proceeded with HBOT and after a single visit the facial numbness disappeared. I continued to get HBOT twice a week through August until my next brain scan at the end of August, suffering through weeks of uncertainty. That scan showed confusing results, at least when being interpreted by professionals. I eventually researched HBOT in the context of brain trauma and the images looked the same -- HBOT was doing what it does which is go into damaged areas and healing them. Since HBOT isn't prescribed and is rarely done in this context I was doing and seeing things that of course wouldn't make sense to the professionals.

I had a deep feeling that this wasn't pseudoprogression. At the beginning of the summer, after I healed most of the way from partial brain rads and the flu with subsequent sphenoid sinus infection I started to go into a slow decline again. I didn't feel like going for long walks and I wasn't feeling like doing more physical activities such as dance or qigong. I decided that perhaps I should hold off on the HBOT for a few weeks until I got a PET scan in September as no one was listening to me that things felt a little off. Meanwhile I compiled the images of my brain online and got in touch with a researcher who told me that it looked like tumor. Another doctor on the East Coast who had treated another patient with HER2 brain LM told me that no, she had not observed an increase in pseudoprogression with targeted therapy. I started having bad headaches and needed to start taking dexamethasone daily. I looked again at the images myself and things didn't look good. Finally the PET scan showed that my cerebellum on the right was lit up from the cancer growing and my two neuro-oncs realized that it was indeed progression.

At this point I was realizing that my doctors yet again really didn't know and understand how to interpret posterior fossa LM (the posterior fossa is the low back of the brain where the cerebellum and brain stem are housed). They were at least listening to me and so we settled on the following chemotherapy protocol for me:

IT Topotecan - standard dosing, based on what has worked for Nina, into the Ommaya reservoir, weekly
IT Herceptin - 100 mg
IV Avastin (bevicuzumab) every two weeks, not approved for breast cancer but used commonly to treat glioblastoma (primary brain cancer) that has evaded radiation.
IV Kadcyla - every three weeks, to try to penetrate the blood-brain barrier and also block anything that might try to re-enter my system and re-establish itself where elsewise I was NED from the neck down.

I also saw my naturopath who is involved in my treatment with HBOT and IV therapies and she recommended, as I was able:

HBOT - 1-2 times a week
DCA with Poly - once a week
High dose vitamin C with Artusenate - once a week

I have also continued with my modified ketogenic, low carb diet since December 2015.

I wanted to hit that cancer hard. The partial brain radiation had worked but this was the cell line that had escaped that therapy. My research showed that when HER2 breast cancer is able to evade radiation it is due to cells that are able to do a protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum which protects them from oxidative stress. Avastin, HBOT, even the vitamin C, they all were about forcing the cells in my body to take in oxygen and not hunker down and hide. Everything I was doing was about forcing the cells into apoptosis and cell death.

I hit the cancer so hard that after three weeks of treatment, out of the blue, I was totally fine and then *BAM* I was dizzy and vomiting and couldn't get out of bed for a day. I tried calling the on-call oncologist but that didn't help at all, he just suggested taking a stronger anti-nausea drug. I couldn't hardly eat for several days and I lost weight, I felt weak and was losing the desire to eat and fight for my life. It was frightening. I went for Chinese Medicine treatment and they told me that my Qi, my energy, was really low -- and they have been taking care of me since my diagnosis in early 2014 so they know my body.
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Old 01-01-2017, 04:55 PM   #42
agness
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Re: My leptomeningeal journey

That was a really long week. I started using a cane for additional stability because my body asked for it. I was frightened. What if this was my new normal? What if treatment didn't work?

I arranged a consult with a third neuro-oncologist, new in the area, my RO team helped arrange that. Their schedulers were amazing and got me in promptly and ordered more brain imaging in late October. I saw again that the neuro-onc was hesitating about the imaging, it was like none of them can read brain scans in a way. It was useful though as a tiny lesion was showing up in my left temporal lobe, in my frontal brain. Damn. The new neuro-onc suggested I repeat my hearing test to establish a new baseline, interesting. I looked it up and the temporal lobe is involved in auditory processing, I realized that the ringing in my left ear in September wasn't from the partial brain rads but probably from this temporal lobe lesion.

The reality was that my cancer had been allowed to grow for 5-1/2 months because my spread was in the back of my brain. Waiting for symptoms to appear was useless as my original tumor in my cerebellum had gotten to be 5 cm before it almost killed me. I realized that had I had lesions the size that they were in July in my cerebral cortex (frontal brain) that I would have totally had symptoms -- doctors are completely unfamiliar with symptoms of tumors in the cerebellum.

If you have a tumor in the cerebellum from breast cancer mets, 75% of the time it is going to be HER2+. The cerebellum is a newer, relatively speaking, area of the brain. Most pediatric brain tumors grow in the cerebellum which makes me think that a pediatric neuro-oncologist probably would have more experience with posterior fossa tumors.

Without any suggestion from any of my doctors I reached back out to my RO team and reminded them that we had determined that if any lesions showed up in my brain outside of the treated area, that is anything not in the cerebellum, brain stem, that we would zap it. A planning scan was done and things looked stable but that temporal lobe lesion was still there and so we indeed hit it with Cyberknife. The procedure was done with a mask, not screwed in frame as they use in Gamma Knife, and it was painless.
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:08 PM   #43
Juls
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Re: My leptomeningeal journey

Hi Ann
Good to hear from you - I had noticed you had not been posting for a while!
Not so good to hear about progression.
Thank goodness Doctors were listening to you.
Hope you are feeling better.
As someone said "onwards & upwards" Or words to that effect!
Take care
Julie
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Old 01-01-2017, 05:16 PM   #44
agness
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Re: My leptomeningeal journey

I continued with treatment, all of it, and also took my friend's suggestion to heart -- I had to use food as I did medicine, I needed to push it into me to be strong and to fight. I was determined to gain at least 10 pounds and I've just about done it. I just bumped up my carb intake a little and then I just eat and eat and eat. I was able to give up the support of the cane after a week. I tolerated treatment pretty well overall and basically just need to treat myself with dexamethasone on IT treatment days, just about 3mg with a extra liter of water and 500 mg of Tylenol keeps any headaches away.

Meanwhile, as all of this is going on I'm having to help out with my boys, attending school meetings because my 6yo threw a pencil across the room in his class, helping out my 9 yo with school projects. My life alternated between saving my life and being mommy. My kids were told that my cancer "was back" and it hit them hard, especially when I needed to have a vascular port put in -- even though that was secondary to treatment and prognosis and only to help save the veins in my right arm from so many pokes.

In November I started feeling better, it seemed to me that the HBOT was part of it. The HBOT was three fold: to force oxygen into the cells, to force IV therapies deeper into the cells, and also to help my body to heal from trauma. I also had confirmation from my MO, my cancer was growing on the outside of my brain and so as the cancer died my body should regain faculties as the trauma healed. Interesting, and something to give me hope.

I had another brain scan this past week and finally things are starting to show retreat -- lesions are shrinking and disappearing. I rationalized that something was going to fail and we just started with partial brain rads. The fact was that chemo with targeted therapies dissolved my original breast cancer -- this cell line has demonstrated that it is susceptible to chemo and I just to happen to have a type of spread that allowed it to be more easily treated in the brain. I've called this my epic battle.

My one neuro-onc said to keep doing what I'm doing because its working. My other neuro-onc apologized to me, basically admitting that she missed it. I told her that she shouldn't be sorry because she has helped me by ultimately being willing to give me what I wanted, drugs that I never would be able to prescribe and administer on my own. Having that kind of support from your docs means a lot, even if sometimes things go a little wonky.

I will resume IV therapies this week, I had to take off a couple weeks due to the kids being off school. My next scan is scheduled out for March, a more normal time frame for monitoring brain mets than I've been on which is huge. I don't know what will happen but you know what? I got to celebrate my 20th anniversary with my partner, I celebrated another Christmas and New Years with my family. I might be in triple overtime but I don't take a second of it for granted -- I'm still here.

The amazing thing is that just before Christmas I took my kids ice skating, I was actually ice skating. The next day I brought the kids up to the mountains for a skiing lesson. While I wasn't skiing myself, not this time, I was able to traverse uneven surfaces, hiking up snow drifts and stairs -- and I know I couldn't do that in October.

Here's to a better 2017.
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  • Dx 2/14 3b HER2+/HR- left breast, left axilla, internal mammary node (behind breast bone). Neoadjuvant TCHP 3/14-7/2. PCR 8/14 LX and SND. 10/21-12/9 Proton therapy to chest wall.
  • Dx 7/20/15 cerebellar met 3.5x5cm HER2+/HR-/GATA3+ 7/23/15 Craniotomy.
  • 7/29/15 bone scan clear. 8/3/15 PET clean scan. LINAC SRS (5 fractions) Sept 2015. 9/17/15 CSF NED, 9/24/15 CSF NED, 11/2/15 CSF NED.
  • 10/27/15 atypical uptake in right cerebellum - inflammation?
  • 12/1/15 Leptomeningeal dx. Starting IT Herceptin.
  • 1/16 - 16 fractions of tomotherapy to cerebellum, break of IT Herceptin during rads, resume at 100 mg weekly
  • 3/2016 - stable scan
  • 5/2016 stable scan
  • 7/2016 pseudoprogression?
  • 9/2016 more LM, start new chemo protocol and IV therapy treatment with HBOT
  • 11/2016 Cyberknife to temporal lobe, HBOT just prior
  • 12/2016 - lesions starting to show shrinkage
  • 8/2017 - Stable since Dec 2016. Temporal lobe lesion gone.
  • Using TCM, naturopathic oncology, physical therapy, chiro, massage, medical qigong, and energetic healing modalities in tandem. Stops at nothing.
  • Mother of 2 boys - ages 7 and 10 (8/2017) and a lovely partner with lots to live for.
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Old 01-01-2017, 06:15 PM   #45
scrunchthecat
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Re: My leptomeningeal journey

Anne - so glad to hear that treatment is going well. Hope you and your family have a fantastic holiday!
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June 2015 - Stage IV, HER2+++, HR-. Mets to liver, assorted lymph nodes.
June 2015 - Begin THP
October 2015 - End THP, begin H&P. PET-CT shows resolution of mets to liver & lymph nodes.
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Old 01-01-2017, 07:29 PM   #46
Mtngrl
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Re: My leptomeningeal journey

This is an amazing story. Thank you for including us.

Amy
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Old 01-01-2017, 11:09 PM   #47
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Re: My leptomeningeal journey

Ahmazing story!! (And I just shared your story with a friend going thru some brain mets ugh).
Glad you are fighting for and getting your minutes!! Glad your spirit is strong. Thanks for the inspiring post. 2017!!
CUck Fancer!!!
xoxo
Flori
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1996 cancer WTF?! 1.3 cm lumpectomy Er/Pr neg. Her2+ (20nodes NEGATIVE) did CMF + rads. NED.
2002 recurrence. Bilateral mastectomy w/TFL autologous recon. Then ACx2. Skin lymphatic rash. Taxotere w/Herceptin x4. Herceptin/Xeloda. Finally stops spreading.
2003 - Back to surgery, to remove skin mets. Not able to get clear margins. So schedule another surgery one week later when pathology can confirm margins.
‘03 latisimus dorsi flap to remove skin mets. CLEAN MARGINS. Continue single agent Herceptin thru 4/04. NED.
‘04 '05 & 06 tiny recurrences - scar line – cut out, cut out, cut out. NED each time.
1/2006 Rads again, to scar line. NED.
3/07 Heartbreaking news - mets! lungs.sternum. Try Tykerb/Xeloda. Tykerb/Carbo/Gemzar. Switch Oncs.
12/07 Herceptin.Tykerb. Markers go stable.
2/8/08 gamma knife 13mm stupid brain met.
3/08 Herceptin/tykerb/avastin/zometa.
3/09 brain NED. Lungs STABLE.
4/09 attack sternum (10 daysPHOTONS.5 days ELECTRONS)
9/09 MARKERS normal!
3/10 PET/CT=manubrium intensely metabolically active but stable. NEDhead.
Wash out 5/10 for tdm1 trial but then 6/10 CT STABLE, PET improving. Markers normal. Brain NED. Resume just Herceptin plus ZOMETA
Dec 2010 Brain NED, lungs/sternum stable. markers normal.
MAR 2011 stop Herceptin/allergy! Go back on Tykerb and switch to Xgeva.
May-Aug 2011 Tykerb Herceptin Xgeva. (premeds for Herceptin now)
Sept 2011 Tykerb, Herceptin, Zometa, Avastin. (switched back to Zometa, pet/ct bone mets seemed worse on Xgeva)
April 2012 sketchy drug trial in NYC. 6 weeks later I’m NED!
OCT 2012 PET/CT shows a bunch of freakin’ progression. Back to LA and Herceptin.avastin.zometa.
12/20/12 add in PERJETA!
March 2013 – 5 YEARS POST GAMMA ZAPPA continue HAPZ
APRIL 2013 - cancerversary 17 years from original diagnosis. 6 yrs stage 4.
"FAILED" PETscan on 4/2/13 (WTF)
May 2013: rePetted - improvement in lungs, left adrenal stable, right 6th rib inactive, (must be PERJETA avastin) sternum and L1 fruckin'worsen. Drop zometa. ADD Xgeva. Doc says get rads consultant for L1 and possible biopsy of L1. I say, no thanks, doc. Lets see what xgeva brings to the table first. It's summer.
June-August 2013HAPX Herceptin Avastin Perjeta xgeva.
Sept - now - on chemo hold for calming tummy we hope. Markers stable for 2 months.
Nov 2013 - Herceptin-Perjeta-Avastin-Xgeva (collageneous colitis, which explains tummy probs, added Entocort)
December '13 BRAIN MRI ned in da head.
Jan 2014: CONTINUING on HAPX…
FEB 2014 PetCT clinical “impression”: 1. newbie nodule - SUV 1.5 right apical nodule, mildly hypermetabolic “suggestive” of worsening neoplastic lesion. 2. moderate worsening of the sternum – SUV 5.6 from 3.8
3. increasing sclerosis & decreasing activity of L1 met “suggests” mild healing. (SUV 9.4 v 12.1 in May ‘13)
4. scattered lung nodules, up to 5mm in size = stable, no increased activity
5. other small scattered sclerotic lesions, one in right iliac and one in thoracic vertebral body similar in appearance to L1 without PET activity and not clearly pathologic
APRIL 2014 - NEWSFLASH:
6 YEARS POST GAMMA ZAPPA, 7 YEARS STAGE 4 and 18 YEARS FROM ORIGINAL DX! (CUCK FANCER)
October 2014: hold avastin, continue HPX
Feb 2015 Cancer you lost. NEDHEAD 7 years post gamma zap miracle, 8 years ST4, +19 yrs original diagnosis.
Continue Herceptin, PERJETA, xgeva. Adding back Avastin to see if lungs will go quiet
Nov 2015 pet/ct is mixed result. L1 SUV is worse. Continue Herceptin/avastin/xgeva. Might revisit Perjeta for L1. Meantime going for rads consult for L1 and due for MRI brain check (check please!).
December 2015 - brain stable. Continue Herceptin, Perjeta, Avastin and xgeva.
Jan 2016: 5 days, 20 grays, Rads to L1 and continue on HAPX. I’m trying to "save" TDM1 for next line. Hope the rads work to quiet L1. Sciatic pain extraordinaire :((
Markers drop post rads.
2/24/16 HAP plus X - markers are down: CA15‐3=46.9 CEA=12.3 CA 27.2=79 SCIATIC PAIN DEAL BREAKER.
3/23/16 Laminectomy w/coflex implant L4/5. NO MORE SCIATIC PAIN!!! Healing.
APRIL 2016 - 9 YEARS STAGE FOUR!
July 2016 - continue HAP plus Xgeva. Not NED not DEaD.
DEC 2016 - PETCT: mets to sternum, lungs, L1 still about the same in size and PET activity. Markers not bad. Not making changes if I don't need to. Herceptin/Perjeta/Avastin/Xgeva
2017 I AM COMING FOR YOU!
APRIL 2017 10 YEARS MBC
December 2017 - Progression - gonna switch it up
FEB 2018 - Kadcyla 3 cycles ---->progression :(
MAY30th - bronchoscopy, w/foundation1 - her2 enriched
Aug 27, 2018 - start clinical trial ZW25
JAN 2019 - ZW25 seems to be keeping me stable
APRIL 2019 - ONE DOZEN YEARS LIVING METASTATIC
MAY 2019 - progression back on herceptin add xeloda
JUNE 2019 - "6 most average survival" LMD & CNS new single brain met - one zap during 5 days true beam SBRT to cord met
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Old 01-03-2017, 05:57 AM   #48
MaineRottweilers
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Re: My leptomeningeal journey

ICE SKATING! Ann, this is fantastic. Your boys must be thrilled to have Mom up and mobile. Thank you for sharing your story. Reading about your effort to save yourself makes me realize that I am being really lazy in my own effort to gain mobility and restore health. I'm going to make 2017 the year I do more to live more, inspired by you. XO
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Tracy Arcari
___________________________________________
11/12 BSE ignored the lump for SIX months.
5/1/13 IDC ER/PR- HER2/neu+++
5/14/13 Mastectomy and SN biopsy
5/20/13 IDC Stage IIb Grade 3 Nodes 1/4 also IDC and DCIS multi focal in remaining dissected tissue.
5/30/13 MUGA and CT thorax, abdomen & pelvis, establish baseline.
6/4/13 Installed my little purple power port.
6/14/13 Chemo started TCH
6/14/13 Informed of suspicious ares on scans scheduled PET.
7/1/13 PET Scan NED!
9/27/13 FINAL CHEMO taken! ----well, maybe not.
10/15/13 Three little tattoos.
10/24/13 Radiation begins and fourth tattoo placed.
11/27/13 Perfectly radiant! Radiation completed the day before Thanksgiving and so, so much to be thankful for this year and every day hereafter.
1/2/14 Happy New Year, you have a Goiter? Muga down to 59%.
1/17/14 Hashimoto's Dz Dx'd. Now maybe I'll feel BETTER!
5/2/14 Herceptin completed! New kitten!
8/19/14 Prophylactic mastectomy (right) and PORT OUT! I'm DONE and now I really am a SURVIVOR.
2/15 Started not feeling so swell. Memory lapses and GI issues with nausea and blurry vision.
4/30/15 U/S cystic gallbladder, cyst on right ovary and mass in my uterus. GYN consult scheduled---and cancelled. I'm not ready.
5/4/15 Brain MRI clear (big sigh of relief)
7/30/15 Back Pain
8/31/15 Radiograph: compression fracture L2
9/10/15 Bone Scan positive
9/21/15 CT scan conclusive for tumor
10/1/15 CT guided biopsy & Brain to Pelvis MRI reveal additional lesions on spine C6, T10, T11 and L2 is collapsing.
10/8/15 Abbreviated pathology: new tumor(s) poorly differentiated carcinoma consistent with known breast primary.
ER-/PR+ (40%)
HER2/neu+++ Ki-67 4% Pancytokeratin AE1/3 Strong Positivity in all malignant cells.
10/13/15 Abnormal Dexa: moderate risk of fracture to both femoral head/neck R&L. Significant risk to lumbar spine.
10/14/15 Radiation consult back to the cooker.
10/20/15 MUGA 50% down from 54% after a year off Herceptin (???)
10/21/15 Kyphoplasty L2
10/22/15 Re-start Chemo: Perjeta, Herceptin & Taxotere
10/26/15 PET Scan confirms C6, T10-11, L2, new lesion noted at L4 but no visceral involvement---Happy dance!!!
10//29/15 Xgeva
10/29/15 Radiation Simulation--three new tattoos to add to my collection. Just call me Dotty.
10/30/15 CA27-29 63 U/mol (<38 U/mol)
11/3/15 First Trip to see Dr. E. Mayer at DFCI
11/4/15 Surgical consult to re-install my little purple power port.
11/9/15 Radiation treatment one of five.
11/10/15 Installed my little purple power port and not a moment too soon, took them four tries to get an IV started today.
Yes, we really are going down this road again.
12/5/15 CT for suspected pulmonary embolism demonstrates increase in T10-11 mets.
12/8/15 Bone Scan uptake at T10-11 (not seen 9/17/15) & Right 8th Rib (not evident on PET 10/26/15)
12/10/15 Consult Re: PROGRESSION. Halt THP due today. Schedule PET and order TDM1 for next week. PLAN B.
12/14/15 PET scan: NO PROGRESSION! THP is working, metabolic activity minimal. Merry Christmas to me! Sticking with PLAN A, it's working.
1/7/16 Start Taxol weekly instead of Taxotere (has been too taxing and not rebounding between txs.) Zometa instead of Xgeva.
3/28/16 CT shows new sclerotic lesions on T12, L3, L5, L6, right ilium and head of right femur. No uptake on Bone Scan (progression????)
3/31/16 Discontinue Taxol start Arimidex, still getting H&P.
6/2/16 Discontinue Arimidex and start Exemestane.
6/18/16 PET is NEAD!!
7/1/16 Discontinue Exemestane and restart Armidex (SEs)
8/29/16 CT/Bone Scan Stable (still uptake at T10-11)
10/3/16 BSO pathology negative
10/10/16 MRI: Brain clear!
10/14/16 Switched care to Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care
11/24/16 Xgeva, New MO preference to Zometa
12/12/16 CT/Bone scan Mostly stable significant uptake at L2 plan to PET
1/12/17 PET shows NEAD celebrate with a new puppy!
3/29/17 CT & BS = NEAD
7/31/17 Aetna denies access to H&P <gearing up for a fight>
8/4/17 CT& BS= STABLE
8/9/17 No treatment, Aetna still denying H&P
8/14/17 Aetna appeal approved H&P through February 2018!
2/5/18 CT & BS = STABLE

//
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Old 05-11-2017, 10:50 AM   #49
agness
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Smile Re: My leptomeningeal journey

The past few months have been really up and down for me. My MO counted out since my LM was originally diagnosed and said, "maybe I'll start doing this for other patients too". That is sobering to me because A. I'm not supposed to still be alive and B. they haven't been doing this therapy for other patients so other women have died even as I've lived and my docs didn't offer them anything different. Painful.

I had to stop Kadcyla treatment in February after just six doses, one night I was knitting and had no issues and the next morning my fingertips were numb. My liver had been aching for weeks at that point and I was trying to reduce frequency of Kadcyla to every four weeks as that was where the last four doses had been anyway due to kids and life getting in the way of the standard every three weeks -- my body had a different idea entirely. In my case the IV Kadcyla was prophylactic as no disease had been observed systemically (outside the brain) since the first half of 2014, it was only keeping my brain mets from getting back out into the rest of my body -- potentially.

Then I was sick with a virus from my kids in late February, just a snotty cold with a fever and I got my IT treatment into my head. I went home and then it started to feel awful. My reaction was that I had indeed injured myself with treatment, that getting IT chemo poured on top of my brain when I was sick had caused meningitis and possibly encephalitis. I communicated all this to my doctors at the time but there was nothing really to be done either way I knew. My older son after a couple weeks of being sick complained of the back of his head and spine hurting (he was totally healthy before this and got slammed by two viruses that kept him home for weeks) and I rushed him over to the children's hospital -- he was having symptoms of meningitis. Because he wasn't falling over they couldn't diagnose him, they don't do lumbar punctures on kids unless it is bad meningitis. I told the doc in the urgent care that I had a very unusual firsthand knowledge of what enflamed meninges was, this wasn't combative and she understood (well kinda, who could understand that I was living with LM -- they never meet anyone like that, or study that even, because we all die).

It was a frustrating situation to parent through to say the least. My son learned from the doctors and even his school that adults don't listen and observe and that they discount you if you don't make sense based on their training. I don't think that is what they intended to teach him but that is what they imparted to him -- deep lessons in reality and self preservation at a young age.

Then a few weeks ago they found an atypical cell in my spinal fluid check, we do those every couple of months to check on my LM, its easy to do with the Ommaya reservoir (a small benefit to having a hole in your head) -- the last time an atypical cell was found it was last July and it was indeed related to spread. Damn. Time to freak out again. I remembered that my neuro-onc had said at the time that CSF samples from the Ommaya and a lumbar puncture could be quite different from each other based on the weight of cellular debris and gravity basically. I requested a lumbar puncture the next week.

Damn, I hate recovering from lumbar punctures. What the lumbar puncture showed was no cancer, no atypical cells. What would cause atypical cells to be present? I decided to go looking and came across a medical article about how atypical cells might be in the CSF with Epstein-Barr virus. I don't think I had EBV at all but if you could find an atypical cell with one viral illness -- and I totally had symptoms of viral meningitis as did my son -- they why not with another? I looked up what viral meningitis looked like in CSF studies and compared it to my results and it was really similar.

I couldn't get a diagnosis of my viral meningitis from the medical establishment but honestly, as long as now I can understand what the heck was going on with me I don't really care. Sorry doctors, sh!t or get off the pot as far as I'm concerned.

I had another brain scan last week and it was stable again -- that's three in a row, unheard of for HER2 or LM. Yeah, there are still lesions there but they are getting a little faded. I would like if they went away totally but in the absence of headache or numbness symptoms stable is awesome. I checked with Paul and Nina had lesions that didn't do anything either -- I guess it just happens with this non-standard treatment but who cares. I am still here.
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