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Old 05-18-2021, 06:10 AM   #5
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Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 206
Re: Chemo - I need to make a decision

Jeet, in 2014, when I was diagnosed at 62 with a 2.2cm HER2+ invasive carcinoma Grade 3 Stage 2, very aggressive and invasive in a 6cm field of DCIS, my oncologist told me that that 10 years earlier she would have told me this was a bad diagnosis and even with surgery and chemo, I would only have a 50% chance of surviving another 5 years.
Then Herceptin and other targetted treatments specially for HER2+ cancers were developed.
"Now," she told me, "It is a pretty good diagnosis if you have to have breast cancer at all."
She said that with Herceptin and chemo combined, I had over a 99% chance of surviving 5years and if I survived 5 years, I had a chance in the high nineties of a decade or more. She said they were for the first time even starting to think of it as a curable disease.
I did find chemo a sore trial, and it made me very fatigued, so fatigued I could not think in the reflective poetic way I like my mind to function. But I got that back within a couple of years, and for me that was the biggest part of feeling like myself again. Walking daily helps. And knowing it is only for a few months and then your treatment is over and recovery is the name of the game.
I have a friend who first got HER2+ cancer about 27years ago. She had a lumpectomy and radiotherapy. Then about 12 years ago, she found a regrowth down the side of the same breast, so they removed the regrowth and possibly the whole breast, and gave her chemo and radiotherapy and tamoxifen. Five years after that, she was told she could go off her tamoxifen and within a few months she had big tumors in her liver and lungs.
The thing is that she had never until then had herceptin or related treatments. I met her in the chemo lounge when we both had our chemo and herceptin. The big tumors completely vanished. Because she is stage 4 her oncologist has had her on monthly treatments of herceptin-related drugs, but she is doing really well, creating lovely works of art and spending good time with friends and family.
It is a very hard road to walk, but for me it has been worth it, and I believe I am now cured, which is amazing and I have much of my life back, and all of me back. I have two granddaughters aged 2 and 5 I love dearly and would never have known if I had not had this treatment. I wish you all the best in making a difficult choice.
1997-2004 many cysts, many MG & U/S: polycystic breasts.
Sept 2013 found lump,Cyst?? forgot lump.
Dec 2013 GP check, Referred for U/S, MG,FNA.
7 Jan 2014 Radiology: Radiologist turned screen away from me. When asked she said "Not a cyst, very suspicious.See your GP asa results avail."
Cancelled my psych clients for the week.
8 Jan 14 GP: 2.2cm IDC in 6cm DCIS field. FNA=malignant cells. Referred to Surgeon.
Cancelled my psych clients for the month.
13 Jan
14 Surgeon said L mastectomy not lumpectomy, offered neoadjunctive trial, agreed adjunctive chemo after surgery a good choice for me. Booked Body scan and bone scan for staging (both fine) Surgery for16 Jan,
16 Jan 14 Surgeon also agreed in preop meeting to also remove 6cm fatty cyst in job lot. Good job done.
19 Jan 14 discharged home with 1 drain.
22 Jan 14 drain partly pulled out overnight, serious seroma (600 ml reducing removed every 2 days for a month) Serious staph infection because nurse said wait 3 days for yr surgeon appointment.
26Jan 14 pathology: 2.2cm Grade 3(3,3,2)ER-, PgR-, HER2+2 so to be confirmed by Sish test. Node negative. No vascular or lymphatic involvement. No metastases in scans.
30 Jan 14 HER2+ high amplification, 13 gene copies per cell.
21st Feb 14 Began 3wkly TCH adjuvant treatment at The Mount Hospital Perth, with 3monthly MUGA heart tests +Oncologist or Surgeon full physical check-up.
Cancelled my psych clients for 6 months.
Feb 14 First MUGA test: 71%,
First C15.3 test: 20
7th March 14 began Neulasta self-applied injections 24hrs after each TCH treatment. Bonepain helped by spa, heatpacks and
Claritin, reflux/indigestion helped by Somac.
July 14 completed docetaxol and carboplatin, ongoing herceptin to 12 months. Severe cognitive deficit/fatigue after 1pm daily.
Sept 14 Second MUGA test: 69%
Cancelled my psych clients for 2014
Dec 14 Third MUGA test: 70%
Second C15.3 test : 20
Cognitive fatigue delays return to work.

March 2015 Tachycardia pulse 168, night in hospital. Cardiologist says no heart disease, ALIVE ECG attachment for my mobile phone now regular monitoring.
July 2015 Worktrial, up to 8hrs per wk. Fatigue ongoing
Aug 2015 Heart good, no evidence of cancer, just Fatigue.
May 2019 Melanoma 1.5cm Stage 1 by right collarbone(was present as large freckle in 2014 and cut through by breast surgeon to remove fatty cyst at same time as mastectomy.) Melanoma removed leaving scar from shoulder to breastbone. In hospital twice for IV antibiotics. Told catagorically this could not be BC mets.
Dec 2019 Still NED, still fatigue in late afternoon, but have my brain back in the early mornings. So most days I watch the sunrise and hear the birds morning chorus in my bush backyard and am glad to be alive and to be me still.

Last edited by JessicaV; 05-18-2021 at 06:12 AM.. Reason: left out my age
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