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Old 04-20-2023, 12:29 PM   #1
Senior Member
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 329
18 years

It was December 24, 2004, and I was 48 years old when I received the news that would change my life forever. I was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer that was difficult to diagnose. My diagnosis was ER- PR- and Her2+++, stage 3C. When I searched on Google, I found out that the survival rate was only 5% in 5 years. I wasn’t devastated, I thought I’ve been lucky all my life and had more share than a lot of people in this world, so if it’s my time to leave, I would accept it gracefully but I’ll try my best to survive and fight it.
Before my diagnosis, I was the picture of health, climbing mountains, running marathons, and running my own successful IT business. But now, everything was different. They started me on a very aggressive chemotherapy regimen, hoping that I would respond to the treatment. The chemo was intense, with three types of chemo drugs given together every other week - usually they give these drugs in a period of one year, one at the time. Despite the side effects, I tried to keep up with my active lifestyle and went hiking every week until I couldn't do it anymore.
After three months of chemotherapy, I had surgery (mastectomy) and then started radiation. The doctor advised against removing my lymph nodes because it would cause problems for me due to my active lifestyle. I trusted his advice, even though other oncologists advised otherwise.
But the battle was not over yet. Herceptin, a new drug in clinical trials, showed promise in treating Her2 positive breast cancer, but it was only given to those in stage 4. I knew about Herceptin because I was a member of this site and even met Christine, the founder of Her2 group and many other beautiful members of this site. I asked my oncologist to give me Herceptin, but he was hesitant, not knowing if it would work for me. However, after attending a cancer conference, he called me and urged me to try Herceptin. I agreed and began a year of injections every week.
After my treatment with Herceptin, I felt grateful for my recovery and wanted to contribute to the fight against cancer. I participated in Phase one of the University of Washington Vaccine Clinical Trial for Breast Cancer HER2 positive. Many people told me it’s risky to participate in phase one, especially now that I didn’t have any sign of disease, but I felt it is my turn to pay it forward!
I was lucky to have a loving family, husband, son, daughter, and an army of relatives and friends who supported me throughout my journey. Science and time were on my side, but I also knew that active participation was key to solving any obstacle in life.
Today, I have been cancer-free for 18 years, and I know that there is always hope. With the help of science, community, and family support, I was able to live longer and healthier. My journey taught me that no matter how difficult life may get, there is always hope and a reason to keep fighting.
This June I’ll participate in Cancer Vaccine Institute – UW Medicine. It’s free for everyone if you are interested. For full details, visit https://www.uwcvi.org/post/join-the-...rcle-this-june

Last edited by sherri; 04-20-2023 at 12:34 PM..
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