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Old 12-30-2015, 06:28 PM   #1
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Decadron-has anyone had this removed from chemo treatments?

Other than daily slight, constant nausea, my absolute worst side effect is a complete inability to do ANYTHING because of the effects of the Decadron. If it's mostly for helping with nausea, I'd rather take more nausea med at home and avoid the horrible withdrawal, incomprehensible effects of this terrible drug. I am thinking of asking my oncologist next week to see if we can skip it. My WBC from the Neulasta has been well above to double the normal highest # so I think I'm doing ok. Please share your thoughts. As always, you are all deeply appreciated! Your knowledge is my food! Thank you!!!!!!!!!
6/6/2015-Found a lump in my L breast at 45 years young.
6/12/2015-First u/s
7/2015-Mammogram and 2nd u/s (same day)
8/7/2015-Needle aspiration u/s biopsy. Doctor indicated looked malignant. (thanks doc!! the wait after that sucked)
8/20/2015-Diagnosed w ER+,PR+,HER2+ BC in L breast (now 46 years young.)
9/24/2015-Saw first surgeon, referred by oncologist. Great guy. Office staff not advocates.
10/12/2015-Met w Plastic Surgeon. Amazing doctor. Recommended not immediate due to chemo and 'just get the cancer out first' attitude. Will do recon with him after chemo is complete.
10/12/2015-Called first surgeon's office who told me that it's been too long since the first consult and will need to schedule another consult on 10/24 and then schedule surgery within 2-3 AFTER that date. (BITE ME)
10/12-Found a new surgeon.
10/15-Consulted with new FEMALE surgeon. She was AMAZING! Asked me if I wanted to do the surgery on Monday (in 5 days). Stunned and thrilled!!
10/26/15-Surgery for bilateral mastectomy, port placed, and 3 nodes removed for SNB. 3 drains installed.
10/28/15-home from the hospital to recover.
10/30/2015-Follow up with surgeon. Drains removed. Was told tumor was removed but had more than doubled in size from 1.3 to 2.9cm. 3 nodes removed, all negative. Healthy breast was clear but several suspicious areas on affected left breast. Looks to be Stage 2A. Oncologist appt next week.
11/5/2015-Follow up with oncologist. Planning to start chemotherapy (Herceptin, Taxotere, and Carboplatin together beginning November 30th). Very nervous about side effects, low white blood count, anemia, steriods, etc, etc, etc. I'm not usually one to medicate myself for anything. Not ready for this. Kinda scared.
11/30/2015 - Isaiah 41:10 today for sure. Today was my first day (round) of TCH chemo treatment. Before receiving the cocktail, I saw the doctor who delivered the news that my CT scans (abdomen, chest, and pelvis were all clear). Praise God!! Feeling okay right now after chemo, just a bit sleepy. We'll see how the Neulasta, along with the other effects, rear their lovely heads over the next few days. Prayers please, as always.
12/17/2015-Decided it was time to shave my head and face the music.
1/11/2016-Went in for 3rd treatment. UGG. Spoke to the doctor first. Asked him to reduce the Decadron. Agreed! From 10mg to 4mg dosage. YAY! It still worked and I was able to rest and live. Praise God. I jokingly told him if he felt like dropping some of my treatment, to feel free. Guess what?! He agreed! Agreed to drop my 6th treatment meaning that I now only have 2 left and in March I'll be able to begin the reconstruction process. Additionally, he agreed to schedule me for a brain MRI to just double check for any spread. Anxiously awaiting.
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Old 12-30-2015, 08:13 PM   #2
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Re: Decadron-has anyone had this removed from chemo treatments?

Chemo is tough but you can do it. If I remember correctly, I had some sort of a steroid with my chemo. It seems like it was SOP. Then I had neulasta. 8 rounds of chemo are not all that fun. But I am greatful for the science that luckily worked for me. Wishing you luck with your treatments.

Found my own lump in the shower
April 2006 at the age of 58
Stage IIB, ER- PR- HER2+++ multi focal tumors, largest 2.3cm
Chemo first: AC/Taxol over 16 weeks
Bilateral mastectomy Sep 06
33 rads after the surgery
1 year of Herceptin completed Dec 07
15 years and no recurrence as of April 2021
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Old 12-30-2015, 09:56 PM   #3
Margaret Eleanor
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Re: Decadron-has anyone had this removed from chemo treatments?

I dropped Decadron (dex) when I had chemo. I used it my first cycle of three weeks on, one week off (taxol, carboplatin, Herceptin). I was having more disturbing side effects from the dex than I was the chemo. I explained it to my nurse practitioner as "-roid rage". I was irritable, aggitated, and aggressive. I felt like a male Beta Fish, always looking for a fight. I hated the way I was treating my husband and daughter (who was 11 at the time) taking the dex. I told my nurse practitioner that I would rather deal with the nausea than the dex. First week of the next cycle, we lowered the dosage and dropped it entirely the second week. I did not take dex with Adrimycin and Cytoxin either. I also eventually dropped the Benadryl. I always hated the way it made me feel sluggish and drowsy, and the dry mouth was horrible.
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Old 12-31-2015, 09:09 AM   #4
suzan w
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Re: Decadron-has anyone had this removed from chemo treatments?

I, too, had terrible side effects with decadron. What a crazy drug!!! I did suffer through it...well I should say all those I came into contact with suffered through it as it turned me into a monster!!! Couldn't sleep...insane emotional highs and lows, terrible terrible!!! I recall it was prescribed to me for nausea. I will say, during all my treatments I was never nauseous...
Suzan W.
age 54 at diagnosis
5/05 suspicious mammogram-left breast
5/05 biopsy-invasive lobular carcinoma with LCIS,8mm tumor,stage 1 grade 2, ER+ PR+ Her2+++
6/14/05 bilateral mastectomy, node neg. all scans neg.
Oncotype DX-high risk
8/05-10/05 4 rounds A/C
10/05 -10/06 1 yr. herceptin
arimidex-5 years
2/14/08 started daily self administered injections..FORTEO for severe osteoporosis
7/28/09 BRCA 1 negative BRCA2 POSITIVE
8/17/09 prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy
10/15/10 last FORTEOinjection
RECLAST infusion(ostoeporosis)
6/14/10 5 year cancerversary!
8/2010-18%increase in bone density!
no further treatments
Oncologist says, "Go do the Happy Dance"
I say,"What a long strange trip its been"
'One day at a time'
7-16 to 9-16. Extensive (and expensive) dental work done to save teeth. Damage from osteoporosis and chemo and long term bisphosphonate use
7-20-16 Prolia injection for severe osteoporosis
2 days later, massive hive outbreak. This led to an eventual dx of Chronic Ideopathic Urticaria, an auto-immune disease from HELL.
still suffering from CIU. 4 hospitilizations in the past year

as of today, 10-31-17 in remission from CIU and still, CANCER FREE!!!
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Old 01-02-2016, 09:15 AM   #5
Debbie L.
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Re: Decadron-has anyone had this removed from chemo treatments?

I think the Decadron is given for 2 separate reasons.

With taxanes, it's part of the premeds, to prevent an allergic reaction (so that part is less negotiable). It's actually one of the main selling points of the alternate taxane, abraxane -- that because it's in a different base (not cremophor), it doesn't require the steroid premeds (which many people hate, it's not just you).

Some oncs prescribe Decadron to prevent nausea, and if the decadron is continued after the day of chemo, then that's probably what's happening -- but there are many other options to handle nausea so it should just be a matter of telling your onc (or nurse) that what you have for nausea isn't working and you need to try something else. You mention that you're constantly nauseated already -- so that's 2 counts against continuing with the extra Decadron, and getting something that suits you better.

Good luck, keep us posted.
Debbie Laxague
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Old 01-03-2016, 07:24 AM   #6
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Re: Decadron-has anyone had this removed from chemo treatments?

I took my first dose of Decadron as ordered, the second dose I was to take the AM of my first chemo. I didn't take it. I walked in to the onc office with it in my hand and said oh hell no am I taking any more of this...

Long story short, they infused the Decadron that day and then I took 1/2 the dose the next day. And it continued like that.
I took 1/2 dose the day before and the day after while having 1/2 dose infused the day of. I also took a lot of Ativan to counteract it.
It sucked, but I did it.
39 year old wife, mother of one and nurse.
April 20, 2012: Dx Invasive Ductal Carcinoma
April 25, 2012: ER+(5%), PR-, HER2+++
May 10, 2012: BRCA 1,2 Negative
May 23, 2012: MUGA Scan EF 70%
May 31, 2012: B/L Mastectomy. 2/2 nodes removed and CLEAR!! Power Port placed. 2 Drains. 2 Expanders placed
June 5, 2012: Drains OUT! Ahhhh..
June 12, 2012: Final Pathology Report, .8x.3cm tumor. Micromets to 1 node .35mm under cytokeratin staining. Stage 2A. Onc says "you are lucky to have found this early"
July 10, 2012: Started 6 rounds of TCH with weekly H
Sept 5, 2012: MUGA 65%
Sept 20, 2012: CAT scan of brain clear!
Oct 23, 2012: LAST TC! AMEN! Continue Herceptin every three weeks until July 2013.
Nov 19, 2012: Port out!
Dec 5, 2012: Started radiation
Dec. 10, 2012: MUGA 65%
Dec. 13, 2012: Turned 40. BEST BIRTHDAY EVER!
Jan 23, 2013: Last radiation. Told I am NED. Continue Herceptin every three weeks till July 2013.
Jan 29, 2013: Begin 5 years of Tamoxifen.
Feb 28, 2013: CT Scan with Contrast of lungs. 5mm and 4mm nodules of unknown origin. Rescan in 3 months.
Mar 6, 2013: EF 60%
May 8, 2013: Exanders out, implants implanted...abd. lipo and fat moved up. Girls are looking good!
June 3, 2013: CT Scan with Contrast of lungs. Previous nodules gone. New nodules (2mm and 3mm) found. Rescan in 3 months. So sorry I opened this can of worms...
June 11, 2013: EF 60%
June 25, 2013: Last Herceptin. wow...
Aug 20, 2013: Tumor markers within normal limits. Xray to sore left ribs shows no disease or fractures.
Sept 9, 2013: CT of lungs shows no disease. Closing this can of worms and moving on.
Nov 20, 2013: Tumor markers within normal limits. Severe Vit D deficiency, started on prescription Vit. D. Blaming chemo for this.
Feb 2014: Tumor markers within normal limits.
May 2014: Tumor markers within normal limits. Graduated to twice yearly onc appts.
Oct 2014: Tumor markers within normal limits.
May 2015: Tumor markers WNL. Bone density scan fine. Bone scan and xray of ribs shows "something" 4th right rib. Could be healed fracture but if it is healed why does it hurt?
Nov 2015: Tumor markers WNL. Follow up bone scan clear.
Feb 2016: Syncope! WTF? Dizzy too. Brain scan clear, ECHO EF 60%, Halter Monitor shows heart is fine. Viral? I will never know.
June 2016: Tumor markers WNL.
Oct 2016: Stabbing pain right eye. Long story short, trigeminal neuralgia.
Nov 2016 Brain MRI clear.
Jan 2017: Tumor markers WNL, still getting weird pain right rib area, and sometimes right upper chest. Xray x2, Bone Scan, Breast MRI all clear. Scar tissue? Rads. I may never know.
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Old 01-04-2016, 08:15 AM   #7
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Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 285
Re: Decadron-has anyone had this removed from chemo treatments?

I kind of forget to take it at home and so it was gradually dropped except for as a pre-NED with their drugs. It was great to get off it and Zi noticed no difference.

Now that I'm dealing with brain mets I have a new respect for Dexamethasone/Decadron as it save my life last July when it rapidly reduced my brain swelling.

Dexa, as us brain mets gsls call it, is a mixed bag. It can help reduce swelling rapidly and effectively. It does have the negative side effects of causing acne, facial hair, muscle wasting or weight gain. It also increases blood glucose and lowers immune function which are both huge negatives when fighting cancer. It can cause glaucoma I think, when taken longterm.

It's a mixed bag but if it is hurting your body know that your body is probably right that YOU don't need it. Definitely talk to your MO about it -- if they are a stick in the mud about this then tgey are an ass and you should get a better MO -- because post-treatment monitoring doesn't get better with a crap doc.
  • 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 01-04-2016, 08:57 AM   #8
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Re: Decadron-has anyone had this removed from chemo treatments?

I have nothing to add, other than to say I, too, despised the Decadron I was given as a pre-med when I was on Taxol. As Debbie noted, it's not required with Abraxane, which I'm on now.

Good luck!
4/19/11 Diagnosed invasive ductal carcinoma in left breast; 2.3 cm tumor, 1 axillary lymph node, weakly ER+, HER2+++
4/29/11 CT scan shows suspicious lesions on liver and lungs
5/17/11 liver biopsy
5/24/11 liver met confirmed--Stage IV at diagnosis
5/27/11 Begin weekly Taxol & Herceptin for 3 months (standard of care at the time of my DX)
7/18/11 Switch to weekly Abraxane & Herceptin due to Taxol allergy
8/29/11 CT scan shows no new lesions & old lesions shrinking
9/27/11 Finish Abraxane. Start Herceptin every 3 weeks. Begin taking Arimidex
10/17/11--Brain MRI--No Brain mets
12/5/11 PET scan--Almost NED
5/15/12 PET scan shows progression-breast/chest/spine (one vertebra)
5/22/12 Stop taking Arimidex; stay on Herceptin
6/11/12 Started Tykerb and Herceptin on clinical trial (w/no chemo)
9/24/12 CT scan--No new mets. Everything stable.
3/11/13 CT Scan--two small new possible mets and odd looking area in left lung getting larger.
4/2/13--Biopsy of suspicious area in lower left lung. Mets to lung confirmed.
4/30/13 Begin Kadcyla/TDM-1
8/16/13 PET scan "mixed," with some areas of increased uptake, but also some definite improvement, so I'll stay on TDM-1/Kadcyla.
11/11/13 Finally get hormone receptor results from lung biopsy of 4/2/13. My cancer is no longer ER positive.
11/13/13 PET scan mixed results again. We're calling it "stable." Problems breathing on exertion.
2/18/14 PET scan shows a new lesion and newly active lymph node in chest, other progression. Bye bye TDM-1.
2/28/14 Begin Herceptin/Perjeta every 3 weeks.
6/8/14 PET "mixed," with no new lesions, and everything but lower lungs improving. My breathing is better.
8/18/14 PET "mixed" again. Upper lungs & one spine met stable, lower lungs less FDG avid, original tumor more avid, one lymph node in mediastinum more avid.
9/1/14 Begin taking Xeloda one week on, one week off. Will also stay on Herceptin and Perjeta every three weeks.
12/11/14 PET Scan--no new lesions, and everything looks better than it did.
3/20/15 PET Scan--no new lesions, but lower lung lesions larger and a bit more avid.
4/13/15 Increasing Xeloda dose to 10 days on, one week off.
7/1/15 Scan "mixed" again, but suggests continuing progression. Stop Xeloda. Substitute Abraxane every 3 weeks starting 7/13.
10/28/15 PET scan shows dramatic improvement everywhere. All lesions except lower lungs have resolved; lower lungs noticeably improved.
12/18/15 Last Abraxane. Continue on Herceptin and Perjeta alone beginning 1/8/16.
1/27/16 PET scan shows cancer is stable.
5/11/16 PET scan shows uptake in some areas that were resolved on the last two scans.
6/3/16 Begin Kadcyla and Tykerb combination
6/5 - 6/23 Horrible diarrhea from K&T together. Got pneumonia.
7/15/16 Begin Kadcyla only every 3 weeks.
9/6/16 Begin radiation therapy on right lung lesion that caused the pneumonia.
10/3/16 Last of 12 radiation treatments to right lung.
11/4/16 Huffing and puffing, low O2, high heart rate, on tiniest bit of exertion. Diagnosed as radiation pneumonitis. Treated with Prednisone.
11/11/16 PET scan shows significant improvement to radiated part of right lung BUT a bunch of new lung lesions, and the bone met is getting worse.
11/22/16 Begin Eribulin and Herceptin. H every 3 weeks. E two weeks on, one week off.
3/6/17 Scan shows progression in lungs. Bone met a little better.
3/23/17 Lung biopsy. Tumor sampled is ER-, PR+ (5%), HER2+++. Getting Herceptin and Perjeta as a maintenance treatment.
5/31/17 Port placement
6/1/17 Start Navelbine & Tykerb
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Old 01-08-2016, 11:35 PM   #9
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Location: LA LA Land
Posts: 1,606
Re: Decadron-has anyone had this removed from chemo treatments?

The first time I did chemo, in the olden days, I was so stupid I didn't know I even had decadron. Once I figured out that it was making me so disturbed, crazed, etc. I dropped it.

As far as pre-meds, I take singulair, and (2) zantac plus a 20 mg prednisone at 4PM and then 20 mg pred at midnight, the day before my treatment. Also take (2) zantac and 50 mg of benedryl in the morning of my treatment. This is all due a reaction to HERCEPTIN of all things. So, that is my pre-med preference over decadron.

And just for the record, last cycle I dropped the prednisone down to (20) mg at 4:00PM and (10) mg at/near midnight and that was enough.

When I was on true chemo combo, I had chronic nausea - which is hard to resolve until the chemo stops. I used a low dose of ativan (.25) every 4 hours, a LOT of the time and I found it very helpful w/the nausea. I wish I would have tried medical marijuana, people get so much relief with that.
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, remove skin mets, and will have 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. surgery to 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 but 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.
Sept 2011 Tykerb, Herceptin, Zometa, Avastin.
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 continue HAPZ
APRIL 2013 - 6 yrs stage 4. "FAILED" PETscan on 4/2/13
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.
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
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 HPX. Adding back Avastin
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
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
3/23/16 Laminectomy w/coflex implant L4/5. NO MORE SCIATIC PAIN!!! Healing.
APRIL 2016 - 9 YRS MBC
July 2016 - continue HAP plus Xgeva.
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
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
MAY 2019 - progression back on herceptin add xeloda
JUNE 2019 - "6 mos average survival" LMD & CNS new single brain met - one zap during 5 days true beam SBRT to cord met
10/30/19 - stable brain and cord. progression lungs and bones. washing out. applying for ds8201a w nivolumab. hope they take me.
12/27/19 - begin ds8401a w nivolumab. after 2nd cycle nodes melt away. after 3rd cycle chest scan shows Improvement, brain MRI shows improvement, resolved areas & nothing new. switch to plain ENHERTU. after 4th cycle, PETscan shows mostly resolved or improved results. Markers near normal. I'm stunned but grateful.
10/26/20 - June 2021 Tucatinib/xeloda/herceptin - stable ish.
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