Adam took the afternoon off work today and we had lunch with the lovely Adam C. who won my heart with a block of rocky road chocolate ❤
Late this afternoon I had my first Oncology appointment with my Oncologist.
She was exceptionally professional, informative and a good lady in general, so I am happy with my breast surgeon’s referral.
Firstly we discussed my results. As I had one affected lymph node, I will be needing Radiotherapy after Chemo as I mentioned earlier. There were also some suspicious areas of more cancer somewhere around that area that had not been picked up earlier. So it seems that the invasive cancer I have has been aggressive and spread very, very fast.
Fertility wise, I am young, so my ovaries should bounce back, but thats not to say they will. So it is possible I may not be able to have children. Options from here I will be seeing a gynecologist ASAP to see what is available for me. Freezing eggs is only about 2-5% successful. Whereas freezing fertilized embryos is more like 80% chance success rate. This involves taking several drugs to stimulate the ovaries and perform key hole surgery to remove several eggs and have them fertilized. (by Adam obviously!) Its pretty crazy to think that you would actually be making babies for the future.. Then there is an option to have injections to put my ovaries to ‘sleep’ whilst I have Chemo but thats not ideal either. So we will see what the next doctor says.
Unfortunately, time is precious right now so if we go down this path it will be happening within the next 2-3 weeks as I must start chemo on time or things can end up bad.
Here is a silly thing I just drew. Its basically a picture of our eggs waiting for us. They are all excited and want to be chosen.
Next was deciding if I wanted to be part of an international clinical trial. I have been tested as HER2+, which back in the day was not a good thing, but is now a good thing these days.
HER2+ means that the cancer makes too much of a protein called HER2. Too much of this protein can cause normal cells to receive too many growth signals, which can turn a normal cell into a cancer cell and can change the way it responds to treatment.
This means I will need what they call a targeted therapy also. The therapy I will be receiving is a drug called Trastuzumab (Herceptin) – a slow intravenous (I.V) infusion given once a week or every three weeks for one year after chemo & radiotherapy. It works by stopping HER2+ cancer cells from growing and dividing and is affected by 1 in 5 patients. It lowers the risk of breast cancer coming back (in the breast and other parts of the body) and increases survival for women with HER2+ early breast cancer.
Getting back to the clinical trial.. The main purpose of the study will help determine if adding Bevacizumab to treatment with chemotherapy and trastuzumab will help women with HER2+ breast cancer live longer.
Also to learn how the combination of drugs used in the study will affect the heart (which can be part of the side effects).
The drug has been created to make the chances of the cancer returning be less than 50%. So I am willing to do the trial and see how it goes. It cannot do any bad to to me as I will be getting all the other standard treatment as well, and if it effects my heart – which will be monitored every hospital visit – they will take me off the drug.
So, I have signed the papers for all my results to be send to America to be reviewed. They are after people who are fit and healthy so I am sure I will fit in to what they are after.
My study therapy will involve…
*Carboplatin Every 3 weeks, for 6 cycles
And as mentioned above, Trastuzumab & Bevacizumab every 3 weeks until 1 year after the first dose.
This probably all sounds so confusing but I understand it all. There will be lots of other things I will need to take like anti-nausea during the weeks I have chemo.
Radiotherapy will be after chemo finishes, everyday for 5 weeks.
I will also be given the opportunity to have a blood test for genetics. This will show me if I am positive for… something bad.. I can’t actually remember this bit. But it could mean the other breast to be affected by cancer and my ovaries. Also to find out if I am the start of a cancer generation for the future If I am able to have children.
There are soooo many crazy side effects that come with ALL of these drugs as you can imagine but everyone is different. So.. I am just still keeping a smile and being positive and strong. I have no choice and its what I have to do!