Yesterday was an overwhelming day. I did my egg retrieval in the morning then in the afternoon I met with my oncologist to set up my treatment plan.
My chemotherapy is going forward as planned and I get my first treatment on October 15. My first 4 treatments are AC: Adriamycin and Cytoxan. This stuff is no joke. Adriamycin is usually used in conjunction with another drug and is used to reduce the risk of recurrence of cancer in early stage breast cancer (my situation), to shrink a large tumor before surgery or treat an advanced stage breast cancer. Side effects include hair loss, nausea, vomiting and mouth sores, to name a few. Cytoxan is a drug that weakens or destroys breast cancer cells by damaging the cells’ genetic material. It can be taken as a pill or intravenously (which is what I’ll be getting, I believe). Side effects include, low white blood cell count, loss of appetite, nausea, sores in mouth and irregular periods, to name a few.
My second round of 4 treatments will be Taxol. This drug is given to reduce the risk of early stage breast cancer from coming back or when advanced stage breast cancer stops responding to certain standard chemotherapy regimens. Side effects include neuropathy, vomiting and weakness to name a few.
All of my side effects will be closely monitored by my doctors but they are what they are. I’m in for a tough 16 weeks (1 treatment every 2 weeks) and I’m very, very scared. Just like the countdown to my mastectomy, it’s time to start my next countdown to chemotherapy.
I still don’t know for sure about radiation but my oncologist is referring me to a radiation oncologist. I didn’t know that I needed a separate doctor for this but I guess one doctor specializes in chemotherapy and the other in radiation. I think it’s likely that radiation will be recommended so I’m preparing myself for this. Radiation will be administered after chemotherapy is complete and will be for 5-7 weeks, 5 days a week. It has side effects but mostly it is very, very inconvenient. i’m hoping it can be avoided.
According to my pathology report, I am still HER2 negative. I have been graded at a 1+. But my oncologist said that while I’m considered negative at this score and therefore do not get Herceptin, there is a clinical trial happening right now where 1+ is considered “HER2 low” rather than “negative.” The hypothesis is that women with this score might benefit from Herceptin in conjunction with chemotherapy treatment. I’ll talk more on this soon but am strongly considering being a participant in this study. But as of now, I do not qualify for Herceptin treatment by current medical standards and therefore would not be paid for by insurance.
This is a lot to swallow. I know. You should have seen me yesterday. I was a mess. I real mess. I’m still not fully recovered.
On a positive note, I got a call from the fertility clinic today and out of the 10 eggs they retrieved yesterday, 6 were mature enough for freezing. My doctor said that she predicted that we would get 4-6 eggs so we ended up on the greater side of the prediction. A bit of good news. I’ll take it where I can get it.
Just for fun, Ken and I were naming our eggs for future use. What are they? I’m not telling, but I’ll take some suggestions. Name my eggs!!!!!!!!
*All links were taken from breastcancer.org, a site that I find gives current and neutral information in language that is easy to comprehend.*