(photo with changes via software)
A group to which I subscribe is conducting a roll call of members. We all submit our history since we joined the Stage 4 Cancer Club, a possibly daunting task for some who have undergone several lines of therapy. I am in awe at some of the stories that humble me and also give me hope that some of us can last longer than the predicted three to five years with this advanced state of breast cancer.
When I submitted my roll call, I left blank the treatment because I was a bit overwhelmed for a variety of reasons. I thought I would write and post it here for those who ask me frequently about my own treatment history. I will catch up with my group shortly.
I was 57 when diagnosed with mets after having originally having been diagnosed with my primary breast cancer when I was 53 and premenopausal. I am a young and wishing-I-were-healthier 61 now.
After the surgery on 01/30/09 radiation tried to reduce the remaining tumor in the spine as much as possible, followed by almost a year of chemo that included Abraxane® (protein-bound paclitaxel) and carboplatin (Paraplatin®), followed by Taxol® (paclitaxel) and Avastin® (bevacizumab). Discontinued carboplatin after a presumed allergic reaction and then Avastin after my blood pressure shot up to over 200/100. I stayed on Taxol alone until time for a change to something less toxic. Started Faslodex® (fulvestrant), which gave me almost two years of stability until 12/11 when my markers all indicated spread, confirmed by scans, CT and MRI. No PET scans at that time because my blood glucose was too high.
Also, I have had some kidney damage from the Zometa® (zoledronic acid), which was replaced by Xgeva® (denosumab) in 11/11 when the FDA approved it for use in advanced BC. I started exemestane (Aromasin®), but it showed no success in slowing down the current progression.
My oncologist then switched me to chemo, Xeloda® (capecitabine), which I started in late 04/12 with a one-week-on and one–week-off regimen, which she said, despite the evidence based medicine results, most patients seem to do better per reviews from Memorial-Sloan Kettering and UC Irvine, my oncologist’s home base. I have had several fractures in the ribs and vertebrae. One fracture to the T1 caused the disk at C6-C7 to protrude into the spinal cord, requiring immediate surgery. Surgery succeeded but not before some damage that resulted in shaking hands that make it hard for me to write and do calligraphy, two mainstays of coping for me.
I am currently undergoing OT and PT to try to restore healthy movement to the hands, arms and shoulder area. Thank goodness my gross hand movements are less affected, so I can type on the computer. I drop items rather frequently, however, and have to be extra vigilant to avoid breaking more dishes and glasses.
I hope I got it all right this time with the drugs spelled correctly. All those -platins and -umabs and -whatevers. Too tired now to edit more, so I will catch what I will tomorrow when I reread it all. Sweet early dreams.
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