It wasn’t the worst news we could have gotten, but it certainly wasn’t the best. The Femara did not work and there has been progression of the cancer in my bones and lymphatic system. The liver is still stable, which is good because that’s the scariest part of metastatic cancer.
What this means is that the hormonal drugs don’t work for me. Tamoxifen failed and now Femara, so we’re done with that class of drugs. It’s a bummer because they have fewer side effects than chemotherapy drugs.
So, we move forward. I’ll continue on Herceptin and Zometa every three weeks, which I’ve been doing since the diagnosis. For those drugs, I visit the SCCA and get them through the port. I will still get my oophorectomy in two weeks, since it is still a good idea to get as much estrogen out of my system as we can. Right now I start one new drug, Tykerb, which is a pill I can take at home and works like Herceptin. Trials have recently shown that Tykerb and Herceptin both together get good results. Two weeks after surgery I’ll start Xeloda, which is a chemo drug. It’s one I can take at home, though, so it won’t require an infusion. I’ll take five pills every morning and five every evening for two weeks, then take a week break, then back on for two weeks. We’ll scan again after I’ve been doing that for 2 months to be sure it’s working.
What is the most disappointing about all of this is that it means I will now be on chemo of one kind or another forever. So the next two weeks before surgery is probably the last time I’ll be able to live without the side effects of chemo. That is a major bummer and still kind of hard to wrap my head around.
The chemo nurse today was NOT my favorite. Besides giving me a bruise at my port site, she said the one dreaded awful thing that no one should say: “They have such great drugs now, Stage IV breast cancer is just like having diabetes or something.” BULLSHIT, LADY. I so wanted to throw something at her. Diabetics feel better when they get their medication. Diabetics can live a normal life span. Diabetics can get married and have kids and have careers and all that “normal” stuff. Incurable cancer is not anything like diabetes.
When I told my support group today about the nurse’s comment, they all groaned. “I hate it when people say that! They have no idea!” And that’s right, they have no idea. And I suppose I should be glad for them, I should be happy for those people that are so stupid about cancer because they don’t have cancer. If you don’t know anything about cancer treatments, good for you– you’re lucky. But still, I would expect better from a chemo nurse.
I’m going to take my Ativan today and nap with my Penelope. And then tomorrow I’ll get up and keep planning for my big blow-out birthday party. I’ll keep focusing on the good stuff that’s happening and all of the summertime fun.