Stupid, stupid cancer

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.

11 thoughts on “Stupid, stupid cancer”

  1. Good for you Karen. Take a break this evening and we’ll regroup tomorrow. So glad you have your party to look forward to this week-end. I’m very proud of how well you handled bad news. I agree about the chemo nurse…so glad you don’t have her every week. Where is fabulous nurse Maggie when we need her.

  2. Karen – I am sorry that it wasn’t the news that you were expecting 😦 I do hope that your party this weekend helps you take your mind off things for a bit!

  3. Oh Karen, that news isn’t what we all wanted to hear. I so agree about the nurse, she has no clue and it sounds so insensitive, maybe she is new to to the job???? Anyway, we hope you have a wonderful party and that you feel good for it.

  4. Karen that sucks. I am so sorry you have to be on more chemo drugs. I am glad you had your support group today to vent about the news & the nurse’s comment. Hope you are relaxing tonight. Milt and I are looking forward to seeing you on Saturday!

  5. What a bummer…….but so impressed by your attitude and strength.

    You have your birthday this weekend and a relaxing time to look forward to at Whidbey.

    You’re in our thoughts and prayers.

    Effie & Bob

  6. Crap! Sorry that you didn’t get better news. Hope the support group helped.
    Now you have your party to look forward to. I am sending good energy right

    We adore you, Aunt Sue and Uncle Gary

  7. I’m so sorry to hear, Karen! I can’t wait to celebrate YOU this weekend and raise some mai-tais to all the victories you *have* won. Your optimism and attitude are an inspiration to us all.

  8. Cancer is always stupid and nurses are occasionally stupid, but you are always smart, honest, direct, and amazing. By the way, I really enjoyed Glenn Rockowitz’s article…he writes like a male version of you!

    I’ll be thinking of you on Saturday – have a wonderful party and enjoy your Mai Tai!

  9. Karen, I am a friend of your parents whom I met in Scottsdale, and I have been praying for you. I hope your birthday party is the BEST!, and hope many are reading your blog., which is so encouraging to many I am sure. You are one BRAVE, COURAGEOUS, AND LOVING WOMAN!!! I hope I get the pleasure of meeting you one day!

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