Sometimes being positive is not enough. My family, friends and I had high hopes that the medication I was receiving in the Phase 1 Clinical Trial would help stop the the progression of my bone and liver mets. Unfortunately, it did not.
After being on the same medication for a year, my bone and liver mets remained stable. Then, in January of this year, my scans showed four new lesions on my liver. We were all thrilled when there was an opening in a clinical trial that I was able to participate in. There was HOPE. Hope that these experimental drugs would work.
I went through two cycles on this trial, one cycle per month, or two months time. After the two cycles, it was time to have scans. Scans consisted of chest, abdomen, and pelvic CT scans, and a bone scan. I had the scans last Tuesday. The two days between scans and results can feel like an eternity, because so much hinges on those results.
Mark and I met with Dr. T, who is the oncologist for the clinical trial, on Thursday. After exchanging pleasantries, we received the upsetting news. The liver has new lesions and the current lesions have grown in size. It wasn’t all bad news though, the bone mets are stable, even slightly better.
Dr. T. and the nurse were a bit taken aback by the results. Why did the bone mets improve, but the liver mets got worse? An oncotype test and a test on my liver tissue will be done to determine if a gene mutation is going a different pathway in regards to the liver versus the bone. Basically, are the liver and bone mets acting differently? This test will indicate if a gene is using a different pathway and will help to determine which drugs will work best to halt the progression.
Now, off of the clinical trial, I’m taking an oral chemotherapy called Xeloda. I take three pills in the morning and three pills in the evening. I was given two other chemotherapy options, but I chose Xeloda because it comes in pill form, requires fewer trips into Boston, and I will not lose all of my hair, but it does come with some of the unpleasant side effects that all chemotherapies do. The team at Dana Farber was great in explaining the options.
Getting this latest news made me sad and frustrated. Reality sunk in. What if all the choices of medication left for me to try do not work? What if the cancer keeps progressing? I am not ready to give up and die. I am not ready to say goodbye to my family and friends. Not yet!
Okay, I had my moment, time to move forward.
I will remain on this new chemo drug for the next three weeks (and HOPEfully longer), then I’ll meet with Dr. M. Dr. M. was my original oncologist when I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, and who will treat me again now that I’m off of the clinical trial. I know I’m in the best hands possible, and together we’ll decide on the next steps.