Happy and concerned. This is how I have been feeling the past week, after meeting with my oncologist to discuss scan results.
The results of my scans were mixed. Bones look stable, which is wonderful, but my liver, is misbehaving. The lesions that have been on the liver, are shrinking, which is great news, but I have developed new lesions. Hmmmm….what is going on now?
My oncologist has two school of thoughts about the mixed scan results concerning the liver, and what might be taking place. The first is the cancer has outsmarted the Taxol, and has stopped working. This happens frequently with many drugs that are given to cancer patients. The second, and this is where we are concerned, the breast cancer has gone from being hormone receptive positive (ER+ PR+), to triple-negative. Hormone receptive positive breast cancer means that the cancer cells receive signals from estrogen and progesterone receptors, to promote their growth. Triple-negative breast cancer refers to breast cancer that does not express the genes for estrogen and progesterone receptors, or HER2. HER2 positive breast cancer tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 , which promotes the growth of cancer cells. These cells have have a gene mutation that makes an excess of the HER2 protein. Because triple-negative cancer cells lack these protein receptors in hormone receptive and Her2 positive cancers, common treatments like hormone therapy and targeted therapies, are ineffective.
Due to the scan results, and the miserable side effects, Dr. M has taken me off Taxol. Bye, bye Taxol. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! My side effects should subside…no red hot rash on my face, and other parts of my body, no nails falling off, no leaky eyes, no gastrointestinal problems, no neupogen shots and no weekly visits to Dana Farber! Feeling happy.
I have been put on two new drugs. The first is a type of oral chemo called Palbociclib, also known as Ibrance, and a hormonal therapy called Letrozole, also known as Femarra. Although each drug has it’s own side effects, they will be more gentle than Taxol. Yippee! Dr. M has a team of nurses looking into clinical trials as well for me to participate in.
I will be scanned in two months time. If the scans show no improvement, I will get another liver biopsy done to determine if the cancer has switched teams from being hormone receptive, to triple-negative. I am feeling calm about this matter.
Switching to more desirable news, I booked our Las Vegas vacation for Michaela and I. I am so excited to show her the sights and sounds that can only be found in Vegas. Mark and I are currently working on airfare and hotels for Max’s college trip to San Fransisco and Los Angeles. He plans to check out six schools. How exciting……but so far away!
I am bummed we are not getting the blizzard the meteorologists were thinking we might get in Massachusetts. It sure is cold though. If you are getting this major storm, please be safe.
Below is a photo of a whimsical mermaid I purchased last summer in Key West. Ah, Key West, so beautiful and WARM. She hangs out on my screened in deck, swaying gently back and forth, during a windy day.