Scan results are in – they show a marked improvement in my bone lesions, with the exception of some slight uptake in my iliac area (hip). Overall – great news! In fact, the cancer in my T3 on my spine is considered “resolved” at this point. We are sticking with the A/A treatment. I can’t begin to express my gratitude for all the support, prayers and positive ju-ju sent my way!!
Lesley Glenn, fellow LBBC Hear My Voice Outteach Volunteer, is doing a fantastic job of getting our stories heard in her blog – voicesofmbc. I was proud to be a participant!
I am so excited for you all to read Jean’s story. I love her down to earth conversation in this interview, and I felt like I was sitting across from her at a table having coffee, listening, sharing and learning all about how she thrives with metastatic breast cancer. Jean is also a fellow member of the “Hear My Voice Outreach Volunteer team” with Living Beyond Breast Cancer. I hope you find hope and strength in her journey.
Can you share with our readers what your life was like before you were diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and how you got to the stage IV diagnosis?
Like most busy working mothers, my life was filled with various responsibilities – work, taking care of my family and home, spending time with my husband, running my kids to various school and sporting activities, enjoying friends, etc. Because I was busy…
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Well, it’s been just over six months on the A/A (Aromasin/Afinitor combo) and what a roller coaster ride. Seems I go about 4 weeks and then the numbers showing liver dysfunction (as a side effect of the Afinitor) go up again, causing the clinical research nurse to pull the med from me. Wait a week (or two, or three) and once the liver numbers normalize, back on the med at a lower dose. If I wasn’t in the trial and having to adhere to their strict protocols, my Onc wouldn’t blink an eye about the liver numbers.
Then, in May, throw in some fun times with breathing issues – all as a result of a residual side effect from my radiation six months ago (radiation pneumonitis). Thank God for steroids or that would have done me in! Nothing like having your pulse/ox at 85 when it should be at 95-100. But that also meant a whole month off Afinitor.
And now here we are – still trying to figure out if this treatment is even working! Tumor markers continue to rise on a slow, but upward path, but I also feel pretty good. Lots of joint pain, but that’s a side effect of the other drug (Aromasin). Energy is pretty good and overall, I feel fairly well most days.
So, only one thing to do… it’s time to visit the Grand Poobah of cancer status… the PET scan.
People with Stage IV Metastic Breast Cancer can tell you all about scanxiety. It’s the time just before you go in for the scan and just after while you await the results. For many, they find themselves thinking, “Is my cancer worse, is it better, is it the same? Will this mean a change in my treatment, bringing on new side effects, maladies, malaise, and overall fatigue to endure… now that I’ve figured out dealing with my current side effects?” For me, it’s the thought of real chemo… not just taking a daily hormone inhibitor, but the scary stuff. The kind that makes you bedridden and bald. And the thought that another treatment option has failed, checking off one more life-lengthening possibility on my list. Scanxiety is like watching in slow motion as some amateur magician attempts that crazy trick with the table cloth and the china/glassware. Will it all go flying across the room, or simply shiver for a few seconds before coming to a quiet stillness again? Like all things in life, we never know what’s in store for us….
Stay tuned…PET Scan is scheduled for this Friday. Cross your fingers for me! If the A/A has been working, I may have to opt out of the trial and just get the meds anyway. If my scan shows signs of progression – we’ll start a new adventure!