Saw my Oncologist this afternoon and I’m ready to start Chemo on October 3. It will take 20 weeks in total.
The good news is that the PET scan detected no spread of the cancer. That, taken together with the pathology report from the mastectomy means that it is highly likely that I am, at present, free of cancer.
So why have chemo? Triple-negative breast cancer has a much higher rate of recurrence than other breast cancer. It also has a high rate of redevelopment later as bone or liver cancer. A recurrence is likely to be incurable. Given the size of the tumor that was removed, my Oncologist strongly encourages chemo. . This is my second bout with cancer so I’m not going to press my luck any further.
Chemo will keep me busy going back and forth for infusions and blood tests. I’m going to need a DayTimer again!
I had an infusion port implanted when the mastectomy surgery was done. I have a Bard Power Port http://www.bardaccess.com/port-powerport.php
There will be two stages.
(Go to www.chemocare.com if you want to know more about the drugs mentioned here.)
Beginning on the 3rd, and every other Thursday for 4 cycles (8 weeks) I’ll receive an infusion of Adriamycin and Cyclophosphamide, two cancer fighting drugs. The next day I go back for another infusion that’s mostly just for hydration, but will also include Neulasta to help stimulate growth of white blood cells. In the non-infusion weeks, I go in for blood tests.
After that, there will be 12 weeks of weekly infusions with Taxol.
And they all have side effects.
- I’ll lose my hair
- Possibly have nausea or vomiting
- Be fatigued
- Possibly be constipated
- Possibly have diarrhea
- Possibly have both diarrhea and constipation. One woman on a cancer forum I frequent said that she’d found herself having both.
Oh well, the sooner it starts, the sooner it ends. I’m eagerly looking forward to March, 2014.