Yesterday was my busy day of cancer ass kicking. It started at the Boston Dana-Farber at 6:30 am for blood work, followed by a visit with my oncologist and then my Herceptin infusion. It was like old times, my handsome chemo buddy accompanied me and took good care of me as usual. In the afternoon I had radiation in Milford followed by a visit with my radiation oncologist. I guess the ass kicking was successful as I was asleep by 10:30 last night and didn’t get up until 9:30 this morning!
The Herceptin infusion isn’t bad (only a half hour drip) and it is a targeted therapy, not a chemotheraphy, which means it attacks specific targeted cells, not all fast growing cells like the chemo. It’s my wonder drug – it blocks the HER2 proteins that make my type of cancer so aggressive. It is one of the biggest breakthrough drugs in recent years (only approved for early stage HER2 positive breast cancers in 2006) and it’s results are said to be “astounding”. So, every three weeks for the rest of the year I will continue to happily sit there and watch it drip into my hand, every last drop. And I mean every last drop, this wonder drug is expensive! The 3 week dose runs about $20,000, each time I go (thank god I work for such a great company with great benefits!)
Yesterday I also got my prescription for Tamoxifen, another wonder drug for my type of cancer. This one has been around for a while (approved for my type of cancer in 1990) and comes in pill form. It blocks the estrogen receptors that feed my type of breast cancer and as soon as I finish radiation I’ll take it everyday for 5 years.
Believe it or not, the 20 weeks of chemo I had to endure was all to get me ready for these wonder drugs to do their job. Triple-positive breast cancer certainly has a long, difficult treatment plan, but my oncologist said it’s her “favorite kind of cancer, because there are so many great drugs to treat it”. The science behind all of this fascinates my accountant-type brain and I am thankful for all those people who dedicate their lives to research, we certainly didn’t learn anything about this stuff at Bentley.
So, there we are then, another week of cancer fighting done and another week closer to getting back to my normal life! 🙂