"People ask when my last chemo will be. The answer is probably never."
I went through a year of treatment in 2011 (chemo, lumpectomy, radiation) after being diagnosed in January with estrogen receptive breast cancer. All was good and I started on a daily pill (Femara, then Letrozole) to reduce all estrogen in me to starve any lingering cancer cancels and prevent return.
At 5 years we decided to continue the pill regime for another 5 years since I was tolerating it well. But at the same time, I came down with fatty necrosis in the left breast, where I had the lumpectomy. This is a kind of scarring and adhesions from the prior surgery. I was checked several times from April through December 2015, a few mammograms, a couple of ultrasounds, and a couple of biopsies; all showing no sign of cancer; even though there was this outward growth of blister-like bumpy areas on this breast. All thought to just be the fat necrosis, as it can appear this way.
Then, in late February, I had excruciating low back pain requiring an Emergency Department visit. We suspected a kidney stone, even though I had never experienced one before. After several hours there, labs, and then a scan; the ED doc came back with devastating news I never thought I would hear. First he was asking all these questions and I said, “you are starting to scare me, doc”. He replied with other words and finished it off with… “Several lesions on the liver consistent with metastasized breast cancer.” My husband and I were in shock and barely heard what he had to say. I was feeling fantastic, walking up to 4 miles on walks a few times a week, and just living life to the fullest. That changed in a heart beat.
[tr-shareit ]One day at a time, as we never know what tomorrow may bring.[/tr-shareit]
I have been on weekly chemotherapy infusions for 7.5 months now (March-October 2016); some of which had horrific side effects; but the one now, much easier to tolerate. I am on weekly Abraxane infusions at the moment, and Xeloda chemo pills every other week (1,000 mg am and 1,500 mg pm).
My next CT Scan is later this month, but the outward signs of the breast, and the one lymph node that was swollen under right arm all look good at the moment. So the hope is that the liver tumors (over a dozen at first LMBC diagnosis), are smaller.
I am hopeful. People ask when my last chemo will be. The answer is probably never. At least treatment will never end. I may get a break now and then when cancer is under control, but it is unlikely as cancer is a cunning devil and always seems to figure out a way to get around the latest treatment after 6 weeks or so of each drug. I am bald, appear to be losing my finger nails, and go through blood transfusions and Granix injections periodically when my red and/or white blood counts fall very low. I get tired, my finger tips and toes get tender and tingly; and this is my new life. But I am here, I am alive; and not feeling too bad at the moment. So I stay as positive as I can, enjoy family and friends time, and get out and about when I can. That is really all each one of us can do from day to day. It is one day at a time, as we never know what tomorrow may bring.