Monday, November 30, 2009

Hip Hip Her2-Ray

Just when you think you've got a plan, everything changes.

We learned today that my cancer is Her2 positive. We had been waiting for a pathology culture that tested for this and it came back today.

At first glance, this might seem unfortunate. Her2 positive cancer is very aggressive and historically has a poor prognosis. The Her 2 receptors, as I understand it, cause the cells to divide rapidly and get out of control quite easily.

However, Dr. Chang (my surgeon) declared that this was "outstanding" news because it means that an aggressive treatment option, previously unavailable to me, is now open. In her experience, treatment with Herceptin (a relatively new drug for Her2 positive cancers) gives us a chance not just to halt the growth of the cancer as the hormone therapy might, but to possibly shrink it back. In particular, it has a unique chance of getting rid of Her2 positive cancer cells that have spread outside of the original tumor (in my case, liver and bone). Other therapies cannot do this. Dr, Chang had told me last week that she was hopeful we would get a positive result, and was nothing short of delighted when she called to deliver the news that we had indeed achieved this.

I have yet to discuss what this means to me practically with my oncologist. However, within an hour of receiving these results his office called to set up an appointment, so clearly he intends to move quickly with an alteration to my therapy. I see him on Wednesday.

Herceptin is most often given in conjunction with chemotherapy. So, just when I thought I'd have three months of not-too-bad, I am now likely faced with "here we go". But you know, I'm ready for this. I want to really feel like I am hurting the cancer and so far I have not felt much of anything.

So, bring on the baldness, the vomit, the fatigue. I am stronger than you, cancer, and we are going to bring you down!


Briana Schalow said...

Watch out, cancer! Suzanne and her prayer warriors are out to get you!!

antonia said...

It is indeed "good" news that you are eligible for Herceptin. It can be a bit of a wonderdrug.
I am praying an Advent novena for you.

Janet said...

Been there (with agressive chemo), done that. Make sure you're not shy about asking for drugs (particularly anti-nausea ones). Being miserable when you don't have to be is not going to help anyone. If one drug's not working real well, speak up immediately - they have others.

Best wishes through all of this!

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne,
Please count us among your prayer warriors! You are constantly in our prayers and thoughts. We will be storming heaven with prayers to the Lord for that miracle, and asking the Blessed Mother to cover you and Jay, your kids and all the health care workers involved in your treatment with her mantle.
Love and Hugs,
Toni & Jerry Padgett

Annie Bizzi said...

I love hearing your faith for the fight! We are all behind you-every step of the way!

On another, very precious note, Happy Birthday Natalie!

annalisa said...

Hi Suzanne,

I've been thinking about you non stop. I'm alerting my Santa Barbara "peeps".
It took Max almost 24 hrs. to get back to school in Dallas after being bumped from his original flight. He was exasperated but offering it up for you.
How youthfully naive for him to say that it was the worst day of his life. "Nope!"
I'm so glad you got some good news about this new drug therapy.
In the meantime, a novena for as long as it takes...

Ladybug Mommy Maria said...


You can count on our prayers!

Kerry said...

still praying for you each day!

Anonymous said...

You are going to kick this right where it sits down. Don't ever think you're not 'doing something' about it, because every prayer is causing the enemy to weaken it's hold in you as certainly as our God is watching over you.


nutmeg said...

Suzanne, it's been ages since I've clicked on over... and I'm so glad I did.
Adding you to my intentions for my Christmas novena!
God bless you and your beautiful family (esp that sweet baby girl!)

karen said...

You are in my prayers. May St. Peregrine be with you! God bless you and your family.

Allaire said...

Lots of love and even more
strength to you my dear, precious
one. A

jen said...

Let's kick some *** here!

Love and XO
Jen, Larry and Audrey

Anonymous said...

Hi Suzanne. Finally figured out how to post a comment. Suzanne - thank you so much for including all of us in this experience so we can support you with prayer and love. You, Jay and the children are in our thoughts and prayers constantly! The "prayer warriors" comment is so apt! Let us know how we can help. We love you! Linda and Larry