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Jun 5, 2010 11:17AM
HI Everyone, This is actually my first public post as I have "lingered" for several months and have read many encouraging and informative posts. I am in this exact situation now. I was diagnosed Jan 11, 2010 with IDC, 6+ cm, stage 3a, Grade 2, ER-/ PR-, HER2+, with at least 2 lymph nodes involved(that is how I realized something was wrong). I am at a large hospital, not a major medical center, in the midwest. It was comforting to read, Cindy, your post. I have trusted my onc from the very first day. He was very upfront with us, looking back, hard to swallow at that overwhelming time, but I knew he had the experience behind him. He came from MD Anderson and has told me I am getting their regiment of treatment. That being said, I am getting neoadjuvant chemo which started 2 weeks after my diagnosis. I got 4 treatments once every three weeks of 5FU(twice a week), Adriamyacin and Cytoxan. They classified this as "the big guns" and said I couldn't have gotten anything stronger. I then had a 3 week recoup time, whereby they redid an MRI and Muga. My Mri showed major shrinkage, to the point of barely being seen on the MRI. My onc was absolutely delighted with the response I had to the 4 treatments. Especially being that I was only half way through chemo. I then started Taxol and Herceptin for 12 weeks. I have just completed my 7th treatment of that. I will end with Taxol on July 7 and continue Herceptin until next April. Was told that if the studies show that Herceptin is advantageous past a year, we will continue that. I will then have 4 weeks to recover and surgery will be the first week of August. I am committed to mastectomy and want that and will meet again with the breast surgeon on June 21st to get that ball rolling.
So, my understanding is that, yes they want to see how the tumors respond to the chemo and as my onc told me get the chemo "systemic". So that if there were any cells that have traveled to other parts of the body, we have had the 6 months of chemo to kill it. Also, to shrink the tumor before surgery. Though the systemic part was really the huge focus here. That really makes sense to me. Like others here, I just wanted this thing off of me, however being that the lymph nodes were already involved, it all made even more sense to get the chemo bodywide before surgery. Kind of like an insurance policy if you ask me. I don't care about the breast but certainly fear that the cancer has traveled to the liver, lung or brain and the neoadjuvant addresses this situation.
Cindy, I would most definitely talk to the onc first. This is your body and your life and you have to know you are doing everything possible to keep it. I myself, am so grateful that my medical team took me by the hand and made the aggressive decisions for me. I was not in a good situation in Jan as my sweet mother had passed away only 2 months before and so I was grieving heavily and relied on my medical team immensely. Thankfully after lingering, and reading many posts, it appears that they did/are doing all they can for my diagnosis. In your situation, If I had any questions and they were not addressed appropriately, I would be concerned about putting my treatment decisions in someone else's hands that couldn't give me the 10 minutes to answer my questions. You are doing the very best thing for yourself by educating yourself and asking questions. Keep your inquisitive attitude and aggressive attitude, it will certainly help you get through this situation!!!
1/13/2010, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 9/18 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+