Aardvark Art Glass

The rest of the story
September 29, 2010, 12:50 pm
Filed under: Bloggidy Blog

So I have breast cancer now. I was diagnosed in early August, after my first mammogram, mind you, and have been going through a ridiculously complicated work-up since then. I’m not a doctor but I think it was kind of disproportionate to the actual amount of matter about which we were supposed to be worried. But you can never be too careful. I had about an inch of DCIS (cancer in the milk ducts) and a tiny invasive tumor (cancer outside the milk ducts) which was HER2 positive,  a more aggressive type of tumor. Two locations, one boob. I had lymph nodes removed that were negative. I’ve had two surgeries on my right hooter which weren’t that bad even though they removed the cubic equivalent of about two Snickers bars worth of breast tissue. Full size, not Fun Size. My boob looks fine now but I guess it’s supposed to deflate some. All in all, surprisingly good surgery results.

So, listen up girls because this is important-You think that as long as cancer isn’t in your nodes you’re going to get by without chemo. At least I did. But, if you have an HER2 positive invasive tumor that is only 1cm in size, it is a lock that you should receive chemotherapy treatment. Mine was only 6mm so I was in a gray area. But the oncologists pitched chemo as being something that ranged from being something reasonable to do to being something I should do. I did not know this about breast cancer but, if you have anything invasive (meaning it has gotten outside your milk ducts and into your breast tissue), it is assumed that there are cancer cells running around in your body even after they remove the tumor and the area around it. So cancer cells can eventually spread to your organs even if they don’t find them in your nodes. And that’s why they give you chemo.

All of this jumping on the chemotherapy bandwagon for small HER2 tumors is because of a new-ish drug called Herceptin, which targets HER2 cells and leaves a lot of other ones alone. Oncologists fucking love Herceptin. They just think it’s great. Problem is, due to a lack of studies on the effectiveness of taking it alone, they won’t administer the drug by itself- you have to take it with chemo, which targets all your fast-growing cells and makes you feel like shit. But the chemo/ Herceptin cocktail supposed to decrease the chances of recurrence by quite a bit, and you know how I loves me the cocktails. So that’s what I’m going to do.

Fun fact about Herceptin: I was educating myself about it, reading the side-effects and whatever, (By the way, I don’t recommend you do this because they’re scary) when I found out that you should not take Herceptin if you had a sensitivity to  medicines containing Chinese Hamster ovary protein. Provocative secret ingredient! Check your medicine cabinet! There’s really valid reasons for using Chinese Hamster ovary cells in research and medicine. Not sure how they figured that one out. I’m not going to get into the applications because they’re complicated and I don’t fully understand them. I just have a vision of me laying in bed with a bunch of female Chinese Hamsters applied to my body topically, somehow absorbing those growth factor negative cells they make. That’s not how they use the hamsters in real life. It’s one of those things that won’t work but it might help.

So ANYWAYS. I just thought I’d keep you apprised of the situation. I’m not crazy about telling people about it because it results in talking about it and that can really take up time. Also, I’m fine. I’m up and eating lots of food and making tumor beads and interacting with T-Bone, who is awesome. I’m not starting treatment for a few weeks. Next I have to get a drug port put in my chest area. That seems very Borg and/or Matrix like to me. Don wants to see if it will charge his phone. That would be handy.