I have received a lot of hilarious shade about the lasagna comment–hey it wasn’t me, it was Bridget. I love lasagna, just sayin.
Where were we? I told you my news and a little bit of history. Now onward we go……
This week was the big PET Scan to see if I had any more tumors. Yeah, that. It started off okay with a yucky chicken and egg dinner to prepare for it, followed by a phone call that my insurance did not approve it. I guess having an MRI, a CAT scan, several ultra-sounds and two biopsies in 3 weeks was too much for them. I was told to keep eating the chicken and eggs and bear the continuous question of which came first. Tuesday morning I realized I do not like eggs at 6:30 AM when they are not mixed with something besides water. Two more frantic phone calls from the doctor (actually I was frantic, him not so much). Finally, after round 3 of chicken and eggs I was cleared at noon for a 2:30 PET Scan. Did I mention hating eggs?
This was Bridget’s first opportunity to embark on the journey to hospital cancer world. In the past my husband went to every appointment, test, and procedure but we agreed the kids were adults and we could keep him on the bench for now. She did great! Only 5 hours round trip. Having cancer is very time-consuming. No kidding.
Now the crappy part. The cancer is not just contained to one tumor under my kidney and is also in my lymph nodes and liver. This means surgery is not a solution because it is spread out.
Good news: I am HER 2 negative and qualify for the chemo drug that was just approved: palbociclib along with letrozole— for postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative advanced breast cancer–that would be me! The doctor warned me about another potential insurance fight to get the drug which is $5000 a month and only available in a specialty pharmacy somewhere but he assured me he was up for the fight and hoped we could start treatment as early as next week. Three weeks on, one week off.
What are we hoping for? That the combination of those two drugs will cause the tumors to shrink. Second best scenario would be if the tumors stayed where they are now and didn’t progress/spread. Worst case would be the treatment fails and the cancer grows and spreads. So it’s shrink, freeze or grow!!! The goal is to be stable and well. The plan is to take the drugs for a few months and re-scan to see if it is working. Biggest side effect is low white blood counts which make me susceptible to fevers and infections, and very tired, with lots of blood work. Okay then.
Next Tuesday I have a renal scan and then a meeting with the urologist to see if he can fix the kidney that is not working by putting in a stent or something equally as magical. Honestly I would like to get the kidney stuff over with so that I can just concentrate on the cancer battle.
Meanwhile, all sarcasm aside, thank you for all the kind words, letters, e-mails, gifts and prayers. You have no idea how much it means to not feel alone and scared in the dark and to feel the connection with the universe. Kait, our beloved college student baby sitter back in the day, now lives in Australia and sent me a beautiful rose bush this week. She knows only too well what it was like 13 years ago when this all started and she took care of my babies when I was so very sick.
I am still up in the middle of the night but the cats warm fur and constant purring keep me calm (yes, I have several cats–no comment ) and I have watched the season finale of Downton Abbey twice.
Please know we love hearing from you and answering questions as best we can.
Barbara, Tim, Kelsey and Bridget