I couldn’t think of a snazzy title for this post. Sorry.
(Before I start- I just have to say AGAIN, I am overwhelmed with all the love from all over the world I have gotten in the last couple days. My phone, email, and Facebook have been blowing up. I still haven’t gotten back to everyone. I love you all so much!)
So on to cancer….another common question has been regarding what my treatment is going to be. I’ve already mentioned chemo and I think I also mentioned “targeted therapy” somewhere. So let’s start there.
Remember last time when I said I am HER2 positive- but that it isn’t a positive? Because it’s fast growing? Well I kinda lied. There IS a positive to HER2 positive breast cancer: they have developed a “targeted” therapy that is VERY good at killing this type of cancer. This is combined with chemotherapy to attack the cancer from all sorts of angles.
So what is HER2? It stands for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 and it is a type of gene within a cell which makes proteins that promote the growth of cancer cells. This quote from breastcancer.org explains it well:
“The HER2 gene makes HER2 proteins (also sometimes referred to as HER2/neu proteins). HER2 proteins are receptors on breast cells. Normally, HER2 receptors help control how a healthy breast cell grows, divides, and repairs itself. But in about 10% to 20% of breast cancers, the HER2 gene doesn’t work correctly and makes too many copies of itself (known as HER2 gene amplification). All these extra HER2 genes tell breast cells to make too many HER2 receptors (HER2 protein overexpression). This makes breast cells grow and divide in an uncontrolled way.
Breast cancers with HER2 gene amplification or HER2 protein overexpression are called HER2-positive in the pathology report. HER2-positive breast cancers tend to grow faster and are more likely to spread and come back compared to HER2-negative breast cancers. But there are medicines specifically for HER2-positive breast cancers.”
Basically the genes go f&$#@% crazy and grow fast and then start spreading around the body.
I also mentioned that I am hormone positive. This means that my tumor is fueled by hormones ALSO. Fun times. Estrogen +/Progesterone +/HER2+ = Triple Positive. Lucky ME! SO MANY POSITIVES!
ANYWAY. So treatment. Often the first treatment for breast cancer is surgery- but again with all my POSITIVES I need to start chemo & targeted therapy first to shrink Carl and his cronies down and halt any attempt of them moving out of the vicinity of my left breast and armpit.
The actual treatment protocol is called TCHP- which stands for the first letters of the cocktail they will infuse into my body to kill it all. The T and the C are chemo drugs and the H and the P are targeted therapies. All of these are infusions. The plan is 6 rounds of TCHP- once every 3 weeks. I will then need to continue the HP (I think both?) every 3 weeks to the year mark of when I start. The HP part should have little to no side effects so it will mostly be annoying t have to go sit in an infusion chair for a couple hours. (Or maybe, this will be time I actually get TO MYSELF?? Again POSITIVES PEOPLE).
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
About 4-6 weeks after I stop chemo- I will need surgery. It will likely be a mastectomy and they will also remove any confirmed and suspicious lymph nodes at that time as well.
THEN….I will have radiation as well most likely. That will be EVERY DAY (M-F) for 4-6 WEEKS. This is mostly because we know I have at least one positive node and likely 2 more per my CT.
Right now, I have a tentative start date next week- however as of today I have not gotten notification that my insurance has approved my treatments yet SO hopefully they get on that. I am ready to pick Carl’s ass. Also PJ’s ass.
Oh. Pj. That’s Carl’s asshole sidekick. He’s a dick too.