Sunday, 20 January 2013

A Very New Treatment Approach

This past week, I got the results of my latest CT scan. The tumours were stable, which I guess is good considering I hadn't had a lot of chemo through the fall. I had expected to restart chemo on Friday, but as we talked, the doctor decided to present a different option.

Since my tumours were stable and I'd been on chemo (Taxol) for over a year, she felt it was time for a break. She proposed continuing Heceptin and Pamidronate but stopping Taxol and starting Tamoxifen. The break would allow my bone marrow heal from the ravages of chemo and bone mets. My whole body would get a break from the toxicity of chemo, though I had tolerated it better than I had ever expected.

I started taking the Tamoxifen tablet with supper. So far, so good. Possible side-effected include hot flashes. That wouldn't be terrible, considering I have been pretty chilly since treatment began. But so far, nothing.

There are two matters yet to be confirmed about my new treatment plan. First, I don't know how often I will be going for the Herceptin and Pamidronate infusions. We thought the doctor said once every six or eight weeks, but on Friday we got much more frequent treatment dates. My treatment nurse reminded me that usually Herceptin is given ever three or four weeks. I'll call my designated nurse Monday to confirm my treatment timing. Second, I've been invited to join the Odyssey trial. It is a double blind trial in which I would either get Pamidronate or a similar drug called Zometa. The trial would require additional tests as well as interviews. I usually jump at a chance to participate in a trial, but I'm not sure I want to commit to the extra time when I'm supposed to be on a "break".

The doctor said I should look at this change as something to celebrate. Doctors like stability. I like shrinkage. I guess I expected the tumours to continue shrinking -- I was feeling really positive about the CT scan. I guess a year on chemo is enough. Don't be fooled, my friends, there's still a lot of chemo in my future.

For now, I'll be counting on Tamoxifen and Herceptin to keep the tumours from growing.

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