Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Christie is going to be fine

I started my journey with breast cancer November 1st, 2012. My sister Carol was diagnosed last November and will finish with chemotherapy December 14th, 2012. 

The following post was written by Carol on her blog, Living In The Moment.

It's All About Christie

Ok, now to collect all my thoughts and my notes.  (I'm a horrible note-taker)

Christie is going to be fine

She has a tough road ahead, but she is also a tough cookie, just like her sister.

They are waiting for the HER2/neu test results (hopefully before the week is out). This will identify which type of treatments will be needed. HER2/neu protein is found on some types of cancer cells. This test shows whether the tissue either has too much HER2/neu protein or too many copies of its gene. If the breast tumor has too much HER2/neu, then targeted therapy may be a treatment option. This can include chemotherapy with drugs thru a vein or by tablet form. (My Herceptin is targeted therapy.)  We know the hormone receptor test is positive.

We will know the full name once all the tests have come in and which cocktails she will be taking.
Clues about the nature of a tumor come from how abnormal its cells look and what percentage of them is dividing. These and other factors are summed up as a grade of 1, 2 or 3. The higher the grade, the more aggressive the tumor. Cancers are also classified by stage -- a measure of how extensive the disease is. The system often used is called TNM, for Tumor (size), Nodes (cancer present or not) and Metastasis (cancer spread to distant organs). A number is assigned to each category. Once the TNM categories are determined, this info is combined with the grade to create an overall stage, from 0 for noninvasive to IV for the most invasive.

T = (tumor size) = 2
N = Nodes (cancer present or not) = 1
M = Metastasis (cancer spread to distant organs) = 0
Stage 2 B
Part of the waiting we had to endure was getting clarification on lesions that were found on her spine and on her liver.  Doc said the spine was clear! The liver was inconclusive and she feels that it will prove clear as well.  First, another scan to be sure. Double-check the stomach area as well.
Red blood count was good
Cyst on the spleen
Chemo Class
MRI - stomach and liver
Implant port
Plan - chemo first, see how much the tumor shrinks to be able to determine if surgery will be lumpectomy or mastectomy. From this, the type of surgery will determine if radiation will be part of the treatment.
Today, they gave her a flu shot and pneumonia shot.  She met the social worker, Denise, who helps coordinate insurance, billing, and find resources such as nutritionists, etc. She received her scripts for the nauseous meds, handicap sign, wig, and work orders (above).
When things "settle down" a bit, both of us have to get Oncotype DX test.