The Medical Story as it Stands Now

We don’t know everything, but we do finally have a little idea of what we know.


Okay, yes, we know it’s cancer.

So, what about the cancer? (Seems there are lots of different varieties–there’s not just one Breast Cancer.)

Well, it’s negative for hormone receptors, so won’t respond to hormone therapy.

Now, for this new “Cure for Cancer” (Herceptin) that’s been in the news to help, my cancer would have to be positive for HER2. Only about 20% of breast cancers are positive for HER2. The sample they have from me isn’t, but the sample is very small, since either

  • it came from a needle biopsy (when I’m feeling negative), or
  • I just don’t have many of the invasive (bad) cells (when I’m feeling positive)

So, we need a bigger biopsy. If it’s positive for HER2, we’ll do Herceptin for 6 month before surgery. Otherwise it’ll be 4 months of some other chemotherapy drugs. (Yeah, I have the names written down, well, Charlie has the names written down. I figure I’ll get to know them plenty well in time so am not trying to memorize anything.)

Yeah, they’ll lead to hair loss. I have hat patterns and turban patterns and knit patterns, but if I have to do the pink thing,
why not this?.

(Ugh, it’s Race for the Cure day in Macon today, which might be a good thing, although there are issues. But a very pink group sat next to us at lunch and I still am not warming up to pink.)

Anyway, back to the medical dreariness.

So, since I will need chemo, they’re putting a port catheter under the skin near the lump to get the chemo there directly.

And, to ensure this hasn’t left the breast, they’ll be checking for lymph involvement. It’s gotten to be very sophisticated, compared to when they just hacked a bunch of lymph nodes out of my mother 28 years ago. They inject a tracer near the lump and see which lymph nodes get it. Those are also the ones most likely to get the cancer if it spread, so those are the only ones they’ll biopsy.

All this is during one surgery Monday morning (October 24).

Then, when we get the HER2 results, hopefully sometime next week, we decide on chemo and get started.

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1 Comment »

  1. Esmail said

    > Yeah, they’ll lead to hair loss. I have hat patterns and turban patterns and knit patterns, but
    > if I have to do the pink thing, why not this?.

    Hmm .. well .. it would raise some eyebrows 🙂 .. but then again .. why would that be so
    surprising coming from you 🙂 .. and I recall a red hard hat (a RedHat?) in your office
    that would do in a pinch too I suppose.

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