C h e c k l i s t

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          ☑ Chemotherapy
          ☑ Surgery
          ☑ Radiation
          Maintenance Therapy
                     ☑  Herceptin
                     ☐  Anti-Hormonal Treatment

January 22, 2015

Menopause schmenopause

I will be entering a drug induced menopause by taking Lupron shots in my butt every month for the next 5 1/2 years! This will suppress my ovaries. I will be adding an oral drug (Femara) which is in the class of an aromatase inhibitor!

This may seem okay and not as bad as having a recurrence, right? But this is going to screw up my life big time--- there is a reason why we need those hormones in our body. They help with our mental and physical health as well as our metabolism.

Just today I dropped off Sahil at a day camp. The lady there said he was gorgeous and I need to have more kids to populate this world with beautiful children. Long before this new turn in treatment, we decided that our family was complete. We were thinking of adopting or gestational carrier briefly.
So this statement by a harmless stranger didn't get me, but the irony of it struck me!

Not excited but going to do it. This all because of one study called SOFT Trial (http://www.ascopost.com/ViewNews.aspx?nid=20664). See the results below. A few percentage point of "potential" progression free survival makes me think it may be worth it after all. I will do anything for this gorgeous boy of mine. With pursed lips I squeak meekly "bring it on"!!!

"Significant Reduction in Risk
However, in the cohort that remained premenopausal after chemotherapy (average age, 40 years), ovarian suppression added to tamoxifen achieved a 22% reduction risk of recurrence vs tamoxifen alone. The combination of exemestane plus ovarian function suppression was even better, with a 35% risk reduction for recurrence vs tamoxifen alone. The 5-year event-free survival was 78% for tamoxifen alone, 82.5% for tamoxifen plus ovarian function suppression, and 85.7% for exemestane plus ovarian function suppression.
“In women under age 35, one in three women on tamoxifen alone—the standard of care—had further recurrence within 5 years compared with one in six for exemestane plus ovarian function suppression,” Dr. Francis stated.
Looking at the cohort of women who did not receive chemotherapy (average age, 46 years), they did well in all three study arms. Five-year event-free survival was 95.8% with tamoxifen alone, 95.1% with tamoxifen plus ovarian suppression, and 97.1% with exemestane plus ovarian suppression.
“In this older group of women who did not have chemotherapy, there is no reason to add ovarian suppression. The average age is 46 years, and some of these women will go into menopause soon,” Dr. Francis said.
The SOFT trial was supported by Pfizer, the IBCSG, and the National Cancer Institute, among others. Dr. Francis reported no potential conflicts of interest."

January 13, 2015

Five Years…

Five years since my diagnosis. Life has changed forever. I love this quote which sums up these 5 years: “Some days life is all about your dreams, hopes, and visions about future. But there are some days where life is just about putting one foot in front of the other. And that’s okay!”---By someone unknown who knows it.
I have also learnt that life does not have to be as planned or perfect to be wonderful or meaningful. You make it so by living each day.
I definitely went from feeling hopeless to hopeful in these 5 years. However, every time a friend gets diagnosed, or her disease progresses or she dies I just get numbed all over again. In my world this happens often. I had a friend who gave me so much hope when I was down, she told me there was a light at the end of the tunnel and sometimes it flickers but then there are times when it shines brightly. Today she shines brightly in the night sky. Why?
So all I want to say is I am humbled that I am at this 5 year mark with no evidence of disease (NED) --- so far progression free. I definitely would like to celebrate my life on this day and surround myself with my loves, but also I feel very fearful of this milestone as I know my time in this world is definite and I am not sure if I can make it to the next milestone in life. I love the quote “Be where your feet are” and I wish I could just be where my feet are today and not let my mind race ahead of my feet as it always does.
My mortality has been in my face since my diagnosis and I always think if I had to die this year then…
I think it would really really be hard for my boys and my mother and my brother and my sister and my nieces…But I will die knowing that I am loved and I leave behind a legacy and happy memories. I call that accomplishment in life. I will die knowing the life I created for myself in the 30 some years on earth and the mark I leave behind. I will die with the hope that I don’t fade away from my child’s memory completely and traces of me stay back in him just like traces of my father have stayed with me. I will die knowing that my eulogy will include words like kind and love and that is what is most important. I will die knowing Dinar will sometimes laugh and smile when he will think of all the crazy antics that I did to a somewhat square guy!
But today is not just about life or death. Today is about letting you all know that as of today “I am okay”. Thanks for caring so much and continuing to do so. It is about appreciating the amazing group of friends we have and that we feel surrounded by love. It is also about forgetting the gory details from treatment and surgeries and forgetting everything else that was worth forgetting.
It is about the field of medicine. The progress we have made and the questions that still remain unanswered. It is to all my doctors and nurses and caregivers. It is to the development of Herceptin (trastuzumab) the miracle drug for HER-2+ aggressive tumors.  It is to having health insurance.
It is about the family and friends that slipped away. We were never meant to be and that is okay.
It is about leading a day with purpose, love, and joy. For “Each morning we are born again. What we do today matters the most”—Gautam Buddha…
Lots of Love