Thank you all so much for your kind words about yesterday! I mentioned Wednesday evening on Instagram and during my InstaStory Thursday morning that I went in for treatment yesterday. I’m starting to notice that many people (including family & friends) are confused by my current cancer treatment plan. Most assumed I was done. I think most people associate chemotherapy as the only cancer treatment, but the truth is there are several options such as chemo, hormone (endocrine) therapy, targeted therapy (uses chemo drugs but targets specific receptors), immunology, just to name a few.
So to recap, this was my treatment plan. First, I did 6 rounds of neoadjuvent chemotherapy. My chemo cocktail consisted of TCHP (acronym of the 4 drugs I had to take), then I had my double (bilateral) mastectomy with immediate reconstruction, and finished 17 rounds of Herceptin for one part of targeted therapy. I finished Herceptin in February 2017.
My Current Cancer Treatment Plan
So where am I now? After I finished Herceptin, I started another targeted therapy and that is with the drug Zometa. I go in for this drug every 6 months. Both Herceptin and Zometa are administered the same way as my TCHP chemotherapy, which is through the veins. Just this time, it is not through my port because I got ‘de-ported’ on my 29th birthday!
I also go through hormone therapy. I started hormone therapy when I began chemotherapy. My hormone therapy consists of Zoladex and Aromasin (an Aromatase Inhibitor). The Zoladex is the one I started along with chemo. It is a shot that I have to receive every 3 months. I’ll admit, I dread it. It is basically a pellet that has to be injected under the skin at my stomach. The needle is HUGE and it basically looks like a mini shovel. Not enjoyable but at least it only lasts 10 seconds.
I started Aromasin right after my mastectomy. It is a pill that I have to take every day.
I do get asked if I go through side effects with my current treatment plan and the answer is yes. The thing with cancer is in order to treat it, and get rid of the cancer cells, you expose it to poison. So yes, all those drugs that are being used to treat cancer are toxic. So they do harm not only to the cancer cells, but also to the good cells in your body.
I experience long-term side effects from chemo as well. Unfortunately, just because you finish chemo does not mean the side effects will end. Some will linger and it can be there your entire life.
As for my current treatment plan, my side effects include joint pain, fatigue, weight gain, menopause, memory loss (chemo brain) just to name a few. Sometimes these side effects prohibit me from functioning day to day. With that I learned to just go easy on myself.
Overall my treatment plan is 10 years, but of course, there are constant changes that may happen along the way too. I hope this clarifies with you all what my current cancer treatment plan is!
A Friendly Reminder
I also want to mention to please keep in mind that if you know anyone that is diagnosed with breast cancer to understand that everyone’s treatment plan is different because everyone’s journey and body is different. In my experience, I’ve been compared to other people with breast cancer and it only makes it harder for me. So please if you know anyone diagnosed with breast cancer, do not compare them to another breast cancer patient’s journey.
Please know that there are several different types of breast cancer. It is not one type of cancer, breast cancer is a general term for the cancer because it initiated in the breast.