Thursday, February 14, 2013
Met with Chemo Doctor Today
So today WonderfulHubby and I went and met with my Chemo doctor, Dr. Hanson. It was probably one of the quickest visits I have ever had with him (he's a pretty busy guy and I often had to wait an hour to see him). He is such a nice guy and said how sorry he was that we had to meet again (at my three month checkups I see his PA). But also that a lot of progress has been made since I went through treatment 3 years ago. My cancer cells have HER-2 receptors, which is great because they have a medicine that specifically attacks cells that have those receptors called Herceptin. This is the chemo drug that I did for a full year that doesn't make me sick or my hair fall out. We learned today that just because something is in the bloodstream, doesn't mean it gets into the brain cavity at all. There is a blood/brain barrier that most things (chemicals, bacteria, etc) don't cross. This includes chemo drugs, so that's why the chemo didn't get these silly little cancer cells that had broken off and run away to the brain before we started chemo. (This is why the cancer cells never showed up in the blood work we would do at the three month checkups.) But having the brain surgery and also when we have the radiation, will break down that barrier so that the chemo drugs will get into the brain. He didn't say how long we will have to do the chemo, but it will be at least another year I am sure. Also, he talked about how the FDA has approved a drug that is a stronger chemo drug that is combined with the Herceptin to specifically attack these cells, that has been successful for more aggressive HER-2 cancers. And another one that hasn't been FDA approved yet, but has taken a chemo drug that was too devastating on its own to be FDA approved. But they have been able to combine it with Herceptin so that it only targets theHER-2 cancer cells. Yay for advanced science that found the HER-2 receptors! He said I don't need the more aggressive drugs now, and that we will just do the Herceptin starting right away, and the localized radiation once I have healed enough from the surgery. Yippee!!