I am halfway through my trastuzumab (Herceptin) a type of targeted therapy drug called a monoclonal antibody. This is the magic drug that kills HER2 breast cancer. I am due to take 18 doses, 3-weeks apart. That works out to a full year. Since I just completed 9 of 18, I will be doing this treatment until sometime in October.

I wasn’t that happy to hear that I’m only 1/2 way through. I’m getting ready to be done with it. I realized the other day that the stiffness and soreness of my joints is caused by the treatment. I am worst the first couple of days after treatment.

I’m also going through some chemo aftershocks. My skin, my hair, and my nails grow to a pattern related to treatment. Every 6 or so weeks, I end up with severely dry skin on my heels and on my hands. I also find that my fingernails are weak and brake or crack easily. Today, I experience another one of these side effects – my nose started randomly running again. This is a thing that happens when you lose the hair in your nose. There is nothing to hold back the drips. Ugg.

I did get some good news from the nurse – and that is that I would only need to access or flush my port every three months. This makes the decision to keep the port easier. Unlike the last time, when the port was getting in the way of reconstruction, this time the port isn’t in the way of any treatment. It means that I’d need to do another procedure to get it removed, and then I would be without a port if I needed it. I also use the port for various scans (CT, Mugga, MRI), and I expect that I’ll be getting some regular scans at some point. With signs of lymphedema on both arms, I’d rather not risk an IV if there is any way to avoid it. The port is generally the answer.

I talked to my oncologist this week as well. My Mugga scan came back good and so I’m good to go to finish of the trastuzumab treatments. Only after those are done will we talk again – and at that point we will talk about hormone therapy and surveillance plans. Given that the cancer was found first by repeated abnormal blood tests followed by a CT scan, I’m not sure how they plan to check me.

I was happy to learn that I don’t need to worry about any of that until after the summer is over. Right now I want to focus on having fun this summer and on finishing off the trastuzumab treatments.

  • Becky

One Comment

  • Sounds good. Here’s to having fun this summer!

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