Prior to surgery, excision of lymph nodes on this Tuesday, I went to have a blood test, EKG, and a check-up by the oncologist.
Navelbine I had continued for 6 months is all done. Herceptin, which is supposed to be given for a year, a total of 14 times, will continue, but I was told to hold off – it has a side-effect on my heart- until I recover from the surgery as a precaution to avoid any complication during the surgery or during the recovery.
If the lymph nodes are cancerous, that will lead to a totally different story, but otherwise, seven more rounds of Herceptin is left and all my treatments will be done in July including radiation therapy.
So I asked a question.
Dr. Glaspy at UCLA, who recommended Navelbine, also recommended to have Herceptin as long as possible in spite of the one year protocol. Is it possible to keep continuing Herceptin?
The onclogist immediately understood why Dr. Glaspy said so.
Navelbine is a chemo drug for metastatic patients. Dr. Glaspy recommended it probably because he looked at my cancer as the same as a metastatic cancer and therefore he also recommended to keep Herceptin, which is continually given more than a year for metastasized patients.
The problem is that Herceptin is toxic on my heart. The oncologist told me that she would discuss about it in a meeting with her colleagues.
Googling about Herceptin、which is said to have little side-effects, surprisingly I found it may cause coma, anaphylactic shock, edema, acute pulmonary, peripheral angioedema, cardiomiopathy, pancreatitis, hepatic failure, leukemia, neuropathy, pulmonary fibrosis, anorexia, and progression of neoplasia. If this is true, it is scary to keep on Harceptin.
Should I finish it believing I have had enough treatments or should I continue it knowing all the risks? I have to pray that God will lead the doctors to the right conclusion, but first my surgery should be done safely and the biopsy should be clear.
Thinking of people who live with fear or are lost in the dark hopeless pitch in Japan, I realize there are so little things that we can control in our lives; we need to leave them for God. Believing that He, who promised not abandon us, is always reaching his hand to us, no matter how stormy our situations are, I hope my soul will be still regardless of the result of my surgery on Tuesday, and my prayers also continue for Japan.