January 15th, 2014

Finishing Chemo May Be Possible

The appointment with Dr. Slamon, which was canceled twice due to his surgery and pending for a couple months, finally came to the reality.

Dr

Dr. Slamon’s office in Santa Monica. According to last year’s news, he was nominated for Nobel Prize Medicine.

I was worried about his health, but he said the surgery was because he had a torn Achilles tendon.   I am glad it was not serious.

Today’s main focus was the concerns of the side effects and chemo-holiday, which my oncologist at Kaiser had suggested tome recently:  She suggested to take a couple-month break from chemo in order to give time to recover for my body and then resume T-DM1.

“ What side-effects do you have?”Dr.Slamon asked me.

“ The first concern is low counts of the platelets, the 2nd is increasing AST level (an enzyme which indicates liver or other organs functions), the third is stiffness of the body, and lastly dry skin and itchiness,” answering him I showed the chart of the platelets and AST.

Looking at them, he said, he wasn’t worried about platelet counts but AST, which jumped high recently.  As long as I am on T-DM1, AST level keeps going high and that will be a concern.

“Stop T-DM1 and change to Herceptin + Perjeta,” said he.

Instead of taking a break, he recommended to keep going with a new regimen which wouldn’t affect platelets and AST.

“How long?”  I asked.

“At least until the numbers of platelets and AST get back to normal and if the new regimen won’t work, go back to T-DM1 or add Taxol. Yet, if it works, keep going,” he said.

And if I can be in remission for 36 months, which means one and half more years, it’s probably ok to finish chemotherapy though some doctors say 5 years.

Wow!  Is that true?

I asked about the highly expected vaccine also.  The doctor said the clinical trial has been active in Seattle and I might be eligible for the trial even though I don’t have any measurable tumor.  If I want, I should check it out, but I should continue chemo because the effectiveness of the vaccine is unknown yet.

“You have been doing right things. I think you will be O.K.”  He finished the consultation with such an encouraging words.

The next is to discuss with my oncologist based on today’s advice on this Friday, the 17th.

I know I shouldn’t expect too much, but finishing the battle with cancer may not be a dream.  It is hard to believe, but I pray that the dream will come true!