Consultation with Dr. Slamon Again

On the 14th I went to UCLA to seek a 2nd opinion from Dr. Slamon, the doctor who invented Herceptin, which has saved millions of HER2 positive breast cancer patients.  Until then the prognoses of HER2 positive breast cancer was so poor, and probably I hadn’t been here without Herceptin.

This time, I wanted to hear what regimen would be available if I gave up Taxol, which has been causing Peripheral Neuropathy.

Before the exam, Dr. Slamon said that reducing the dose of Taxol might be ok, but after the exam, he said to stop it.  It was what I expected because the peripheral Neuropathy has worsened and sometimes made me scared.

Yet the surprise was that he said to go back to Herceptin and Perjeta only.

I told him that cancer activated only within three months after I started that regimen, yet he explained that because the last two CT results were stable and if cancer activates again, add Xeloda. If the side effects become a concern, reduce the dose and stay in the regimen as long as possible.  The other choice would be T-DM1, and again, stay on the regimen as long as possible reducing the dose if the side effects worsen.

I am reluctant to go back the regimen, which failed to keep me in remission, but maybe I have used all strong cards, so now I have to play with whatever I have buying time as much as possible.  Or as the treatments of cancer always require monitoring the side effects, maybe even if the progression of disease is predictable, I may need to stop the treatment or reduce the medications in order to give time to recover or rest the body…I don’t know.

At the end the receptionist charged only $49 instead of $450.  She said Dr. Slamon didn’t like to charge high for a self-paying patient.  The world-famous doctor, who became even a candidate of a Nobel prize for developing Herceptin, was also a supremely gracious doctor.  I am so blessed to be able to see him!



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