Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Chemo, New Hope

Yesterday, I had my first dose of chemo regimen number five. My blood count and echocardiogram were good (yay!), so I was able to start chemo straight away.

This new chemo drug I'm getting, Liposomal Adriamycin, is from a family of drugs I haven't tried yet, mostly because they're cardio-toxic, especially in combination with Herceptin, which I was on for a year. Liposomal Adriamycin is the same as traditional Adriamycin, but is delivered in a way that is less toxic to the heart. It's much more expensive but given the risks I may be averting, it could be worth the trade-off. It sounds to me like this could be the drug that works. I have a good feeling about it.

Meanwhile, I've discovered a red dot on the skin in the middle of my chest, right on the sternum. The dot was about two millimeters wide when I first noticed it a few days ago. I thought it might just be skin irritation from the button on my shirt or something that hit me there. But today I noticed the dot had gotten a few millimeters wider and is slightly raised on the surface of the skin.

This is similar to the dot that appeared on my right chest where the biopsy needle went in when I was first diagnosed with cancer two years ago. At that time I pointed the red dot out to my surgeon and he said it was not cancer-related. Two weeks later, that dot was a red lump. A biopsy of that lump showed it was cancer and I had to have that surgically removed.

Also, the little lump near the red dot that I discovered yesterday felt a bit bigger today. It's pretty scary how fast this cancer seems to be growing - so fast that I can feel and see the difference from one day to the next, and all this with the naked eye and my fingers tips.

I'll keep a close eye on my lumps and that red skin dot and watch for evidence of this new chemo working. The good news is, I won't have to spend thousands of dollars on scans to see if the chemo is working. I can just look down and feel the lumps with my fingers. I'm not due for another dose for three weeks, so self-examination will be very important on this new chemo schedule.


Carol said...

I have a good feeling about this chemo also. Time for the really "big guns". I look forward to your post that you can feel those lumps disappearing. Stay strong. Lots of love, Carol

Anonymous said...

All the best in this new combo! Stay positive!


Jin said...

Hey sis!

I hope this new combo is not only more effective, but doesn't cause the side effects that the last regimen did. I for one am more concerned about your quality of life and hate the thought of your being in discomfort or pain from whatever treatment you're on.

Best of luck with this one!

I can't wait to see you!

Love you!

leighbee said...

I couldn't agree with that sentiment Jin..........

We all have EVERYTHING crossed, double crossed and COMPLETELY in knots that this is "the one" to beat this vile disease and give dear Shin and family back all they deserve........


leighbee said...

I wanted to edit that last post as it appears I made a HUGE mess up and didn't read it before posting (but I don't know how to so.........)It should read........... "I couldn't agree MORE with that sentiment...." I really am so dumb!

Jin said...


I knew what you meant the first time anyway! Mistakes (or "mess ups" as you put it) don't mean you're dumb; they just mean you're human. And there's nothing wrong with that! It's good to be human!


Stephen Parker said...

Great news on the new combo Shin. We have everything crossed for you in Scotland!!

Also, Oscar, our wee boy said something yesterday that sounded like Shin!!

Irrelevant perhaps but it made me smile and think of you guys!!

Jen Kim said...

Excited for you on this regimen Shin. I also agree with dear Jin that a good quality of life for you is my wish for you! You'll have good results! Sure of it! Much love and hope you're feeling my hugs and that they make the scariness of it all go away! With a prayer, Jenny

W said...

Hi Shin.
This is my first post on your site. Sounds like you're putting up the good fight...let's pray that this latest drug works...also what are you doing in early May? I was thinking of maybe hopping on a plane and coming down for the weekend.


Francesca Giessmann said...

Hi Shin:
My name is Francesca and I live in switzerland and have met Christa and we quickly became friends. Exactly one year ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 Non Hodkins Lymphoma ... brutal 6 months of chemo .. had to change drug combo... but gratefully I can say that I have been in remission for 6 months and 3 weeks.. ( and who is counting??)
I know how you feel about waiting to see the results and the wait could be deadly... been there...
just wanted to say hello... for you to know that now you have yet another person cheering for you and for you to beat this disgusting Big C. I have a blog also:
Stay strong... keep fighting.. and sending you loads of love

leighbee said...

How wonderful to see so many women being so strong.......... fight long, fight hard...... you are an inspiration to us all. X

Anonymous said...

Its been a tough week for me.......but thats NOT important here...............The one thing I would like you ALL to how grateful I am to have Shin as a friend and for HER to know how grateful I am for the wealth of knowledge she has shared will us the first time.......(I am 36 and NEVER considered it before now) I did a breast examination. I urge you ALL to do the same thing......THANK YOU SHIN, I have, and STILL am, learning so much from you....... such a precious friend..........