Chemo Horizon Pushed Back?

My oncologist, Dr. Wahl, explains that if my cancer is the same cancer that was diagnosed in 8/2008, there’s a strong chance I will not need to have chemo for another 3-6 years.   (If the biopsy scheduled for next week doesn’t confirm this, of course, then plans will change.)

She explained that chemo, for an ER+ cancer, is usually only used when vital life functions are at risk.  Despite the spread to my liver, lungs and bones, my lung and liver function still seem strong.

If all goes well and the cancer is the cancer from 2008 — and it responds to hormonal treatment, I could live for years with a daily pill, a few monthly shots in the butt, and a few IV infusions each month.

So here is what I understand so far.

CANCER FIGHTING — I do already know I have some of these details wrong.  So there will be corrections!

  1. Hormone Treatment to Block Estrogen Production – letrozole (FEMARA) pill once a day
  2. Hormone Treatment to Block Estrogen Uptake — Zometa via IV (30 minutes) 3x first month, then bi-monthly
  3. Create the inhospitable bone environment for cancer growth by getting shots in the butt — 2 shots twice a month of Faslodex. 
BONE HEALING — Use MRI and PET scan to determine seriousness of growths in bone, especially back.  Then, as appropriate, schedule radiation, neurological surgeon or nothing.
WATCHING —  Use cancer markers in blood to watch if tumors seem to be getting better or worse.  Repeat scans in 3 months.  
Dr. Wahl made sure we still understand that Stage IV is incurable — but she said there are a lot of new targeted therapies coming down the pike.  She said it’s not unreasonable to hope for ten years — and in ten years, there could be many other approaches available.  
I’m feeling an open road and some clear skies ahead!


3 thoughts on “Chemo Horizon Pushed Back?”

  1. This news is good, very good and I'm hopeful. The meds and changes won't be easy. Luckily you'll have all your wonderful versions of you to call on and a whole lot of amazing love and friendship. I want all the suzys around for a very long time. Including Suzy the oracle, genius, and friend. Love you lots.


  2. This is great news, Suzy! My dance teacher has stage IV breast cancer also and has just taken the hormone blocking medication and had IV infusions when she was really sick. Last summer we thought she had little time, but we've learned that it's a condition to treat and manage. Unfortunately she's in the hospital today, so I am heading there to be with her. Her dance students are her only family here locally.


  3. the first time i read through this, i was in a haze of fear and despair at the thought of losing you. now i am re-reading and being more hopeful about the progress of treatments and your progress, your determination, your personal strength. i could not have managed these past several months without you/knowing you were there to hear me when i cried. i want you HERE! this is good news! listen quietly and try, try to maintain your patience


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