7/10/2019. I had reached my WW weight loss goal and ran/walked 10K after work. I remember walking up our gravel lane and feeling on top of the world (along with sweaty and exhausted). I took a shower. And I felt a lump in my right breast. Once. Twice. How can that be there? I hadn’t noticed it before and it seemed huge. I had been getting annual mammograms since I turned 40 ( and I was now 17 days from my 50th birthday). They were all clean, even the once from October 2018.
7/13/2019 I saw my family practitioner about the lump and he ordered another mammo.
7/17/2019 Mammogram – suspicious.
7/24/2019 Biopsy and breast ultrasound. Even I could see the tentacled tumor during the ultrasound. I was relatively calm, figuring I had “breast cancer.” You know. the kind that people battle and win. Because I had been experiencing some abdominal discomfort that last couple nights, I also had an abdominal ultrasound because they suspected my gall bladder was acting up. My gall bladder was perfect. I did not have “breast cancer.” I had BREAST CANCER. Metastatic breast cancer. Stage 4 breast cancer. Terminal breast cancer. The tumor in my right breast had already metastasized to my bones (sternum and spine) and liver (innumerable tumors).
7/25/2019 CT scan shows the cancer has also reached my right adrenal gland, which has one huge tumor on it.
Late July and early August saw me meeting my oncologist, Dr. Folusa Ademuyiwa, at Barnes.Wash U. I had a bone scan, more CT scans and MRIs. I had a port installed. I learned I had HER2+ breast cancer. My first chemo treatment was Aug 6. The MRI showed there were actually 2 tumors in the right breast. My liver was covered with tumors, too many to count.There were 3 spots on my spine and then also on my sternum. There were 2 enhanced lymph nodes.
By my second chemo treatment in late August, the breast tumors could not be felt anymore. That was an amazing amount of progress in a short time.
October 2019 Scans show great progress. They confirmed that the breast tumors are gone. The liver tumors are shrinking. There is no new progression.
Feb 2020 Scans show everything looking better except adrenal gland tumor grew slightly. I had 5 radiation treatments on it and continued the chemo. Scan also shows potential problem in endometrium. Further tests suggest that is benign fibroids. Finally – SOMETHING in my body is benign.
July 2020 Scans still show lesions on my liver, but they are numerable now and many appear to be small and perhaps scar tissue. Adrenal tumor has not grown. All bone lesions in spine and sternum healing. Staying on Herceptin and Perjeta and Zometa.
November 2020 Scans continue to show my cancer is stable. My cancer will never go away and have now learned that “stable” is something they celebrate in oncology. Bone scan showed something interesting – healing tumors all over my spine and skull. The first bone scan happened the day before my first chemo treatment. My very aggressive cancer was spreading fast until the chemo hit it. No wonder I have so much back and neck pain – there are holes all over! But they are healing so no need to change treatment.
Thanksgiving 2020 I had a few days of feeling some vertigo. Didn’t think much of it until I passed out in the bathroom in the middle of the night. A trip to the local ER followed by a ride to Barnes Hospital resulted in learning that I have 3 or 4 brain tumors. I had gamma knife treatment on 3 of them, The radiologist and the neurologist couldn’t agree that the 4th lesion was a tumor or not. I didn’t want to radiate healthy brain tissue, so we let that spot go for now.
I will have my next round of scans in March 2021, including a brain MRI to see if there are any new tumors there. I am continuing on Herceptin, Perjeta every 3 weeks and Zometa every 3 months.