Thursday, February 18, 2010

Chemo is finished :-)

Today was my last chemo treatment!!! Hip, hip, hooray! They have no reason to believe that the chemo wasn't successful but will do follow up tests as appropriate. I will still receive Herceptin infusions every three weeks through November but the infusion itself will only take an hour; but add labs and seeing the doctor and the time increases by another 2 hours but it will still shorten the time I spend there. I do have an echocardiogram scheduled later this month. An echocardiogram is a test in which ultrasound is used to examine the heart. My heart has to be monitored due to possible side effects of Herceptin. Herceptin can cause heart problems including an inability to pump blood effectively, irregular heartbeats, high blood pressure, disabling heart failure, weakening of the heart muscle, and sudden loss of heart function leading to death. Herceptin may cause reduced heart function even if there are no symptoms. A study showed that only 2.9% of patients who received Herceptin with docetaxel and carboplatin (my regimen) had side effects from Herceptin, so I'm feeling pretty confident in my use of Herceptin.
I was also prescribed Tamoxifen. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex®) is a drug, taken orally as a tablet, which interferes with the activity of estrogen, a female hormone. Estrogen can promote the development of cancer in the breast. Tamoxifen helps prevent the original breast cancer from returning and also helps prevent the development of new cancers in the other breast. Studies have shown that tamoxifen is only effective in treating estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer (which I have). When taken for 5 years, tamoxifen reduces the chance of the original breast cancer coming back in the same breast or elsewhere. It also reduces the risk of developing a second primary cancer in the other breast.
Today, my friend Pat was my "chemo buddy". I guess she wasn't having enough fun in her life and thought this experience could provide it! LOL. First thing this morning she picked me up and drove me to the clinic. Actually I was very glad she came with me because today was a very full day at the chemo ward and I ended up in a small room with only 2 chairs. I'm usually in a larger room with four chairs so there are more people to converse with. So, I had Pat to talk with and she ran out to grab me some lunch also. So a big thank you to Pat for being my "chemo buddy" today. I really appreciated it.

1 comment:

  1. YAY! Tami, I am so happy you have finished chemo. I know that this doesn't make your process over, but hopefully it will lighten your phsyical and emotional load a little.