Follow Up

Well, it’s been almost a year since my last post and my last chemo infusion. During that time I’ve continued on herceptin, with the first break away from infusions in March for 6 weeks, the second in August for 8 weeks, and again now in January for 8 weeks. Herceptin can attack the heart (it did for me), lowering the left ventricle ejection fraction (Left ventricular ejection fraction is the percent of BLOOD a full left ventricle pumps into the AORTA with each CARDIAC CYCLE. LVEF provides an assessment of cardiovascular limitations resulting from damage to the HEART such as by MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION or HEART FAILURE. Normal LVEF is 55 percent; LVEF below 35 percent indicates severe heart failure. ). My baseline is 56, went as low as 45 and as high as 59. The latest test puts me @ 47, hence this final break.

After the last break which ended in October, we determined that my heart was strong again and scheduled the second mastectomy, which is my version of “reconstruction”. Having lived the previous year lop-sided, wearing a prosthetic daily, and never feeling “balanced”, I made the decision to remove the other breast for symmetry and prevention. Surgery was November 3rd and everything went fine. I’ve never looked back on that decision & am very peaceful with “flat & fabulous”!

Nineteen days after surgery, we resumed herceptin and I made it through 3 infusions (9 treatments). Once I’m cleared to resume, I only have 2 more infusions (6 treatments)! My year on herceptin will be complete!

Bittersweet … during the time since I was diagnosed, I’ve been actively fighting breast cancer. I’ve had a safety net with all of my doctors and nurses as they travel with me, watching me every step of the way. Once finished with the infusions, it’s wait and see … monitoring & praying that it doesn’t come back.

Breast cancer is tricky; it’s never really cured, a survivor is considered in remission. Her2+ cancer is particularly aggressive and has a tendency to come back. In my favor, is my early stage, the chemotherapy and the miracle drug herceptin. So even though there was micro cancer in one node, we’re hoping we knocked it out!

Learning to live without constantly actively thinking or worrying about breast cancer will be the challenge ~ here’s praying that this journey will be easier that the past one!

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