That beeping sound you hear is the truck backing up.
Thanks to a physician co-worker who is gonzo about medical research and won’t so much as change his chonies unless there’s a clinical trial that proves the benefit, I’ve been conditioned to think evidence-based. Yesterday I found a study from Germany, the “Gepartrio” project, that demonstrated a statistically significant increase in survival for breast cancer patients who receive eight rounds of TAC chemotherapy (the stuff I was on) as compared to six rounds. There’s a lot more involved, of course, but based on the data that haven’t yet even been published, I emailed one of my oncologists.
He’d also read the study, and we talked. The risk-benefit involves potentially assaulting more cancer cells without fatally assaulting the host. Which is me. No one knows, including the German guys in lab coats, what the long-term effects might be of more more MORE chemotherapy in cases such as mine. I don’t want to celebrate that I’m cancer-free while I’m dying of a poisoned and crapped-out heart.
So one oncologist talked to the other oncologist (this isn’t the start of a joke, by the way) and we came up with a plan. Two more rounds of chemo, but without the Adriamycin ingredient of the Taxotere-Adrimycin-Cytoxan salad. It’s the one that apparently races to the heart muscle and wreaks havoc. My Adriamycin days are over.
But not my Taxotere or Cytoxan days. Two more chemo Wednesdays. Two more chemo Fridays. The plan is to go ahead with the mastectomy as scheduled and after a few weeks of recovery, based on the pathology report, do chemo/radiation or radiation/chemo.
I’m all for boosting my odds, but this counts as crapalactic news. I had a very small weepie when I thought about taking even longer for a hairdo other than this bald arrangement. Tom, my thirty-year-old son, said, “Hair is overrated, Mom.”
I laughed. Some people just know the right thing to say.
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5: 3-4