On 01.02.02, I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. Too late for surgery, I had chemotherapy, which failed. In May the chemotherapy was changed and I was soon in remission which was celebrated and welcome and lasted nine years - until October 2011. There was progression in 2011 so more treatment was indicated and I am now back in partial remission. But I'm not only a cancer patient - I also enjoy my family, walk my dogs and am learning to draw and paint. Life is good!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Between a rock and a hard place

Today was Herceptin infusion day, an every three week social occasion for me since I've felt well for a very long time. But today I also learned that my heart is weakening from all that fun I'm having during those visits.

What I mean is, in 2005 I ended up in the emergency room in heart failure with an ejection fraction of 32%. (Normal is 50-something, I forget.) The cause of the problem was not the usual culprits, diet and exercise; the cause was being "poisoned" by the very concoctions that were keeping me alive. A medication regimen was started and, a year later, my ejection fraction was in normal range and I never went off Herceptin.

But today I learned that eight years of Herceptin has taken its toll and my ejection fraction is now down to 48% -- not horrific, but low. I'm not symptomatic and I still walk one mile most days, but still....

What to do, what to do? I could go off Herceptin and risk the cancer come roaring back. Or I could stay on the Herceptin and risk additional heart damage. I could possibly have the heart medication adjusted. Or I could take a few months off Herceptin, cross my fingers while my heart strengthens and then return to treatment.

That is so much to think about that I think I'm just going to enjoy Belle as she invites herself to dinner.

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