Status Update: Positive News!

11 04 2011

Yes, I know you must feel like yo-yos. I do, too.

But the meeting with my oncologist today went very well. What she said made a lot of sense. And I trust her and her insights and medical knowledge. She is a good egg.

I was accompanied by my husband, Don, and sister, Lisa. We covered all the bases, got all our questions answered, such as:

Yes! the CT Scan really does indicate shrinkage in the four lung tumors! Yes, it is entirely possible that the three spots showing on my liver are benign/hemangiomas! Yes! There are lots and lots of treatments available and for now, there’s no need to worry about that, as this one is working!

I’m wiped out at the moment, but wanted to post and say, Yes! I think we are indeed headed in the right direction!

More later…promise. This takes a lot outta a girl.

Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson





Status Update: Doctor’s Office

11 04 2011

At doctor’s office waiting to see my Oncologist and hoping for answers. Also hope I don’t start sobbing. I hate when I do that.

I smell hyacinths which remind me of Spring and miracles. Maybe I’ll pick some up on the way home.

Copyright 2011 Amy Rauch Neilson





Status Update: Great News!

15 03 2011

I have GREAT news from yesterday’s visit to my oncologist, Dr. Dana Zakalik. I’ll share it in my very next blog post! It’s going to take me a little time to do the story justice, so hang in there. It’ll be worth the wait. I promise.

I’m out the door to chemotherapy. I just wanted you to know that great news is on the way — and to thank you for all of your very powerful prayers!

Copyright 2011, Amy Rauch Neilson





The Good News, the Bad News…but always, Hope

25 01 2011

I am really scared. Yesterday’s doctor’s appt. did indeed bring the fabulous news that my tumor is triple-negative. It also brought the shocking news that my cancer is at a Stage 3 or Stage 4. I had not heard these “staging numbers” before yesterday and early on in this journey that is only 16 days old but feels like 16 years, the hope was that we were looking at an early stage breast cancer, Stage 1 or Stage 2.

The MRI results yesterday told a different story, with a sizeable tumor and lymph node involvement in my left breast as well as a possible spot on my clavicle and right lung. I leave for the lung biopsy in a little over an hour. Results should be in by Friday. Please pray that the results are negative, that it’s a scar from a previous bronchitis. That result would scale me back to a Stage 3, with a much more favorable, long-term manageable hope.

All of that said, in breast cancer, Stage 3 or Stage 4 is not necessarily a death sentence. I have not been given weeks or months to live. Though no one has a crystal ball, I could conceivably live for many years through the amazing new treatments — like Iniparib — that are becoming available almost daily. For that, I thank God in heaven above and all of the amazing, dedicated scientists whose work is saving more and more lives every day.

I had a few hours of terror and trembling and crying. But through it all, with the help of my breast care surgeon, clinical trials staff and my AMAZING oncologist Dr. Dana Zakalik, I have learned that despite the “staging numbers” that sent me into a downward spiral with an expectation that the Grim Reaper was waiting outside the Examining Room door, I actually have a very good chance of long-term survival. I am a candidate for the PARP Inhibitor (Iniparib), which will be used in combination with two chemotherapy drugs: Gemcitabine and Carboplatin. Because Iniparib is still in the clinical trial phase, my name will be submitted into a national pool today. Names are drawn weekly, but at Royal Oak Beaumont, the 12 women who have needed this drug have all been able to get it through the pool, and the expectation is that it will also be available to me very soon.

I will sign the consent forms to partipate in this clinical trial before I go in for my lung biopsy this morning. That means that I will get in under the deadline for this week’s drawing and will hear back either Weds. or Thurs. as to whether or not my name has been drawn. If it has, I start the Iniparib next Tuesday. If not, I’ll be in the drawing each week until my name is selected. In the meantime, I will begin chemotherapy with the G & C drugs on Friday, and will also have a chemo port inserted Friday morning. I never thought I could say this about chemotherapy, but I cannot wait to get started.

Dr. Zakalik has explained to me that breast cancer is becoming less of a killer and more of a lifetime, manageable disease. I hope and pray I fall into the latter category. I truly have found peace in this overnight. I feel a peace that I am going to be OK, that I am going to survive this. Not a false hope, but a warm, emcompassing white light that comes from somewhere outside of me and shines into the depths of my soul.

Please pray for the negative result on the lung biopsy and that my name is chosen in this week’s Iniparib drawing.

.








%d bloggers like this: