I've been dragging my heels writing an update.
I think that is because there is just so much I could say....the research studies I read outlining the "progression free survival times" of each of the options on the table, the details I learned about each of these drugs and their various side effects, the opinions my oncologist shared about not only these treatments but the state of my disease overall, and the various emotions that have bubbled up at different times over the last week or so.
I have had a little "paralysis by analysis" about what to share, mixed in with a bit of fatigue now that I have returned to work, and topped off with the simple fact that I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my remaining free time without worrying about this disease or wanting to blog about it.
But, with that said, I am so very grateful for all of the love and support so I did want to take the time to share the latest update regarding my treatment plan.
Mike and I had a 45 minute telehealth appointment with Dr. F last Tuesday. We went through all of my options and discussed the pros and cons of each. We asked questions, shared our thoughts and opinions, asked Dr. F for his and ultimately decided on the next course of action.
I will be switching treatments to another combination of endocrine (hormonal) therapy and what's called, "targeted" therapy. The last treatment I was on was also a combination of these types of drugs.
I have been on some form of endocrine therapy these last nine years, due to the estrogen receptor status of my particular form of breast cancer. This is my last option of endocrine therapy before moving on to stronger chemotherapies, so it was worth it for me to give it a go. It appears that my disease is becoming somewhat resistant to endocrine therapy but we are going to move forward and pray that it works for a very long time. The endocrine therapy I will be switching to is called Exemestane and the side effects will likely continue to be menopausal in nature, which is something I have continued to deal with for the last 9 years anyways, so no biggie! The side effects may include: hot flashes, headaches, fatigue, joint pain, nausea, increased appetite, insomnia or increased sweating.
The targeted medication is called Afinitor. Research has found that it has promising effects when used in combination with Exemestane. Both of these medications are oral pills that I will take every day.
The main side effect of Afinitor is mouth sores. They do not sound very fun to deal with-especially considering how much I love to eat! So in conjunction with the daily medication, I have to use a steroid mouth wash 4 times each day. Additional side effects may include: infections, diarrhea, swelling of arms/legs/ankles/face, feeling weak or tired, rashes, cough, nausea, fever, decreased appetite, abdominal pain and headaches. I have never been one to worry too much in advance about these side effects so we will just take it one day at a time and hope that most of these never arise.
The medications arrived from the speciality pharmacy on Tuesday and I started them immediately. I have scans again this upcoming Monday to get a baseline as we change treatments. I will meet with Dr. F on June 11th to find out how my scans looked and to discuss how I am feeling on the new treatment.
After 3 1/2 years of the same treatment and knowing what to expect, I would be lying if I said I wasn't nervous to start these new medications. I am also nervous that there is a chance they won't work and my disease will progress. That is a terrifying thought, as the number of treatment options ahead of me decrease. But I will continue to stay positive and have faith that this will work, and work for a very long time!
Thank you for your continued love, support, friendship and prayers!
My blog to keep you all