Thursday, December 18, 2008

If your man tests positive for pregnancy...

Yesterday I read Lance Armstrong's autobiography concerning his battle with testicular cancer. An interesting read. But one thing that testicular cancer has that TNBC does not is a clear marker-HCG the same hormone fetuses produce. Lance's tumors were producing more HCG than all the unborn babies in Texas combined. He did have alot of symptoms of early pregnancy but dismissed them and everything else until his cancer spread to his lungs and brain. He had little chance of survival but he did survive due to grueling chemo and excellent care. But his recovery was easy to measure following his HCG levels. If he worries between check-ups about reoccurances, all he would need to do is take a pregnancy test. And he is giving back to the cancer community through his LiveStong initiative. I noticed the other day, I could take a 12 week course at the Y and have a personal trainer to help me repair my body from the ravages of chemo through his foundation for free.

But no clear markers to tell you if your TNBC or any breast cancer has spread. Calcium levels go up when it is mounting an invasion in the bones but lots of false positives there. There are some minor markers but they don't tell much. Of course they can do all sorts of scans to find the tumors once they set up shop but once that happens, the tumors are real hard to get rid of.

Last week the oncologists had their big breast cancer conference in San Antonio and I've been reviewing the results from this when I can. I read about new drugs that slow down the mets 'significantly' and then read that it stopped the growth for 4 months vs 2 months. Well this might be statistically significant and a step in the right direction but we need more than that.

But there was something that looked promising: The MUC-1 vaccine. Mucin is an over-expressed surface protein in 90% of TNBC tumors. A research group has managed to make a vaccine targetting it. Ideally how this would work is this: you treat your early stage TNBC patient and then give her the MUC-1 vaccine. Her body then is stimulated to produce antibodies that will search and destroy anything-an errant TN tumor cell hopefully-that has the MUC-1 protein on it. End result: no METs and no deaths. Even better: skip the chemo and go for the vaccine once it is proven. So this vaccine goes into trial this January. As TNBC spreads so quickly, if it is going to spread, they should have the results soon.

As for men taking pregnancy tests: The company I worked for had very cheap EPT tests for sale in their store and I had stockpiled some-such a deal- 25 cents. I had a dream once about being pregnant and woke up to use one of my bargains. Who knows how long past expiration it was dated! So instead of being all pink for positive, it just had a little pink on it, which I argued meant it was positive. The control he provided had no pink on it. (no testicular cancer here-a young man's disease). Still he was unconvinced. We waited until lunch to obtain some expensive, fresh tests and there was a big difference between mine and Steve's (the control). Naomi.

As for her, lot more drama and tears and stuff I can't talk about. Argh!!! is about all I can say.

Just a little queasy today which I will tough out. I still have one dose of Emend left and Zofran as back up. I refuse to take Compazine-nasty stuff. Steve gave me a shot of Neulasta yesterday in my stomach to keep the white blood count good. It went smoother as he missed my blood vessels this time so no bleeding. It is still creepy and nerve-wracking. If he screws up, lots of money wasted. I would have run if it weren't for the snow. A foot is forecasted for tomorrow. Hopefully it will be over by the time Shanna drives here but it sounds like it might be hard for her to avoid. Update, she's leaving a day later.

I did meet one of my neighbors. She locked herself out of the rental house next to us when she went out to shovel the snow. A new experience for her as she is from Houston. I let her use the internet to retrieve phone numbers that she could use to get one of her roommates to rescue her. Otherwise, none of them were coming back for 6 hours. There are 4 of them-which is against code in our neighborhood. But they are quiet and a huge improvement over previous tenants which have included noisy frat boys and the worse, a family that kept vicious American Bulldogs (think large pit bull) that would escape. And she is growing her hair out for Locks for Love to honor a family member who died from cancer so she is special.

The wig still hasn't come. Even something that was shipped out Monday from Seattle has come here. I have a wastebasket a quarter filled from my combings. Spud during his annual sheds does that every day for a month and still has lots of hair on him and he's just a little dog.Today is the day the hair is supposed to fall out. I still have alot left though. I want to have it at least one more day as I have a neighborhood party to go to tomorrow and it would be nice to have hair. Of course that foot of snow will be fun . Last year the same thing happened for Fran's annual tea. We started as a group of neighborhood team baseball moms when the kids were in 4th grade and we would go out after the games for a drink. She would keep the group together with invitations sent like "Moms of 7th grade boys Tea" Now the boys are 26 or 27 and scattered to the winds though Josh is friends with most of them.

Josh came over for lunch-he is on vacation and will leave for Maryland Monday to the the in-laws. Steve went out and got me a tree which my friends will come over tonight to help me decorate. The big snow is to hit here at 1am. It will hit Boston at 11 am-the time Shanna had previously decided to take the big drive. I will be watching the weather channel nervously until all the kids' drives are over.

No comments:


Blog Archive