Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Day after Triple Negative Day

Thor aftermath: ice on top of snow.
From Passive/ Boston was hit with snowstorm after snowstorm this year. Many people need to park on the street and leave a chair to preserve their spot. Some people don't know  the rules
3-3: Looks like double negative instead of triple negative but that's what they are going with. It is a strange way to characterize a disease by saying what it isn't instead of what it is. It is breast cancer that has no receptors for estrogen, progestin or the her-2 oncogene thus no targeted therapies exist. It is a catchall phrase to describe probably zillions of variants; some much more deadly than others. Its victims are primarily younger women (pre-menopausal) and many have genetic propensities for cancer (BRAC1and BRAC2). 15-20% of breast cancers are considered triple negative but they contribute to a much larger share of BC deaths. Some of the language used in the literature (never mind the popular press which tends to amp up the direness) includes the words deadly, aggressive, poor prognosis, poorly treatable...Thus my feeling of doom upon hearing my diagnosis and reading about it as soon as I could.

Yet I am lucky. As the disease has such an aggressive course(my primary tumor doubled in size and number in the time between the mammogram and the surgery thus another surgery was necessary), it usually rears its ugly head of distal metasteses within 5 years. It's been 6 years so I must be out of the woods. All I am left with is strange neuropathic pain along my right ribs that can be very intense for an hour tops and then not strike for months, inability to fully extend my right arm without pain and a very lop-sided chest. I will see in a couple of weeks what can be done about that. Also I was spared the estrogen depleting drugs most breast cancer patients take for 5-10 years which have many unpleasant side effects.

When I started this blog, I resolved to share all the research about this disease. So many promising treatments, the latest is a vaccine against mets, but really nothing that has an impact.

Thor treated us with 3-4 inches of sloppy, heavy snow topped with freezing rain. Ice formed on our south windows here. We remained hunkered down here with me worrying whether my kids would survive their drives. Lots of accidents. Freezing rain is the worst. We amused ourselves streaming House of Cards (early season: Steve hadn't seen it) and Silver Linings Playbook before hitting the stores for another round of house decorating. Still haven't come up with a plan for my den which currently has 4 bookcases (with no books in them) of 3 different woods, an ugly fake wood desk and only a tiny window although south facing, has a dense bush in front of it that will totally block light once it gets foliage. What we did buy: another orchid (on sale) and a shower curtain to cover up an open linen closet.

Also neglected because of this move: my hair. Today I will make the trip to the opposite corner of the county (and its a wide county) to have my roots dealt with. My stylist lives in the country with a long unpaved hilly driveway. Hopefully yesterday's weather won't make that impassable.

Two more days of cold and then Days of Above Forty!!! Happy, happy, Joy! Joy!

1 comment:

Elephant's Child said...

So many unanswered questions. About this and far too many other illnesses.


Blog Archive