Breast cancer is a frightening subject: A battle between the disease and the treatment, and I am the battlefield. For me, fighting metastatic triple-negative breast cancer for 7 years has been exhausting.
Triple-negative breast cancer is particularly aggressive and does not respond to treatments used for other types of breast cancer. If initial treatment options fail to eliminate the cancer – which is more often than anyone would like – the primary goal is status quo. Just stop it from growing or spreading. As such, the relative survival rate for TNBC is 5 years. The war is ongoing, but I am happy to report that 5-year battle has been won!
Having a great medical team at Clearview Cancer Institute has been a key factor in my fight.
Each re-occurrence or progression, Dr. Schreeder gently reminds me we are exhausting our treatment options, yet each time he successfully finds me a therapy.
In July 2020, we found additional growth of the lymph nodes in my chest wall. The medical team did research to find a treatment plan that was best suited for my condition -- this was the second time growth had been noted in this location. Dr. Schreeder calmly suggested 2 options:
(1) We can revisit a combination of chemotherapy that worked in the past and hope it will work again.
(2) There’s this new precision cancer medicine that was just approved four months ago and oh, by the way, I have never used this medicine, and it seems to have some severe side effects.
He explained the logistics of being a first patient and the precautions they would need to take. Friends, I’m a believer in silver linings and finding the positive in the negative. The Year 2020 has seen its fair share of firsts and most of them are downers (to say the least), but here we have a historical first of a different color: a medication approved specifically for Triple Negative Breast Cancer! The answer was obvious: Let’s try the new drug - Trodelvy.
The war rages on, but the rules have changed. This time I’m calling the shots.
Leading the way.