I learned that my tumor was 99% loaded with estrogen. Nasty little bugger. Feeding on MY hormones in order to try to kill me. Cancer cells are stupid. Sure, feed on my hormones. Then I die and then there’s no more hormones, stupid. Like an anti-government survivalist, this sucker doesn’t need to be smart; it’s programmed for survival, not long-term thinking. It would behoove me to be smarter.
One way to be smarter is to know your enemy. I did some research about breast cancer cells and came across an amazing photograph of one taken under an electron microscope. Deadly things can sometimes look pretty cool. And, you have got to admit, this is actually a pretty neat looking little cell. Beautiful even. Even a deadly crocodile has a certain beauty in its prehistoric makeup. Hey, wait a minute. This thing looks like . . .
. . . A FUCKING IMPERIAL FIGHTER! These things come from the Death Star, fer crissakes!
Okay, I’m done waxing about the beauty of nature. From now on this tumor is the Death Star and I’m on a mission to destroy it. Trust the Force, I’m going in for the kill.
Well, one way to kill this thing is by using the drug Tamoxifen. I did a lot of research and read the experiences of people who have used/or are using it. It didn’t sound great. Like I said in an earlier post, side effects can include joint pain, deep vein thrombosis, menopausal hot/cold flashes, flash floods, hurricanes, and severe drought. This was the first thing that the doctor recommended and because I am cynical I automatically think drugs are recommended because the doc is in bed with Big Pharma and there are clearly other non-risky alternatives.
But what am I gonna do? Drink mint tea and eat ginseng root? I have to keep remembering that we aren’t talking about shaving a percentage point off of a mortgage or getting a good deal on a car. This is cancer, stupid. (Death Star.) Battle is not pretty.
The tumor (Death Star) is loaded with estrogen, but there’s another aspect of it that could change the course of treatment for me. And it is something I will not know until I meet with my surgeon and oncologist on Tuesday, July 31. And that is the HER2 protein.
HER2-positive breast cancer is a breast cancer that tests positive for a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), which promotes the growth of cancer cells. In about 1 of every 5 breast cancers, the cancer cells make an excess of HER2 due to a gene mutation. This gene mutation and the elevated levels of HER2 that it causes can occur in many types of cancer — not only breast cancer. This is a gene mutation that occurs only in the cancer cells and is not something you inherit. My HER2 was borderline and a further test called FISH is underway to confirm if this protein is a make up of the tumor (Death Star). And, if so, that could change my treatment options significantly.
So I’ve identified my enemy (Death Star) and now I need to ready for battle. What that engagement is going to look like, at the moment I do not know. I only know that the responsibility to make a decision that will significantly impact my life as I work to save it is impossibly overwhelming.
Is there an app for this?