clinical trials

Breast cancer post #7

A week feels like a year!

Treatment begins next Tuesday (April Fools day) but it feels like it’s been a year in the waiting. Mostly I’ve been feeling calm with the odd ‘meltdown’. It’s not necessary to always be positive. It’s about balance. It’s OK to have bad days as long as you have more good ones. So the one bad day I had is OK considering it’s been 11 weeks since I found the lump. It’s been a LONG wait for treatment.

This blog is helpful for me as far as explaining to people where I’m at without having to verbally tell me story frequently. I also hope it will be an inspiration to other sufferers and their families some day.

I’ve been asked lots of questions about the treatment and been given lots of helpful advise but sometimes people find it difficult to understand why I’m having chemo 1st and surgery 2nd. Others suggest that I try natural remedies or healing. As I’ll explain here… I only have one chance. So if I don’t take the most aggressive option it’s too late to change my mind. The tumour is large and has invaded breast tissue but I’m very glad that there is no evidence of it invading other places!

I’ve condensed my diagnosis and treatment story to help people to understand why I have chosen to go down the ‘clinical trial path’.

Facts about Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC)

Most people are under the belief that there is only one type of breast cancer. In fact there are many. There are also different grades and different stages. so one treatment cannot be applied to all breast cancer types.

Typical breast cancer types: Seventy to 80% of all breast cancers are positive for estrogene (ER) or progesterone receptors (PgR). In contrast, the (HER2) protein overexpression and/or HER2 gene are overexpressed , in approximately 15–20%. Both of these cancer types respond to targeted treatment (either hormones or Herceptin).

The type I have: The remaining 10–15% of breast cancers is negative for all of the above cancer types. These are defined as triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).3

  • Among all the breast cancer subtypes, TNBC is associated with a worse prognosis. It has a characteristic recurrence pattern with the peak risk of recurrence and the majority of deaths occurring in the first 3 and 5 years after the initial treatment, respectively.
  • TNBC is less likely to be discovered on a mammogram than other types of breast cancer.
  • Anyone can get TNBC. However, it tends to strike younger women, women with BRCA1 mutations, and women of African, Latina, or Caribbean descent. Asian and non-Hispanic white women are less likely to develop TNBC, according to

Read more:

 The clinical trial I’ll be taking part in

A small, early study (in 2010) found that 66% of locally advanced, triple-negative breast cancers treated before surgery with a combination of carboplatin (brand name: Paraplatin) and Taxotere (chemical name: docetaxel) had no living cancer cells in the tumour when it was removed.

In this study, 14 women diagnosed with locally advanced, triple-negative breast cancer were neoadjuvantly treated with a combination of two chemotherapy medicines: carboplatin and Taxotere. The women received six courses of the chemotherapy combination before surgery in three-week cycles. All of the women completed the entire chemotherapy course. After chemotherapy, the women had surgery to remove the breast cancer. A pathologist examined the removed tissue to see if there were signs of cancer cell activity.

Nine of the 14 women had a pathologic complete response to the chemotherapy given before surgery. This is notable because pathologic complete response to treatment usually indicates improved survival without the cancer growing.

The trial I’m taking part in is the phase before it is implemented. There are 600+ women on the trial across the world. United sisters!

 I’m no hero

Participating in a clinical trial feels good as it helps women in the future, but I’m no hero, it’s just that the outlook isn’t great otherwise. Without being a drama queen… this trial is my life line. I’m so blessed to be living in an age where this kind of treatment is possible.

I’m taking an array of supplements (carefully chosen by an qualified specialist) to boost my immunity, energy and kill cancer cells. I’m also on a strict diet plan. No sugar, low fat, plenty of fruit and veges and a good balance of more Omega 3 than Omega 6. It makes me feel like I’m doing something! Who knows if it makes a difference but it feels good to be doing something active.

Roll on Tuesday. I’m getting over it!

I’m going away with one of my three sisters on the weekend to relax in the lap of luxury. YAY!

Breast cancer post #4

Woo hoo I’ve finally found some information on the clinical trial I’ll be taking part in that isn’t written in gobbleldy gook!

If you’re interested, have a read. It’s actually quite ground breaking treatment for a type of cancer which previously had little hope. The article is referring to the ‘guinea pig’ phase, which is different to what I am doing as I am on a trial phase. The trial phase is the last step before they implement this strategy as a standard treatment for people with Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC).

This article on Triple Negative breast cancer is also informative but written in plain speak:

I begin treatment on Tuesday the April 1st (April Fools day), providing all the tests are done and the paperwork sorted in Italy (!) by then. In the meantime I’ll be doing more tests. Yay! Not. So I will be put into a randomized group and get one of two Nab-paclitaxel type drugs. So group A uses one Nab-paclitaxel drug and group B uses the other. I will know which group I’m in but I can’t choose. Then after that treatment I will begin standard chemo treatment and then surgery and radio therapy.

Sounds like a plan?

Keeping positive

People keep telling me to keep positive but how am I supposed to do that when I have Triple Negative breast cancer? That means I need to be triple positive just to be neutral so that’s a lot to ask LOL.

Actually… I am feeling ridiculously positive. Not that I’m in denial, it’s just that I have absolutely no doubt I’m going to kick it. That could be the power of prayer and being surrounded by such amazing friends and family and whatever other reasons we can come up with but it just isn’t in my radar not to kick it.

My Mum was my age when she got cancer (53) and died at 54 a few months later, so that’s a bit scary but I will not let that take over me.

It might be called Triple Negative but I’m feeling triple positive.

Screenshot 19:03:14 9:51 PM-2

I finished this artwork yesterday. It was started in the middle of the night about 5 days ago and reflected how I felt at the time. The dead of night does that to you. Although it isn’t a reflection of where I’m at right now, it does highlight that first couple of days where I wanted to curl up in a ball. When I look at it now I remember the feeling but it isn’t something I can identify with (today).

I’m sure that as I go along I’ll meet an array of different feelings. Maybe my positive hype will wane a little when I’m in the middle of Winter (urgh), chemo and the long haul is still ahead.

My brain is already in a kind of fog. It feels like the world is rushing by me and I’m here in my foggy place. To top it off I have to come off HRT which is a bit nasty and bound to make the fog worse. Has anyone got an anti fog machine?

Todays funny MOTH story

Sorry MOTH… but you do keep me (and everyone) entertained. As a typical MFB firefighter, he is used to getting a ribbing. It’s all part of the culture. So I’m sure he can take it and he knows I love him dearly. Now on with the story…

You know he doesn’t like sitting still right? Well hospital appointments are our new worst nightmare. I’m about to make him an activity pack for our waiting times. Colouring books, pencils, snacks and Valium. Oops… sorry I didn’t mean Valium that just slipped in there.

This week, he was sitting on a bench seat in the radiology waiting room and a woman came up to him and said ‘could you please sit still as your jiggling is making it hard for me to send a text message’. 

Some people just need a perfect world LOL.