Friday, July 01, 2016


There was a bit of a rocky start but I seem to be moving forward with treatment. Every Wednesday, for the rest of the summer, I will be getting Herceptin, injected through my Ommaya Reservoir. I'm not the first in Ottawa to have an Ommaya but I am the first to have Herceptin injected in this fashion. I'm hoping hard that it's working.

There was some confusion on my first week. First I was told that treatment would be delayed by a day and administered by an oncologist other than Dr. G., who has treated me for for 10 years.

Then, on the day of treatment, I found out that Dr. N., his replacement, had thought I had been through this a few times and was taken aback that it was my first treatment. I also learned that it will be weeks before my own oncologist returns.

I want to be clear about the fact that there is no way that Dr. G. would disappear like this, unless it was a personal emergency. I am missing him like crazy and upset that he's gone but I believe that he had no choice and I am want things to be better for him soon.

That fact didn't stop me from freaking out a little.

Dr. N. was incredibly adept with the Ommaya and I really liked his manner. He was thoughtful, gentle and clear. He was unsure how we were going to proceed, given his own schedule and that of other staff. However, when I said "It's disconcerting, when you've been told that you might only have months to live, to learn that there is no plan for treatment for the next several weeks."

He left, got it sorted and came back with a schedule: I'm to be at the hospital every Wednesday morning until my MRI in August.

By my second appointment, things had become even clearer. Dr. N. had spoken to a third doctor who works with Dr. G., and who has worked on trials of this treatment and really supports it. He was getting married on the Saturday after my first treatment and was probably on his honeymoon during my second). Dr. N. knew the plan and had been reviewing the literature and was ready to share that with me.We will do the same dose for three weeks and then double it for 3 more weeks. 

After that? I don't know but knowing this much is very reassuring. Next week, yet another oncologist will administer the treatment. Like Dr. N, he is not a breast doctor but hopefully he knows his way around an Ommaya. 

I didn't react to the Herceptin either time. This is good but perhaps also bad, since I reacted before the Herceptin worked on the rest of my body.

I have to trust (and do my own research). I'm trying. What other choice do I have?

It's been a rough couple of weeks, for reasons unrelated to cancer. My father passed away the night before my first treatment. It was not entirely unexpected but it was still painful for everyone and something that I think we are all still processing.

Today is Canada Day in Ottawa. I'm not crazy about crowds and it is currently pouring. I am sitting on my couch as I type this. I think it's exactly where I need to be.


Jenster said...

I'm so sorry about your dad, Laurie. I lost mine in April and I know how it feels even when it's expected. And it just compounds your situation. Maybe you're not reacting to the herceptin because it's not going through your blood stream?

Sitting on the couch on a rainy day sounds just the thing. Happy Canada Day. You're never far from this American's thoughts.

zoom said...

Laurie, I'm sitting on my couch thinking about you. I had no idea that anybody had told you you might only have months to live. That hit me like a boot in the stomach, so I can only imagine how it felt for you to be on the receiving end of that information. I hope you keep reminding yourself of all your death-defying feats over the course of this journey through cancer. You are a very special person.

Unknown said...

The reality of living with metastatic Breast cancer! You have to stay on top of things and do your own research. I don't think people would believe if we collectively shared the untold story, the reality... My condolences on the loss of your father. You will need time to grieve, regardless of how much you thought you had prepared yourself...the loss is deep. Best to you!

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family..

bibliogrrl said...

Oh Laurie - I am so sorry to hear about your dad. Love and hugs to you and your family. <3

Birdwatcher said...

I am so glad to read this post, where I can sense that you are OK. You have been through so much travail in recent months. I hope for all good things for you.

Lene Andersen said...

I think it's probably good. Back when you had that super reaction, you'd never tried Herceptin before. Your body knows it now. (I'm talking out of my arse, of course — don't actually know anything about this, but I can't see a reason why your brain wouldn't react just as well as rest of your body)

It's been an eventful few weeks for you. Hang in there, darling. Sending much love.

laurie said...

Thanks so much to every one of you. Your comments mean a great deal to me.

Lynn said...

I'm one of Dr G's patients too, and miss him enormously, as does my husband. He is such a ray of hope on the metastatic journey. The rumour is he will be back in September, so fingers crossed...

laurie said...

Thanks so much, you guys. It means a lot to know you are here.