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In July 2019 I was diagnosed with Metastatic (Stage 4) Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I had known something was wrong, and had requested a repeat mammogram after my annual mammogram, which meant two were completed only about six months apart. Both were followed by ultrasounds. Sadly, I was given the all-clear, and told that I had just dense breast tissue. When I raised the alarm a third time, there was no missing it.
So now I am living with breast cancer that has spread to my lymph nodes, bones, liver, and a wee bit in my lungs. Because there is no cure for stage 4 breast cancer, once one treatment stops working, which will always happen, another must begin.
I am thankfully now receiving wonderful care from an amazing team at Vanderbilt, and I have great confidence in my oncologist. I initially had only two infusions of carboplatin as part of a clinical trial, but it ended up being just too hard on me and not hard enough on the cancer. I’ve just completed my 16th infusion of Abraxane— i’ve been going weekly for three weeks in a row, and I‘ve had one week off each month. Triple negative breast cancer doesn’t respond to hormonal therapies, so there are less treatment options available, and it is also more aggressive. While Abraxane beat it back from my lungs, and initially showed reduction in all areas, after 16 infusions my scans showed progression in my liver. Just as Carboplatin didn’t work as my first line of treatment, which led to the change to Abraxane, I will continue on each treatment until it stops working and then begin another. So just like all of the other women living with metastatic breast cancer, we are always hoping for new drugs, and new clinical trials. Research is everything.
This isn’t the best time to be chronically immunocompromised, but we are staying safe and cozy at home for now. Other than treatment days, it’ll be this way for the foreseeable future. :)