Posts Tagged ‘Herceptin’

Herceptin 3 – just another session on the chemo couch.

My name is on the IV stand beside the place that has been prepared for me – I settle for the 90 minutes of my visit.

I am pleased to see the staff – they are important to me. The expression on their faces matters. They are busy.

I pray the Jesus Prayer, and I pray my icy water prayer.

And I read my book – The Devil and Miss Prym. Paulo Coelho explores whether the heart is fundamentally good or evil. What would you say?

And on the way home this obstacle to my life and my routine gives me an opportunity to pass the Garden Centre.

I buy some flowers for our front door. The Heuchera is called Guardian Angel 🙂

As I walk among the plants the Proclaimers sing out of the radio – I stop to listen . . . . I’m gonna be . . . .


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Why the silence?

This is my longest gap between posts since I started the blog, and I missed you.

I have just returned from a 6-day training course and I could not get reliable internet access while away. The course was about language in action. It is my treat to myself as part of my preparation for moving forward beyond breast cancer. More about that later.

City of Words by Vito Acconci

The way we use language has a powerful effect on ourselves and on our interaction with others.

The connection between language, thought and reality is made by the definition of words

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Change your thought and you change your world

Norman Vincent Peale

So why spend 6 days learning about what language means to us and how we use it? . . . because I am curious to explore every aspect of what it means to be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

How I use my thoughts and words affects my relationship with myself, with others and with God.

Tomorrow I travel to spend some time with my family in Scotland. You will find me in the Quiet Zone of the train heading north – my head buried in the course manual. What a treat!

As I move forward beyond breast cancer I have a lot more learning to share.

Oh, and by the way, I had my second Herceptin today.

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Home safely . . had my first dose of Herceptin, and all is well.

This was the ‘loading dose’ and the one likely to cause a reaction. Administering a foreign protein intravenously has risks.

And so the nurse is very careful to talk through what might happen if I react . . .

“You might feel hot, become breathless, develop an itchy rash or a headache”.

Well he might as well say “Don’t think of a Pink Elephant”.

This is the power of positive suggestion. Tell me NOT to think of something and I have to think of it so that I can tell myself not to.

And before I  know it my headache begins to get worse.

Having read a lot of  Dr David Hamilton’s work on how your mind can influence your body, I know very well that I can easily generate exactly the symptoms I want to avoid.

But today I was ready for it.

I have received prayer ministry many times since being diagnosed with breast cancer. At the start of radiotherapy, I was given a picture of a stream of icy water flowing and picking up debris along the way until it ran clear. Through each treatment I visualised this icy stream flowing through my body, removing ‘debris’ (could that be abnormal cells?) and keeping my breast from burning.  Is it a coincidence that my skin is undamaged by the radiation?

For me, the icy water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

And so today, sitting in the chemo chair for 6 hours, I did not check to see if I felt hot, tight chested, or itchy. Instead I shut my eyes and bathed in a cool soft shower that washed me inside and out. I filled my chest with full deep breaths and rested.

My fellow patient in the chair opposite went home before me – “Bye-bye. Good luck and God Bless”.

Thank you, Father, that you have blessed me. I feel cool, refreshed and safe.

. . the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.

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Round four of my treatment, Herceptin, is scheduled for Thursday 12th August.

I have to be in the treatment unit for 6 hours to go through all the checks and make sure I don’t react adversely to the first dose.

Another journey begins with a long day on the treatment couch . .

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Still waiting

. . . for a date to start Herceptin

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My journey through breast cancer treatment is a long one, and it is not over yet:

Round one – surgery

Round two – chemotherapy

Round three – radiation

Round four – Herceptin

Herceptin is one of the modern treatments that is different from chemotherapy. It is called a monoclonal antibody which utilises the natural immune system to kill tumour cells.

Herceptin can reduce the chance of breast cancer coming back after initial treatment for early breast cancer. However, it is only effective for women whose breast cancer cells have a large number of the HER2 receptors on their surface. This is known as being HER2-positive. Around 1 in 5 women (20%) with breast cancer are HER2-positive.

Herceptin specifically recognises and binds to the HER2 protein on breast cancer cells. This stops the cancer cells from growing and multiplying and also triggers the immune system to attack the cancerous cells.

What this means for me is that I need to have an intravenous infusion every three weeks for up to a year. Most women tolerate the treatment well and carry on with normal life throughout. But it can have some significant side effects. The most worrying one is damage to the heart that can be permanent.

I have had a full work up for my heart, including a treadmill test, and I am ‘fit for treatment’.

We see the consultant on Thursday to plan treatment to start as soon as possible.

Please continue to pray with me for protection and for healing.

The LORD is my strength and my defence, he has become my salvation.

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