Alright, so after last week’s breakdown, as promised the Oncotype DX results are in. Depending on if you are half glass full or empty, the results could be viewed either way.
Before jumping into any of this information — I just want to remind all of you that since I am triple negative, we always knew that I’d have to have chemo. This test simply will give us insight into my chemo cocktail (read: how severe and shitty the next few months of my life will be).
Let me quickly recap the point of the Oncotype DX test (Don’t you just love how I insist on making you all wait for info? I really should have been a screenwriter. I am so good at building suspense hahahaha. OK, I realize that I’m not great at this at all, in fact many of you would probably say that I’ve jumped the shark at this point, but that’s just your opinion — so keep it to yourself!). This test looks at 21 specific genes from the tumor that was removed on surgery day, and from those genes they can get a good idea of recurrence rate of this cancer. The recurrence score range goes from 0-100. When we first met with our oncologist, he said that a score of 20 or below would get me the easier chemo route of just TC. Anything above would get my the dense dose (aka – no fun) route of AC followed by T (aka, ACT). His best guess at the time, was that I would come in at at 24. Thus, I’ve been preparing myself for the harsh route ever since.
Mt result was a 61. Gaaaa. That is F’ing high. Which means this cancer is really, really, really aggressive and fast growing. THANK GOD WE CAUGHT IT WHEN WE DID. Without chemo I have a 34% chance of cancer recurrence. With the ACT chemo cocktail (which is a must at this point, given my score), I cut that in half — down to a 14% chance of recurrence. My oncologist then said with additional lifestyle changes etc, I can probably get it as low as a 7% chance of recurrence.
So, all of that is pretty scary and a lot to take in. But, I am slowly processing and practicing my slow breathing (and keeping the green cross on speed dial! jk jk jk jk)
I am looking at about 20 weeks (or 5 months of chemo). The first 2 months will be the hardest, because it’s the AC part. the “A” stands for Adriamycin and the “C” stands for Cytoxan. They are given first and they are given simultaneously. I will go in once every two weeks for my infusion and the main side effects will be 100% hair lose within 14 days of my first infusion, nausea and constipation. After that part is over, I will move to the “T” which stands for either Taxol or Taxotere (you can get one or the other depending on how you tolerate and/or whether you are allergic to one or the other of the drugs). The main side effect of the “T” is cumulative fatigue. This is a very high level overview of ACT and it’s side effects — I’m sure I’ll go into more detail when I’m actually going through it. But I think that’s more than enough info for now!
SO, like I said at the beginning of this post. 61 is F’ing high and scary. And, depending on if your glass is half full or empty; you could view this either way. Here are my thoughts (you’ll be able to tell that being a control freak helps me cope!):
- I already assumed I’d be losing all my hair, so my hair plan is in place. I will be cutting all my hair off the day before my first infusion and donating it to Locks for Love (they are the only place that will accept chemically treated/dyed hair). My pixie will officially go into effect on Monday, December 17th and my first infusion will be Tuesday, December 18th. As I mentioned earlier, I will lose all of my hair 14 days after my first infusion, I’m told you can set your watch by it. Guess when that is? New Year’s Eve! So Paul and I will need to come up with some fun plans which will include shaving my head completely bald (and rocking’ an Hermes baby!). Any SF’ers want to come over and make a party out of all of this? Ring in the new year with a bald Andrea? Takers? Anyone? What? That doesn’t sound fun to you?…
- While the Oncotype DX test came back very high, it also confirmed that I am 100% Estrogen negative — which means I can still carry a pregnancy post chemo. Yay! Honestly, this is the best news in all of this! While it won’t be my egg, I can still carry which is HUGE to me (I’ll do another post on where we are with the donor egg situation on a later date).
- The point of chemo is that it attacks ALL of the fastest growing things in your body. If I have a 61, that means that shit is growing fast, so the chemo will surely find it and go to town on it. While it won’t be pleasant for me — I know it’s the right thing to do. I sort of summed it up like this earlier today to someone: “If Osama is hiding in a cave in my body, this chemo regime will not only smoke him out, but kill his ass too.”
So, we are trying to be glass half full here as you can see! I have to run, I have some wine to drink (since I can’t have any once chemo starts, and Diane (my mother in law) is in town visiting — so I want to go spend some QT with her and Paul. We are are about to trim the tree, drink some eggnog (and wine) listen to Christmas music, wrap presents and have a jolly time.
OH! PS — This past weekend, Paul and I went to the BAYS holiday party. Truly it was the best.time.ever. So many amazing people, and so much fun. I promise to post on that in the next day or so (and I have some cute pictures). But, for now, I am off to trim the tree and get in the xmas spirit!
Ciao for now!