(written by Jen Kwiatek)
Jenn started her morning at Reston Hospital for a scheduled x-ray to check on the pneumothorax of her left lung. She met with her radiologist Dr. David Dubois who told her that the lung is significantly better than it was on Friday. It isn’t 100%, but it is much better. He said he is confident it will continue improving and that she does not need a tube or to return for another x-ray. Jenn said, “I just really want to hug you. I don’t get good news that often these days.”
She then received a call from Dr. Heyer’s office. The needle biopsy of the lung nodule came back—it is cancer in her lung. The receptors are exactly the same as the primary tumor and the lymph nodes, which is good news. That means this isn’t a secondary cancer, like lung cancer. This is breast cancer that spread, so the nodules, lymph nodes and tumor should all respond in the exact same way to chemotherapy. Let's kill it all!!!
Dr. Heyer spent the weekend conferencing and consulting with other oncologists and medical professionals globally. They have decided to switch the cocktail of drugs in Jenn’s chemotherapy. She will now receive Taxotere and Carboplatin every three weeks for a total of six treatments … that means she will have chemo over the course of 18 weeks. She starts on Wednesday, Feb. 8. These drugs and the schedule is exactly the same as the treatment I received four years ago, only I had one more drug called Herceptin because my cancer was HER2 positive. So Jenn has an idea of what to expect having spent time with me throughout my journey.
The reason for the last minute change is because Adriamycin should only be given once in a lifetime. It is a pretty toxic drug which is hard on the heart. Because of Jenn’s Stage 4 Triple Negative diagnosis and the cancer now being evident in the lung nodules, the probability of her having a recurrence is higher than before. So, they want to keep this medication (Adriamycin) in their back pocket should they need it down the road. It is a strategic move. Jenn understands the change and believes her medical team is doing what’s best.
She is in great spirits this morning (I think partially due to David Beckham’s H&M Super Bowl AD.) She is in the company of one of her best childhood friend, Amy Shroades and she knows that all she has to do now is focus on what us pink sisters call “the plunge” … chemotherapy on Wednesday of this week.