Breast Cancer Study Update

It’s Labor Day in North America, and I feel like I’ve been laboring in the name of cancer for far too long now. The thing is, once you start, there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. As anyone who has had a diagnosis in his or her life will tell you, the thought of recurrence never leaves the mind, even when you’re given a clean bill of health. It’s an interesting fraternity to be a member of.

Those of you who followed my Noble Breast blog before I moved it here know that last winter, my medical oncologist asked me to participate in an experimental immunotherapy drug study to treat breast cancer. On September 3, I reached an important milestone in the study and I wanted to update everyone on my progress.

Last Thursday, I received my last round of experimental subcutaneous injections. The injections were given four at a time in my right thigh, every three weeks along with an Herceptin infusion. Going forward, I will still be getting Herceptin every three weeks for the next seven months, and after that, I will receive more injections in my arm.

Overall, participating in this study has been no big deal. Herceptin doesn’t have any noticeable side effects, and the injections were tolerable – if you like the feeling of having a burning cigarette stubbed out on your skin. I’m exaggerating; yes it burns for a few seconds, but you’d have to be a pretty serious wimp to make a big deal out of it.

In the meantime, I am attempting to move on to the next phase of getting myself healthy, but I am running into significant resistance on the part of the medical and insurance communities. I don’t want to get into too much detail now, but I will eventually share what’s been going on. It hasn’t been fun (not that any of this has been fun), and in many ways, it has been more frustrating than dealing with cancer. I’ll explain why soon.

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