Today we traveled into Portland to have my post surgery follow up appointment with Dr. de LaMelena, and to have my drains removed. I got some news that makes my heart sing. The pathology report shows a Pathologically Complete Response. – which means they could find NO cancer-ing cells – in neither my removed breast tissue nor the removed lymph nodes. I have been restaged from stage 3C to stage 0, as in ZERO.
This is an amazing thing. A pCR is a rare enough thing that they don’t really have much data on what it means. We are feeling very happy at this house tonight. We celebrated by getting ice cream in Portland, and once home I took my first shower post surgery – which felt like a spa treatment – Ah! Next week we will travel back in to PDX for my Herceptin treatment, and a more in depth look at the pathology report with the oncologist Dr. Andersen. We will discuss with him how to proceed with the rest of my treatment- which will now be geared mostly towards prevention of a reoccurrence.
20 years ago, or even ten years ago, the statistical prognosis for someone diagnosed with the same type and stage of cancer as me was much worse than it is today. In fact HER2+ cancers had the worst prognosis- and often resulted in death. The development of targeted therapies for HER2+ breast cancer has made a huge difference in the treatment and potential to move forward without cancer-ing for folks diagnosed with it. I am incredibly grateful to have been born in this time, to be diagnosed at this time, and so able to benefit from these new ways of treating people.
I know that the targeted therapies, Herceptin and Perjeta obviously had huge impact- and I know that I have benefited from the many other therapies I have received: the love and support from family and community, the TCM with Acupuncture, the massage with energy work, naturopathic medicine, the food prepared for us, daily walks in an immensely beautiful place, dancing, beautiful flowers, and perhaps most importantly -all of the prayers. Even though there is no way to quantify the impact of these things, or their effectiveness towards my Pathologically Complete Response, I believe that they are intimately and irrevocably connected.
I give thanks to all of the spirits and angels who look after me, and to the Sacred source of all life in this moment. Amen.