"It all started with big axillary lymph nodes that I ignored for a year even though I work in medicine. After a year or so, I noticed two small lumps at six o'clock in the left breast. I was very fatigued, working full-time with a long commute in SoCal that wiped me out and sleeping the minute I got home. At some point it took me three evenings to change the sheets on my bed.
"Finally, I went to see my primary who ordered up a mammogram. The mammogram generated suspicious shadows which led to five biopsies of the left breast and left armpit lymph nodes. Subsequently, ductal cancer was diagnosed, HER2, progesterone, and estrogen receptor positive.
"The oncologist ordered up a PET scan and a CT scan. These revealed stage IV mets -- tumors in the chest wall, lungs, whole spine, pelvis, kidneys, and right rib cage. The fatigue was crushing at that point, and I had to take naps in my office during the day. Perjeta, taxotere, Herceptin, Zometa ensued...and Neupogen for five days after each chemo, which was scheduled every three weeks. Hair loss, no taste buds, and fatigue continued to be my main symptoms along with bloody diarrhea several times a day and night which was controlled eventually with Imodium.
"Slowly, my energy returned. The breast and axillary tumors were no longer were palpable after six months of aggressive treatment. Seven months into treatment, a MUGA scan of the heart revealed subclinical chronic heart failure along with very high blood pressure readings.
"We halted the Perjeta and taxotere, maintained the Herceptin eight months after diagnosis and added Femara. Slowly the hair returned...pretty silver punk and, best of all, the taste buds pretty much made a magnificent appearance...yeah!! Food glorious food. I think I had lost about 12 pounds in weight over the course of the year.
"Three months later, my energy has returned in full force. Enjoyed a three week trip to south east Asia -- five countries. Just returned from a full working week in NYC -- morning, noon, and evening. Have picked up running. Go to the gym each morning at 5:30 a.m. before work and am planning to run a 5K in Washington, DC in November, during a scientific meeting that I will be attending.
"LIfe is good. Am feeling terrific. I think am one of those lucky super responders.... :)
"(A recent PET showed tumors greatly diminished. A small stain showed up on the right upper lobe of the lung. CT has been ordered up.)"
-- laure999, diagnosed metastatic in July 2015