"My name is Tammy. I am 57 years old. I was diagnosed with stage IV on August 3rd, 2017. It was a whirlwind. I have been a very healthy person my whole life. I have had a very stressful year though. I had lost my 33-year-old son in a very horrific way in February and part of me wonders how much that affected my health.
"I went for a yearly checkup in July. Scheduled my mammogram for a couple of weeks later. They were concerned and scheduled an ultrasound for the very next day. Things moved very fast. Biopsy of the breast. Wait 3 days, visit with my gynecologist. She had already set up appointments for me with an oncologist and a surgeon. My oncologist is very to the point and very thorough. Scheduled CT scan, bone scan, and PET scan. I had all of these scans in just a few days time. Met with oncologist and discovered I had one bone met on a rib. I'm thankful that that is all. So I was shocked when it became stage IV.
"Treatment plan changed. I was first going to have chemo to shrink the tumor some before having surgery. After finding the met, my doctor started me on oral meds right away. I am taking Kisqali. I believe this is a very new drug as I have not found this on this site anywhere. Along with Femara and Xgeva. I just recently had 3 month scans. The met looks good! Has shrunk in size and it states that my bone has shown signs of regenerating. No new mets! I will have an ultrasound on my breast on the 11th. I feel confident that has also shrank in size as I have a hard time finding it anymore. Also the cancer markers have all lowered a great deal. Doctor is very pleased with the treatment. I did have issues with white blood count the first round and so they lowered my dosage on the Kisqali, but it still seems to be effective. I will see the oncologist on the 17th and depending on the results of the ultrasound, we will discuss surgery options.
"The hardest part has been realizing that I may not live as long as I always imagined I would. I have two other grown children [who] are both married with beautiful children. My son that passed away also has two sons. I am married to a wonderful man. I also have an adult step-daughter who also has a daughter. Eight grandchildren total with two more on the way! So, thinking about leaving all of them is very hard. Also to go from never going to the doctor for anything except for a check up now and then, I am now going in every week for labs. It is really odd walking into a clinic and everyone knows why you are there and you don't even have to check in!
"I have a wonderful support system that just blows me away. I actually discovered how big of a support system I have back in February when I lost my son. I have a large supportive family, I have a loving church family, and many other friends. I am excited to have found this forum as I feel like a newbie with so much to learn. Also anxious to share this new drug treatment and to maybe find others that are receiving the same treatment."
-- Twyse, diagnosed metastatic in August 2017