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Time for change

April 20, 2021

Yesterday I met with Dr. Z about my cancer marker and he decided it’s time to try a different treatment. The trend we had seen from Jan to Apr was 44, 47, 67, 69. He said that while he will not make a decision based on one or two markers, this trend tells him that there are more cancer cells than there were 6 weeks ago. And he has been doing this long enough to know when to stop betting on a drug. 

My original cancer was ER+ (estrogen positive) 75%, but my current one is only 3%. This tells him that the endocrine therapy has been effective in killing off the hormone part of the disease, but the non-hormone part is still there. We knew this about my cancer when I started Ibrance in January, so I’m not surprised to be at this point. 

He said “This is a marathon. You have a chronic disease and I have to approach treatment so that you have the least amount of side effects and maximum bang for your buck. You have a long life to live and I plan on making sure that happens.” He pointed out that any time there is a change in therapy, patients tend to feel like “the wheels are falling off and we’re going into a ditch right now” but he views this as a course correction due to the dynamic nature of cancer.

So I’ve stopped taking #Ibrance and will be switching to #Xeloda (capecitabine). It’s a chemo drug that I’ll take one week on, one week off. It can be taken for years. He said women often have less side effects with this than with Ibrance. The unexpected bonus of this switch is that I will no longer be getting Lupron (forced menopause) or Faslodex – so I didn’t get any giant shots yesterday! 

I felt really emotional yesterday and was struggling against scary thoughts. (This is when I need my stockpiled hope!) I hate having cancer and things like this are a giant reminder that I have it. Between a fun, social weekend and this appointment, I was wiped out last night. I’m thankful we are being proactive, but new drugs are scary. I’m cautiously optimistic about cutting back on the hormonal aspect of my treatment.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Zimmerman A. T. "Andy" permalink
    April 21, 2021 16:45

    Hi Grace! Kim and I are praying for you every day!….I took Xeloda for my chemo treatment back in 2018. It worked for me and I am still cancer-free, at least as far as could be determined visually by a colonoscopy on 06 April 2021.

    • April 21, 2021 17:09

      Andy, I’ve so appreciated your comments on here and on Facebook! I’m glad to hear you are still cancer free! I really appreciate the prayers. What was it like when you took Xeloda? Give Kim a hug for me.

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