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Pathfinder Angel
Posts: 716
Reply with quote  #1 
The yew tree.  My father told his little girls - don't eat the red berries - they are poison!  Now we call on it to heal us.
You all have seen me through the AC X 4 every three weeks.  Now it is time for the T.  It is being suggested T X 12, once a week.  I know Abraxane is the brew of choice, but I don't know if that is going to happen unless a compelling reason presents itself. 
Edge wrote a while ago:   Re dose densification schedules (like weekly and q2wk, for AC, standard taxanes, and also for Abraxane), they are in fact less toxic and more tolerable, as well as more effective, than the standard non-dose-dense schedules like q3wk for example.  Remember that in DD-AC, DD-taxane, etc, the dose is adjusted appropriately for weekly application and so is not the same as the non-DD q3wk schedule; what we are densifying is the schedule of deployment (more frequent). 
Is there a benefit to once a week?  I am thinking of all those blood tests and all those days out of work.   And if not Abraxane, then Paclitaxol?  I get the taxus-related ones mixed up.  Do any of the 3N tumor characteristics drive the choice? 
I just re-wrote my diagnosis profile.  Only 255 letters.... I tried to be more specific. 
And, I just want to say that you who read, and you who respond mean so much to me, your time and thoughts all conspire to make me feel less alone in this long-range "challenge".  Gina - there has to be better word than that!  
Love You - Mary

Dear friend, theory is all grey, and the golden tree of life is green. - Goethe

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Queen Blue Sky & Golden Light
Posts: 1,681
Reply with quote  #2 

Hi Mary,
Yew...are those bushes the same as the one used to create the Yew-tube around Taxol for our consumption?  When I was a wild, lonely, crazy child, activities were spent outdoors, and weather was never a consideration. We were kicked out the back door, and the world of nature awaited our childhood fantasies, fun, and adventure.  
It was enjoyable to build little fires, collect wild foods, and pretend.  I loved to collect wild plants, and pretend it was real food, however, not fit for human consumption.  My childish name for this concoction was entitled,  "witches stew", a pretend evil poison broth using wild berries, grass, pine, dirt, leaves, and the bright red yew berries always added to the exotic look of the make-believe poisonous broth.
One day, my mother saw what I was doing, and took away my matches and the poison  It was make-believe to me, and it was Toil, Toil, Toil & Trouble!  She poured the magic stew (she knew it was toxic)  into the weeds, and it killed the poison ivy and a few other plants. Dandelions, centipedes and a variety of wildflowers; notwithstanding the evil Japanese Beetles...too bad I don't remember WTF I put in the punch...I probably would be a millionairess "Insecticidious Insidious Superstar"... Naturally, I felt guilty about boiling up the poison, I didn't drink it; good grief. 
I remember a voluminous amount of bitter Blackberries, Rose-hips, Black Walnut seeds, and Buckeyes, all floating around the bright red Yew Bush berries; which were also good for squeezing, aiming & shooting seeds out like a little squirt gun.  I was proficient at whistling with Grass Blades and an Acorn Shell Lids, a high pitched squeal; and made baskets out of Willows and Cat-Tails...(the plants, lol).oh well, my future plans were thwarted by the back hand of my mother's hand on the back side of my rear end no thanks to being a creative and  imaginative pain on my poor mother's nervous system. lol. 
Regarding your chemotherapy treatment:  I also had the same treatment as you, (I think); 4 Adriamyacin/Cytoxin Tx. 3 wks apart, and it seemed endless.  I did not tolerate it well, but bullied through; none of the anti-emetics were effective.  I enjoyed being hairless.  Taxol treatment was advised, 12 x wkly doses.  I was horribly allergic to it, as well.  I asked for Abraxane, but it was not given.  I was told it is more toxic than Taxol (Paciltaxol), and not to consider using it.  I wonder about it, since I later discovered it is far more costly.  If our Insurance does not cover the cost, then who pays? 

I was given triple doses of Methotrexate...Decadron, the Steroid; to reduce the red streaks, shortness of breath, suffocating sensation, rash, and sever nausea.  I was sick throughout the tx, and had to have shots for raising both my red and white blood count.  I have peripheral neuropathy from surgery, chemotherapy and radiation tx.  I will be NED for 3 years upon completion of treatment this coming September. 
I was told three years ago that the trial studies were surprisingly overwhelming in regards to Triple Negative, Basal Subtype, particularly in early stage breast cancer.  I still wish I would have had a hissy fit, and done a better convincing job, or left the Oncology Clinic to find an Oncologist who would have administered Abraxane.  It is far superior, and I knew this before I received the Taxol treatment.  I was much more gullible then, and obviously it's NOT an "experimental drug" any more.  They gave me every song and dance in the book in an attempt to convince me the Abraxane was bad, and that the Paciltaxol $$$$$$$ was best.
Thank you for your beautiful words and excellent descriptions of your treatment decisions.  It helps me to feel at peace about my own choices on the treatment options made available to those suffering with Triple Negative Disease, and it's illusive information guidelines.


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Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
In dense dosing....
even though each treatment is less than the standard once every 3 weeks...
you end up getting more of the drug than standard dosing...

Side effects are supposed to be less..

My taxotare experience was pretty awful...Weekly treatments...chemo burns on face and neck...blistered...Nerve damage in fingers and toes...looked like a monster...Had a lot of pain...

Kept going...but the doctors finally stopped the treatment...worried it was begin to swell inside my throat...trouble breathing...

But anyway the pont of  dense dosing...smaller doses..more frequently...they get more in you...than standard dosing...and it's supposed to be easier on the body...

Hope this helps..


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Posts: 7,476
Reply with quote  #4 
Dbredes, I am sorry you had such a bad experience with Taxotere.

Indi, I love your forests......paths........and byways........

Dear Mary,

Dose dense means this:
When you get a chemo, usually 7-10 days after you hit your lowest blood count. That means that the red and white blood cells have been knocked as low as they can. After that time, your counts start to climb as you recover.
When you get standard, 21 day dosing, your body is able to recover almost completely, until the next dose is due.
When dose dense was being studied, they wanted to see if while they were letting our counts return to normal, were they also letting our cancer cells recover as well?
They found that if they gave the chemo every 14 days, instead of every 21 days, there was less of a chance for the cancer to make a comeback along with the red and white blood cells.
In order to help us through, drugs that boost white cells and red cells were given. Neulasta is a long lasting one, Nuepogen is a shorter acting one, for white cells and procrit is for red cells.
This was perfected by a group of doctors out of Memorial Sloan Kettering,  Long Island Jewish Medical System and MD Anderson.
The protocol became chemo on day one, Neulasta 24 hours later, next dose 14 days later. The studies showed that Dose Dense DID in fact work better than standard dosing.
There were some women who had a hard time with this, even with the blood boosters. So they developed sequential chemotherapy, meaning if you did A/C, they would give the Adriamycin first, alone, followed by the Cytoxan second, alone.
Even though this prolongs the length of time you do chemo- it worked wonderfully.

With the Taxanes, they found they could do them every two weeks instead of every three weeks as well. If women had bad side effects, they would give a smaller dose weekly. This greatly reduced the side effects.

I got my Abraxane weekly.

Usually they give you three weeks on and then a week off, and then you resume.

It takes longer, but it is worth it if you you are suffering.

Ms. Streep- I do hope you keep "plan B" in your back pocket... I believe in you!!!





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Pathfinder Angel
Posts: 716
Reply with quote  #5 
OK, so weekly is a standard option, then.  Nurse Cathy keeps telling me I am going to be fine - I had a CAT scan of my head yesterday and in the afternoon my arms had itchy bumps - maybe from the radioactive stuff in the veins?  CAT scan was because I showed my Dr. G a bump on my head I have had for ten years.  Now that I am bald it bugs  me.  I think it is a fat blob that forms if you have an injury sometimes.   
Dbredes Cupcake - Nice to hear from you!  Sounds like you were reacting and that Abraxane should have been offered to you.  Thank you for the heads-up.  I don't wnat the benedryl to put me asleep for a few days, either. 
Indi, I knew we were formed in the same era and of the same fabric - willow whips, cottonwood seeds and violets.  We used to cultivate embers left over where my father burned trash and make the same stew!  Only no red poison berries - too scary.  Just real flames under our caldron, and somehow no burns to show for it.
So somehow even though the body does not have time to recover in only a week, the dose is low enough that the blood levels are OK, or what?  I have been very lucky with no side effects to speak of from the AC.  Come to think of it, I have had side effects, but I have a high tolerance for uncomfortableness, and so unless I am in actual PAIN, say a 6-7 on a scale of 1-10  :-(    I tend to be oblivious.  I have had those 'burns' on my neck/shoulders, very sensitive to the touch, just a wierd feeling.  I have only taken my temp a few times ( I forget)  and then of course the Connie S. T. Pations we have discussed ad nauseum, so to speak.  
And Gina, we know what AC+T stands for, don't we? 
Fondest regards, Mary

Dear friend, theory is all grey, and the golden tree of life is green. - Goethe
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