Last month, I learned that the treatment for my metastatic breast cancer stopped working, but was thrilled to learn about Enhertu — a new drug for a new subset of patients with breast cancer — as the next line of therapy.
My December scans brought me heartbreaking news into Christmas and the last week of 2022. My stage 4 metastatic breast cancer spread further into my bones. It meant the treatment of Kisqali and Fasoldex that I had just switched to three months prior, was no longer working.
All the comfort and peace I had begun to feel around my new treatment was pulled out like a rug underneath me, leaving me feel naked, unsure and scared.
My two incredible oncologists gave me two options for my next treatments: capecitabine, an oral chemo pill taken every day, which could bring even more horrific GI issues for me than what I was currently enduring, and we didn’t know how effective it might be for me (it was standard of care though); or Enhertu, an IV chemo given every three weeks, with potentially fewer side effects, and potentially more effectiveness, and hot off the medical research world for HER2-low subtype of breast cancer.
I was at a divided path, and was given all of the pros and cons of the two treatments. I also began to ask for all the research I could from my doctors. HER2-low is something brand new for women like me — it didn’t exist when I was diagnosed back in 2018. I was considered HER2-negative, and ER+. Now, I’m in a different subgroup, with a new hope on the horizon due to this incredible research!
As I began further reading into all of the medical research, I found even more hope about Enhertu from CURE ® and the medical community on how it has helped improved some survival rates. The most incredible part about Enhertu is that this is all medical research that is coming out from recent clinical trials, and women are living longer with stage 4 breast cancer.
The side effects are better than the chemo I received nearly five years ago, and I have much more hope knowing that my oncologists are on top of medical research.
Embracing Enhertu also meant I was able to self-advocate, and choose part of my path, rather than have the path chosen for me. That meant the biggest difference in the worldbecause I was able to learn so much about my future, ask questions and relate to other women who are on Enhertu that are in Facebook groups or are friends of mine.
Self-advocacy is essential in survivorship because it helps mental health, emotional attitude and the understanding that you are still having some control over what your decisions are at the end of the day. Your medical care is still in your hands, and your life matters. This is why I am on my fourth set of oncologists, my fourth medical hospital, and, probably, why I’m still alive.
In my eyes, Enhertu is hopenot only for myself, but for other women, too, because it’s changing the standard of careand giving us more options. It’s changing how chemotherapy is built, how side effects can be managed and how cancer cells are targeted. Enhertu is opening the gates to a different cancer treatment. The proof is that HER2-low didn’t exist even a few years ago. The proof is that women are living longer. The proof is that side effects are better.
Cheers to Enhertuand embracing all that it brings. I’m rooting for all of us. #gracegritgratitude
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