Herceptin, my saviour!

It’s a good news / bad news situation. Bad news is that my bloodwork wasn’t good (anemia, moderately high neutropenia, low platelets and signs of dehydration) mean that chemo is cancelled on Friday. I still get my immunotherapy (Herceptin) drip though.

The good news is that I didn’t actually realize I had chemo scheduled (confusion in my protocol since I’m on a drug rarely used for my stage of cancer but had to go on it because of an allergy to the previous “chemo cocktail”. With that, I can at least not feel like crap for my only long weekend I have not had chemo on. Every single long weekend since March I had chemo.

But, because my bloodwork was pretty bad, I’ll have to be extra careful around people and making sure my body temperature doesn’t drop over the course of the long weekend. Last week, my basal temperature was bordering hypothermia and if I drop back down to 35.3 or so, I need to go to ER.

Oh chemo, we continue on this love-hate relationship, but at least I’ll get to relax in Radium for a few days and hopefully feel better. I will still get my immunotherapy treatment (Herceptin).

This will treatment #3 of 17 total Herceptin treatments over a one year period (i.e. it’s every 3 weeks). It looks like my body has adapted to it and I am not exhibiting any of the allergic side effects I had my first two rounds. Yay! And, as of this treatment, my Herceptin drip is only 30 minutes. Today, finding a vein actually took longer than the time the drip will take. 🙄

The nice thing about Herceptin is that I’ll be able to return to work once I’m done my chemo, surgery and radiation even though I’ll still be on Herceptin. The side effects are minimal, thank goodness!

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More side effects

Here is an interesting video on how Herceptin works along with chemotherapy. Before Herceptin came along, I would have only had approximately 21 months to live.

While Herceptin and I didn’t get along on injection day, and add in my Paclitaxel chemo dose, I’m definitely feeling a ton of side effects today, including a splitting headache, upset stomach / GI tract, abdominal pain and heartburn. Not sure if it’s the headache and noise sensitivity, but I burst into tears while trying to have breakfast with the family.

My husband brought me lightly seasoned cucumbers as a small snack after breakfast, putting two aside without any seasoning, so that I could put them on my eyes, which were puffy from crying.

I’m now lying in bed with the dogs and listening to the rain outside. It’s somewhat soothing and making me feel better.

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Scary reaction to Herceptin

Chemo + Herceptin drips went from 8h15 to 15h45. What a day! With this new part of my treatment, I’ll be getting drips 6 out of the 8 next weeks.

Unfortunately, within a few minutes, I started showing moderate allergic reaction symptoms to the Herceptin (https://myhealth.alberta.ca/…/medica…/Pages/conditions.aspx… ) even though I had taken an antihistamine as part of my pre-chemo medication and received an IV dose of dexamethasone (https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a616022.html) prior to getting the Herceptin drip. With all of that, I shouldn’t have had a reaction, so when I started showing symptoms, the nurses immediately took me off the chemo and gave me Benadryl via IV (https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/side_effects/allergic).

Pumping Diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl) directly into a narcoleptic’s veins knocked me right out!

After the allergic side effects subsided fully, they observed me 30 minutes and challenged my body with the Herceptin again. Thankfully, I didn’t react further. I’ll be under close watch for the next 2 Herceptin treatments. Usually, by the third treatment, the expectation is that I should have acclimatized to the drug and I shouldn’t have any more allergic responses.

The Paclitaxel (https://myhealth.alberta.ca/…/medica…/Pages/conditions.aspx… ) treatment was thankfully uneventful. As I was leaving, i met another wonderful breast cancer patient and we exchanged details. Hopefully we will have a chance to meet again!

Now, I’m home resting but am feeling exhausted, headachy and heartburn is kicking in.

I had dinner in bed and N came in the snuggle me for a few minutes. Now, my turn to get ready for bed too.

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