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Monday, May 10, 2010

The Article Everyone Sent Me....

I have been bombarded by links to this article in the NY, about a woman who has been living with cancer for 17 years.

It is so nice to know that so many friends saw this article and cared enough to send me the link. 

Thank you!

I know you meant to encourage me.

The article can be extremely encouraging, especially for women who have the "right" kind of cancer.

The article informs us:
"There’s a small subcategory of people with Stage 4 breast cancer... who live for years and years.... about 2 percent of all cases.... People in this group tend to have disease that has spread to the bone (as opposed to lung or liver, say) and feeds on estrogen...."
Though my cancer did spread to my bones (in addition to my lungs and liver), my cancer does not feed on estrogen. 

So, though the message of this article is that woman can live for twenty or thirty years with advanced cancer, the statistics are still not great (only 2%), and they are not so relevant for me, given my cancer type (ER-, PR-, HER2+).

Now, do not get me wrong.

I still have my 80-year plan! (ad meah v'esrim, plus...)

No one, not even the doctors, can predict who will be the lucky survivors; my plan is to be one of them!

But this article does not hold out that promise for me.

Knowing that you all are thinking of me, and praying for me... now, that gives me hope.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Rivka,

I also have stage IV breast cancer, and I read your blog periodically. In addition to some people with stage IV ER positive disease doing really well for a long time, with the advent of Herceptin and other targeted treatment for Her2 positive disease, some women with Her2 positive disease do as well. You might look at some of the encouraging stories at the Her2 support website, www.her2support.org. There are members stories at the communities link, and these include a woman who was treated with Herceptin in 1994, as part of the first trial for Her2 positive metastatic breast cancer. As far as I know, she is still going strong today.

Good luck to you!


Bernie said...

Your cancer is different, I remember reading you had stage 0 breast cancer, I had never heard of stage 0 before.
It has been several years that I have been cancer free, I miss having my left breast and my hair never fully grew back but I am sure you would rather have my problem than not so I keep praying for you. I do hope you are feeling better my friend.....:-) Hugs

Batya said...

It's amazing how specific the testing and diagnosis are now.
Refuah shleimah!!

Rebecca (wisconsin) said...

Rivka! you are so blessed to be able to have that kind of radiation on the 26th! Some can do nothing about it. I remember when you were first diagnosed with the Brain tumors how you wanted to go this route from the very beginning but there were "too many". Now it sounds like the "many" are shrinking down to almost nothing and the problematic ones can get zapped in a very intense manner! This is a wonderful opportunity to have those tumors shrunk and maybe even gone just after one session of treatment over time. It can happen, so keep your feet on HOPE and chin up high and know that I love you and that Hashem loves you even more and is always with you!

Leah Goodman said...

We're all rooting for you. (and praying) Every time I talk to anyone who has ever met you, they tell me that you're incredible.

Bee said...

Good morning RivkA from a sunny UK,

there is a whole batch of positive and healing thoughts and prayers heading your way right now, and in my prayers last night I asked G-d to keep His hand on your shoulder right now so you would know He is with you all through this. I hope that knowing you have His help and have so many friends with you makes the road a little easier. If I could be there with you then I would.

Sarah said...

People who have been sick for a long time are the only ones who can completely understand their personal story. It is unlike any article, or statistic, or story someone tells you about someone they know. Where your story goes, we go with you. And our prayers for you follow every step with us.
lots of love!!

Anonymous said...

No pithy comments or hollow platitudes. Just sending my prayers and strong hugs...

RivkA with a capital A said...

ABH -- :-)

Jill -- thanks for the link! I never heard of that site before! I wish they had a sub-group for HER2 + mets. I suggested it to them, but have not received any response yet.

Bernie -- thanks

Batya -- all the advances, in research and technology, are encouraging.

Rebecca (Wisconsin) -- I wanted it... when I thought there were other options, besides drilling into my head!

Moshe says, "if you're going to freak out, freak out about the cancer, or the radiation, not a few tiny holes..." His focus makes more sense. In the scheme of things, four tiny holes is no big deal.

What can I say? That's what freaks me out...

LeahGG -- really???

Bee -- thanks

Sarah -- I'm not so sure... most times I think that way... other times, not...

Rivster -- that's the way I like it: short and to the point.