March 10, 2014

PET/CT results and new plan

The results of my recent PET/CT scan are the typical, some good and some not-so-good. Nothing has grown a lot, but I do have some new mets. Dr G has decided it's time to add a new drug to the cocktail.

After repeatedly going back and forth over ixibepalone (Ixempra), he checked on the likelihood of peripheral neuropathy this drug causes. 88% of people taking Ixempra develop neuropathy! That is way beyond what I consider an acceptable risk and is inconsistent with trying to balance treating my cancer and living with it. Fortunately Dr G agrees.

In 1999, when I was originally diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, I chose to receive CMF -- Cytoxan, Methotrexate and 5FU -- instead of Adriamycin. My thought at the time was that if my cancer came back, I'd still have a strong drug to go to. And since my paternal grandmother had stage IV breast cancer, I kind of suspected mine might return at some point.

Now Dr G has decided to give me Methotrexate again, since it did a relatively good job in 1999 and was quite tolerable. It comes in IV and oral forms, and he is trying to get my health insurance to approve the oral tablets. If they do, I will take M twice a day on one day, then repeat a week later. It's greatest side effect is that it causes low white blood counts, potentially putting me at risk for infection. I don't know if I will also receive Neulasta to boost my white count.

Now I am waiting for approval and the meds to arrive. In the meantime I started round 14 of Xeloda, went back on Avastin after my second cataract surgery, and continue with Aromasin and Faslodex.

Cancer treatment is very complicated!


  1. One step forward, one step back. I always admire the way you keep hanging in there. I am on injectable methotrexate for my RA at a much smaller dose. I do get mouth sores and have magic mouthwash because some were so bad. Good luck!

  2. Just reading it shows how complicated it is! Are there any extra side effects you're expecting from the (not so) new treatment that will be added?

  3. Anonymous11:03 AM

    Jill, I found your blog while searching side effects. Funny thing is that your disease and mine are very similar. I was dx at age 39, recurred two years later in Right hip, have had recurrences in bones, liver and brain. I live in AK, and see Dr Gadi also! Love him! I'm commenting as anonymous, because I can't figure out how to comment otherwise. Argh!

  4. Our family also is battling with cancer, read our story here:

  5. Hi Jill I picked up the CURE magazine cancer overview at my doctor's the other week--tho I wish you did not have to be a part of this publication, I was glad to see some MBC representation. Thank you!