Jul 25, 2001 - 1:29 am
I recently reconnected with several old friends through Classmates.com, one of whom has advanced breast cancer. If I tell you what I know (which in retrospect doesn't seem like much), maybe someone out there can enlighten me. I feel very uncomfortable "pumping" her for information everytime we talk - which I'm sure you can all appreciate.
My friend is 57. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 (don't know what stage or other specifics). The cancer returned in 1999. This time it metastacised to her liver. She underwent 6 months of treatment and the spots on the liver pretty much disappeared.
At one point a couple months ago she said something about her counts having gone "from 27 to 35 in less than 3 months". Last month, she said they had tripled and she was going to have to start on a different type of chemo. When I talked to her last week, she said her counts are still climbing. The new chemo doesn't seem to be working.
And speaking of working, the doctor made her quit her job in April. She's now working part time in her husband's office - just so she doesn't have to sit home alone and feel sorry for herself. I don't know how much longer she's going to be able to do that, though.
From what I understand, her cancer has NEVER gone into remission. On top of that, she has some kind of "spots" on her spine which have gotten "brighter" on her x-rays but not bigger.
Now for the questions -
From what I've read on these boards, "counts" refers to tumor markers and blood work....but WHAT EXACTLY DOES THAT MEAN??
What is considered "normal"? Is 35 "high"?
Is it possible that she's really NEVER been in remission all this time?
She wasn't ready to quit working, but the doctor insisted. Why do you think he did this?
What are the "spots" on her spine? Could this be additional mets? Apparently the doctors have not taken any aggressive action (ie: surgery, biospy) on them. Could they be tumors or something else?
I'm sorry this is so long, but I have more questions than I know what to do with....and I don't know where to turn to get the answers. I've searched the internet and stumbled on this site quite by accident. You all seem so knowledgable and supportive, I thought I'd give it a try.
From a personal standpoint, I've had three breast biospsies in the past couple of years - all of which have been benign so far. So between my own experience and reconnecting with my friend, I'm hungry for all the information I can get. I hope you all can understand what I mean.
Thank you in advance for any answers you can provide.