Update 11/7/2014

November 7th, 2014 § 82 comments

IMG_7240This week has been one of disappointment and adjustment. I met with the interventional radiologist on Wednesday afternoon to discuss what can be done for the metastases to my liver and what options are available. While chemotherapy has done a remarkable job in clearing up the cancer in my chest (it is resolved; if there, is small enough that it doesn’t show up on the scan), there are metastases to my liver that are chemotherapy-resistant. This means they have grown despite the fact that chemo that has worked well in other areas of my body.

Unfortunately, what I learned while reviewing the scan with him is that I don’t just have two tumors in the liver. Instead there are actually many tumors in my liver, with those two being the largest. The fact there are so many tumors is why I am not a candidate for external beam radiation or other non-invasive treatment.

So far I am still a candidate for the Yttrium 90 radioembolyzation procedure where radioactive beads are inserted via a catheter snaked up through the groin into the hepatic artery and subsequently “feed” the tumors radioactive material as the beads work their way into the liver.1

It will take three separate procedures spaced about two weeks apart to get this done. I will start the first week of December and finish in January. The first procedure involves mapping things out (in essence, a “dry run” where mock beads are inserted) and the next two are actual placement procedures. This is all a joint approach between interventional radiology and nuclear medicine. Before I start I will need a CT angiogram of the liver and a PET scan. After treatment I will have to monitor progress with PET scans every three months.

In the meantime we need to start on a new IV chemotherapy right away to try to see if we can find a chemo that will work on the liver tumors. We have no way of knowing if we will find one or what it will be. Right now my oncologist is eyeing Cisplatin, a platinum-based chemo like the Carboplatin I was on this summer. We will make the decision by next week and begin then.

The liver situation is serious. The cancer is growing rapidly there and we need to get it under control. Results of using Yttrium 90 for breast mets is pretty good, definitely good enough to proceed with it. To be honest, it is not a choice about whether to do it (I’m not at a point where I would consider doing nothing and stopping treatment, I realize that proceeding with any type of treatment is a choice in and of itself). There aren’t other options to treat these in a “batch” way.

So, there is a lot of adjustment right now. I feel sadness, disappointment, and anger that chemo has worked so well in some areas but the liver has been resistant. Things change so fast with this disease. One day things are relatively stable and within weeks they can be spiraling out of control.

As always, I will continue to educate and do what I can to show what my life with metastatic breast cancer is, what life with the disease can be.

For now, I will begin a new chemo and proceed with plans and pre-surgical testing for December. I’ve appreciated the emails and comments so much and I thank you all for your concern and wishes. I am sorry that I can’t respond to them all individually.

  1. If you would like to read about the details, one summary of the procedure appears here, it is mostly used in colorectal metastases  to the liver []

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§ 82 Responses to Update 11/7/2014"

  • Tammy says:

    I’m sorry about this news. Can you still be treated with the investigational drug you posted about last week?

    • Lisa Bonchek Adams says:

      Yes, but at this time that is not the right path to be taking. We will wait.

      • Margot Grabis says:

        Lisa, When you wrote that your cancer is back 2012, you mentioned that you would tell us more about how you knew or found out. I had double masectomy in feb. of 2012 and decided not to do Chemo or radiation. Stage 1 no lymph nodes involved (at least not the six they tested) and I don’t take tamoxifen. (probably should at least do that) It’s been two years since my last surgery. A little worried because my bones ache. my shoulder, left leg and hip ache and lower back. Could you either e mail me or post here how you found out after five years that your cancer was back? My blood work always looks good, but it looked fine when I had breast cancer. They don’t do anymore tests on me unless I have definitive symptoms. That scares me.

        • Lisa Bonchek Adams says:

          Hi, obviously if your markers are not good indicators of cancer you can’t rely on those. Mine always have been. I had rib pain that I mentioned to one of my doctors, we looked at markers first and when they were elevated for the first time in 5.5 years we knew it was reason for concern. I then had a chest x ray (same day, that came back clear) and then had a PET scan a few days later which showed the metastases to bones. Any pain that stays in the same place and worsens should always be brought to attention of your doctors. Bone pain is a common way people find out they have mets but there are many reasons that there can be pain besides a metastasis of course. So you need to go have it checked out if it doesn’t go away. Fear can’t keep you from finding out. Metastatic cancer is not about to just disappear if you ignore it and will only worsen. So the best thing you can do is push through the fear to get information.

          If you have been told to take tamoxifen and are scared of recurrence, yes, it seems like you should be taking it! Sounds like going to have your bone pain checked out and using your fear as impetus to follow through on doctors’ recommendations for the tamoxifen may be a good way to feel empowered in your care and future. But do get the pain checked out first. That’s the most important thing to do right now. And let us know.

  • Marisa Birns says:

    Lisa, you do a very good job of educating so many about life with metastatic cancer, with all it’s ups and heartbreaking downs. I hope that you and your team can find that scientific powerhouse that will give you relief and peace of mind.

  • Pam says:

    I am glad your chest scan showed good news.

    So so so sorry that your liver is under siege. Holding you in my heart. Hoping the treatments you have lined up will work well.

  • meri says:

    I appreciate you. XO

  • Erika Robuck says:

    I am so sorry to hear this. I hope the treatments are able to give you comfort and time. xo

  • Lisa B says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I’m still in a position where my targeted therapy is working, but reading your posts has been very educational for me, looking ahead to the point where it does stop working. Have you posted about how you make your decisions on what therapy to use, when to use it, and how to weigh quality vs quantity of life?
    Wishing you the best,

    • Lisa Bonchek Adams says:

      I haven’t written per se about a general rubric of decision-making. It doesn’t work like that for me. Each decision is individual. I make each decision as it comes, with the guidance of my oncologist. And then I usually talk about that in my posts. It’s not that hard a decision to make each time. And the farther along you get, the fewer decisions there are to make. Options become reduced.

  • Gregg says:

    I am very late to your story but feel so touched by your willingness to share and educate. Whether you want to be or not, you are an inspiration on so many levels. I, like so many others following, can’t possibly understand your challenges. To say I do would be an insult. All I can do is tell you that you are in my thoughts and prayers and I wish you and your family the best in the journey that lies ahead.

  • Kelly says:

    So sorry to hear this update- even more sorry to hear how you are feeling as a result. Your emotions are quite understandable. Thank you so much for sharing- that must have been difficult to do. Wishing you lots of luck through these upcoming treatments.

  • Pris says:

    So sorry you are facing these decisions. I admire you and respect the dilemmas and decisions you are making. Best to you and your family.

  • Maria says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the challenges and decisions that you are faced with. I was diagnosed with metastatic breast ca in April 2013. While my decisions have been different, I feel like your experiences are so similar. I learn something from each of your posts and I look forward to hearing more from you. Education is essential and there is a difference in reading the literature versus reading about someone going through a realistic situation. Thank you again for your insight and knowledge. I hope that the upcoming weeks provide some comfort.

  • Sarah Buttenwieser says:

    You are an amazing teacher, that’s for sure. Holding the ripples of sadness and anger, wrapping it in so many wishes for the next thing to help more, and give you some more stability and energy.

  • beth cioffoletti says:

    Lisa, you help me so much in dealing with my own version of mbc. I was diagnosed Stage iv in October 2012, about the same time you were, and can relate to so many of your feelings. I am HER2+ and have responded well to Herceptin from the neck down. It’s my brain where the disease keeps showing up. Surgery and gamma knife zapping has been keeping in check so far, but every MRI shows a little more. I so appreciate your sharing. Thank you.

  • Marie says:

    Thank you for the update. I think about you often (but not in a creepy, stalkerish way.) 🙂

  • I continue to be glad that you have such a great team of professionals who, even when things don’t go as planned, seem to have a viable Plan C, D, or G.

    You are here, you have living to do. Keep at it, despite the awfulness of times like these.

  • Kristin Laferty says:

    Lisa , I have heard anecdotally through breast cancer thought leaders over the years (Joyce O’shaughnessy and Edith Perez) that Halaven (eribulin) works well with visceral diseas esp liver mets. Might be worth a discussion with your med-onc? Thanks again for sharing your journey with us – you are one strong courageous woman and we are all behind you.

  • Jody Schoger says:

    With hope for these next two approaches. Much love,

  • Pat Wetzel says:


    Thanks for sharing your experiences. The detail, the ups and down, and the complexities are the reality of life with cancer, and we can all relate. Know that you’re in my thoughts, with lots of good wishes going your way.

  • A V Christie says:

    There are two chickadees at my bird feeder, Lisa, with beautiful bronze oak leaves on the tree behind. I am naming them Hope and Love in your honor. I am Stage IV Metastatic breast cancer as well. I appreciate your thorough discussions: you are so generous using your time in this way. Hoping tomorrow will be better. Hope and Love are here. I’ll make sure they are well fed.

  • Nona says:

    Lisa, Thank you for sharing the ups and downs of dealing with your disease. You are helping so many people. I had a friend with liver mets due to colon cancer and this treatment worked well for him so I am crossing my fingers that you have the same experience. I am hoping that you have some time each day to enjoy your family, friends, and life!

  • Tessa Martin says:

    I’m so sorry, I hope the new Chemo will work. As always sending love and prayers to all of you.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I am so sorry to hear this. Hopefully, the new chemo will work and the treatment for the liver mets will be successful. Once again, thank you for your insight and easy to follow explanations of the various treatments. As others have said our strength is amazing.

  • Susannah Fox says:

    Full of appreciation for all you do. Here’s hoping the new protocol does its job.

  • Sarah Hina says:

    I’m sorry this roller coaster ride never lets up, Lisa. How you must hate that this is the new normal.

    We are all thinking of you and wishing for the best for as long as possible. I wish we could do more.

  • Elizabeth Von Stur says:

    Lisa I am so sorry the news about your liver is so discouraging. I will hope with every fiber in my body that the procedures you will have will successfully tame these tumors. As usual I am in awe of your courage, strength, fortitude, Grace. You are the best teacher I’ve ever had in terms of putting things in perspective and forging ahead, no matter what. Much love to you. ❤️

  • Kelly Yeoh says:

    Hi Lisa

    Firstly, I am sorry that you didn’t have better news. I’ve been following your story for a while, and you are often in my thoughts.

    I understand completely not wanting to discuss too much of your family within your posts, however I was wondering if you have any advice for parents of young children who are going through this?

    I have a six year old daughter. Her father was diagnosed a few months ago with metastatic lung cancer, two mets in the brain, met in adrenal, confirmed lymph involvement. He’s a non smoker, and only 40 years of age. He is doing ok at the moment, however we have already been through some ups and downs, and she is suffering. This hasn’t been helped by my MIL having a massive breakdown in front of her and screaming about how he is going to be dead soon – particularly when we plan to fight this, not just lay down and give up as MIL had claimed. Nobody has spoken to us of time frames, only that his age and health should help, so remain positive.

    We are working with professionals to try to make things as ok as possible for her, and doing as much as a family as we can when he is well enough to cope with it, but the professionals haven’t experienced it, they don’t know first hand what kids go through, how they react, what reassurances have worked, what haven’t, what to expect going forward, etc.

    My heart is so broken for my little girl… These are such big issues that little people shouldn’t have to deal with 🙁

    Do you have any advice? Or any of your readers who have been here?

    Sending you much love

    Kelly xx

    • Lisa Bonchek Adams says:

      I have two posts that immediately spring to mind about young children and cancer, one is “Morning Chat (Will you have it forever)” and the other is “Diagnosed with Stage 4? Some starting tips, especially for kids.” These can both be easily found from my home page on the right hand side under “most popular posts.”

      No one knows your child as well as you do, and your MIL’s behavior is totally selfish. Perhaps there need to be rules about what behavior will be allowed if she is going to visit. And perhaps it is your husband that needs to issue those. This is not about her. And she needs to understand how her behavior affects such a small child (not to mention you both).

      Hopefully the counselors are ones that specialize in death and dying and children… children have unique ways of going through and understanding what is happening. And it may take family therapy in addition. I commend you for already getting her professional help. That is a big step.

      Every case is individual, what works for one family won’t be right for another. And there is an adjustment period too. Once the news has “sunk in” if there is stability with treatment then it allows for some time for all of you to catch up emotionally. Keep talking, being open, getting help, but make sure it’s with experts in this area. I completely agree with you that children are different and need their own method of help.

      I don’t know if any of this (or the posts) will help. I hope so and wish you the best as you navigate these terrible circumstances. It always makes me cry the hardest when I think of the affected children.

      • Kelly Yeoh says:

        thank you xx

        What I wouldn’t give for a way to fix all of this, for everybody who suffers from this awful disease – those who have it, those who stand on the sidelines so helplessly, those who devote their lives to helping. My kingdom for a magic wand…

        I don’t think I have ever been so scared of anything as I am of what my little girl is going to have to watch her daddy go through. I am so, so sorry for your experiences, and those of your family. I am also grateful for the opportunity to share your journey and gain a better understanding of where we’re going.

        He started on radiation, then gemcitabine-carboplatin, and now alimta. Full body scan this week, and brain scan in two weeks. As the tests get closer, he gets sicker, and we are desperately hoping that it is anxiety fuelled, and not that the alimta has failed us… I commend your bravery and grace in how you face this – it is HARD, and it’s not even mine… Big love xx

  • Sammy says:

    I always read your posts and wish I could say something to make you feel better, but can’t even imagine what a difficult time this is for you and your family. I believe in Jesus Christ though, and if I were going through what you’re, I would find peace here.

    Philippians 3:20-21

    20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

  • Ashley says:

    Oh ,,,,I feel badly for you Lisa,,,,,it is incredible the chemo was so effective in your chest area but not in the liver,,,,it’s such an insidious disease,,,praying that the new drug will work like the last one did until it stopped,,,,,my sister in laws breast cancer has fractured one of her vertibrae in her spine,,,she too is going on a new trial drug in Boston,,,,,,I think of the both of you so often,,,,she is exactly your age with young children,,,hugs to you Lisa,,so many hugs ashley

  • susan says:

    Lisa, you are in my thoughts as you walk this difficult road and I am so grateful to you for informing ,educating, caring which I see in all that you post. You have helped so many of us in understanding and coping, finding that little bit of beauty, as you write, each day and valuing the advances in cancer treatment and research and helping all of us as we walk along this metastatic path. Someone years ago ended comments with “Wishing you diamonds on the water” which I love thinking about along with your “bit of beauty” , “some days it will be difficult. Persevere…..” (something along these words has stayed with me since I first read your beautiful postings.)

  • Carolyn says:

    Lisa, your posts are so honest. It breaks my heart to read them because I know how hard your journey is. Know that you are loved and admired by so many for who you are and all you are doing. Sending you light and love.

  • Matty says:

    Everyone’s journey with cancer is different, I learn a lot about yours and I am forever grateful for another day of life! We are here for you, living this with you. My prayers and good wishes.

  • Risa says:

    It is painful and inspirational to read your posts. I am sorry about the liver issue and happy about the chest. so confusing how one area responds and the other area does not. sending only positive thoughts.

  • Dee says:

    You are in my thoughts, always. Thankfully, we are in a time when you can share what you are going through through the miracle of the Internet–and you are helping unknown numbers around the world. Not too long ago, this wouldn’t have been possible. I hope you are finding strength in knowing how much you are contributing to the lives of others.

  • Heather says:

    You are the true definition of grace. I read you every day on Twitter and follow every new post. You will leave a lasting legacy not just for your children and family but for so many of us who have never even met you. Thank you.

  • David Dobbs says:

    Oy oy oy and some worse language as well. Sorry to hear this, Lisa. I hope the treatments themselves are (as these things go) not horribly trying, and that they show some results. This is a tough tern. Thoughts are with you. And much admiration as well. Why am I not surprised you invited three kids over for playdates? I should be. But with you, not.

    Much love,


  • C says:

    Lisa, you are a source of calm strength even when facing such daunting challenges. You inspire me every day. I have quietly followed your twitter and blog for a long time, and I have learned so much from you. Thank you for being you. I am sending hope that your next treatment will do what it’s supposed to do, and you will have good days ahead with your family.

  • JoAnn Kirk says:

    Lisa, I am so sorry and angry that you are going through all of this. F&*%ing evil cancer. You must be so exhausted, mentally and physically.

    I followed your link to the article about your upcoming treatments and they sound very hopeful. I think of you often and wish there were ANYTHING that I could do to help.

    It must be gratifying to have so many people thank you for making them understand the intricacies of this awful disease and treatments. On the other hand, I had someone write and tell my that my blog posts about my cancer were too negative. HUH???? Methinks she does not understand the difference between reality and negativity. I appreciate all your reality.

    Many hugs,

  • Kat says:

    Thank you for sharing your story and experience. I have learned from it.
    I wish you many happy days ahead.

  • Anne Lupton says:

    So sorry about this latest development/disappointment, but I will keep sending positive thoughts your way. Hang in there!

  • Michael says:

    Lisa,so very sorry to hear about the liver…you are right,this is very serious…so why are they waiting until December to start the bead treatment? Why not in two weeks? And Cisplatin,that is what my Lori took,it’s a powerful chemo and it’s considered one of the best…but you are going to have a lot of side effects to go with it. We are praying for you.

  • Linda says:

    Hi Lisa, My heart always catches when I see you lead with the word, disappointment. And I well know that each case is so full of different variables, making each case its own thing, like a snowflake in a bad way. I know the last thing you have time for is a chronicle of someone else’s case. But I will say my daughter’s situation is very similar and we have faced so many frightening moments since this time last year. While I by no means downplay that the situation is very serious with your liver, I do know, even in that area, things can turn around to some extent. I have found great comfort this week in watching the PBS series, THE ROOSEVELTS, particuarly the sections re: FDR & his struggles/response to polio. I am wondering today if it might do the same for you if you have not already seen it. It has utterly swept up my heart. Every good wish going out to your family, your friends, and you, Lisa, Linda

  • Dear Lisa, I am sorry to hear the response in your liver is so minimal. I recently discussed with my oncologist the difference netwerk carboplatin and cisplatin. She warned me that cisplatin is heavier and has more severe side effects thans carboplatin.

    I woud be interested to know about results of radioembolization in case of breast cancer. This ttherapy is used mainly for metastatic colon cancer in the Netherlands, though breast cancer is not formally excluded .

    • Lisa Bonchek Adams says:

      Hi, yes, thanks, I know well the differences. Since I was already on Carboplatin and it has stopped working I don’t have too many options and need something strong right now. Obviously my oncologist is well aware of the side effects as am I. That is why we used Carboplatin first.

      You can easily Google to find studies of the Yttrium 90 procedure. That is where the published reports are that I have looked at. It is also the case here in US that colorectal cancer mets to the liver are the most popular application here but they have been expanding the use in places with expertise in the procedure.

      • Diana says:

        Thanks for your reaction, Lisa, I’ll look into the studies. I hope carboplatin works well for you. I fully understand why you start taking tougher medication and hope it will reduce the cancer burden on especially your liver.

  • Hi Lisa, I am wishing you strength and resilience for the months ahead. I’ve had both breast and bladder cancer, and the ongoing battle for strength is so familiar. Are you considering a liver transplant at this point? Seems partial liver transplants are going quite well at this point, and often a matching friend is willing to help. Thinking the very best for you.

  • Melissa says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I just went through watching my mom’s battle with lung cancer. She was fighting a good fight despite the dr saying she was at an extensive(last stage cancer). We opted for no chemo because mom was almost 80…she made it a year. I will pray for you and the right outcome.
    Mom lost her battle in May but never lost Faith. Keep your positive attitude. Miracles can happen. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Beverly says:

    Lisa, I can only imagine what a blow it is to be in remission and have new tumors take over another part of the body. This is so unfair — especially for you but also for your family. My daughter has been in remission for almost 7 years and sometimes it feels like there’s never a time when we’re all not guarded about the “future”. I know for Emma it seems like she has to do everything now so there are no regrets…

  • Loretta Tobin says:


    In February of this year, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non Hodgkins Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma. I had tumors on my intestine, one which was surgically removed, on my spleen, right pelvis and liver. After 7 rounds of R-Chop and 2 rounds of RICE, all the Cancer was gone, but for the stubborn tumor on my liver. I am Day +10 following a Stem Cell Transplant and am scheduled for my ‘dry run’ for the Therasphere procedure on November 18th, with the actual procedure on December 10th. Best to our knowledge, I will be only the 2nd patient with Lymphoma that they will do this procedure to treat a liver tumor. My Oncologist and the Interventional Radiologist did the first procedure a few years ago. This, I am afraid, is my last option. I send you blessings and prayers.

  • Mandi says:

    Hi Lisa. I can’t imagine how stressful all of this is. I wish you the best on the next part of your treatment!

  • Linda says:

    Hi Lisa — I was going to ask the same question as Jill Budzynski — I belong to a cholangiocarcinoma group (CC or bile duct cancer), and the incidence of seeding from the bile duct into the liver is comming — little mets that sometimes are resistant to chemo. Only a few hospital deal with total liver transplants in this type of situation — is this something you can talk about to your oncologist?

    I’m so sorry for this setback for you — holding you in my heart.

  • Jennifer says:

    Stupid liver tumors. I’m sorry they’ve been resistant to treatments thus far.

    On to the next! Thanks as always for sharing your story.

  • sheila says:


    I don’t know you…but I do. You are a force of nature and I so admire and respect you.

    But I have to say this tweet really threw me:

    Why do I write? I write because it keeps me feeling alive as I experience the process of dying.

    And, as I got back from a company meeting where they shared a video of Diane N (sorry can’t sp her name) the 60 year old athlete who swam from Cuba to the Florida Keys (for the 4th time…after failures)…well she reminds me of you, my dear. Her lesson was live to every moment, every second…to the fullest…to the pinky fingernail..

    I don’t know you, but I do. And if writing keeps you feeling alive…than I say write, write and write. Let it pour out of you….

    My best to you Lisa…..:)


  • Louisa says:

    Lisa, I hope the best for you with the next treatments, surgeries, etc…..you will give them the best possible chances for success as your attitude and strength is forever present…I really believe that is helpful. We thank you for educating us and we will try to be stronger and smarter because of your information. You have changed my life for the better with your honest thoughts and information. Thank you so much.

  • Greg says:

    I hope people stop posting scripture. How many times do you have to tell people that you are an Atheist? Stop posting scripture. She doesn’t believe in fairy tales.

  • Trudi says:

    Dearest Lisa
    my heart goes out to you and your family as I have read your blog tonight I can’t explain how it came up on the Internet but sometimes these things happen for a reason .. You are an amazing person to write about your journey in such a way . I just wanted you to know I’m thinking of you from York,England where it’s a very cold night tonight . I send you lots
    of love big hugs n cuddles from me and all my family

  • Melissa says:


    I have been following your blog since earlier this year when I was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer. Your writings have been a comfort to me. I appreciate how candid you are and your willingness to share the hard stuff. I think of you and your family often. I’m sorry that you had a rough week. I hope the next steps in your treatment bring you the results you are hoping for.

    Melissa Granowski

  • Melissa says:

    Lisa, you are truly a gifted teacher. You are teaching all of us who are lucky enough to have found your blog how to deal with a serious illness in a methodical and thoughtful way. I continue to send you my positive thoughts and good wishes for always another treatment to try and work at holding this cancer at bay.

  • Giordana says:

    I am cheering for you Lisa!!! I am wishing all your wishes and sending you positive vibrations. I wish I could make those beads even more powerful. THANK YOU for updating us so much. It is so generous of you. I will continue to check hoping to find news. Sending you strength.

  • Monique says:

    I understand <3 hugs,love, and prayers

  • Kate says:

    Thank you sharing this info. Your explanations are so clear and informative. You are an inspiration to me. So glad to hear about the learning of the lung mets & I hope the liver responds soon. My thoughts are with you Lisa.

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  • Susan says:

    Thank you for sharing your experiences here. You are in my thoughts.

  • Krista says:

    Lisa –
    Although certainly difficult, please know that your writings have given those who are in your situation and their loved ones an opportunity to have smarter conversations with oncologists with hopefully better outcomes. My lovely and incredibly strong sister is in (almost) the exact situation as you – even some of your therapies and timing have matched. Now, because of you, we have discussed the Yttrium procedure as a possible approach to address liver tumors. What a tremendous gift you are giving women with metastatic breast cancer.
    God bless.

  • Liz says:

    I always look forward to your posts and your wise words on Twitter. Your voice is so appreciated.

  • Dedee says:

    I tried leaving this message on your contact page, apologies if you find this here inappropriate:

    Last fall for 6 x paclitaxel and carboplatin (Taxol/Carbo) sessions, I was prescribed ondansetron [Zofran] with a boost of a transdermal scopolamine patch [Transderm Scop]. Not cheap, but 1 patch works for 3 days. I was never nauseous once – either from the chemo or the opiates, or both together. I got lucky and was grateful.

    The pharmacy at DUKE Cancer Center came up with that combo when I told them I’d rather die than be nauseous.

    I hope this info helps, and saddened by your suffering, wanted to share my experience. I am grateful for your honesty and sharing. Thank you.

  • Nina says:

    Hi, Lisa –

    I stumbled upon your blog quite accidentally this evening, but wanted to pipe up and offer you whatever support and encouragement I’ve got to share. This disease is a bastard; my younger sister was diagnosed with breast cancer at Stage IV in January 2011 (lymph nodes, bone, and diffuse liver mets), and this past January it was my turn to join the party.

    The liver mets are so incredibly sneaky and stubborn, and it’s probably a good thing that women are generally the most stubborn things on Earth. Will the Yttrium be your first experience with radiation? I’ve been trying to nudge my sister in that direction as well since she’s not yet tried to attack the challenge with that weapon, but her oncologist hasn’t been particularly encouraging about it (I’m not a fan of his for many reasons, this being one). Every journal report I’ve read on the procedure seems to support the conclusion that it’s quite effective specifically with regard to controlling liver mets, although of course it’s always that delicate balance between treatment and causing some new problem to treat. Ugh. Another option I’ve discussed with my oncologist is chemoembolization. Again, her oncologist is resistant to the idea, but mine has had fantastic success with treating one affected lobe at a time, and has kept several of his patients with diffuse liver mets either disease-stable or disease-free for years.

    I’m wishing you all of the luck in the world and stellar results from the treatment you’ve chosen. Stay bold, and thank you for taking the time to share all you’ve learned in such an open, selfless way.

    • Lisa Bonchek Adams says:

      This is my first time using radiation in treating liver mets; I had external beam radiation to a portion of my spine as well as both hips in January (10 sessions in those three spots at same time). Very hard fatigue-wise for many months (takes a full 4-6 months to see results) but the tumors in those areas responded amazingly well and I did not need pain meds anymore at all after about 4 months. Not all tumors respond well to radiation but I was fortunate. Radiation is one of the best tools we have so I am happy to have it available. I hope you can both get the treatment you want and need. When a doctor is hesitant about a treatment I always advise people to make sure to ask, “From a scientific point of view why do you discourage me from pursuing this and what other option do you think is better and why?” The option may be to do nothing but that also should be justified with a scientific/medical rationale. All patients deserve that. Hope this answer helps.

  • Martha says:

    Hi Lisa,
    I came upon your website and blog while researching for a client concerning how to supportively communicate with a friend or sibling with a cancer diagnosis. I am so grateful that you have chosen this path of writing and educating even as you deal with everything that life and this disease has handed you. All I can say is “thank you”. I will be thinking good thoughts for you and your loved ones every day and continuing to follow your posts.

  • BC says:

    Thank you for talking so openly about your condition and being so candid about the emotions that go along with it. A family member of mine is stage IV; it is helpful to know that there are others who are going through similar experiences and there are other people fighting the same fight.

    God bless you and take care.

  • Larry Roberts says:

    Hi Lisa,
    Thank you for your openness and frank discussion of this terrible disease. I found your blog three weeks ago while looking at the Dana Farber web site for information on Multiple Myeloma. I found Tara’s blog and your link.
    I haven’t been able to read all your post but most. I’m a big boy but I have cried more in the last three weeks than the rest of my life. My heart aches for you and your family.
    My wife has Herr 2 + estrogen driven breast cancer and has just completed her year of Herceptin and is now on Tamoxifen. She had a unilateral radical procedure and we debated long and hard on doing bilateral surgery. I pray we made the right choice. She feels she is cured but in reading your blog I now know that is just wishful thinking.
    The two of us can related to so many of your post from putting in ports ( both of us have a port ) to draining the fluid bulbs in her chest and my two favorites, “You don’t look sick and my uncle died of that” Everyone I talked to said the same thing over and over and I wondered if anybody ever lived, the answer was no!
    I pray your targeted radiation works and gives you much more time. You have helped me more than you could ever know.
    Larry Roberts

  • John says:

    This was such an inspirational blog

  • John says:

    inspirational blog

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