Monday, April 5, 2010

And next comes Zometa...

I start Zometa treatment in the morning. It's a biphosphonate drug to strengthen the bones. It's been used for people with osteoperosis and breast cancer that has spread to the bones. Neither of those uses applies to me though, thank you God! However, recent studies have shown promise for the drug to help avoid cancer spread to the bones and since I was triple negative and thus don't qualify for any of the great advances that my Estrogen+ and HER2+ sister warriors are benefitting from, my docs and I have decided we'll use whatever we can to give me any possible advantage. The side effects are considered rare and mostly minimal so we feel the benefit outweighs the possibility of the potential side effects. There is one major nasty side effect possible - it's called osteonecrosis of the jaw (basically means death of bone tissue). I am not in any of the known risk groups for this condition but that doesn't mean it can't or won't happen. I am determined for it not to happen and one way I can help prevent it is to keep my teeth and gums as healthy and infection-free as possible. I will have to avoid major dental work while on this medication and possibly for a few years afterward since the drug has a very long half life. This is an expensive medication that most insurance companies refuse to cover and mine being no exception. We were about to pay for it out of pocket at the tune of $1300 per dose with doc prescribing me to receive it every 3 months for 2 years (IV administration). However, another miracle occurred and we found out that my prescription coverage company covers it and my portion is $40 per dose! Thank you, God! So, my prayer request is for God to protect my body from rogue cancer cells that may have survived all my treatments and to protect my bones and jaw from the negative side effects of Zometa. I have a lot of plans to accomplish while I'm still here and I hope and pray that God's plan for me is to carry out those plans in my earthly form. I know that it's not up to me and only He knows his plan for me so I ask Him often to reveal it to me so that I can perform His will and give this life the most meaning possible while I'm in it. In addition to starting Zometa tomorrow I also will go to UCLA to have a follow-up meeting with the surgical oncologist that surgically removed the cancer from my breast and lymph nodes last June. I plan to have both her and my oncologist (in the AM) feel me up pretty good because I often feel little bumps in my chest below the clavicle area that freak me out. It's amazing how I used to be reluctant to disrobe at doctors' offices in years past and now I'm quickly getting topless and asking the doctors to feel around and make sure things feel normal. That's just part of the new normal I guess. *sigh* I have a friend who just had a bilateral mastectomy after a MRI revealed some lesions that they weren't able to safely biopsy the normal way. She tested positive for the BRCA gene mutation and decided that she would go ahead with the mastectomy regardless of whether it turns out to be cancerous or not. She had her surgery last week and is now anxiously awaiting the pathology results to determine if she can be considered done now or if any treatment will be necessary. I'm praying that she is done with the craziness now and I hope you'll join me in praying for her too. I also pray that her recovery is quick and free of any complications. I'm still waiting for word on my surgery date - I keep harassing the two surgeons' offices because my husband needs to bid his May schedule and we need to know when this is going to happen so he can request time off at the time of the surgery since I'll be spending the night at the hospital and my mom needs to know when to arrange to fly out to help me out the first week after surgery. I also need to figure it out so I can effectively plan my exact date for returning to work. Unfortunately I think they're ignoring the phone when my number appears haha. Don't they know who they're dealing with!? hahaha :) Wishing you blessings of good health, love, and God's favor, always. Love, Julie


  1. Many blessings of good health coming your way. I've seen tons of patients take Zometa and only one case of osteonecrosis of the jaw. I hope it goes smoothly for you!

  2. Hi, Julie

    We have met at UCLA Cancer Center. I saw you today you were getting your Zometa. I am glad you got it and you didn't have to pay the full price! I can relate on the having no problems taking off you top for the doctors, etc. I think I have lost all my modesty when it comes to that. I have been reading some of your posts. You are so postive and I definately feel that when I see you at UCLA. Thank you for all the wonderful gifts, they do put a smile on my face, and I am sure everyone else who has received them. God Bless!

    Theresa McCullum

  3. Theresa! So happy to see you on the blog :) It was wonderful seeing you today too! Seeing you (and your hubby) at the center makes me smile too. You are in my thoughts and prayers, Theresa. God bless you and your beautiful family!