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Am I "Healthy" after Cancer? 癌治療後の私は「健康」なの?
yoko katz October 12, 2017

Am I "Healthy" after Cancer? 癌治療後の私は「健康」なの?

I had to think twice before I answered, "I am healthy today," 3 years after my breast cancer diagnosis.  Have you thought about what it means to be "being healthy?"  New definition is needed, let's think about that. 日本語は英語の後にあるよ

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Surgery is coming up. 手術決定。
yoko katz August 16, 2017

Surgery is coming up. 手術決定。

I decided to have a fibroid removal surgery.  It is coming up next week, Wednesday, 8/23, 2017.

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Tamoxifen, Leg Cramps→Magnesium  タモキシフェン、こむら返り→マグネシウム
yoko katz January 23, 2017

Tamoxifen, Leg Cramps→Magnesium タモキシフェン、こむら返り→マグネシウム

I have been on Tamoxifen medication for breast cancer, since November 2014, that is for 2 years and 2 months.  I am supposed to take this for at least 5 years and possibly 10 years.  I had been suffering from severe leg cramps, but having magnesium supplements gave me peaceful sleep!!!  If you suffer from cramps like me, try magnesium supplement!!!!! (Ask your doctor, if you can take it.)  

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Pregnancy after Chemotherapy 抗がん剤治療後の妊娠について
yoko katz September 23, 2015

Pregnancy after Chemotherapy 抗がん剤治療後の妊娠について

(My hair has been growing into bushes.  It's been 10 months since my last chemotherapy.  I used to have very long silky straight hair, but now look how curly it is.  I have no idea how to deal with this.  It is always going so bushy.  I don't feel this represents me and I cannot wait to have it grow much longer.) It depends on the types of breast cancer, but especially when one's cancer grows with hormone such as progesterone positive and estrogen positive breast cancer, getting pregnant raises some concerns.  Chemotherapy let alone is a concern for damaging ovaries, there are other things to worry about, too.  If a cancer patient is considering having babies after treatments, she should talk to doctors right upfront.  This information is only based on my experience, please consult your physician when it comes to details and whether it can be applied to your case.  Many cases, insurance companies may not cover this and it can be costly.

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Cancer Treatment, Perjeta, Re-approved for Me! パージェタ薬使用 再許可。命が伸びたのかもしれない、やった涙!
yoko katz February 22, 2015

Cancer Treatment, Perjeta, Re-approved for Me! パージェタ薬使用 再許可。命が伸びたのかもしれない、やった涙!

I am thrilled to hear that one of my cancer treatment medicines, Perjeta, has been re-approved by my insurance company for my use until Sptember!!!  I am super excited about this!  You may be wondering of it's significance, bear with me, I would like to share what I know, it took me three days to write this blog entry.  I did not know how to shorten this.  The developments of HER2 treatments have been saving so many lives and I found fascinating.  Let me start with Herceptin. 日本語は英語の後に書いてあります。

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Day19: Teaching Monday/Dr. Appointment
yoko katz November 17, 2014

Day19: Teaching Monday/Dr. Appointment

Day 19 after my 5th chemotherapy.  I always learn something when I visit doctor's office.

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yoko katz November 14, 2014

Day16: Panic Attack

Day 16 after my 5th chemotherapy.  I had a panic attack.

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Day1-4: After my 5th chemo
yoko katz November 2, 2014

Day1-4: After my 5th chemo

Just for a record: Day 1 to 4 after 5th chemo.

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Day12: Teaching Monday
yoko katz October 20, 2014

Day12: Teaching Monday

A lot of burping!  (excuse me for this topic, but it has been so constant and bothers me seriously.)

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Day9: After 4th Chemo, "Better Than Yesterday"
yoko katz October 17, 2014

Day9: After 4th Chemo, "Better Than Yesterday"

Last three days, I have been resting well in bed or a couch day after day.  I was watching movies and catching up with TV dramas.  Everyday is "better than yesterday."  A friend visited me on Day 8 (Thursday) for a short time.  I had not seen her for years and I was so happy to catch up with her.  I wanted to update this just for a record.

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Day1: After 4th Chemo
yoko katz October 9, 2014

Day1: After 4th Chemo

The picture is from yesterday when I went for my 4th chemotherapy.

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Day 1: Neulasta Shot!
yoko katz September 18, 2014

Day 1: Neulasta Shot!

The precious, about $8000 without insurance, Neulasta shot today.

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yoko katz September 17, 2014

Day of my 3rd Chemotherapy

I am half way done!!!!!  3 cycles of injections are done, 3 more to go with this hardest version.

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yoko katz September 11, 2014

Day 15: Neulasta Shot Arrived, with no problem!

Neulasta is a shot, that I need to have 24 hours after each chemotherapy.  The shot prevents my white blood cell counts from going down, that relates to my immune system.  Weak immune system can expose me for infection and it can damage me bad.  That shot arrived today safely with a shipment.  This shot is my third one.

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yoko katz August 29, 2014

Pertuzumab - Perjeta-, a new medicine, finally for me!

A great news for me!!! My insurance company approved me to have a new targeted therapy called Pertuzumab, or a brand name called Perjeta! Now my chemotherapy treatment is : TCH+Perjeta : docetaxel, carboplatin, and trastuzumab (Herceptin) and Pertuzumab (Perjeta) for HER2/neu positive tumors The last chemotherapy, I checked in at 11:45 AM and I was discharged at 6:45 pm... exhaustive.   Pertuzmab, US FDA approved the medicine only 2 years ago, 2012.  It comes in IV injection at a time of chemotherapy.  They call it targeted therapy rather than chemotherapy.  Pertuzumab targets my HER2 breast cancer cells.  Her2 is a protein and it can grow excessively around a cancer cell.  The cancer cell grow quickly with the Her2.  about 15-20% of newly diagnosed breast cancer patients have HER2 positive.  HER2 is more aggressive cancer than hormone based cancer.  It ranks aggressiveness and mine is the most aggressive kind, HER2 +++. Other targeted therapy for Her 2 is Trastuzumab (or Herceptin).  That was approved by the US FDA about 10 years ago for only advanced breast cancer patients and from 5 years ago, it was approved to use for early stage breast cancer patients.   Trastuzumab and Pertuzumab target HER2 but a slightly different way.  From medical researches, they found better prognosis and better recurrence rate if patients receive both of them, rather than only Trasuzumab. When I saw my oncologist for the first time, she mentioned of using Pertuzumab.  I have read about it, but no other specialists had mentioned it before.  Since side effects of Pertuzumab and Trastzumab are almost overlapping each other, adding Pertuzumab should not cause me extra stress. Day I called to make my 1st chemotherapy appointment, the doctor told me that she could not put Pertuzumab for me.  My tumor was smaller to qualify for it.  That was disappointing.  When it is not qualified, insurance companies may not cover the drug and it would cost us quite amount of money. Over 3 days, I thought of it a lot.  I started to look for information of the criteria.  I went to see FDA website and pharmaceutical company's information.  I stayed up late to do the research.  It sounded I was at a border whether to be able to receive it or not.  mmm.  I was not satisfied, something was not that clear to me. I contacted my doctor's office and asked for more information about it.  Later, according to my doctor's nurse, the doctor spent some time to write a letter to the insurance company for possible approval with my condition.  We had to wait for the insurance company's response, which could take 2-3 weeks.  Meanwhile, my 1st chemotherapy had started.  I thought the new target therapy Pertuzumab had to be done at the day 1 as well.  But I learned it could wait and I could start from later chemotherapy.  Good, I hoped for a good answer from the insurance company. This past Monday, I saw my doctor and she told me that the insurance company approved the medicine and I will be treated with Pertuzumab!  Thank you so much!!!!  I would like to choose to have a better outcome after going through this. From the 2nd chemotherapy, 2 days ago, I now have the Pertuzumab as well.  Let's hope for the best!

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