(WDTN) – The staff of 2 NEWS Today surprised me with some sweet treats this morning after I completed my final round of chemotherapy on Wednesday.
We talked about my final day of chemo infusions, and what comes next. Traffic Anchor Kelley King snuck in a cake, cookies and a card, signed by all my co-workers. It is important for me to celebrate these milestones because there is still much more of the journey ahead! The next step is radiation.
Next week, I will go in for a radiation simulation, where they will set up the procedure. Unlike weekly chemo, which was usually a three-to-four-hour session, radiation appointments will be closer to 30 minutes. The procedure is more often, however, as I will go every day, Monday through Friday, for six weeks. The main side effects of radiation are a sunburn-like redness on the skin, and fatigue.
Through this time, I will also continue to get infusions every three weeks of a drug called Ogivri. Sometimes, breast cancer cells make too many copies of a gene called HER2. This gene then makes a protein known as a HER2 receptor. These receptors are like antennae on the surface of the breast cancer cells, and stimulate the cell to grow and multiply rapidly. Ogivri and similar drugs work by attaching to the HER2 receptors and blocking them from receiving growth signals. This is considered a very effective cancer treatment, and generally has fewer side effects than chemotherapy.
Sometime next year, I will also have reconstruction surgery, which will “exchange” the tissue expanders I currently have for an actual implant. Ideally, this will be just one surgery, but I have learned things don’t always go as planned, so I am prepared for whatever I need to do!
To top all of this off, I will also need to take a pill for five to 10 years following treatment. My cancer just so happens to be hormone-receptor-positive, and this pill will help to reduce the risk of the cancer ever coming back.
So while I have checked another big thing off the list, there is still a long road! I appreciate all the doctors, nurses and technicians that have helped me along so far… and those I haven’t even met yet. Everyone has been absolutely amazing. We are so lucky to have such talent and expertise here in the Miami Valley!
And thanks to all of YOU for your support! I have received and read all the messages that come into the Jamie’s Journey Page. Whether you are sending an actual email or commenting on my Facebook Page… it is very uplifting, inspiring, and much needed. I appreciate you all!