We saw a wonderful Oncologist today. He confirms that my original 3-drug regime of Perjeta + Herceptin + Taxotere is “standard of care”. In his view the best standard of care. The new doctor did a great job explaining the history of the different chemotherapy protocols. He did express concern that the 2-drug regime I’m currently on, Herceptin + Taxotere, is not sufficient. You may recall the current regime is not the original regime due to interference from office staff. I still don’t get it. Anyway, it was reassuring to know that our original decisions to go with this Perjeta-led Neoadjuvant protocol was the best choice. My current doctor got it right in the first place.
More good news! The new doctor saw no problems moving forward. He supports adding in Perjeta on Cycle 3 except that he would add an additional cycle, a Cycle 7, in order to give Perjeta at least 5 cycles to do work on getting what the doctors call “pathological complete response”. That’s fancy talk for 100% shrinkage of all of my tumors before surgery. He was very bold saying that studies have shown success rates in the 90% range when using Perjeta along with the other drugs. His 90% number is a bit higher than those from William’s readings which were more in the 39% to 75% range; no matter, any of these numbers beat the heck out of the number attached to my current regime (22% chance at pathological complete response).
If it is possible to be excited about having breast cancer, I am. HER2 Positive Breast Cancer in the 1990’s had only a 17% chance of complete shrinkage. I’ll take 39% – 90% and thank the doctors and scientists who discovered these Anti-HER2 Drugs. To hear the new doctor say that patients receiving just Perjeta + Herceptin have a 30% chance of 100% pathological complete response is remarkable. We have to imagine a day when those among us can take a simple test to know we fall into that 30% group and thus never have to take a traditional chemo drug. This clearly is the future and the present is a relatively decent place to be.
I ended our session with the new doctor stating that I regretted the situation I found myself in. I saw no change in policy coming from the current medical provider. Doctors don’t typically like picking up patients who come to them via second opinions. I asked … and for very obvious reasons … we can’t afford to self-insure the Perjeta and the current medical provider refuses to back off their unwarranted policy of withholding proper care. The new doctor explained the difficulties associated with transferring care mid-stream. We spoke to the 39% we had read about and the 90% he offered (versus the 17% we read about as pertains to my default regime). He agreed!
Yes! My transfer of care is in the works. Well … we hope it is. We are waiting for a call from the business office at the new place to confirm everything.