Pink-to-ber n A portmanteau coinage used by many people who live with breast cancer to refer to October, the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is heavily dominated by marketing in the color pink and cute tags like “Save the tatas”. (See Komen, etc.)
During the month of October 2013, I am running guest posts from people with metastatic breast cancer (MBC) or who are closely involved with someone who has MBC. This was the idea of the wonderful Jody Schoger, and I think some other breast cancer bloggers are participating, too.
This next guest post is by Bonnie Suter. Bonnie is 47 years old and has been married for 24 years. She has two sons; the18 year old is at Seton Hall University, and the16 year old is a junior high school. She is an avid tennis player. Bonnie was diagnosed in October 2011 with Her2 +++ stage 4 breast cancer. Please follow her at www.caringbridge.org/visit/bonniesuter. Let’s give Bonnie some comment love!
My name is Bonnie Suter and I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Metastatic Breast Cancer Her2 triple positive on October 13, 2011- yes – on National Metastatic Breast Cancer Day.
I had a clean mammogram 2 years prior. My symptoms began in June 2011, as my back was killing me, and it was affecting my tennis game. By August, I started going to the chiropractor. After 2 months he told me that I was not getting any better and I needed to go to the Dr. and have blood work drawn. My reply, “Why, do you think I have cancer?” which of course I was joking. I always look back at how I said these fateful words. I went to the Dr. on Friday and had mammogram and ultrasound. Had biopsy on Monday. Was told on Tuesday I had cancer. Had pet scans on Wednesday. Met with doctors on Thursday and was told I had 2 years to live.
I can’t wait to celebrate on October 14th 2013! I will no longer be part of the 2 year life expectancy statistic!
I was diagnosed at the beginning with mets to my spine, liver, 4 nodules and right breast. I had so many tumors they could not count them all. At this point I had trouble walking as my pain in my back would make my entire body seize up.
My treatment plan:
October 2011- Diagnosed and 5 day radiation treatment to my back. Started Abraxane/Herceptin/Xgeva.
April 2012- Right Masectomy
July 2012- Abraxane no longer working- started Tamoxifen.
September 2012- Tamoxifin- Not working. Switched Dr/Hospital. Enrolled in TDM1 clinical trial. New mets found in the pre-trial MRI/Pet scan- 11 brain mets, 1 tumor in right lung, and 5 fractured vertebrae.
October 2012- Whole Brain Radiation (by April down to 2), started TDM1- amazing results- all liver tumors gone, most spine tumors gone or shrunk considerably.
August 2013- TDM1 no longer working and up to 4 brain tumors.
September 2013- Tykerb, Xelota, Herceptin, Xgeva. When these stop working I will move on to the next drug.
I am 47 years old, married, and have 18 & 16 year old sons. I continue to play tennis twice a week, and be active even though I have 4 fractured vertebrae that have not healed. I go to acupuncture for my pain—this really works!
I plan to be part of the AMAZING, STRONG women across this country that fight stage 4 metastatic breast cancer each and every day… and we will make a new statistic of our “life expectancy”.
My strongest advice is to make sure you find a doctor that believes in you, that always has your best interest at heart, that is looking for new ways for you to survive!!!! Always have a voice in your treatment plan. If your doctor does not make you feel at ease and listen to your input- find another doctor!
LET’S INSPIRE WOMEN TO LIVE!!