October 12, 2018
I got my first dose of Kadcyla today. It’s another targeted chemotherapy drug that is supposed to stop the cancer from growing and spreading. The previous two targeted chemotherapy drugs, Herceptin and Perjeta, clearly weren’t working for me. I’ll have this one every 3 weeks, just like the other two. I’ll have new CT and bone scans in December to make sure that it’s doing its job. If it’s not, we move to the next drug(s) in the line.
Whenever starting a new chemo drug, the protocol is to give it at about half the rate that it would normally be given in case there is a reaction to any part of it. Today’s dose took about an hour and a half. The Oncologist said that they would normally want to watch me for 90 minutes after, too, but because this is so similar to the Herceptin, she’d leave that up to them. Thankfully, there wasn’t an issue with it and they let me go home after it finished around 1:00 pm.
Kadcyla is essentially the same drug as Herceptin except that instead of just blocking a growth signal, it delivers a chemo to the cells directly to kill them rather than just keep them from growing any larger. The side effects, then, are more from the chemo it’s delivering than from the part that attaches itself to the cancer stem cells. I’m a little skeptical about this one because it’s a derivative of Herceptin. We don’t know why that didn’t work. Whether it was Herceptin not finding the cells and doing its thing or if my immune system is standing in its way or something else.
Because Kadcyla carries an actual chemo with it, I’ll have to go in for blood work every 3 weeks again, continue with quarterly echocardiograms and keep an eye on any bleeding problems like excessive bruising and bloody noses. I’ve tolerated most of these chemo drugs pretty well in the past. I am hoping and praying that this one doesn’t “break the camel’s back” so to speak, and start me down a road of dealing with whatever issues chemo’s done to me.
I also had a meeting with one of the social workers today. I don’t recall off the top of my head if she’s one of those associated with the palliative care doctor or not. It doesn’t really matter. One of them mentioned that I could get taxi vouchers to get a ride home, so instead of spending $45 on a Lyft ride myself, I went back and asked for a taxi voucher. Getting the cab wasn’t that difficult or much more time consuming than requesting a Lyft. Interestingly enough, it was more expensive than the Lyft ride, and I didn’t feel all that safe heading home. The taxi driver took 5 or 6 personal calls on his cell phone the entire way home. I’ve not had a single Lyft driver yet take a call while doing a drive. I’m hoping that the program between the American Cancer Society and Lyft where they provide free rides to cancer patients gets to Seattle soon. They’re just so much more convenient than screwing with volunteers and vouchers.