Well, my biopsy results came back (on the 22nd but one one bothered to inform me) and I am 3 for 3 with cancer. The spots between my skin and implant are Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. How I went from “no evidence of disease” with a clear PET scan and clear blood biopsy in Nov and Dec to this is little mind blowing. I’ve had a number of good cries, mostly out of frustration. I don’t know yet if it’s still ER and HER2+ but considering how fast it has grown, I’d put good money on it at least being HER2+ as that is typically the type of breast cancer that grows quickly.
That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is HER2+ even though I am on Herceptin (an antibody that targets the HER2 receptors). Here’s why. We know that HER2+ breast cancers (and triple negative ones) up regulate macropinocytosis which is an amino acid pathway. Macropinocytosis occurs when the cell membranes learn to “ruffle” and engulf extracellular fluid. They pull in proteins and fats from outside the cell to feed itself. This occurs when glutamine and cholesterol levels are not sufficient enough to feed the cells (and I am blocking other glutamine pathways and we know my cholesterol levels are very low due to the statin. So I have basically very likely FORCED my cancer to resort to macropinocytosis and I didn’t do a single thing to block this.
I was aware that chloroquine & hydrocholorquine are quite effective at blocking macropinocytosis. I even asked my oncologist about getting a prescription MONTHS ago, showing her this article that shows that adding one of those in causes HER2+ cancers that have become resistant to Herceptin to become sensitized again and start responding again. My oncologist shot that down and from her perspective I don’t blame her. She explained that they don’t want to do too many meds at once and burn through them all and have none left. From the traditional oncology perspective that makes sense but from the metabolic aspect it’s asinine. I should have insisted on a scrip or asked my ND for a scrip.
I also have been slacking on taking my dipyridamole, which blocks nucleoside salvage. This is the process in which the cancer cells scavenge dead cell fragments in the tumor microenvironment and recycle them for fuel. I definitely need to block this better as well!
As I wrote before, I don’t know for sure if it’s still Her2+; I’m waiting to hear back from my oncologists office tomorrow and I have an appointment with her on Friday. In the meantime, I am also looking for a new oncologist or a second opinion. I know mine doesn’t have a whole lot of experience and while I’m grateful she’s been willing to write some of my off label prescriptions, I may need an oncologist willing to think outside the box with me a little better and one who has more experience.
I am incredibly grateful though that a friend pointed out a month ago that claritin (yes the allergy medication) blocks macropinocytosis to some degree so I picked that up a months ago and started taking it (after verifying it doesn’t interact with my other meds). I also went hardcore on IV vitamin C for a few weeks and now am doing HOCATT twice week to help my body detox so I have been proactive while I’ve been waiting to find out what this is.
I am reminded of Romans 5:1-5 which tells us: “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
I don’t know that I am ready to “rejoice” about a third round of cancer but I will get there. I am so blessed by God’s peace and know that this suffering will produce endurance ->character (apparently I don’t have enough of that yet….haha)->hope. I am so grateful for the hope that I have and know that God knows each and every cell in my body and he knows my future.
I heard this song for the first time this week and it spoke to me. God is writing a symphony in my life (and yours):
Sometimes it’s hard to breathe
All these thoughts they shout at me
Try to bring me to my knees
And it’s overwhelming
Darkness echos all around
Feels like everything is crashing down
Still I know where my hope is found
And it’s only You….
And even in the madness
There is peace
Drowning out the voices all around me
Through all of this chaos
You are writing a symphony