Mdm PG was 59 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in June 2009. She immediately underwent a right mastectomy. Histology report indicated:
- Three lesions of invasive ductal carcinoma.
- Focal lympho-vascular invasion is seen at the periphery of the 2 small lesions.
- Resection margins, skin and nipple are not involved by tumour.
- 4 out of 13 axillary lymph nodes contain metastatic carcinoma, with focal extracapsular spread.
- pT2N2aMx, Stage 3A
- Oestrogen receptor – Moderate reactivity
- Progesterone receptor – Moderate reactivity
- C-erb-B2 – No reactivity
- P53 – Weak reactivity
PG underwent follow up chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She was also on Fermara (for 5 years). At the same time, she started to take herbs. The following is a brief summary of her treatment progress (extracted from the e-mails from her daughter).
May 2013 – almost 4 years after diagnosis
I found out the name of the bone strengthener that the doc recommended to my mum. It’s called “Zometa.” It is an injection. The hormonal pills that she has been taking is called ” Femara.”
I would like to update you with regards to my mum’s latest blood test. Her tumor marker is 5.9. Her usual is 3.5.
I would like to give you an update of my mum’s latest tumor marker result.
|CA 125||29.4 H|
|CA 15.3||24.1 H|
Her CEA is out of the normal range and it has escalated from 5.9 last Oct to 7.1 this week. Both her CA125 and CA15.3 have also gone up even though it is still within the normal range.
The doc is suggesting for mum to go for a pet scan to find out the problem.
My sis and I are personally not so comfortable with her having to go through another cycle of invasive treatment should we find out if there is another growth elsewhere in her body. We are really hoping that we can help treat mum’s condition with your herbs and diet advise.
I’ve attached my mum’s latest report to show it to you. The doctor said that there is a relapse and the lymph nodes behind her lungs are affected but there is no spreading to her organs which is a good thing.
The doc has changed her oral medication to Tamoxifen because her Fermara doesn’t work anymore. She recently went for a jab to protect her bones from turning brittle.
|Tumor markers on 7 May 2014|
|CA 125||64.5 H|
|CA 15.3||33.5 H|
My mum went for her medical appointment yesterday. Result is negative. ..conditions of marker has worsen. Doc said there is a high chance of relapse but he doesn’t know which spot … could be bone, liver or kidney. If my mum does not wish to find out the cause, the doc can’t prescribe proper medication for treatment but he will change her current medication to see if there is any improvement upon her next visit on 19th June.
The doctor explained that the life span of such case if the patient refuses finding and treatment, usually won’t pull through. The cancer cells will multiply very fast within a year and she will not make it.
Mum’s tumour marker in January this year comparing to now has escalated from a marker of 7 to 14 now and another two marker have also increased from positive range now all to negative range. She is physically very well but result has shown otherwise.
Doc suggested mummy to go for PET scan to at least find out what’s the problem so we can seek early treatment since she is still healthy now. And not wait till she turns fragile and can’t proceed with any more treatment.
My mum’s cancer marker has apparently gone up quite a bit recently and the doc said that there are tumours growing quite rapidly in her body that explains why the cancer marker is high. The doc asked if my mum has been taking any other medication that is causing interference with his. And he immediately changed my mum’s medication from tamoxifen to Exemestane Aromasin 25mg per tab and he is trying to see if the new medication can help control her tumour growth.
The nurse warned my mum about all the side effects. My sister advised my mum to stop taking your herbs and see if there is any improvement with the western medication alone because she also believes that there could be that possibility of your herbs clashing with the oncologist’s prescription. I personally am against the idea of my mum stopping your herbs temporarily.
Doc mentioned since last year that cancer has spread to her bones and there are tumours found around her chest outside her lungs and other parts of her body too. He said it was a good thing that it didn’t spread to her organs. I’m a little worried that my mum will eventually feel the adverse side effects of her new medication if she continues with it and not take your herbs. I’m really concerned.. Anyways, no matter what the doctor said and her deteriorating condition, my mum is still in high spirits and her appetite is well and she still goes to church and play mahjong with her friends regularly like a healthy person. Her strong belief in God keeps her in good spirits too.
I am wondering if I can bring my mum to come see you on. She has been taking Xeloda for the past one month and the sole of her feet started to turn black since last week. I am not sure if it is due to Xeloda. Would love to show you her feet. Blood test also showed that her glucose level is very high. So I am not sure if she could be diabetic.
Not sure if Xeloda is the culprit? Just read the internet.
Side effects of Xeloda: Hand-Foot Syndrome
Hand-foot syndrome, also called palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia, is a side effect of some types of chemotherapy. In mild to moderate hand-foot syndrome, the following symptoms may occur on the palms of the hands and/or the soles of the feet:
- Redness (similar to a sunburn)
- A sensation of tingling or burning
- Tenderness (sensitive to touch)
- Tightness of the skin
- Thick calluses and blisters on the palms and soles
Symptoms of severe hand-foot syndrome include:
- Cracked, flaking, or peeling skin
- Blisters, ulcers, or sores on the skin
- Severe pain
- Difficulty walking or using the hands
The drugs that may cause hand-foot syndrome include:
- Axitinib (Inlyta)
- Cabozantinib (Cometriq)
- Capecitabine (Xeloda)
- Cytarabine (Cytosar-U)
- Docetaxel (Docefrez, Taxotere)
- Floxuridine (FUDF)
- Fluorouracil (5-FU, Adrucil)
- Idarubicin (Idamycin)
- Liposomal doxorubicin (Doxil)
- Doxorubicin (Adriamycin)
- Sunitinib (Sutent)
- Sorafenib (Nexavar)
- Pazopanib (Votrient)
- Paclitaxel (Taxol)
- Vemurafenib (Zelboraf)
- Regorafenib (Stivarga)
Not everyone who is treated with these medications develops hand-food syndrome. The severity of hand-foot syndrome can vary from person to person, even among people taking the same medication for the same form of cancer.
Lisa Bonchek Adams was 37 years old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. After all the medical treatments in one of the world’s best cancer hospitals (in New York), she died in March 2015. In her blog, Lisa wrote about her experience with Xeloda: http://lisabadams.com/2012/11/
Our Meeting and Advice
We got to meet Mdm PG and her daughter in mid-June 2015. GP looked great but she felt miserable inside. She told us that she did not suffer any effects taking Xeloda during the first week. After the second week things started to get worse. She had sores in her mouth, both hands and soles peeled making walking difficult. Then she felt “tired” throughout the day. She was not able to continue living the “good life” she had earlier on.
The daughter said, “before the Xeloda she was okay. Able to walk about, taking the bus anywhere she wanted to do. She can spend time playing mahjong, etc. Now she can’t do that anymore. She look good and healthy before that. But the doctor said, she was not healthy because the blood test was bad. Now, after the Xeloda her blood result was better, but she was feeling bad.”
PG reminded us that when she was diagnosed with (Stage 3) cancer, the doctor told her that she could last about 3 years if she did all the treatments. Now, it is already 6 years. She believed the herbs did help her. But now living such a miserable life after Xeloda, life has not much meaning anymore.
PG told us that she has 2 daughters – both love her very much and wanted her to live as long as possible. But unfortunately, these 2 daughters have their own ideas about her treatment. One daughter wanted to strictly the doctor’s treatment while another daughter wanted her to go for herbs and was not happy with all those medical drugs. PG said, they started to “quarrel in front of me and that left me in a limbo — not knowing what to do and who to please!”
Indeed, we have “sensed” this feeling all along when we read the many emails the daughter wrote us. So, this meeting was a good opportunity for us to give our advice frankly and directly. These are what I told PG:
- You have already understood that nobody on earth can cure cancer. Even with medical treatment the doctor already told you would only last 3 years. Now, it is 6 years. Look at it in a positive way. You have been well blessed. During these years, you did not suffer and have lived a good life (unlike now due to Xeloda). PG responded, I am aware of this. I have been taking your herbs and I felt well. Your herbs helped me a lot.
- If you can eat, can sleep, can move around and have no pain, please don’t ask for more. Be ever grateful to God for this.
- No one lives forever, even for those who are supposed to be healthy. One day, I too would return “home.” So let us not fear death because no one can escape this reality. I have read many books of people who have “gone” and saw “heaven” and came back to earth. They said, Up There, it is so beautiful – calm and peaceful, free from all miseries. So why are we so afraid to go there? Don’t be afraid.
- We fully understand the dilemma you are in — trying to please both daughters, but each wanting you to take a different path. I am afraid I cannot decide for you and tell you what to do. You will have to make your own decision. Let each of your daughter know what is important for you in life. Tell them how you feel and they must respect your wishes.
- If you feel that you want to endure all the suffering undergoing more medical treatments, go ahead and tell your daughters you want to do exactly that. If you cannot endure these sufferings and want to just go on herbs, say that out clearly to your daughters. Your daughters should respect and honour your wishes.
- You need to tell your daughters that what you want to do, is entirely your decision and they should not feel guilty or responsible for whatever the outcome. In this way, there would be “peace.”
- The last thing — which is a real disaster — to have family members quarrelling among themselves.
23 June 2015
Thank you so much for taking time out to see my mum and I the other night.We are eternally grateful. Words cannot describe how grateful I am. I can never repay your kindness. My sis will still be bringing my mum to see the oncologist the next few days. Hopefully she will make a firm decision and not be swayed by their persuasion. She is recovering well, Dr.