My Health

Here I'm seen ringing the bell that symbolizes the end of radiation treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas on July 3, 2015.  They gave me a certificate too. Radiation was the toughest thing I endured, so I was delighted to mark its' end.

On August 17, 2015, I found a knot on the back of my neck on the right side. I showed up at the doctor's office the following day. The doctor did some tests and suggested I get tested in the U.S. or Hong Kong.

My organization's doctor got me an appointment with a doctor in Hong Kong, who did a biopsy on September 1st. On September 2nd, he told me I had malignant cancer on unknown origin. He suggested I get back to the U.S. as soon as possible and get treatment.

I flew back to my East Asia home on September 3rd to do a little packing. On September 10th, I arrived in the U.S.

On September 11th, I had a visit with an oncologist in Tyler. Things weren't going very quickly and I felt unsure I would get the best treatment in Tyler. I showed up on the doorstep of MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston on Friday, September 19, 2014 at 10:30 p.m. I was admitted and spent the weekend getting tested.

The only place they could find cancer was in my neck. They did another biopsy on Wednesday, September 24th. They confirmed the HK doctor's diagnosis, and more specifically found it to be cancer that originated as breast cancer.

Two weeks later, I had a mammogram and ultrasound that found no cancer in the breast or axillary lymph nodes (underarm lymph nodes). They said they had never seen this before. Breast cancer travels a specific path, from the breast to the underarm lymph nodes to the neck lymph nodes. I just had them in the neck. Very rare. They did an MRI and still couldn't find anything. But the biopsy's discovery of Her-2 neu positive cancer means it had to be breast cancer or esophageal cancer, which was ruled out. What I had was most consistent with breast cancer.

I started my eight rounds of chemotherapy on Friday, October 10th. I got chemo every three weeks from that date until March 12th. The first four rounds of chemo were not hard on me, but the last four had different medicine and were very hard. I didn't lose my hair for the first four rounds, but did on the last four.

Four weeks after chemo ended, I had neck dissection surgery. 64 lymph nodes were removed. Pathology reports showed that one of the 64 still had cancer. The rest of the lymph nodes were clear of cancer. Chemo had been pretty successful in killing off the cancer.

The one lymph node that had cancer showed that the cancer had not spread outside the lymph node. The cancer had been contained. The one lymph node with cancer had been removed. The cancer was no longer in my body, as far as they could tell.

To be safe, radiation was aimed at the breast, axillary lymph nodes, and supraclaviclar lymph nodes (above the clavicle, in my neck). I had radiation every day, Monday through Friday, for six weeks. Radiation didn't hurt while I got it, but it was very hard on me. I slept all day when I wasn't at treatment. I had no energy. The effects of radiation last for weeks after the radiation ends. It was a rough ride.

With chemo, surgery and radiation behind me, the only thing left to do is to finish 17 doses of the medicine called Herceptin. I get it every three weeks, intravenously (through my chemo port that was surgically inserted under my skin below my left clavicle). I am scheduled to finish treatment on Friday, January 22nd. If there are no signs of cancer recurrence, I should be able to carry on with my life after that point. I believe that God has heard our prayers and has rescued me from a rare and scary diagnosis.

I will get my remaining Herceptin treatments in Tyler rather than in Houston. The doctor in Tyler who saw me last September was updated on my case last week, and she said it was a very good thing I had gone to Houston. My rare kind of cancer would have resulted in her sending me to Houston anyway, so it's a good thing I didn't waste any more time here before she sent me.

Please continue your prayers for me. Pray that the cancer will not come back. Thanks.

Updated last on August 4, 2015.

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