We are planning to start Avastin, I opted to start ASAP which means I begin tomorrow morning. Now, most of you out there not in "Cancerland" have no idea what the difference between Avastin and chemo is. Hell, I have lived in Cancerland for a few years now and I didn't realize they were different but my doctor explained they are in fact different. In a previous treatment I had Avastin in combination with an aggressive chemo regimen. This time I will only have Avastin. You see, chemo attacks fast-growing cells, like cancer cells but doesn't differentiate between types of cells. Avastin works differently than chemo.
For cervical cancer, Avastin is typically used with chemotherapy to hit the cancer from another angle. As I said, we've already gone that route so now we are trying Avastin alone. Avastin is a tumor-starving (anti-angiogenic) therapy. The purpose of Avastin is to prevent the growth of new blood vessels. This includes normal blood vessels and blood vessels that feed tumors. The picture below helped me really see what was meant.
This wasn't a choice which was made lightly. There was a lot of thought which went into this plan. My case was discussed between all my specialists and we opted for this plan to help preserve my quality of life. You might remember last year when I had aggressive chemo. I was in treatment one full day and then typically a week and a half later I was in the hospital for a week. What most of you never saw was that I couldn't keep up with my son. I was too sick to care if I ate. I was tired, sleeping 16+ hours per day. All of this while trying to be a mother, wife, friend, and teacher.
After much deliberation my doctor brought this plan to me to help me improve my quality of life. The Avastin has minimal side effects and only takes away a small part of my day every three weeks. I don't have any external symptoms of the cancer so all my symptoms have been side effects of treatment. My body needs a break.
It has taken me some time to process the thought of living my life with cancer. It is hard to grasp that we are not aggressively attacking this. My doctor assured me we do have future options if the Avastin doesn't work but for now, here I am, living my life with cancer and no end in sight.
I am grateful for all my friends and family and the support. Looking forward to a long life, even if it has to be with cancer.