Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dr.Marc Citron

I went to the oncologist today, Dr. Marc Citron. It was good and bad. The good part is that I liked him and the office staff. The bad part is that the facts are tough to swallow. He said my chance of recurrence with no further treatment is 30%. With chemotherapy, taxotere and carboplatin in conjunction with herceptin the chance of recurrence goes down to 10-20%. That seems so, so high to me. This is tons of treatment. Monstrous disfiguring surgery that I have been told left me looking like an aerial view of the Jamaica rail road station (pretty funny actually), tons of chemo and a year of herceptin. I would think the risk would be lower with all that.

I have not been lucky when it comes to medical risks. The risk of HELLP syndrome in pregnancy is .5%. Got it. The risk of the flap failing in a DIEP surgery is about 1%. Mine failed. So when I hear 10-20% it is very scary. The good part about this aggressive cancer is this, if you can get through three years the risk goes down a lot. It goes down a lot more by five years and is almost completely gone by eight years. ER/PR+ cancers retain risk for many, many years. It is not uncommon to hear of a recurrence 20 years later, but there recurrence rate is much lower from the start. So turning 50 will be very happy for me. It freaks a lot of people out, but I will be thrilled to get there.

Of course, I will do whatever they suggest. I will do the chemo. It will be six times, every three weeks. The herceptin will be every week at first and then every three weeks for a year. He said there is an experimental pill for Her2+ cancers. It wouldn't be until after I finish the year of treatment but I told him to sign me up for that too. Experimental or not, count me in.

He said he thinks I can work through treatment. I will need at least one day off every three weeks for the infusion and possibly other time, but he says I can try to do it. This is important to me, to try to stay regular. I have a disabilty policy so I would make more money to stay home, but that is like giving up. I have really never been one to give up easily. Never give in.

I worry about Julianna and how this will all be for her. I also worry about her being the fourth generation to get this. I sure hope they make some progress before that is possible. I hope there is some type of vaccination or other preventative measure. One in seven women on Long Island will get breast cancer. One in eight nationwide. The risk is very high. Way too high.


  1. Hey, ME, my mom's sarcoma was said to have an 85% fatality rate WITH treatment. She beat it. You will surely beat this, and I think the bad breaks with the odds in the past just mean you've got those freakish outcomes behind you - you've done your part for the slim chances.

  2. DR. Citron is cold as ICE. You can't ask questions until he is finished explaining everything. He shuts you up and continues with his egotiscal attitute. Who needs him when there are plenty of compasionate caring oncologists in NY. Hi staff is just as cold and disconnected. When you need help you need compasion and quality of care. They go hand in hand. Just a qualified Dr doesn't cut it anymore. Maybe he is to old, tired and burnt out. He should retire!!

  3. I guess everyone has their own opinion. I really thought he was great. Whenever I had a problem he was right there and always available.