View Full Version : The Red Devil

Holley Calmes
08-16-2010, 10:41 PM
Looking for info here. My first cousin's 37 year old daughter was diagnosed with stage 3a breast cancer, a triple negative tumor. We're fighting the good fight, but she's being given the dreaded "red devil" chemo every other week until December. The first 2 doses put her to bed on day 3, but she bounced back well. (She has 5 and 8 year old kids.) The 3rd dose was worse. My cousin is such a warrior she isn't telling me everything, but she conceded it was "worse" and "cummulative."

Has anyone ever had experience with this recently? I know there are new drugs and supportive therapies to help people in chemo. We're still just reeling from this diagnosis-"Comedo" DCIS and a double mastectomy. We will prevail! But sometimes knowing what has helped others is a help in itself.

I appreciate any advice! Her name is Lisa. She's a beautiful, wonderful mother and professional woman. She had a fantastic "head shaving" party with 25 friends before her chemo. She let her kids cut her hair off any way they wanted, and her husband then shaved her head. he and numerous cousins and friends-males-have shaved their heads in solidarity.( She is blessed to have so much support, but it all comes down to one lonely journey. ) Then everyone ate, drank, and partied! She's incredibly brave and has great faith. It's still hard.

Thanks for anything you can offer! Big hugs to all of you guys. Get your mammograms please!! She found this lump. If she hadn't-if she'd found it a month later, she'd be gone.

08-16-2010, 11:02 PM
Oh Holley, hugs to your cousin! I assume she's getting the standard ACT cocktail (Adriamycin and Cytoxan, followed by Taxol)? Adriamycin = the "red devil." Yes, they like to give that one to triple negative girls, triple negative bc is so aggressive, so you want to be as aggressive as possible with that disease.

Usually it's four doses of A/C every other week, then you do four doses of Taxol, so she should only have one more dose of the red devil now, right? Or are they giving her more?

I totally sympathize b/c the red devil made me soooo sick... literally. The anti-nausea drugs didn't work on me at all. That said, even I lived to tell the tale. There is a cumulative impact with all the chemo drugs. It majorly, majorly sucks but she'll get through it. She might find acupuncture to be helpful.

If she has't done so already, she should go to the Young Survivor Coalition, or YSC. It's www.youngsurvival.org. I'm on that board (same screen name). Tons of information and support. There's always someone there who can answer specific questions or offer lots of cyber-hugs. Or if she doesn't want to post, she can read messages and gather information, vent, share jokes, etc. One great thing is that if you google triple negative breast cancer, the stats are so grim you just want to crawl under a rock... but on the YSC board you'll see lots of triple negative girls doing just fine and they can serve as inspiration. Many of the young survivor girls are my friends IRL now.

I continue to be shocked at all the young women being diagnosed. I thought I had it bad, being diagnosed at age 32, but we recently had a 22-year-old and 24-year old join the board. I mean, seriously, WTF? :(

Holley Calmes
08-16-2010, 11:29 PM
Thank you so much Cheylana! Lisa has a friend who works in NYC with breast cancer research, and they're giving her all three drugs at the same time. They've found it doesn't make it any worse, and she has 4 weeks less to do chemo.

Cheers to you for your courage and joi de vivre! You'll be one of those ole granny survivors-I know! I am passing along the link to the Young Survivors web site to my cuz. Thank you so very much. Lisa's Mom and I feel like we are carrying the burden with her. It's heavy, but we're strong.

Big hugs!

08-16-2010, 11:48 PM
I'm so sorry, Holley. I don't have any info, but I'll pray.

08-16-2010, 11:59 PM
Holley, thanks for your kind words! :) Your cousin is very brave indeed. No way could I have done all three drugs at once. I tip my hat to her! One good thing about TNBC is that it responds really well to chemo. So while she's going through this awful time, the chemo is not for naught, it is making a real difference! Tell Lisa to hang in there. Hugs for you too, it really is hard on the loved ones as well as the patient.

And yes, please, I agree, stay on top of your breast health. Don't skip mammos, and if you feel something, say something!

08-17-2010, 01:40 PM
I don't have any information either, but my thought and prayers go out your cousin & to you and all those around her who are supporting her.