What is Triple Negative anyway?

Someone asked me the other day about my type of cancer… they have never heard of Triple Negative before… I guess, neither had I until my diagnosis! And stage 4 nonetheless, so I got to know it pretty well!

Anyway, it got me thinking that I should share what I was told about it! And how Zero Negative was formed from that triple negative diagnosis…

Triple-negative breast cancer is an aggressive form of the disease. The difference is that all three types or receptors are NOT a factor with triple negative, making it a little harder to treat because there is only one option really, which is chemotherapy.

For example, some breast cancers have receptor cells that respond to hormones. There are three main types of receptors:

Doctors diagnose breast cancer by identifying which receptor is present. They run a series of tests for each of the three receptors, and these will return either positive or negative results.

When a person has breast cancer, but all of these results come back negative, doctors diagnose the person with triple-negative breast cancer. Also, in my case, I tested positive for the BRCA 1 gene, which means I had increased risk of breast cancer, increasing my risk of triple negative breast cancer.

(I remember when I was given the name, triple negative, I was like, this sounds horrible! Negative, negative, AND some more negative, how much worse can it get?! But it turned out that my type of cancer became a ‘gift’ in a way, because it gave me the name Zero Negative, and the story behind it all… it was such blessing in the end!)

TREATMENT: Many treatments aim to block one or more of the three receptors. When results for all three are negative, hormone-based medications are not an effective option. Instead, a doctor will recommend other treatments, such as chemotherapy.

(I was told that chemo was the ONLY medicine to treat triple negative…and even though it was the only choice, it was known to have a very reliable rate of success in diminishing tumors… )

As with other breast cancers, the success of treatment for triple-negative breast cancer depends on the size of the tumor and how pervasive it is.

(My tumor was really big, 7.4 cm, and it was so confusing and frustrating for me because I had HAD my mammogram 6 months ago, AND a check up with my gynecologist, and NO ONE had felt or seen this huge tumor growing inside of me. Soon after I learned that because I had dense breast tissue, I should have been having ultra-sounds WITH my mammograms…but no one told me this… crazy right? BUT at least I’m okay now, and hopefully I can make others more aware of this now!)

There are fewer treatment options for triple-negative breast cancer, and it is more likely to spread and recur than other types of the disease. More information can be found here:

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324272.php

https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/triple-negative-breast-cancer

When I heard all of the characteristics of triple negative, I was scared. Very scared. And to make matters even scarier, my doctor at UCLA who I was meeting for the first time, Dr. Slamon, said that one of the positives about triple negative was if it doesn’t come back in 5 years, then it has a very low chance of ever coming back, but if it DOES come back within that time, then it will be more aggressive and very hard to treat. Basically, he was saying I would most likely die from it, IF it comes back. And, the statistics were very scary… 50% of patients end up cancer free forever, and 50% of the patients won’t, and there is no rhyme or reason of why, but THAT, in a nutshell, is the nature of triple negative.

‘UGH’ and ‘SHIT’, I remember feeling as I was sitting in his office. However, it was really strange and I remember this so well… as I was hearing the stats, basically hearing I had a 50/50 chance to live, I was weirdly starting to feel optimistic for the first time… I felt like I was stepping into my diagnosis, owning it in a way, AND, I was realizing how safe I felt with Dr. Slamon… I think I was finally accepting my prognosis, and then felt like, ‘Okay, if Dr. Slamon thinks he can do this, then I KNOW I can do this, and I WILL do this…I will be part of the 50% group that makes it past 5 years, and I’ll live a cancer free life once I get through all of this. And I’ll have perky boobs for the rest of my life, that’s cool no? And I’ll surrender to the whole experience, like a student, and see what happens… AND, in the meantime, I’m going to figure out how to raise money for his research at UCLA, because god forbid, if this DOES come back (or doesn’t go away), then I better be part of the team looking for a cure!’

https://www.uclahealth.org/dennis-slamon

And, so it was, in Dr. Slamon’s office, when I decided to turn stage 4 triple negative breast cancer into something positive, which makes me want to advise others of how important it is when picking your team of doctors…you have to believe in them so deeply, you need to be willing to put your life in their hands and trust their advice and treatment, so they can believe in you…it’s a gut thing, but, you know when you know, ya know? What I didn’t know then, was how relevant my type of cancer was in developing my company… and obviously, triple negative gave the idea for the name, Zero Negative, and became symbolic in it’s meaning, going from stage 4 cancer to cancer free (which, by the way, was only 4 months… I must had done something right?!).

(I didn’t know then, BUT I see it so clearly now, that I was planting the seed of ‘surviving’ in my head, in my body, in my being, telling myself what I was going to do, before doing it...hoping others can take this message and use it to their advantage!)

Of course, that day on Tuesday, December 20th 2016, I had no idea HOW I was going to accomplish any of this… BUT, I had a goal, a dream planted in my head, and I truly believe that paved way for my happy ending …to be continued…

#lessonslearned #havinggoalsDOhelp #manifesting

xo Jenn

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