The Silence of the Dying by Sara Douglass

Sara Douglass* died in 2011 of ovarian cancer. A great high fantasy writer for adults.

*click on link to read her words


My mother’s birthday

My mother’s birthday is today. She would have been 68! She died 12 years ago, and I miss and love her to this day. This is my favourite photograph of her as an 18yr old doing her B.Sc. She refused to kill the rats after desexing them. She stole ‘Gertrude’ from the lab. The lab technicians were looking for it for a long time … the secret never got out.


My mother and her Gertrude

mum-and-i-2005 2005, this is my mother and I a few months before she died (she was terminally ill with metastatic breast cancer).

me-in-front-of-jessicas-welsh-dresser 2016, me in front of my mother’s mother’s Welsh dresser in Wales, UK.

mums-great-grandmother 2016, this is my great, great grandmother (I think the original owner of the Welsh dresser – quite a similarity with my beloved mother). The Welsh dresser is passed down through the daughter’s line. Though we don’t know where the gene for breast cancer was passed down (thinking through my maternal grandfather’s line – who we don’t know).


Living beyond breast cancer

HER2+ guide

Click on the link to read a guide to understanding HER2+ breast cancer.

This guide was sourced from Dr Sara M. Tolaney’s webpage: retrieved 17.12.16 @ 5:50.

Dr. Tolaney is a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass., where she focuses on developing new treatments for breast cancer. She is also a medical instructor at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Tolaney received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University in 1998 and her medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco in 2002. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University and a fellowship in hematology-oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.


2016 regimen for HER2 positive breast cancer


In 2009, I had triple positive breast cancer, meaning my type of cancer liked oestrogen, progesterone and the HER2 protein for breakfast. There are newer (and better) drug combinations on the market now. (See the wonky photograph).

I snapped this from, I believe, expatriate Australian Dr Shom Goel’s talk. If you’re based in the USA he’s a leading light in HER2 positive research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

T-DM1 is a targeted antibody-drug conjugate: Herceptin (trastuzumab) and emtansine  (DM1). Herceptin binds to the receptor (on the cancer cells). Emtansine enters the cells and destroys them. This regimen is for women with metastatic breast cancer, and/or who’ve become resistant to Herceptin.


(From 2016 Clinical Oncology Society of Australia conference).

2016 COSA 43rd Annual Scientific Meeting


Partners for Progress in Breast Cancer Research and Care


Partner: Australia & New Zealand Breast Cancer Trials Group (ANZBCTG)

In November 2016 I did the IMPACT* Advocacy training program at the annual Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) conference. Over three days I learnt about the latest research from around the globe on breast cancer and current treatments (surgical and chemotherapeutic).

I’m going to post some slides, and summaries on the latest chemotherapy drug combinations to target HER2 positive breast cancer. If you have the HER2 gene mutation this could be useful.

(I’m the one in the red-desert pattern dress.)

*Improving Participation and Advocacy for Clinical Trials.