vera pereskokova photoFrom organizing my grandmother’s library as a kid to building my own  – paper and digital – library as an adult, I have always loved books. I love books for the stories they tell, for the places they allow our minds to travel, and for emotions they inspire.

Luxury Reading came into existence in 2009 as an outlet to review and discuss books with other like-minded bibliophiles.

Since my diagnosis with metastatic breast cancer in late 2015, this blog – by default – will also become my avenue for chronicling my journey and updating others on my treatment (repeating the same story dozens of times over the phone gets very overwhelming!)

More about me…I am 32 years old, live in Cleveland, Ohio with my husband (that’s him in the photo), our two cats, Gucci and Bella, and our dog Yoshi. I work in healthcare consulting.

To get an idea of the type of books I like to read, check out my Amazon Wish List. If you want to chat about books – or cancer – e-mail me! For those more familiar with the cancer world and jargon, I’ve also included my cancer timeline below.

Cancer FAQs

Then:

  • April, 2012 – diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Ductal Carcinoma and DCIS in the right breast, ER+ (90%)/PR+ (40%), HER2-. Surprisingly for my doctors (given my age), I was BRCA1 and BRCA2 negative. Following surgery, I was told that I had what the doctor called a “microscopic spec” of cancer on 1 lymph node.
  • May, 2012 – double mastectomy with tissue expander placement followed by an axillary node dissection
  • June, 2012 – removal of right expander due to a severe infection (likely cellulitis)
  • July – October, 2012 – chemotherapy with 4 sessions of Adriamycin/Cytoxan combo and 4 of Taxol
  • November, 2012 – began taking Tamoxifen (typically taken for 5 years for hormone-receptor-positive cancers)
  • January, 2013 – replacement of right expander
  • June, 2013 – final reconstruction surgery (i.e. swapping out tissue expanders with implants)

Now:

  • Early October, 2015 – diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer with numerous lesions on the liver. This time the cancer looks to be ER+ (80%) but PR-, and the HER2 was initially inconclusive.
  • November, 2015 – I began a trial that combines the traditional Taxotere chemo with an investigational drug called Indoximod. I also began getting monthly Lupron shots that suppress ovarian function and hence, estrogen production. As of September, 2016, I am still on this regimen with either partial response or stable results.
  • December, 2016 – after a PET scan showed no active disease, my oncologist and I decided it was time for me to stop chemo and as a result, also stop my participation in the trial. I am now continuing my monthly Lupron shots and supplement them with Femara which blocks estrogen produced by the adrenal glands.

More to come…