Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Makers of Abraxane - My Hero!

. . . I Received My Treatment!

While waiting for my insurance company to "review and approve" the new Abraxane chemo treatment I was suppose to have, the tumors were growing and the pain was getting much worse. I would cry at night when the pain seemed relentless and the pain meds didn't even seem to help. But the most wonderful news of all was that my Oncologist and his staff solicited the drug company who makes Abaxane and the drug company decided to cover the cost of my treatments while we wait for the insurance company to get off their duff.

When I met with my Oncologist yesterday, he couldn't praise the drug company enough for this compassionate and giving gesture. They will benefit from my treatment results which could benefit future pancreatic cancer patients.

Yesterday, I received my first treatment of Abaxane and it went SO much better than the prior chemo I'd been on for 8 months. I didn't have to have a lot of intravenous drugs pumped into me prior to the infusion... the infusion time was shorter... no pain the the arm where the chemo went in... and so far, I don't feel any horrid side effects. I'll have this particular chemo treatment every week for three weeks and then get the forth week off.

It is my Oncologists hope that this chemo will begin shrinking the tumors and I can feel some relief within the first two weeks. He also hopes that I can stay on it with positive results for even up to a year. But, he says, even a month of relief would be good. I pray for longer than a month!

I am very thankful to my Oncologist, his staff and the Abraxane drug company for allowing the opportunity for me to begin this treatment. Together, they are my hero's! I have so much more I want to do in my life and cannot imagine laying around lethargic and in pain for the rest of it.

Thank you to all who continue to send prayers. I am so grateful to have them!

Aroma Fields Candles & Bath
~Marilyn's Silly Website~

Monday, October 11, 2010

FDA and Insurance Companies Play 'God'

. . . "no, you can't have it until way say so!"

Expecting to start my new chemo treatment (of Abraxane) on September 28th, my husband and I were stunned to hear that I am now subject to waiting for all the red tape. While Abraxane is FDA approved for breast and lung cancer, it has not yet been approved by the FDA for pancreatic cancer. Google it for pancreatic cancer and you'll find studies have shown it has had good results. Thus, the testing has been done. But...FDA, dragging their feet, hasn't put it out there for use by doctors on their patients, yet. SO, our insurance company has to go through a review process whereby they are the decision makers on whether or not I get my much needed, grabbing-at-straws-now treatment! To top it off, they want to take their sweet time and have stated that a decision may be reached in about 3 weeks. If something works, why would they not let someone have it? Why let the person suffer in more pain...allow more damage to be done...or let the person die? Do they know that cancer doesn't stop growing to appease their schedules?

So, the pain progresses and I'm on a steady regimine of Advil. It doesn't quite stop the pain entirely, but anything stronger makes me tired, thus, all I want to do is sleep. I'm suppose to go back to my Oncologist on October 19th for the Abraxane infusion IF the treatment has been approved by then. I hope I don't end up in some insurance beaurocratic limbo, unable to get any treatment done while in the meantime insidious little mutinies are allowed to progress unchecked. Meantime, I feel like I have something stuck in my throat. Oh's a flippin' tumor!

Aroma Fields Candles & Bath
~Marilyn's Silly Website~

Sunday, October 3, 2010

New Tumors . . . New Chemo

New CT Scan Results

I went in to see my Oncologist this past Tuesday, September 28th to get the results of my CT scan and for another Oxaliplatin chemo infusion. As I had been experiencing unusual pain in my neck and felt a bit more fatigued than usual, I expected that the results would not be good. They weren't. The tumors that existed in my lungs are still there, some have grown larger AND I have 3 additional tumors . . . one in my neck, two in my abdomen.

My Oncologist took me off of the Oxaliplatin infusion treatments (which I've been having once a month for the past 9 months) as, apparently, they are no longer working. I'm tickled pink to be off that nasty stuff as the side effects were horrid. Beginning this coming Tuesday, I'm to go on another type of chemo called Abraxane. Doc says it's normally used for breast cancer but recent studies have proven it to be effective in the fight against pancreatic cancer as well. I sure hope so! Because of the fact that I've been on three different chemos now and this disease is still rearing it's ugly, demonic head...I'm losing hope. I'm glad, however, that my Oncologist hasn't given up!

As the pain in my neck gets worse each day; feeling like a knife stabbing into my neck with pain radiating up into my jaw and down into my lungs, I'm eager to begin this new chemo treatment. I'm also having problems with my larnyx as I sound very hoarse when I speak and it hurts in that area as well. At the time of my visit, my Oncologist didn't know what was causing that problem. I'm wondering if the neck tumor is pressing on my larnyx. hurts.

My Oncologist says that if the chemo doesn't work in shrinking the tumors, I'll have to have the one on my neck radiated. So...does that mean the other tumors will be left to grow? I have a feeling the answer is "yes". I don't want to reach this point! Dammit!

So, as I come to terms with the fact that this disease is progressing quicker now, I worry that I won't be around in a year's time. No fair! I have a lot I want to do! My children are taking this very hard. It is more difficult to watch my children suffer emotionally than it is for me to endure the physical pain from this disease. My brother and sister are worried sick, as well. I've always been the "hub" of my family since our Mother passed away in 1970. If my husband is stressed, he is not showing it. I continue to hear him say, "You're going to be just're going to live another 20 years". He's either in denial or he's hiding his concern in order to give me hope and support . . . but he's ALWAYS by my side with all I go through. Everyone handles their stress differently. I love my family SO much!

On a positive note . . . I'm hoping the new chemo does a great job and gets rid of the tumors! I have so many wonderful people praying for me and I appreciate every one. I'm working on a new afghan for Berlyn (my middle grand daughter) and still filling candle and soap orders. I'll be doing things as long as I possibly can!

Aroma Fields Candles & Bath
~Marilyn's Silly Website~