Friday, August 19, 2011

Cancer Bitch - Coming Up Short

Have you ever gone out for a steak dinner only to be told that they'd run out? But you can substitute a hot dog.

Yeah, that was my reaction when I was told that I have to do another round of chemo, Oh, and there might be a shortage of the chemo drug. And, if I can't obtain it, here's a prescription for another drug that might work as well but has lots of side effects.

No one can say why there is a shortage. No one can say when it will end.

According to the New York Times, More than half the recent chemotherapy drug shortages have resulted because government or company inspectors found problems like microbial contamination that can be lethal on injection. Others have occurred because of capacity problems at drug plants or lack of interest because of low profits, according to the FDA.

Dr. Robert Mayer of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston said, '"One could say that substituting Pepsi for Coca-Cola doesn't make a difference. Maybe it does and maybe it doesn't, but more often it might be substituting 7-UP for Coca-Cola, and that might make a difference."

My doctor gave me a prescription for a pill to substitute for the chemo drug, 5FU( fluorouracil). The side effects of the pill are pretty radical - blisters in your mouth and on your hands and feet.

Another example of letting the market place decide who lives or dies, rather than the so-called government death panels. Gee, who do I trust more with my life?

UPDATE - Johns Hopkins telephoned today (Aug 22) to let me know I would NOT be receiving 5FU because of the shortage. They do not know when the shortage will end. And, please let them know if the side effects from the replacement drug (Xeloda) make my life a living hell. Cheery-bye!

UPDATE #2 - (Aug 23) Chemo session ended just as earthquake hit. Steve and I were grinning at each other, "earthquake! Awesome!" Then saw staff running from the building freaking out. Tried to talk about paperwork with my nurse but she was too busy grabbing her purse to evacuate. People standing outside the hospital under a glass and metal atrium. NOT a good idea.

UPDATE #3 (Aug 24) Got the new meds and started today. Same thing - tired and nauseous. Sigh...

On a happier note, I saw my former nurse, Roz, while eating lunch in the cafeteria at Johns Hopkins last week. She looked happy to see me and blurted out, "you look good!" Not in that approving-sistah-to-middle-aged-sistah-kind of way, but in the startled "your still here?" sense. I took if for the compliment it was. I'm still grinning.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Cancer Bitch - Debt Ceiling Blues

Which is worse?

  1. Summertime chemo
  2. Heat Wave from hell
  3. A tanking 401 k
  4. Partisan hostage taking - not only on Capitol Hill but across the country
  5. No summer vacation (except for family reunions)
  6. "Cowboys and Aliens"
The answer? I'm still thinking....

No, its Congress. Definitely. And at least I don't live in Wisconsin.

The chemo started out bad but, finally, the nausea stopped. My appetite went away, but came back with a vengeance. I discovered the joys of Ginger Calamari at "Zest" and made "Banana Pudding Cupcakes" for the family reunion. Also smuggled home a bag of pepperoni rolls from Westbygawd. Had what I hope is the last round this week and spent a lot of time sleeping or watching "Judge Judy." (whoa-that can't be good)

My 401 k, well, since I can't retire until I turn 90, then it has time to recover. And, when the stock market crashed, I immediately bought stock for the grandkids. I Love I've been using them since the demise of the last investment club I belonged too.

My family reunions were a hell of a lot of fun.

Mom's side of the family endured 104 degree temperatures and still had a great time in Maryland. (Thanks to air conditioning and a great party) During the trip to West Virginia we participated in the annual "Cornhole" tournament, were attacked by a killer bat in the hotel lobby and had the joy of shopping at the Coldwater Canyon Outlet and Gabriels.

And, "Cowboys and Aliens," well it wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but it wasn't the worst either. So, the summer didn't suck! At least, if you can ignore the news every now and then....