Diagnosed at age 50 with Stage IV breast cancer (mets to lungs). Treatment plan included 7 rounds of chemo (Taxotare/Perjeta/Herceptin) once every 3 weeks. Then a unilateral mastectomy with lymph node dissection. Currently on maintenance of Perjeta/Herceptin infusions once every 3 weeks, along with Tamoxifen (an oral med taken once per day). I'll never be able to dance with NED, but there is currently No Evidence of Active Disease. The cancer will always be there, not necessarily active.
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On Obtaining a Wheelchair
You might remember about a month ago I mentioned on the facebook page about the possibility of obtaining a wheelchair. I got the order from my doctor and took it to a place not so far away. Good news. A place only about thirty minutes away that sells what I need and takes my insurance. They said it should take approximately two weeks. Nice. Nope. The people working that day were very nice, don't get me wrong. I've spoken to one of them on the phone about once a week since then. You see, the owner has his own health issues, and, long story short, the order for my wheelchair is still on his desk. So, this morning I started calling around again. Sooooo frustrating. I really wish the lists that the insurance companies provide would be narrowed down a bit. I searched for durable medical equipment within twenty miles. Twenty four places came up. I called all but four of them. Only two sell wheelchairs. They sell cpap machines, or orthopedic supplies, or provide hospital beds, or something else besides wheelchairs. It's so very frustrating to have a health problem and have things related to it be so time consuming and so much tedious work. (Don't get me started on keeping the bills and the appointments straight!) Anyway, I called places on the list according to how far away they are. Today was Woodbridge. Twenty miles? Maybe as the crow flies. Anyway, the guy I spoke with was fabulous. The rep that covers the DC area actually lives in my town. So, I don't have to go to Woodbridge! He'll come here to take measurements to fit me for the chair, and he'll deliver it when it comes in. How cool is that?! I emailed the order over. Next step is them sending paperwork to my doctor. Once they have that, they'll send it all over to the insurance company where it will go under review. The review board at the insurance company will decide if it's medically necessary. All in all, I will hopefully have it in about a month (cross your fingers) and can get out of the house more. So many places I don't go because I just don't have the energy to walk as much as it would require. Just simple things like shopping. Walking Benji around the neighborhood. The County Fair
in September (at the last event I attended at the fairgrounds, Jimmy
had to ask for the golf cart to take me to the van, because my legs just
would not go any farther). Day trips with the boys. The grocery store! Cross your fingers, everyone, and hope that the insurance company will approve it. I'll keep you updated.
Monetary Cost Cancer is expensive. I have
good health insurance. Really good health insurance. Even with very
good health insurance, though, cancer is expensive. Every time I visit my
primary care doctor, which is about every four months, I have a $10
copay. No big deal. Every time I visit my oncologist, which is
every six weeks (down from every three weeks while I was undergoing chemo), I
have a $15 copay. Every time I have treatment (Herceptin and Perjeta
infusions), which is every three weeks, I have a $30 copay. In addition
to these routine things, I see my cardiologist, my surgeon, my gynecologist, my
ophthalmologist, and my oncology rehab specialist periodically. That's
$15 each visit for each specialist. On top of these copays, there are other
medical costs. Luckily, for my Tamoxifen prescription, I am able to
receive a 90 day supply, which is no cost to me. My other prescriptions,
however, are between $10-$20 each month. Then there are the physical
I got to meet the people who work for the company where the medicine that keeps me alive is manufactured. How cool is that?!
Genentech is the biotech company that produces two of my maintenance medications, Herceptin and Perjeta. Click on the links if you want more information on the company and/or the medicines and what they do. I receive Herceptin and Perjeta via infusion once every three weeks. These medicines keep the cancer at bay. I will be on them for the rest of my life.
Genentech has a program called Patient Connect. I was a part of that this year. I flew out to San Francisco to visit the company and to talk to their employees about my experience with Perjeta. Over the course of three days, 12 patients, on different medications, were there to speak to the employees. My day was Friday. The day started at 7:15am when a car picked my husband and I up from the hotel to drive us to the campus. After a quick breakfast, it was make…
did it. I bought a cane.
I have balance issues. I can't walk up/down even a curb without holding onto something for balance. I've found myself at work walking next to the wall in case I need to reach out to steady myself. Whenever I'm standing, I find the nearest thing to lean on. Whenever I walk with my husband or sons, they automatically put out their arm for me to hold on to. I'm going to physical therapy for my balance issues, in addition to the muscle cramping. They think that it's fatigue driven. I think they're right. I am working on pushing through the fatigue, but wow, it's hard. So, I had been mulling around about getting myself a cane. Not to help me walk, but just to help me keep my balance. Hopefully I will be carrying it mostly and just using it to lean on when there's not a wall or a post handy. In that aspect, I think it would be very helpful. On the other hand, I worry that I will become dependent on it. When I mentione…