May 03, 2011

Abraxane + Avastin

Yesterday was a long day at the Cancer Institute. We arrived at 9 AM and after a short wait, the charge nurse told us that this very day was the first business day Swedish starting using a new consent form. So we walked over to Dr G's office (avoiding most of the pouring rain by going through the hospital walkway).

Dr G explained about the new form, we both signed it, and then he showed me the Swedish Ca Inst's usual protocol for Abraxane , which included Avastin. I'd never had Avastin, and although there has been recent speculation about its effectiveness against metastatic breast cancer, Dr G wanted me to try it. We trudged back to the Ca Inst, signed form in hand.

About Avastin: because it was studied with other chemos and never on its own, the side effects are those related to chemo (generalized weakness, pain, abdominal pain, nausea & vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, upper respiratory infection, low white blood cell count, kidney problems, bleeding problems), diarrhea, hair loss, mouth sores, headache). We'll see which ones I may get.

Because of the last minute change to include Avastin, I had to have some additional tests to check my creatinine level via blood work, take a urine sample as well. I passed all the tests, but meanwhile had to wait for the results. Then it turns out that when these two drugs were studied together, the Avastin was always given first. Since I gave the urine sample more than an hour after the blood, more waiting. We had a friend to visit with, so it wasn't so bad, but still... Dr G did not choose one of the boxes on the Avastin quantity, so the nurse had to make another call to him to determine the dose.

At 1215 PM, Rik and J went to get us some lunch. I had just taken my first bite of Mediterranean Kitchen's farmer's wings (the BEST!) when the nurses showed up to start the Avastin. I had a 4 mg dose of the steroid Decadron as a premedication. The Avastin was given this first time over 90 minutes. It finished around 230 PM with no poor side effects. Our friend J said goodbye after spending a chatty and very garlicky three hours with us.

Next I asked about the IV Zofran anti-nausea med, which it turns out Dr G had not ordered, so the nurse had to call him again. I got the Zofran, had to wait another 20 minutes for it to provide protection, and finally got the Abraxane. Thirty minutes later, we were able to leave. All in all, I spent almost 8 hours in that chemo chair and had a backache you would not believe. Thank goodness we had my iPhone and Swedish's WIFI as well as books and company!

On the way home I simply had to have ice cream, so a quick stop at Molly Moon for some ginger ice cream with hot fudge put me in a better mood. We came home, I quickly fed the dog, checked email, got into my pajamas and was asleep by 6 PM. Rik walked the dog and stayed up a while longer, but he too was asleep by 930 PM.

I woke up today feeling more energetic, with no ache in my ribs at all, even after some hard sneezes. Now it's time to walk Bob and get on with my day. I've already showered, eaten breakfast, re-ordered new prescriptions, checked email, and blogged here. More news later.


  1. Anonymous6:46 AM

    Dear Jill

    My wife has Stage IV secondary breast cancer ( )

    We have come all the way over from England as the NHS ( National Health Service ) back home have basically told her that there is nothing else they can do, to the Burzynski clinic here in Houston, Texas, where they have a plan.

    The doctors have put together a combination that comprises of Abraxane/Avastin and Tarceva.

    We both wish you the very best of success with your treatment.

    Stay strong.

    Chris & Claire

  2. Anonymous4:11 AM

    I'm confused! I have bone and liver mets from BC since 2007! I am starting on my 6th chemo in 5 years in 10 days. My first chemo was Taxol (old form of Abraxane) and Avastin, which eradicated all the liver tumours....but of course they grew back! Every chemo I've done has worked for a while.
    My Doc has high hopes for Abraxane as a new drug for me, particularly as I responded so well to Taxol back then! I've googled it and there is NO need with Abraxane for premeds, at least antihistamines or steroids! So why re you insisting on them??The antihistamines knock you out, the steroids keep you awake and after 3 days you crash...I'm going to make sure I don't have them this time! Good Luck, you're doing great!!
    Jacqui (Greece)