June 28, 2011

Back on line

We've been away to Toronto for a family bar mitzvah. We had a wonderful time, and I promise to tell all about it in the coming days.

I think it's safe to say that I recovered nicely from the gamma knife radiosurgery. We hopped on the plane two days after I was treated, and I had no troubles with swelling or even in decreasing the steroids to zero. There are still two healing marks on my forehead (and probably on the back of my head, but I can't see there) where the frame was attached.  Given that I am practically bald from the chemo, although eyelashes and brows are still holding on for now, I don't worry about how quickly these marks will heal and fade. They're covered nicely by hats, scarves, etc.

I see Dr G in two days and will likely get the news if my tumor marker continued to fall or has been at least stable during the month-long chemo break to treat the now-healed shingles. I imagine he will have some kind of plan for a next step. Personally I am holding out for enough decrease in my liver tumors that we can consider cyber knife for any remaining liver tumors and maybe try a maintenance estrogen fighter, similar to what worked for me for so many years. But who knows.

In the meantime, if you have been following today's news on FDA hearings about Avastin, know that I had just started Avastin in combination with Abraxane. Although we saw good early results, it's impossible to say which drug is responsible for those results. I've had three or four doses of Avastin, certainly not enough to call it a lifesaver. Still, I would be in favor of the FDA approving it for use in advanced breast cancer, if only because ii appears to work for some women and we all want to keep as many options open for as long as possible. But who could possibly afford $88,000 a year in drug payments if insurance companies stopped covering Avastin, should the FDA rescind approval for its use in treatment of metastatic breast cancer?

Why should women have to die because of the price of a drug and the manufacturer's need for financial compensation? Genentech, get with it and stop seeking over-the-top profits.


  1. I hope the FDA approves further research and development. It is clear that more testing is needed in order to move forward with this treatment. Your final paragraph says it all. The drug companies need to print less gimmicky promotional materials and bring the drug costs down!

  2. Welcome back Jill. Just in time for my coming back as well. Never had the chance to blog hop while me and the rest of my family were on vacation.