February 24, 2015

The latest

On February 3, 2015, the FDA recently approved the newest drug for my kind of metastatic breast cancer, Ibrance (palbociclib). Last week, Dr G told me he wanted me to try it. Last week my health insurance company approved one month's supply. Yesterday the pharmacy called to tell me the drug had arrived. Now that's what I'd call fast service.

Dr G wants me to take it because palbociclib was first used to treat brain cancers and I have brain metastases. Abraxane was beating down my red and white cell counts and my platelets, so it was time to move onto another therapy.

According to the website, "IBRANCE is a prescription medicine that is used along with the medicine letrozole for the treatment of postmenopausal women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-negative advanced breast cancer as the first hormone-based therapy for their metastatic disease."

You can read more about Ibrance here. I'll be sure to blog about how it affects me. Let's hope again for good tolerance, limited side effects and fast work at reducing my tumor markers!

February 11, 2015


Last week's scans show mostly stable disease, especially a reduction of tumor growth in my liver. The radiologist's report on the brain MRI seems inconclusive. Dr G may change my treatment simply because the Abraxane is becoming more toxic and lowering my counts too far. More news next week....

February 10, 2015

February 08, 2015

Cancer manners

I ushered at a local theatre today and was at the front door taking tickets. A random woman came up, offered me her ticket to scan, then looked at me (wearing my chic little black velvet cap) and said, "God bless you." I hadn't sneezed.

One thing cancer patients experience over and over are people's inappropriate remarks. Sometimes from strangers, sometimes from family and friends, when people don't know what to say, they often say the first thing that pops into mind, instead of saying nothing at all.

I recommend reading "The Etiquette of Illness" by Susan P Halpern. Although not new, many of Halpern's suggestions from ten years ago remain pertinent. She offers many stories, comments and suggestions on how to respond, and advice from her years counseling those with serious illnesses and their families and friends.

And when you don't know what to say, and are tempted to open your mouth anyway, remember that it's okay to say nothing.

February 03, 2015

More white blood cells at last

I had labs last Monday, last Friday and again yesterday. Dr G finally approved chemo since my white blood cells had increased enough (not sure how much is enough). I ran into him in the hallway and he said that we may be at the end with this cycle of Abraxane. It has to be effective without taking me down a little more each time. So he will do some thinking and research, as will I, and after my scans next week, we will perhaps make a change.