Monday, January 22, 2018

Keep on living and remain calm

Another milestone

According to the web, the magic pill that blocks growth/spread of cancer cells comes at a price. To be exact, about 9850 per month, that's in US $ and that's nine-thousand and eighth-hundred and fifty (insert incredulous emoji here).
My prescription was approved until 2021 and I have to thank my lucky stars for good insurance again. Imagine not being able to afford that, not having insurance, not being allowed to take the magic pill that will hopefully lengthen my life-span to...who knows!

Anxieties evolve

My new life is a bit like jumping off a cliff,
I just hold my breath and take plunge after plunge
"You have cancer"
"You have Stage IV breast cancer"
"Your cancer may be hormone receptive"
"This medication may help you live a long life"

Reacting to those statements comes with different anxieties. First of course is disbelief, then after acceptance comes a feeling of despair. Stage IV breast cancer, not long ago, carried the odds of survival at 18-19% for five years. Sooooo, let me get this straight, I have a one in five chance of "making it" for the next five years?

Those anxieties subside and the hormone therapy marvel comes to the rescue. I now increase my odds of surviving to maybe 10-20+ years! And then the wait for the meds...approved? not approved? Took many web searches through various formularies (list of medications approved by my insurance) to find the pesky new drug right there in my insurance company's formulary. Still the wait...

Today, finally, a call from the pharmacy that my prescription is being processed, all 9K of it. That's per month, average cost of cancer treatment. Invest in pharma!
A sigh of relief at last...

Keep on walking

Now to wonder if the magic is working and how long I will be on this wonder drug Don Quijote and its smaller sidekick Sancho Panza, those are my nicknames for them. Windmills beware!
Beware windmills! I have a fighting team
Ibrance and Letrozol are the real names of
my daily meds,
plus a bone building some-acid-thing
which I take once monthly via IV
I am now on Day 12 of treatment and feeling rather guilty at being constipated, only notable side effect so far. Well there is the underlying fatigue, I wrote on my FB page that I feel like I'm driving 15 MPH on the freeway...but I'm still driving!
With my new putt-putt engine, I am working out a work-out schedule that makes me feel better and keeps me exercising. 1.5 miles instead of 5, sometimes divided into two tiny walks. Bike at night to  strengthen leg bones and muscles. Haven't taken up the upper body workout or weights yet due to slight rib pain, but I'm starting to lift the 3 lb dumbbells that I kept around just in case. Those 10-pounders seem like a lot right now.

Pretty much all I can do is keep on walking and keep on finding ways to enjoy my new life. Hey the sun is shining again in my favorite park!

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