It turns out I didn’t start my new chemo yesterday after all.
Basically the government won’t cover me for any more than the standard course of 17 Herceptin treatments. The 17 treatments I’ve received to date are worth about 60K USD (and are completely free in Canada) but to go beyond the standard course I would have to show that my disease has not progressed during that time. It has. However some lumps have stabilized and my doctor is contesting the CCO’s decision to cut off my Herceptin, but she isn’t hopeful she can get around it (at least not fast enough) so unless my husband’s drug plan covers it, it’s Sayonara Herceptin.
This is not as bad as it sounds. The new treatment is Lapatinib, which is a targeted therapy for HER-2 positive cancers. I am a big fan of targeted therapies. (Say it with me: Apoptosis!) The only reason my doctor didn’t put me on it first is because she didn’t want to have to take me off Herceptin, knowing it would be hard to get me approved for coverage to go back on it again once I stopped. So she wanted to start me on a chemo that I could have in conjunction with Herceptin, and not a treatment that would replace it.
I have heard really good things about Lapatinib, and I actually feel ok about this new development. Like maybe just for once the universe is intervening on my behalf to make sure I get the right treatment (instead of the universe just screwing with me, which is what it seems to have been doing for the past 18 months or so.) I am genuinely optimistic that this treatment will be the one that works.
On the downside, I’m going TWO full weeks without treatment because none of this will be sorted out until next week. On the up side I will be in much better shape for the Weekend To End Breast Cancer Walk this weekend, having skipped chemo yesterday. I’ve raised almost $9000.00!!!