Sayonara Herceptin?

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!!!



Filed under Living with Breast Cancer

8 responses to “Sayonara Herceptin?

  1. SAM

    You’re amazing.

  2. Carol W.


    I agree. You ARE amazing. Way to go on your spirit and your fundraising! So many of us learn from your blog and now many more will benefit from the fruits of your fundraising. It’s going to be a beautiful (and powerful) weekend. Enjoy the walk. I’ll look for you along the route 🙂

  3. Gwen

    Good luck on the walk, and congratulations on the amount you have so far raised. You are indeed an amazing person. Your blog is terrific. You must have affected many, many lives through your writing. I am just one of the many who, I’m sure, pray that the Lapatinib will blast those evil cells once and for all. So keep fighting and writing!

  4. Marie

    Good luck with your walk, Leanne. You’ve raised an incredible amount of money for research. I have been reading your blogs for some time now and you continue to amaze and inspire me with your honesty and sense of humour.

    My sister and I were both diagnosed with breast cancer three weeks apart at the end of 2007 and both finished herceptin three weeks apart this spring. I have given a lot of thought to your cousin’s demon theory and my sister and I must have been carrying around for years some deep “mom always liked you best” resentment. Ha ha.

    Good luck with your new treatment. Keep fighting so those nasty little invaders won’t know what hit them.

  5. Gemini Girl

    Hey Leanne,

    Congratulations on the fund raising achievement! And, thank you. As Carol said, we all benefit.

    The reasoning behind drug coverage often seems illogical to me. As human beings our bodies respond uniquely to treatments and having a cut and dried criteria for treatment schedules (among other drug and care related coverages) is so bureaucratic. Like, you, however, I believe the universe intervenes in mysterious ways. I like Lapatinib’s name, it bodes well as a targeted treatment.

    I hope you have fun this weekend. I hope the sun shines and there is lots of laughter and happiness.

    By the way, I think you should consider publishing your blog and your experiences on the “cancer journey”. You inspire so many through your blog. Imagine how many people you could reach with a book!

    Happy weekend,


  6. Anita

    Thank you for walking for those who can’t.

  7. Diane VP

    Thee is a natural product – CDN made researched
    food/juice that helps with APOPTOSIS. The juice is berries only & seaweeds that make this happen.

  8. Susan Webb

    Hi Leeanne,

    I just want to say ‘congratulations’ on finishing the walk. I walked with my sister (Carol W) and we were on the sidelines cheering you on as you walked along with all the other “pink” shirts in the Direct Energy Centre. You’re an inspiration and are in our thoughts!

    – Sue

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