Sunday, January 24, 2010

Herceptin tomorrow

Tomorrow, I start a new "targeted therapy" for my Her-2 positive cancer: Herceptin. It's been around for 10+ years now, I think, and has been found to be really effective. I've been on Tykerb ("son of Herceptin") for almost two years. I don't expect to have many side effects. But there's always a possibility that I will.

I was planning to start a new meditation class tomorrow afternoon, which would take place after the appointment, but to be on the safe side, I thought I should just stay home afterwards and rest.

Amazingly, I'm not feeling too anxious about this at all. I am expecting to waltz in there like I have been while taking zometa (a drug that protects my bones from cancer invading it) and waltz out just like I usually do. That may be somewhat naive of me. But I choose to believe that I'll be just fine. So many patients have no side effects, although they say you may be feel "flu-like" symptoms the first time. I guess I feel since I've been taking Tykerb, my body is already kinda used to this kind of substance.

I also attribute my lack of worry or anxiety to learning more about meditation and mindfulness (i.e., living in the moment) in recent months.

We'll see how it all goes - I'll make sure I report on how I'm doing afterwards!

Happy Monday, everyone!


Joanna said...

Hi Dee,

I trust that your Herceptin infustion went smoothly. I have been on Herceptin since April, 2008 and six months of that time, I had Tykerb also.

I have my Herceptin on Wednesday of this week. The plan that seems to work for me is to schedule the Herceptin in the early afternoon. That way, I can do what I want to in the morning (i.e., tennis) and then hang it up for the afternoon after Herceptin. It gives me a slight, temporary headache and makes me really sleepy. The Herceptin literature suggests that it leads to insomnia and this is true after the initial sleepiness. But all in all, it is not bad. I take my laptop to the hospital and check my emails, etc. and before you know it, I am done.

I have had great difficulties getting insurance (BC/BS) to pay for the Tykerb and I paid for it myself for the six months that I took it. Now, I am going to get really activated and force the insurance company to pay for it. Does your insurance company cover Tykerb? It is not standard protocol to have it with Herceptin instead of Xeloda. I would love feedback on this so I can get mentally tough in my fight with the insurance company. I started a blog
and I have talked about Herceptin and insurance issues.
Again, I hope you breezed through your Herceptin. It is much more benign than Tykerb.

Joanna Moore

Daria said...

Wishing you all the best with the Herceptin ...

Dee said...

Hi Joanna,
Apparently, my new insurance (Providence) does not have any problem covering both Tykerb and Herceptin. Perhaps it's because I have metastatic disease and for patients like us, they're not sure what works, so they allow the doctors to make the call. On the other hand, I'm not sure what my doctor has said to the insurance company because, for the most part, I've not had to fight my insurance. I'm sorry I can't help you more there as I've never had to fight insurance.

I'm glad to hear that Herceptin is fairly benign for you. I find Tykerb to be benign, too, so I just assumed that I wouldn't have much trouble with Herceptin.

So, what do you think of blogging? Is it helping you?