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This blog really isn't designed to be about ME, however I am willing to share my life with you so that you can gain knowledge about living with cancer, the importance of continued research in cancer fighting drugs, and how the FDA's decisions on releasing or pulling a drug from cancer patients can greatly impact many lives. While my cancer is advanced breast cancer, I am fighting for all cancers, and actually life in general. My life has been directly affected by many other cancers as family members, friends and chemo buddies have died from various cancers. Each one of these people have shaped my life and I am fighting to honor their fight, and to continue fighting for all of us touched by this horible disease in some way. Most of all, I'm fighting for the right of my 11 year old daughter to continue having a healthy mother, and for my Husband and Mother to keep them from the pain and torment that comes from seeing a loved one die from cancer. The FIGHT IS ON!! Please join me!!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

For Now, No News is Good News!

Hey Everyone!  I haven't blogged in a while because I haven't been able to find any information that is different than the last time I blogged.  Right now we are waiting to hear from the FDA to see if they are willing to let Genentech have their opportunity of a hearing for the continued use of Avastin for breast cancer treatment.  It is my understanding that the FDA does not have give Genentech this opportunity, but must submit their decision by Feb. 19th.  If they decide to go ahead with the hearing, the FDA can set whatever date they want, so this could drag out for a long time.  As long as it is drawn out gives patients the opportunity to continue taking Avastin, so this isn't such a bad thing for patients needing the drug.

Someone wrote in the speakout section of our local paper.  They wondered if I had checked with the drug company to see if they can do anything to help with the cost of the drug.  At first, when I read this, I was angry because my point wasn't being understood.  My best friend made me realize that the writer was probably asking that in sincerity to help me.  At that point I realized she was right and I am thankful for any and all helpful acts or words. 

To answer that question,  Genentech got to me first.  They read Mike Jensen's column and called me personally.  The information and help they gave me was invaluable.  They have support systems set up for the women that will be effected by this and they keep up with insurance companies so that the patients aren't suddenly blind sided.  I was very impressed with the concern they expressed.  In our conversation, they were very factual and never put any political tone on anything.  I believe that us breast cancer patients showing results from this drug will all be able to continue the same treatment.  That is GREAT news.

Having said that, keep in mind that this fight isn't really about the cost as much as it is about the issue at stake here.  My problem is that the FDA's reasoning is wrong!!!  They claim that the drug doesn't prolong our life long enough to expose us to the risk involved.  My problem is WHO DECIDES HOW LONG AN INDIVIDUAL HAS TO LIVE?!?!?!?  Should that be left up to the FDA?!?!?!  The side effects from Avastin are the very same for all of the other cancers that are allowed to continue to have the drug.  How can side effects be an issue for breast cancer patients and not the brain,  lung and all other cancers?  So without side effects to stand upon for removal, the only thing left in their argument is amount prolonged life.  Not only prolonged life, but QUALITY prolonged life.  Not all patients benefit from this treatment, just as I  haven't greatly benefited from hormone therapies, and Taxol, Cytoxin, Adriamicin, Gemcitabine, Falsodex, and Zeloda.  None of the above treatments were easy to tolerate and they only worked for me about 6-8 months.  Avastin has given me two years of quality life.  Yes, I know the side effects.  I also know the long term effects of any stage 4 cancer.  I think I'll take my chances as to just do nothing.  That is the point.  Not the cost, but the issue at hand and the fact that the FDA has the power to make this decision.

Please keep checking back often.  As soon as I hear something new, I will post it.  Keep this issue in your prayers.

Thanks!  God Bless!

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