We had our first thunderstorm of the season yesterday and I'm still in Summer. It all went by so quickly; the chemotherapy, the vacation in California with family, the chemotherapy.... the side effects.
My last chemo treatment was at the end of August and I was ready to be done with the ride up to Jerusalem through the spiraling mountains of Ein Karem, done with the alcohol offending my nostrils and the needle puncturing my chest to access my port-a-cath. Done feeling sick every single day. Done.
I reached a milestone; completing 3 stints of platinum-based chemotherapy for recurrent metastatic cancer! The chemotherapy did what we hoped!
The celebration of finishing chemotherapy lacks hoopla and jubilee for three reasons:
1. It's hard to party when feeling persistent side effects; exhaustion and EXHAUSTION.
2. I'm pretty sure the anti-anxiety med.s are interfering with my ability to feel.
3. CANCER. Reality is knowing that the cancer is still there and unpredictable. An anniversary-bash for cancer treatment seems fraught with danger and arrogance.
The upside of this milestone is I'm now a candidate for a newly approved treatment, Lynparza AKA Olaparib, the first oral prescription medicine for women with BRCA-mutated advanced ovarian cancer who have received 3 or more prior chemotherapy medicines. In the US these drugs are approved by the FDA for treatment in combination with chemotherapy and privately cost $18,000 per month. In Europe and Israel, women may receive the 16-pills per day as a maintenance treatment; a regiment to be followed for as long as it's beneficial and blood counts are stable. Luckily for me, the full cost of this very expensive drug is fully covered by Israel's national health care. On the receipt of the last purchase the subtotal was over 36,839 shekels = approximately $9700!
Studies have proven Lynparza to be effective in 34% of cases and within those 34% response ranged from to months. I'm not jumping up and down with exhilaration but we all hope that these drugs, known as PARPs inhibitors, will buy me time.