Monday, February 09, 2009

Surgery details

Here's what happened to me last November/December....

November (my surgery)
They were supposed to perform a pleurodesis - fuse the lung wall to the chest wall to prevent liquid from accumulating. When I came to, they told me they did not get to do the pleurodesis. There was diseased cells on the chest wall. Instead, I have a catheter.

It's the latest in catheter technology. I'm not connected to a bag. It's only a hose. I connect it to a vacuum bottle whenever I need to drain my lung.

Am I pissed? Hell, yea! But it is what it is...

December (next step in treatment)
My oncologist was looking around for my next cocktail since the last one (Avastin/Alimta combo) stopped working. At this point, she's told me that I've taken all the best medication for lung cancer out there. I'm running out of options. I thought I'd check out Johns Hopkins and see what they had to offer. (BTW, thanks to Kathy and Justin for hooking me up!)

I looked into their clinical trials. Unfortunately, they do not cover all costs. They usually ask insurance to cover "regular care". My insurance will not cover any procedure connected to anything experimental. So, nix that.

Good thing my oncologist found one more older drug - Navalbene. We're to use it in conjunction with Cisplatin. I've taken Cisplatin before. It's one of my first drugs. My first combo was Cisplatin and Taxotere. That really wiped me out. It also wiped out my hair. I took it the first 3 months and did not work much at the time.

How am I doing on it now? I've been on 2 miserable cycles. It takes me 9 to 10 days to recover. The nausea is terrible. I can't eat so I'm very weak. My doctor says it's only supposed to last 5 days. She's given me more anti-nausea pills for this next cycle. (I've also been going to an accupuncturinst.) Hopefully, we can reduce the nausea and generally bad effects to 5 days.

Despite it all, I'm still optimistic. There has to be a way through this. What won't kill you will only make you stronger. And I intend to win this.


Dean said...

Hi X -

Check this out.
I'm not sure where you live, but noticed you mentioned VA in your post about accupuncture. Apparently, VA is a state where insurance companies must give you coverage for most clinical trials.

Hopefully this is helpful.


xyz said...


Thanks for the info! That's really helpful.


Dean said...

I have a few relatives who work for insurance companies and they've often told me that sometimes have to fight to get your coverage. We already know how much fight you have, they don't stand a chance.

Good luck with your treatment tomorrow, I pray the accupuncture and meds will help it be more manageable.