Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Holidays

Mom had her port flushed last week at Trinity - or rather they tried to clear it out but there was a bunch of fibrous material in there and so the nurses weren't able to fully access it. It's not a big concern but they will need to get it cleared up eventually if Dr. Porubcin schedules mom for chemo in a few months. For now it's ok. She has another port flush scheduled for January 17, so maybe the nurses will be able to clear it up then.

We had a great Christmas weekend - mom stayed over and got her fill of grandsons and pets. Tom made home made lasagna for Christmas Eve dinner and we also went over to Tim and Lisa's (Tom's brother) to exchange gifts. Mom is starting to think about making a trip to Arizona to visit Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bernie for a couple of days and then also visit Aunt Cheryl and Uncle Paul (Dad's sister and brother in law) in Peoria, AZ. There's a couple of weeks between the port flush on Jan. 17 and then blood work in February where she can travel.

The latest Doxil update is that the manufacturer, Ben Venue Lab, is still working on "equipment issues" and won't start producing more Doxil until next year, so the closest available date will be November or December of 2012 before it will hit market. If anything came out of the Hearings last week, I guess that the FDA has a few more rules to better manage the shortages when they occur. As most of the problems are manufacturing issues, along with drug costs, the FDA must feel that they must put some sort of rules in place to get a heads up on when a drug shortage is coming down the road. I don't understand how this is going to improve things... or get more Doxil manufactured quickly, but they have to start somewhere.

The Ovarian Cancer National Alliance has a list of good web sites to keep tabs on the drug shortage, along with connections to write your congress/senate person.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Senate HELP Committee Hearings on Drug Shortage

Yesterday I was able to watch some of a hearing online that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held about the drug shortages. It was titled “Prescription Drug Shortages: Examining a Public Health Concern and Potential Solution.”

A couple of points that I got out of the portion that I listened to: 1) there is a drug shortage problem; 2) the FDA has been trying to address drug shortage problem(s) for many years; 3) they are going to continue to address the shortages and communicate with “stakeholders” to “mitigate” the chance of drug shortages in the future.

The above does not make me feel better about the situation and I felt like everyone was talking in circles. I downloaded all of the transcript documents which I am going to read this weekend and I hope that I will read about something actionable that the committee will do other than give the FDA a bunch of mandates.

I had the great opportunity to meet the President of the Illinois Medical Society, Dr. Wayne Polek, at my Rotary meeting on Tuesday. He addressed the club and talked about the Healthcare act in general, but that gave me an open door to ask about the drug shortage and tell him that cancer patients are not getting crucial treatments. He said that the drug shortage problem is very complex, and related to profitability, and the discussion was more than we had time for so I agreed to send him an email and we would correspond. I am interested in knowing what doctors are trying to do about this other than just tell their patients “There is no more medicine available.” Not only is that not very comforting to a cancer patient, it’s downright scary.

There should be more than one manufacturer that has the ability to make Doxil, so if that manufacturer isn’t keeping up with their quality control, then another manufacturer could step in and take over (and take the profits).

So yesterday, the Health and Human Services Department released a statement (as a part of the Senate hearing process I do not know) about President Obama’s Executive Order, and the FDA issuing a rule that will require manufacturers to report interruptions in production of critical drugs. Obama had already issued an executive order in October, so I guess they are just reiterating what they want to do to prevent future shortages. I honestly say that I don’t know if that will help or not, since the FDA hasn’t been able to keep an eye on the drug shortage ball in the last few years anyway.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Drug shortages and doxil ...

It's nice that mom is on a "chemo break" at least for the holidays, albeit that her CA125 is creeping up slowly on the scale. I can say with some certainty that Dr. Porubcin will be recommending chemo treatments in the future (after January), AND he already stated that he would prefer to put mom back on Doxil. But, there is a drug shortage and no more Doxil.

The Baltimore Sun had a good perspective on the drug shortage, however I think free market solution will address part of the issue. http://bsun.md/rs5CtD I'm not an expert yet, but I have to think that drug manufacturing is going to have to go through a larger overhaul than merely producing more Doxil.

Why hasn't another manufacturer stepped up to fill the demand? How far do people have to go with their demands? There is no doubt a demand... and those with an extreme need (like cancer patients) are depending on mass manufactured drugs with their lives... and manufacturers who throw in the towel because they aren't getting enough money..?.. and they (doctors, patients, lobbyists whomever) are expecting legislation to change this? I don't get it, and I don't like the answer "There is no more Doxil available." Cancer patients deserve more than that.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Doctor appointment

Mom's doctor appointment with Dr. Porubcin went as expected for the most part. Her CA125 crept up into the 40's, not a huge red flag, but he is thinking about the possibility of a chemo treatment in the future. The Doxil is still off the market, which is unfortunate because it worked when mom was having the treatments done. She is not having any other symptoms, so he's not going to look into another chemo drug at the moment. He will re-evaluate at the next appointment in February. He said she could go on one dose of Lovenox a day as long as it worked out in the prescription plan. The dosage will still be the same amount, but once a day will mean that there will be one less "stick" she'll have to deal with.

She's up to 107 pounds, which is great! I think she has more energy with more meat on her bones. She goes on walks twice a day and was almost in the clear to go to Jazzercise again, but Dr. Porubcin didn't want her to go quite that far just yet.

The float with Maxine
We went out to the Geneseo Victorian Walk last night and had some soup at First United Methodist and then went downtown to see the sights. There was a nice lighted parade this year. On one of the floats there was a rendition of the Hallmark card character, Maxine (www.maxine.com) and the sign said something about Have a Crappy Christmas - which was funny. More funny is the fact that one of mom's friends calls her "Maxine" because of the funny (and sometimes crabby) comments she makes from time to time.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Lunch at Good's

Mom and I took a road trip on Friday to have lunch at Good's with Aunt Carol, Aunt Rosemary and Uncle Steve. We all had a nice lunch and of course made room for pie afterwards. We also said a special prayer for Denny - Aunt Ruth had called and said that he was in the hospital because of some symptoms relating to his eye sight and head aches. Thankfully a stroke was ruled out but there are still tests to be done and mom said they were going to do a spinal fluid analysis that will hopefully give Denny and Peggy more insight into what is going on.

Mom has been feeling good the last couple of weeks, and she's looking forward to the holidays. We're going to go to a Christmas Open House next weekend at the Old Mill in Atkinson, Thanksgiving will be at my brother and sister-in-law's house in Port Byron along the Mississippi, and then the Geneseo Victorian Walk is on December 10. This year is the 25th Anniversary of the event, and it is also on Scotty's 22nd birthday. Mom is also thinking about a trip to Arizona in late February.

She has blood work done the week after next and then a doctor's appointment the first week of December. If she gets a good report then hopefully that will give her some time for the next few months to take some trips and not have to deal with chemo side effects. In hindsight maybe the drug shortage was a good thing in disguise. She has started on her new prescription plan with Blue Cross Blue Shield and it seems that it will be better than originally anticipated. She has a good value added option that will cover her Lovenox and reduce the effect of the donut hole. For once, it's nice to have some good news in her corner, but she is worried about Denny... so maybe everyone can send some cards his way and say some prayers. Prayers do work!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Good news

Mom got her numbers from the blood work that was done on Monday, and her CA125 count went down to 15! That gives her tremendous peace of mind as far as taking a break from chemo. It will be nice to enjoy the holidays without worrying about when to work in the treatments and getting through the side effects.

The National Ovarian Cancer Alliance developed an app for smart phones and iPad, etc that allows women to keep track of daily occurrences, and if there starts to be any consistency in certain symptoms, such as bloating, urination frequency... then you can keep track of those in a diary format and take a look overall at what your body is telling you. Until there is a reliable screening method, keeping track of symptoms is the next best thing. The CA125 count is used as an ovarian cancer marker, but as I have heard Dr. Porubcin say many times, you can't rely on that number or use a course of treatment based on that number.

Taking charge of your health is the best thing you can do for yourself!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Treatment postponed

Mom's doctor appointment went fine yesterday. There weren't any numbers available from her blood work as she had that done right before meeting with Dr. Porubcin, so there was nothing to go by as far as thinking of another treatment this week. The short of it is there is no Doxil available, and his best course of action was to give mom a break from chemo for now and keep her on regular checkups. He mentioned another chemo drug, Gemzar, that would be used in combination with Carboplatin (one of the first drugs that mom was treated with in 2009). That is what he is recommending to go with should mom need a treatment at some point in time in the future.

Her last CA125 count was in the 300's, so hopefully this next one will be lower. They should have the number in a couple of days. Dr. Porubcin reminded that he doesn't necessarily treat Ovarian Cancer by the number alone... so even if the number does go up, he may not start another treatment unless there are other symptoms that should surface (such as ascites/fluid buildup in abdomen).

So I guess mom is in a wait-and-see-what-happens mode. That's about all I got out of the conversation. The nice thing is that mom should have a nice break from treatments so that will give her some time to do some things without thinking about working around chemo sessions.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

No Doxil for next treatment

Mom received disappointing news today - the Trinity Cancer Center Nurse called and said that they did not get any Doxil for mom's treatment next week, and there is none available any where else.

Dr. Porubcin still wants to see mom next week for her appointment on Monday. At that time he will suggest another possible course of action or treatment.

It's unfortunate because the Doxil was working and mom was on a good pace with the drug - finally - and having another treatment ON SCHEDULE would have been a good thing. Hopefully this won't be too large of a hiccup in her process, however I can't help but feel unnerved as this sounds like the shortage is due to some SNAFU of a third-party manufacturer. I've heard it described as "production delays" but that still doesn't answer the question. Why?

In a Chicago Tribune article, they noted that Johnson & Johnson's  "specialty manufacturer" of the drug was moving out of the contract manufacturing business, which could cause shortages of the drug. This was reported in July. But the fact remains that if they saw a shortage coming down the road, then they should have found another "specialty manufacturer" to take care of this so the transition would be smooth. Not too much to ask. Of course I am not experienced at running a billion dollar company but one would think that there should be some processes in place if they are relying on other manufacturers.

So is Johnson and Johnson going to get in any trouble for this - for inconveniencing thousands of cancer patients? Depends on how bad some situations are I guess.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom

Mom had a nice birthday lunch today - we drove to Good's Furniture in Kewanee to meet up with Aunt Carol, Aunt Rosemary and Cousin Peggy. It was a great day for driving and we even got there a little early and did some furniture shopping. Mom has been looking for a new sofa and wing chair - the sofa she has in her living room now is from the late seventies. Enough said.

The Good's Wine Cellar restaurant was especially busy for a Thursday. We were able to order pretty quickly after going through everyone's dietary restrictions...no seeds, dairy, spicy, etc. When the waitress got around to Peggy she just said "I'll eat anything you put in front of me." Of course we had dessert and mom ordered the banana creme pie that was a mile high. Mom got a lot of nice gifts (of which I left mine on the dining room table and remembered halfway to Geneseo): an embroidered sweatshirt, a bangle bracelet from the triplets, a special sister statute and a really nice flower arrangement.

The funny topic at the table was the popular video-of-the-moment. They all knew about it from somewhere - the news maybe? - and it was worth a few chuckles. The video is of a couple of computer newbies were trying to figure out how to take a picture of themselves on the computer and somehow they recorded themselves and it ended up on YouTube. So when I got home I had to look it up and it is pretty funny.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Waiting list for more Doxil

Mom's treatment went fine the week before and her feet haven't been that bad either. A little red but no blisters. Since she was a week overdue they pushed her next chemo treatment to Oct. 11 (a week later than anticipated). Hopefully this will be enough time for the Cancer Center to secure some more Doxil. She's on a waiting list with the drug company and you would think that would be plenty of time.

Sunday she sang with the choir in Church and everyone was happy to have her back in the loft. The service was a special commemoration to Sept. 11 First Responders and prayers for families and the choir sang a special song. She looked good but obviously I couldn't hear her over anyone else.

Thursday is her birthday so we are going to Good's in Kewanee to meet up with the Aunts and have lunch. I'm sure she would appreciate a card from everyone as she will be turning 73. It marks a special occasion for her as she is living with cancer. I'm hoping that there will be many more candles on her cake for many more years to come!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Chemo today

Mom had her port flushed yesterday at Trinity, and the Infusion Center (as opposed to the Cancer Center) said that they had some Doxil after all...SO mom is going to have a Doxil treatment today at 11:00 a.m.

It is in the same place that she had the last treatment, on the third floor of the hospital. The room isn't as comfortable as the Cancer room at Dr. Porubcin's office but she's not going to be picky. It is still a nice facility and the nurses are good.

The nurses at Dr. Porubcin's office still have her on the waiting list with the drug company... so hopefully when the next treatment comes up the first week of October she will have Doxil available.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

No Doxil; chemo treatment next week...

...fingers crossed! The Cancer Center wasn't able to secure the Doxil as hoped earlier this week, so mom will get a treatment next week. A week's difference shouldn't make or break her results.

Tomorrow she is going to get her port flushed. It hasn't been accessed in a month, and that can cause hiccups when it comes time for the treatment, so getting that done will keep things going along when it's time for the Doxil.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Treatment this week

Mom had her appointment with Dr. Porubcin this morning and overall the reports were very good. Her CT scan from last week showed that her lymph nodes had reduced in size (compared to the previous scan a couple of months ago) so that was very good news. They didn't do a CA125 count as somehow it didn't get ordered, but we'll get it next time around. It had been going down in the last couple of months so there was no reason to think that it was different. The last count was in the 300 level so that's much better that 6 months ago.

They scheduled chemo for Tuesday afternoon, but then mom called and said that they gave the last bag of Doxil to another person, so they had to order more. We thought the Doxil shortage was taken care of last week but I guess they are still having issues. Hopefully she can get in for a treatment on Thursday, but they will call her as soon as they know. She really doesn't need this hiccup right now since things are going so well.

Dr. Porubcin wants to do two more rounds of Doxil treatments and then another CT scan. If all is well, then maybe she can get a break from the chemo for the winter and see how it goes.

She has been feeling good these last couple of weeks, and her feet have not been that bad either. Red and sore but no blisters.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Test and scan this week

Mom had her blood work done yesterday and she has a CT scan tomorrow morning at Hammond Henry. THE REALLY GOOD NEWS is that the last CA125 count was in the 300's so the Doxil is finally pulling the count down. THE OTHER REALLY GOOD NEWS is that as of today, there is more Doxil for a treatment. Trinity received a shipment in so if Dr. Porubcin schedules a chemo session for next week, mom is good to go. She has her checkup with him on Monday at 9:15 a.m. 

Her feet have been much better this time around. They are still red and a bit raw, but at least there are no blisters.  

Unfortunately, "THE" letter came from Caterpillar the other day stating that mom's prescription drug insurance plan was down to the last $5,000. She will go through that very fast as that will barely cover two weeks worth of the Lovenox. Seriously. 

Mom's Plan B is to go with BlueCross BlueShield Medicare Part D. Actually that is her only option - and she'll hit the donut hole faster than a trip to Walgreens. I'm hoping to get some information from Sherry at Dr. Porubcin's office next week. She mentioned some grant possibilities that help patients through the gap period so at least there are some options to check into. Fingers crossed!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Doxil shortage

Mom's chemo schedule was a little off this week, due to a shortage of her chemo drug - Doxil. There is a nationwide shortage apparently... and they told her on Wednesday when they were doing her iron infusion, that they were going to give her one of the last two bags. Another woman is getting the same treatment, so there goes the last bag.

She is rescheduled for a doctor appointment in 5 weeks, but they didn't reschedule her for chemo. The nurses at Trinity weren't sure if more Doxil would turn up at that point or not.

As if having cancer isn't bad enough, the drug that you depend on is now is shortage. And it's about the only thing that mom has that we can have a little glimmer of hope of something working. If this becomes a bigger setback it could throw her CA125 count off. It has been such a delicate thing - I think consistency is the key with Doxil. And keeping her on the regimen is crucial.

The chemo went fine yesterday and the were able to hook her up in another part of the hospital (not the normal Chemo room at Trinity) due to the fact that the Infusion Center had the Doxil and not the Cancer Room. It's confusing but at least it got accomplished.

They didn't have a CA125 number available, so mom said she was going to call today and find out. Her blood work was fine - and it looks like the iron infusions worked well. She had her last iron infusion Wednesday and they didn't schedule any more.

One of the nurses at Trinity, Sherry, is helping with all of this Medicare Part D(onut hole) issue, so we should have some good options worked out by the time Caterpillar discontinues her prescription plan. Mom expects to get their final letter soon, and thinks that she'll have until at least September to be covered under Caterpillar before going to Blue Cross Blue Shield's Medicare Part D. There are options where mom can get grant assistance from some foundations during the gap phase.

Interesting point: Supposedly the Obamacare plan was to eliminate these caps set by prescription plans, however, some companies such as Caterpillar, were able to write themselves out of the equation  and continue to enforce the limit. I suspect this was done by lobbyists - which in my mind tells me who really runs our government. I have to do some [more] reading about Obamacare prescription plans but that's my immediate impression. I wish I could read more than two pages at a time without falling asleep.

Her feet are taking a beating- fortunately cousin Gayle brought some Udderly Smooth lotion and cousin Dennis sent some of the Udderly Smooth tubes for her to keep handy, so she's good to go. Our HyVee store in Rock Island is now carrying the 4 oz tube, so that's nice. At least someone listens to me! I put in the request a few months ago and they have been carrying it since June. Now if only I could get them to stock TAB soda again, I would be a happy camper.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chemo week

Mom has chemo this week on Thursday. The day before (Wednesday) she will have her last iron infusion so it will be interesting to see what her blood counts are this week.

Her feet were really bad the last couple of weeks - especially the week of Lois' funeral. Several blisters (larger than before) were popping out and the bottoms were red and peeling. She was keeping the ice on them and the Udderly Smooth lotion, and that alleviates some of the burning. I would say that the heat probably aggravates her feet more than in the spring... so hopefully this will be the worst of it for the next couple of months.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Down the rabbit/donut hole

Mom's friend Lois passed early morning last Thursday. The aneurism surgery didn't go as well as expected on Tuesday and she declined after the procedure. I went out to church this morning with mom thinking that it would be hard for her but she was in good spirits. It's sad that Lois is gone but you just can't be sad when you think of the type of person she was - giving, enthusiastic and always ready to step in and help. I used to think my mom volunteered a lot, but Lois had a one-up on her. Lois' obituary called her a "professional volunteer" and I think that about sums it up.

Otherwise, mom has been feeling ok except for her feet. The hot weather (and we had some doozies last week) really irritate the soles of her feet. And she has been on her feet quite a bit last week as well so that doesn't help. And she will be on her feet a lot this week helping with Lois' visitation and funeral so she is in the mindset that she has to deal with it for now. She has been going to see Ralph, Lois' husband in extended care at the hospital, every day as well.

I don't even know where to pick up about the "Donut Hole" prescription insurance issue. Mom believes she is going to go with Blue Cross Blue Shield, as it really doesn't matter who the insurance carrier is - it's all Medicare Part D and it's all the same. She is learning more of the nuts and bolts of the plan, and now there seems to be not only donut hole (they like to call it a GAP) issue, but now there are Tiers of co-pay coverage: Tier 1, Generic Drugs; Tier 2, Preferred Brand Drugs; Tier 3, Brand Drugs; Tier 4, Specialty Drugs.

And guess what Tier the Lovenox is - yep the two highest Tiers.

They have two plans, a "Value" plan and a "Plus" plan, and depending on the plan she selects, will depend on her monthly premium, deductable and then the co-pays for the drugs. Both indicate that that when the GAP hits, she will receive a discount on brand name drugs, but I can't imagine what they think a "discount" is. After the gap she will pay whichever is the greater amount - flat copay or 5% coinsurance for the drug.

At (another issue) is the original letter from Caterpillar stating that she has reached the lifetime maximum benefits of the prescription insurance plan. If Obamacare is intended to do away with caps, then technically mom should be reaching a "cap," unless the government made a deal with Caterpillar that allowed them to have a cap. Now I need to read more about the health care reform.

That is what turns the donut hole into a rabbit hole.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Prayers needed

Mom has been feeling well this week, other than the burning sensation in her feet. They are peeling too (that really hasn't stopped) however no little blisters are popping up so that's good. She expects it to be bothersome for a few more days and is keeping her feet iced. And she has her "Udderly Smooth" cream too. That combination seems to work best.

The donut hole saga continues. More about that later. Nothing serious, just ridiculous.

A really tragic thing happened this week to mom's friend Lois Smith. She fell in her bathroom sometime Tuesday, and no one found her until yesterday, so she was on the floor for about a day and half. She has a serious head injury and has developed an aneurism...not sure if the aneurism caused the fall, or if she slipped and fell and then developed the aneurism. She was flown to St. Frances in Peoria immediately as it was felt that they could better handle that type of trauma as she needs surgery. Her family is with her (except for husband Ralph - is best he stay at Hammond Henry, he as been in extended care there for awhile) and she is conscious but quite confused about what happened. Mom said today that her kidney's are functioning again so that's a good sign. They may do surgery on the aneurism next week depending on her other functions.

Lois has been there for mom non-stop these last couple of years since we found out about the cancer, and even before that has been a staple family friend forever - since we moved from Peoria to Geneseo. I really can't think of what it would be like to not have Lois around - but she's hanging in there and needs a ton of prayers. Mom and I are thinking about heading to Peoria sometime next week but will wait and see. Lois' son Robert is keeping mom updated.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Chemo and Iron


Mom had her chemo on Thursday (Doxil) and that went well. On Saturday we went to the Geneseo Arts and Crafts in the Park to check out her Jazzercise club and then see what we could buy that we really didn't need. I ended up with a bag of rocks andmom bought some kettle corn popcorn for the boys. It was a great morning and we saw a lot of people out and about. That's the best part of a hometown - going back and seeing familiar faces. Everyone there was happy to see mom (photo of mom and Connie Paris) and gave tons of hugs and "you are on the prayer list" comments. It makes me feel at ease that she is in good hands as I can't be out there all the time. We ran into neighbor Marion and had lunch at the Congregational Church under a tent.

The morning wasn't complete without razzing the two gentleman on the bench, Lynn and Ed. They made themselves pretty comfortable while their wives Jazzercised in the
heat up under the Bandshell. They may still be sitting there - we left them in that spot as they were content to sit while everyone went off to look at the arts and crafts booths.

Today mom had her first Iron infusion. I forget what they call it (some technical term) but she took it well and she even drove herself to and from Trinity. The nurses gave her some meds before (benedryl, prevacid) to curb reactions but she said she felt fine. It took a little over three hours all said and done. It was a little longer than I expected but with the first one they didn't want to rush. She has another one the week after next.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The big donut hole

Dr. Porubcin saw mom today and reviewed her blood work. Overall, things were ok, and her CA125 was down in the 600's. That's is an improvement so we'll take that and be happy about it. Her feet have been ok in the last week (less peeling, stinging) and haven't been giving her as many problems. That said, Dr. Porubcin felt that she could continue with about 3 or 4 more Doxil treatments spaced at 5 weeks apart. Trinity was able to schedule her in tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. - so we're going to chemo tomorrow. I'm glad as that will mean less of a gap between treatments...losing any ground at this point would be a bad thing. 

Doctor was concerned about her iron level, so she has go to in for some iron infusions through IV for the next few weeks. She could take the iron orally, but given her stomach issues with the Doxil, IV would be better. It's kind of a hassle, as the treatment takes 2 hours through the IV so that means that she has to go to Trinity every other week. But if the IV is easier with less side effects (you don't want to know... she and Dr. P. were talking about "stool effects" of oral iron tablets when I started to gag) and also more comfortable on her stomach, I think IV is better. She can drive herself to treatments and then maybe we can go out to lunch or something afterward. Not a bad deal IMO.

RE: The Big Donut Hole. I have only learned of this concept in the last week. It's a popular phrase in the health insurance world, and it relates to supplemental insurance that one has to get when other supplemental insurance for prescriptions runs out. Normally, people don't run out of prescription coverage, however not everyone spends $2,300+ a month on prescriptions like mom. The Lovenox is the most expensive drug she needs (to keep her blood clottage in check) and she pays a minimal co pay, but the insurance company is paying the rest of the thousands of dollars. Of course the insurance company doesn't like that [paying], so they told mom that she is getting close to running out of the coverage. She has been on the Lovenox for the last two years (going on three) so literally if we take $2,300 x 24 mos = $55,000 has been spent on Lovenox by the insurance company. 

The current insurance company told mom that when she has reached the $5,000 balance point, they will let her know so she can find a different company with supplemental insurance for prescriptions. There is a plan available through Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and mom has talked with them a couple of times. She can apply over the phone and get it taken care of pretty quickly. There is a premium, but that's how insurance works. 

BUT that is not the crazy part... Blue Cross/Blue Shield says that her prescriptions are covered with a co-pay ($9) up to $2,800. Then, this thing they call a "donut hole" takes effect, which means that she will have to pay OUT OF POCKET for prescriptions until she gets to the $4,800 mark. Then, after the $4,800 mark she will return to pay either a co-pay or minimal percentage of the prescription. I am going to find out who came up with this donut hole concept and write them a letter. I'm sure it makes sense to them but it really isn't fair to people who really need prescriptions like the Lovenox.

Sherri at Dr. Porubcin's office has information on a couple of foundations that help with prescriptions when they hit the donut hole phase. The good thing is that she has time (at least a couple of months) to get things in order. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Doctor appointment tomorrow

Tomorrow mom has an appointment with Dr. Porubcin at 11:00 a.m. There is no chemo scheduled afterward... however he is going to discuss where she needs to go from now, as the Doxil hasn't been working out as anticipated. Mom got her bloodwork done last Friday so he should have a good set up numbers to work with, and hopefully will schedule her for the other chemo regimen (back to Taxol/Carbo) in the next month. Since her CA125 number hasn't been going down enough, my concern is to get her started on the other ASAP since we know that program worked extremely well back in 2009. 

On another note, an interesting development here in the Quad Cities... a popular news anchor, Paula Sands, of our NBC affiliate, KWQC, announced that she was diagnosed with Stage II ovarian cancer. (Article here http://bit.ly/mBylUr) She made her announcement about a month ago and apparently her trigger symptom was a bladder infection. The really hard part is that Paula is only in her 50's which is incredibly young. Mom was in her 70 when her symptoms surfaced... and even that to me is young considering the good health she was in at the time. Unfortunately mom was at Stage III, so the wheels start turning with questions about how soon she really did have the cancer - late 60's? There are always so many questions with ovarian cancer since it is so quiet and unassuming until it really builds and disrupts the body. 

The good thing is that Ovarian Cancer has a great awareness in the community now because of Paula Sands. She is sharing a lot of her experience with the viewers of her show, including finding wigs and going through chemo therapy. My impression is that she is just as much a fighter as mom is, so her story will be one of hope too.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Feet & hands

Mom has been feeling ok in general, other than some days are more tiring than others. Her feet are giving her the most problems right now and are red and peeling. She keeps the faith on the ice packs and puts them on her feet every day for a few minutes at a time, but they still get red. If she is on her feet a lot they will start to burn. Her hands haven't been too bad, but she keeps them well-conditioned with the lotion. And she puts the lotion on her feet several times a day too.

Her next appointment with Dr. Porubin is on June 15. He is going to evaluate her blood work and then also look at her feet and hands. At the last appointment he was pretty sure he was going to take her off of the Doxil and put her on the Taxol/Carbo mix again (which she received the first time she started chemo back in 2009). Mom had great results with that chemo and I believe that her cancer count went drastically down. I think her lowest number was 18 but I will have to go back and check my notes.

Unfortunately, the Taxol/Carbo mix is very toxic, and she will lose her hair and also have more nausea/bone pain symptoms. This means that she will have to do the dosing of steroids and anti-nausea before she starts chemo, and then do Benedryl during chemo, followed by more anti-nausea after chemo. I at least hope that Dr. Porubcin will reduce her Lovenox dose down to once a day. Mom's belly is very tender and sore from all of those shots.

We had fun last weekend and went to Aunt Carol's 70th Birthday party at the Ottawa Lions Club. There were a ton of people there, and many were old classmate's of mom's and Aunt Carol's. I overate on BBQ pulled pork, cake, chips and M & M's (they ordered some special black and white ones for the occasion) and the pièce de résistance: CAKE POPS by Jane. They were decorated in all sorts of fun characters and I wish I would have taken more than one.

Alaina, Gayle and Jane did a great job with the party (I think Daryl moved a table) and it was nice to see everyone. Things like that really bring mom's spirit up. Ethan and his girlfriend Andrea and Scotty and his girlfriend Stephanie even came along and that make Grandma Barb very happy. Before we knew it, 7 p.m. rolled around and it was time to head back to Geneseo.

The video below was from Aunt Carol's party. Mom, Aunt Carol and Aunt Rosemary were standing there while everyone took their picture, so I decided to take a video of them standing there while they were getting their photo taken.

video

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chemo day

Mom met with Dr. Porubcin this morning before starting the round of Doxil. He said that overall he liked her blood counts, however the CA125 count went back up instead of going down (from 731 to 790). While this isn't a significant jump, he was expecting to see a little more progress.

He also didn't like the way her feet looked; red and peeling with some cracks. The are worse than the last round and he is apprehensive about continuing mom on the Doxil unless he sees some better results in the next month. She will continue to use the lanolin cream (Udderly Smooth) as long as needed - that is the best thing to use. And she has plenty of Udderly Smooth for awhile - thanks everyone for the tubes!

Mom is scheduled for a scan and blood work on June 3, and Dr. Porubcin will make a decision when he sees her on June 13 as to whether or not he will continue her on the Doxil or try something else. He mentioned the possibility of going back to the Taxol/Carboplatin mix (which is the combination that mom was on the first time she started chemo in 2009) so we may be back to square one.

The good news is we know how effective Taxol & Carbo is at killing the cancer cells. Mom had great results with that and her counts went down and stayed down for about 6 months. The not-so-good part is that she will lose her hair again and have a couple of down days each month because of the side effects. It's particularly potent and as much as they try to curb the nausea it still happens.

Thanks everyone for all of the continuing prayers, emails, notes, etc. She gets a lot of cards which she enjoys very much. She has great neighbors in Geneseo and the nurses at the Trinity Cancer Care Center are the best. She's a tough girl and will go the rounds.

We'll be taking a trip to Ottawa IL in a couple of weeks and she is looking forward to that... and there may be a trip to Arizona in the future as well. We haven't been there since A. Ruth and U. Bernie moved years ago. She's got some plans and she's not going to let cancer throw a wrench in them just yet.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Mother's Day

Next Tuesday is mom's next chemo session. Compared to the previous session, she is feeling overall better than the last time. Her feet are the big issue - red, sore, peeling... and just all around uncomfortable. I don't know if the nurses in the Chemo Room at Trinity will have any more remedies to share but we'll ask. The cream seems to help somewhat, along with ice packs. 

Her hair is thinning out but not like she expected. I anticipated the possibility of shaving her head again, but even with some hair loss her curls still look nice. 

This Sunday is Mother's Day - and quite frankly haven't gotten around to planning anything but at the very least we'll have a nice luncheon or grill out at the house. The fact that it's Mother's Day and she is still here and keeps on hanging in there is enough to celebrate. I'm hoping that the CA125 count next week will give us some positive results that the Doxil is doing it's job! 

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Surprise in the mail

Mom got a nice surprise in the mail from Denny (Ruth's son). He sent her some tubes of the Udderly Smooth lotion for her feet. She was tickled that he thought of her and it made her day.

I will say that the stuff is good - I also bought some tubes for her and a giant bottle with a pump. I got some for myself and it has done my cuticles wonders.

Her feet have been a little more tender this week. The timing is about the same as the last Doxil session... so I guess she can expect that a couple of weeks after the treatment that she's going to have problems. Part of the issue is the shoes rubbing against the bottoms and back. Anything that rubs against her skin is going to cause a rash and redness. She found some nice backless shoes that is helping a little but for now she'll have to take it easy. We are planning an Easter dinner with the other Sparkmans and niece Shelley (Sparkman - Tom's brother Jim's daughter) is hosting the group over at the Hotel Blackhawk in Davenport. It's a gorgeous place and I'm sure we'll have a lot of fun AND plenty of food!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Spring (?) weather

This week mom felt pretty good, despite the dismal spring weather. This morning we went to the Palm Sunday Service at First U Methodist. It's so comforting to know that she has so many close friends watching out for her. Connie and Lyn Paris were back from Arizona (I heard Mr. Paris before I saw him as he was in the pew behind us - what a great singing voice) and the rest of the regulars enjoyed brunch at the Victorian Manor Inn after the service.

Last week after chemo mom had a couple of rough days but got over the hump pretty quickly. Her hands and feet are tender. The feet especially - they are red and peeling but no blisters thus far. And surprisingly her hair isn't falling out too quickly. She said that a few strands have come out here and there but nothing like she expected. I think the five-week regimen for the Doxil will work out well. Her CA125 count did get up to over 800, however it has dropped down to the 700's. Hopefully the number will be even lower when she gets in check next time. Dr. Porubcin didn't give any indication about how long he was going to keep mom on Doxil but if the CA125 count keeps going down then maybe he will have a timeframe in mind later.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Chemo yesterday

Mom had her rescheduled chemo yesterday - it went well overall. She was really tired and achy and didn't have a lot of energy, but with this drug (Doxil) that is expected. She seemed to be feeling a little better by the time we left the hospital. After she got home she immediately put ice on her feet to deter any redness and blistering. Her hands look ok and she has been taking care of them, but her feet are worse. There aren't any blisters (however Dr. Porubcin said that they may develop) but lots of redness and peeling along with some cracks. There's not a lot she can do except make sure that her shoes and socks don't create too much friction. The ice seems to help, and the Udder Cream (Udderly Smooth) which has lanolin and dimenthicone as the main ingredient. It's kind of hard to find around here but is popular in the sewing shops in the QC. 

You can also order it off of the web site www.udderlysmooth.com, so if you are looking for a gift... she will definitely be appreciative!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chemo postponed

Mom went in for her blood work yesterday and met with Dr. Porubcin this morning. All of her levels were good, however he was concerned about her side effects... namely the redness and soreness on her feet and hands. This week (and over the weekend) it hasn't been too bad, however a couple of weeks ago it was really uncomfortable and the backs of her heels and the balls of her feet were peeling. This is a common side effect of the Doxil, but it can get really bad if it isn't addressed from the get go. Mom has only had two treatments of the Doxil, however Dr. Porubcin felt that it would be best to postpone the treatment until next week to give her one more week of healing time.

They didn't have a current CA125 count but hopefully will have that later this week. 

She will have her chemo session next Tuesday and then will have it 5 weeks apart instead of 4. Dr. Porubcin felt that the regimen would be just as good and less harmful to her skin. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lunch at Good's

Mom and I met Aunt Rosemary, Uncle Steve, Aunt Carol, Cousin Peggy and Cousin Alaina at Good's Furniture Restaurant on Saturday to celebrate Aunt Rosemary's birthday. It was nice to have Peggy join us... she is a hoot. For everyone else out there, Cousin Peggy is from the Shackelton line (Grandpa Glenn McCann's mother, Ethel (Shackelton) McCann's sister, Jessie is Peggy's mother). The Shackelton's have a fun history a
nd that is probably a blog for another day. Yes, we are related to Sir Ernest Shackelton through our common ancestor Abraham Shackelton.

In true McCann style we all gorged ourselves and of course dessert was included
. Coconut Creme Pie was on the menu (not like Grandma's but I'll take it when I can get it) and after we were done everyone pledged to diet on Monday.

Mom had an appointment in Iowa City on Thursday. It was uneventful as they didn't have any answers about her last hospital episode a couple of weeks ago. They did their usual poking and prodding, which didn't go well as mom's abdomen was still sore from the infection. Overall their impression was that she was doing well with all of the chemo and told her to expect good results from the Doxil treatments. I about fell over - considering the problem mom had with the blood clots during the Topetecan treatments and the fact that Dr. Porubcin decided to discontinue the Topetecan as her CA125 count was climbing. Hence the Doxil. The doctor said that her CA125 count may climb a little on the first couple of treatments of Doxil, then go down. Dr. Porubcin did not say anything about that, so I will make sure to make a note to compare "notes."

Hopefully this week mom will have some time to get some energy before her next treatment on March 1. Every day is different - she feels good one day, then crummy the next. There's no consistency... but at least she's not feeling consistently crummy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Better weekend ahead

Mom was feeling better today. She has an appointment with Dr. Mullin in a couple of weeks as a follow up before she goes for her next chemo session.

She also has an Iowa City appointment this week so hopefully she will be good to travel in a car for a little while. I will be interested in if the doctors there have any comment about the bacteria infection and also any opinions about Doxil. At the last Iowa City visit they had promising things to say about Topetecan, but that didn't work out so well as far as mom was concerned as she had a terrible time with the clots and then her CA125 started going up while she was well into the treatment regimen. So was that worth it? I'm on the fence about that one.

A better week is definitely ahead!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Good night sleep

Mom seemed to be comfortable and feeling ok tonight - she ate a piece of pizza for dinner. Considering the last few days I think that constitutes as a good meal. She has lost some weight with this episode so we have to work on adding weight before the next chemo session.

So, it was determined that she had developed some sort of infection, stemming from the urinary tract infection she had two weeks ago. They found the bacteria again in a culture test they did on Monday. Pumping her full of antibiotics has reduced the bacteria and lessened the abdomen pain, although she is still achy on her side and tender when she presses on her abdomen.

She has antibiotics for the next 10 days, and the course of the prescription should wipe it out of her system. As Dr. Mullin said, anything that she gets (whether it's a cold, flu or UTI) will be 10 times worse because the chemo has weakened her body that much.

The cold weather doesn't help either. It would be nice to get her somewhere warm for a few days as I'm sure that would ease the aches and pains.

Homeward bound

The scope went fine last night, Dr. Atwell didn't find anything of concern. Her pain has subsided quite a bit, and they think that it is due to the antibiotic dosages. She is more achy and sore today and tender when they push on her abdomen, but no sharp pains as before.

They are going to release her this morning and give her a different antibiotic to take for the next few days. Dr. Porubcin hasn't come back with any definitive answers, and will keep an eye on her until the next chemo treatment (scheduled for March 1). We'll know after the next treatment if her abdomen pain was related to the chemo.

Nurse George is working on her discharge, so she should be home before lunch.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Scope this afternoon

Dr. Atwell made room in his schedule this afternoon and mom is going in for a scope in about 15 minutes. Hopefully they will be able to get a good look at something and determine what is causing mom's pain in her abdomen. Dr. Porubcin felt that there wasn't anything significant in the CT scans thus far, but he is going to consult with more radiologists.

Another day at Hammond Henry

Mom didn't get very much sleep last night, however she said that the pain isn't as bad as it was yesterday. She ate a good breakfast.

Dr. Mullin stopped in at about 8:30 a.m. He said he left a note for Dr. Atwell (the surgeon) to stop down and see mom about the possible scope. We don't know when that will happen, so she has to sit tight for now.

Dr. Mullin said that they are going to keep her on the Levaquin and are going to start on a pill dosage today. They gave her a dose of Protonix again as a precaution for any acid reflux issues. There doesn't seem to be any pattern of the pain with eating and such, so if they get the scope in today that would be good for troubleshooting any issues.

I'm hoping we'll hear more about the CT scan evaluations from Dr. Porubcin. I have to think that they will find something there or get some insight.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Possible scope tomorrow

Dr. Mullin stopped by again this afternoon. He had talked with Dr. Porubcin about her CT scans and he (Porubcin) is going to go over them in depth with other radiologists. Dr. Mullin is going to suggest to the surgeon here, Dr. Atwell, that he do a scope of her stomach tomorrow to see/rule out whatever is going on in there.

A couple of years ago she had a scope done (as we were trying to figure all of this out) and they found she had the H. pylori bacteria. It didn't bother her at all and they decided back then not to treat it as they didn't want to do anything adverse to the chemo she was starting at the time.

Today her pain level was a little worse than yesterday - the nurse gave her a morphine shot in the afternoon so she could have a little break from the discomfort.

People have been stopping by all afternoon and that has helped pass the time and raise mom's spirits. One of her good friends, Lois, has been by every day. Her husband Ralph is in extended care at Hammond Henry, so she goes and visits him and then stops up to see mom. Lois always has a funny story about Ralph to tell. Ralph has cancer too - and about 5 months ago he was not expected to make it beyond two weeks... and somehow he has bounced back and in some ways is a lot better than he was a year ago. He is a bit of a pill - and gives the nurses a hard time... but I guess you have to be a feisty person if you are going to take cancer on head first and try to beat it.

Another night

Dr. Mullin was in early this morning and said he was going to do his best to get together with Dr. Porubcin (oncologist) and determine how to troubleshoot the abdominal pain. They need to review all of her past CT scans/Xrays to see what is different and then go from there.

They took out the IV this morning so she is free of the tubes and such. She ate a good breakfast and lunch, so the food seems to be going down OK. There is still discomfort in her abdomen, and she is just trying her best to keep quiet so the pain isn't aggravated any more than need be. She got a good night's sleep (with the help of pain meds).

She will stay another night at Hammond Henry Hospital, and we'll see what tomorrow brings. Hopefully we'll have more answers this afternoon. The room number is 310 if anyone wants to call and cheer her up!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekend hospital stay

The day after chemo was about the only good day mom had this week. On Thursday she started feeling some discomfort in her abdomen... and then went away for a little while but then started getting worse on Friday. She didn't get much sleep Friday night, and I guess that was her tipping point because she then DROVE HERSELF to the hospital on Saturday to get checked out. They took a scan and an xray but couldn't make any determinations at the moment so they admitted her after the tests were done.

She was on an IV drip overnight and they gave her some pain medication to make her more comfortable. They also gave her some antibiotics (Levaquin). She was able to eat something for lunch today but wasn't very hungry. If she coughs it hurts but otherwise she's comfortable. Tomorrow Dr. Mullin and Dr. Porubcin are going to discuss her current scan and then compare with previous scans to see if there is anything different or if something stands out. There's not much to go on at this point. The Iowa City surgeon, Dr. DeGeest, may have something to offer as well.

So far no one is thinking that the abdomen pain is a side effect of the new chemo drug she is on - Doxil - but then again a lot of her chemo side effects have been atypical anyway. Hopefully we will know more tomorrow.

Below are pictures she took of the condo the day after the big blizzard. The plows had no where to put the snow so they just started piling it up in the yards. There is a huge mound in front of her kitchen window. The wind blew it around quite a bit and created a huge drift between her condo and her neighbor's condo to the north. We got a couple more inches last night but no damage done.



snow in Geneseo





Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quiet evening

Other than the blizzard outside, mom has had a good evening thus far and feels pretty good. They told her to rest and not walk around so much after the chemo and she has been doing that. The oncology nurses said that they really haven't seen too many people with bad nausea side effects when on Doxil.


New treatment

We made it to Trinity ok this morning. The roads weren't very bad although there was a little blowing and drifting.

Mom is about an hour into her Doxil treatment and it is going well. The nurses gave her a bag of steroids and a bag of Zofran (anti nausea). Unfortunately the insurance company didn't give the clear to get a prescription of Emend (the other anti nausea drug that she took last year during her very first chemo treatments with the Taxol/carbo) and that is unnerving. They don't expect that she'll have too much nausea side effects but I don't like the fact that the insurance company is telling us what she can and can't have. It is an expensive drug, but that shouldn't dictate anything either. She does have a prescription of Fenergan at home and she can take that if she needs to, but it makes her groggy and she doesn't like that.

Skin sensitivity is an issue with Doxil. The main thing she has to watch out for is sun exposure (wear sunscreen) and to take care of her hands and feet. Even daily activities with her hands such as cleaning and driving the car with hands on the steering wheel will cause too much friction on her skin and they will get chapped and rough overnight. They gave her a bunch of creams and sunscreen to use as preventative measures. I guess that it is a good thing that it is winter and she will be inside more than outside.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Changing directions

This week was tentatively scheduled for a chemo session, however it was loosely based on what the CA125 count was going to be from her bloodwork counts. A couple of weeks ago her CA125 count was down to 360, however in a week's time it jumped back up to over 400.

She didn't feel well at all last week, and finally decided to go to the Emergency Room on Saturday to see if anything major was wrong. All said and done after tests and Xrays, she had a bladder/urinary tract infection. The doctor gave her a prescription of Levaquin (SP?) ((an antibiotic)) to get rid of it.

Today at her appointment, Dr. Porubcin reviewed all of the bloodwork over the last couple of weeks, and said that he wasn't seeing the results he wanted with the Topetecan. Since the CA125 number jumped up so much during the break week, he felt that she should try some other courses of treatment and stop the Topetecan.

So she has a new plan. They didn't give her a Topetecan treatment today. She will start treatment with 40 mg of Doxil next week (Tuesday), and then she will have three weeks off, and then will get another Doxil treatment on March 1. The treatment will take about two hours.

The nurses did some blood work today and will check the CA125 count again. They also did an echo cardiogram to check her heart muscle. Apparently one of the Doxil side effects has to do with the heart muscle tissue, and if the tissue is weak in any way then she won't be able to take the treatment. Other side effects have to do with losing her hair (again), and keeping her skin out of the sun as much as possible. I'm going to read up a little tonight after my meeting - seems like Doxil side effects are more intense than the Topetecan. THE GOOD NEWS IS that Dr. Porubcin said that Doxil doesn't have a reputation for causing blood clots (Yay) so if that's the silver lining I'll take it. Nothing is worse than blood clots.

When mom had her Xray done on Saturday, it showed no signs of blood clots in her lungs, so I'm hoping they are all gone.

Another bit of humor in the situation: when we were in the waiting room before mom went in to get the echo-cardiogram, we were watching tv and a commercial pops up with a big warning sign: IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS TAKEN LEVAQUIN AND HAS TENDON PROBLEMS, CALL THIS NUMBER IMMEDIATELY AND SPEAK TO ONE OF OUR ATTORNEYS... etc. Of all the things to come up on the television while we were in the waiting room, it had to be about the antibiotic she's taking for her urinary tract infection. At least we both had a good chuckle.

Friday, January 21, 2011

No trip to Iowa City

Mom ended up canceling the trip to Iowa City - the cold and the impending snow accumulation turned her off so she rescheduled for later in February. It was a follow up to the follow up post surgery appointment so it wasn't crucial that she go.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Iowa City visit this week

Mom has a week off of chemo but still has to make a visit to see the Iowa City doctors this week. It's a routine visit and am sure it will go pretty quickly. 

She has some blood work scheduled for this Wednesday. Dr. Porubcin wants to check her CA125 count, and if it hasn't gone down enough then she will have to do another three-week round of chemo starting next week. She tentatively has chemo scheduled for the 25th, but Dr. Porubcin will make the call. I think that she will probably have to do another round, if not two. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Week 3

The chemo weeks are flying by. Scotty took mom to her treatment on Tuesday as I have a bad cold and coughing all over the place. The chemo room was pretty light that day, as I guess some people cancelled because of the snow.

Mom had a bad week last week after chemo treatment, but the one this week is going better. She felt pretty good today.

Next week she will have a break, and then depending on what her next CA125 count is, she may have to go for another three weeks. Dr. Porubcin felt that it wasn't down enough the last time... and it is going slower than he thought. But, the point is that the number is going down, so as long as it is going in that direction, all is good.

Monday, January 3, 2011

CA125 count drops down to 400

Good news: mom's CA125 count is down to the 400 level. It is not down as much as we wanted, but I'll take it. I really don't know what else could gauge the effectiveness of the chemo at killing the cancer if we didn't have that number.

 

There was a law passed last month: Johanna's Law. Actually it was the renewal of an old law… a reaffirmation/reauthorization for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and implement campaigns to raise awareness and educate women and medical professionals about the signs and symptoms of gynecologic cancers. http://bit.ly/dLvnFG

 

While that is all nice and good, I think that money going toward that cause could be better used for prevention and screening of Ovarian Cancer. Because with Ovarian Cancer – once you start getting the symptoms (and really pay attention to the symptoms) it's too late. There's no "pre-emptive" screening for Ovarian Cancer. You can't walk in to your doctors office and ask for a count without having symptoms to back it up. That is the catch 22.

 

Before mom started getting sick, we didn't run across any ovarian cancer awareness campaigns of any sort. And supposedly there was $16 million dollars from the Johanna Law going toward getting the message out.

 

Mom wasn't in the risk category because we have no family history of the cancer. But if Johanna's Law is supposed to do its job, we should be hearing more about gynecological cancers in the most conspicuous places…maybe a coffee shop or at the grocery store. Church?

 

I read an article the other day about Ovarian Cancer prevention and screening study done by Duke University. http://bit.ly/hHKU9Y One of the doctors stated that more work needs to be done to find better approaches to screening methods. They are exploring models to determine better preventative methods and screening methods before things get out of hand. They even talk about the high-risk group – which is obvious, but the end all is a screening method for the rest of women. At this point I consider any woman who doesn't have a history of cancer in the family to be at high risk for Ovarian Cancer.

 

To be continued.