Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I've spent the last several hours sleeping off the Demerol (given intravenously to ward off the side effects I've experienced from Herceptin. It works but makes me very, very stoned). I woke up feeling a little green around the gills, so this will likely be a short post.

Spending time over at Flippy's has got me thinking about how much harder my life would be if Canada did not have socialized medicine and I did not have good private health insurance. The tally, thus far for drugs to bolster my white blood cells (and thus keep me out of hospital) amounts so far to $26,000 (Can). I can't even begin to add the cost of the various and numerous other drugs I've taken, almost of all of which seem exorbitantly expensive (yesterday I picked up a gel to numb my the skin over my portacath, which has become very tender. A very small tube cost fifty bucks. I was told that this was never covered by private insurance. Mine did).

I can't imagine how I would have paid for chemotherapy, radiation, surgery or any other test or treatment (and I have lost count how many) I have needed if public health insurance didn't cover it. The thought is quite terrifying.

I am very lucky to be Canadian, middle class and a union member.


Mary said...

What side effects from herceptin? I have had three treatments so far and no side effects at all. Echocardiogram revealed perfectly working heart. No nausea, no fatigue -- zilch. Utterly different from FEC chemo.

laurie said...

I experienced extreme side-effects, which have stabilized - uncontrollable tremors, teeth chattering, very high fever, chills. The episodes would start during treatment and recur up to two days later (sending me to emergency twice). I now receive Herceptin over 90 minutes and have Demerol infused prior to treatment. That seems to work.