I have been wanting to send everyone an update since last year, but my initial blood results were so underwhelming that I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Thanks to your generosity I started the Palbociclib on 6 Sept 2018 and I am currently on my 5th cycle. Each cycle comprises 21 tablets – taken daily for 3 weeks with one week off each month. Initially my oncologist only tracked my progress with blood tests which provide a tumour marker and this gives an indication of the effectiveness of the drug. A normal tumour marker is 32 (or less) and at commencement of this therapy my marker was approx. 400. Three cycles in and my marker had doubled - NOT what we wanted to hear. In addition, I was suffering terrible back pain and an MRI revealed a tumour growing on T6, pushing on a nerve – and this required urgent spot radiation therapy. Together with the elevated tumour markers and back pain I was not liking my chances of continuing with this new “wonder” drug.
On 19 Dec I was booked in for an MRI, bone and CT scan – and the results were proof that one can never rely on tumour marker results alone. Unbelievably, all tumours were stable, nothing new reported and even some possible evidence of new bone growth.
Simply the best Christmas present we could ever have hoped for – and absolutely not even possible or imaginable without YOUR collective help – whether it was a cash contribution or simply sharing our GoFundMe post. Words will never be enough.
So where to from here??
My oncologist wants me to finish cycles 5 and 6 and all being well, continue with the drug indefinitely. The catch is that we only raised enough for 6 cycles. However, since we started the drug, the pharmaceutical company has begun a program for clients who are self funding the drug, and once they have paid $40k, ie 8 cycles, the drug will then become FREE. Oh happy days.
So I guess what I am asking is, if you can find it in your hearts (and your pockets) to assist us to raise another $10k, we would be so grateful. And if not, that’s OK too – as you’ve more than helped our family already.
Peta, David and Cuan
Many of you will already know our friend, Peta – a devoted Mum to Cuan (13 year old son), wife to David and furry Mum to an elderly terrier and two rescue poodles. Peta’s devotion to her son is unquestionable. Her love and support goes above and beyond – first it was regularly huddling in the freezing cold to watch Cuan race around the track and joining the Speedway Committee, offering her services and advice. Now that Cuan’s passions have changed Peta has also embraced the dance community, again supporting her son, and thinks nothing of driving to a dance competition two hours away in the early hours of the morning.
Did I mention she is funny, articulate, genuine and always the first to welcome someone new under her wing. Beyond her beautiful boys and furry friends, her greatest loves are entertaining friends, old and new, and enjoying a glass of bubbles or two!
Peta was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer in Dec 2014 after a mammogram in May of that year failed to detect her cancer. She has undergone various treatments including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Unfortunately, the cancer has continued to progress and this week she got the news that her cancer is not responding to any of the current chemotherapy treatments available to her.
There is a new drug that has been showing promising results for people with metastatic breast cancer called Ribociclib. This drug is available on the PBS but only to newly diagnosed metastatic breast cancer patients who have not yet tried other lines of treatment. You can read an explanation from Breast Cancer Awareness Australia here.
It is feasible that the drug will be extended to women, like Peta, who have already been fighting advanced breast cancer for years but it is unlikely to be within the next year. Peta doesn’t have the luxury of time.
Peta and David could purchase the treatment privately, at a costly sum of $5,200 per month. They could try re-mortgage their house but again this takes time and is not guaranteed, and might only give them a few months of treatment.
Friends and family have constantly been asking how they can help Peta and she has never asked for money, nor would she. But here is where we step in. This fund is to provide some financial support to Peta, Cuan and David so they can enjoy what most of us take for granted – time together as a family.
If you can assist, no matter how big or small, every little bit helps. If you cannot help financially we understand but we ask you to share this story because it does two things; helps to spread the message that ALL women with metastatic breast cancer should have access to Ribociclib and puts pressure on the Government to change the PBS regulations; and shares Peta’s story with others who may be able to financially assist.
Our goal is to raise $30,000. This will pay for nearly six months of treatment and provide sufficient time to measure the success of the treatment but more importantly, it hopefully gives Cuan and David, more time with the most important woman in their lives.
Thank you in advance.
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