Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Critical Drug Shortage - Any Suggestions?

The current news headlines were bound to happen here in Canada due to the decrease of production at the Sandoz plant in Quebec.  I trust that none of my viewers have been affected and were prepared after reading my February 28, 2012 post!

Seems surgeries are pending and many vital pain as well as cancer drugs are on hold for an indefinate time.  This should not be able to happen in 2012 and those in charge of ensuring the availability of these important prescription medications should have made it public much sooner so that many others could have been more prepared, especially the medical community.  No patient's health or current medical condition should have to suffer because of this shortage!

Follow this link to read more updates as of today's news about these shortages
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1145046--ottawa-needs-to-protect-patients-from-drug-shortages-says-cancer-society

If you are encountering problems with these drug shortages, leave a short comment directly on my Chatroll forum or leave a comment under this post.  Maybe you have a possible solution for many others who have not been able to get these drugs. 

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Afinitor and High Glucose

If anyone is out there on Afinitor, then by now you no doubt will have experienced high glucose or some doctors may diagnose you as having Type 2 Diabetes.

It's not really diabetes as it's a side effect for many patients from taking the Afinitor.  You will have to watch your sugar intake and of course keep a close watch on those sugars with a glucose monitor.

One thing to note is if you have never had diabetes before and now you are taking meds to control your high glucose, once you stop the Afinitor, after a few weeks, your sugars will subside and you no longer will have this condition.

Hubby had the same thing and now he is high glucose free!!!  Something to celebrate indeed!

Have a great weekend everyone!



Friday, March 02, 2012

You CAN Pay Less for Prescription Drugs

All cancer patients take a considerable amount of prescription medication everyday.  As time goes on with your cancer, no doubt the number of medications you are taking, will undoubtedly increase.  The cost of these prescription drugs can be phenomenal, to say the least, but you just can't decide not to take them.

If you are fortunate enough to have insurance that covers most of these drugs, then consider yourself very blessed.  If you only have partial insurance or no insurance at all, then your prescription costs for these drugs can be enormous. It can mean the difference sometimes of whether to pay for your monthly medications or reduce your monthly costs for food, heating, etc.  Paying for medications takes a big chunk out of your monthly income as well as from your life-long savings, but you have no choice in the matter, as you just cannot stop taking these medications.

I have recently discovered a place where you can purchase your drugs significantly lower than at most of your local pharmacies and that's at COSTCO.  Who ever knew?  It never dawned on me that just because they offer high discounts on household items and just about every other item you can think of, they would also have the same deep discounts on their prescription drugs.

Apparently, many of their prescription drugs can be almost "HALF" of what you may be paying now at your pharmacy.  Yes, that's exactly right!!!  You can go to the COSTCO pharmacy in your location and bring along a couple of your most expensive meds and ask them for their costs.  I'm sure you will be more than surprised at the results.

Another way to reduce your drug costs is to ask your doctor to prescribe a particular drug at the largest amount you can take per dosage.  For example:  If you are taking 3 pills that are 75mg in strength at the same time, you should ask your doctor to give you two prescriptions.  One for the same pill in a 150mg and another for the same pill in the 75mg.  Apparently, the larger dosage of most pills, is actually CHEAPER to buy than the smaller ones, so you will be saving there again!  I wonder how come most pharmacies never bothers to tell us this?  Now remember that not all of your meds can be prescribed in a larger dose, so this may only apply to some patients.

Let me know if you have good results from checking at COSTCO for your monthly meds.  I of course have no affiliation with that store, but if I see a good thing for any cancer patient, I will pass it on to you.

Good luck and good savings on your next prescription!!!



Tuesday, February 28, 2012

You Can Play Your Part Re: Cancer Drug Shortages in US

Just rec'd the following link from ASCO - The American Society of Clinical Oncology -  with regards to an article calling on Congress to solve the growing problems on cancer drug shortages.

http://ascoaction.asco.org/Home/tabid/41/articleType/ArticleView/articleId/217/ASCO-Calls-on-Congress-to-Solve-the-Growing-Crisis-of-Cancer-Drug-Shortages.aspx?et_cid=28912361&et_rid=463662356&linkid=http%3a%2f%2fascoaction.asco.org%2fHome%2ftabid%2f41%2farticleType%2fArticleView%2farticleId%2f217%2fASCO-Calls-on-Congress-to-Solve-the-Growing-Crisis-of-Cancer-Drug-Shortages.aspx

At the end of this article it encourages everyone to contact their Congressman by clicking the link ASCO's ACT Network enter your zip code and then you will be asked to complete a form and relate your story if you have encounterd any drug shortages.

Together we can ALL make a difference!





Sunday, February 26, 2012

Keeping Your Meds Organized

It's Sunday night and time to refill hubby's pill organizer for another week.  Thought I would pass along a link to show the type of container that I find to be very, very efficient in organizing his medications.  When anyone has to take more than 20+ pills everyday, it can get quite confusing sometimes if you don't have some organization or schedule to remind you of just what meds you have already taken and what you have left to take.

My daughter bought this great container a few months ago for her Dad and I personally find it wonderful.  We have tried the smaller 7 day types, but sometimes there's just not enough separate compartments to organize everything.

The one I use is made by Dorsett and here's the link:    http://www.dosett.com/

We have the "red" one and although at first glance there may seem to be alot of different compartments, it's perfect for my husband's use.  It's a seven day organizer with four compartments per day so if you have to take pills four different times each day, it's just what you need. Once I organizer his pills, then he can easily access them anytime I'm away from home, and feel quite confident that he is taking the correct ones at the correct time.

There's also a list included at the bottom of the organizer where you can write down all of the medications and take it quite easily on your next doctor or hospital visit for reference.  The Dosett organizer also comes in smaller sizes for those who do not require the extra room for sorting.

Hope this helps and although I'm not sure where you can purchase it, why not check out your favorite drug store, and no doubt it's there.

If anyone reading this has more info on just where to buy these, please post the info directly on my Chat Forum.


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Possible Shortage of Drugs





By now, you have all probably heard the news flash about Sandoz Canada having to reduce it's production significantly, resulting in a possible shortage of many injectable cancer drugs and antibiotics.  Here are a couple of links that you may wish to check out for further information

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/02/20/sandoz-canada-drug-shortage_n_1289602.html?ref=canada-business


http://www.canada.com/Drug+shortage+feared+after+generics+maker+Sandoz+suspends+production/6176236/story.html


My advice would be for everyone to contact their pharmacist to ensure that their medications will not be affected, and if there is a shortage, it's best to address the situation immediately by asking your physician for another prescription that can be filled now or an alternative medication, just in case your present one will become unavailable within a few weeks. 

Last year I experienced the same situation with one of my husband's medications due to a shortage of the drug and it left me virtually hunting around at several pharmacies before I managed to obtain a significant amount of this particular med.  Within a few weeks however, it was available once again.

When you are taking essential medications that you cannot do without, even for one day, then it's up to you to ensure you have done your homework and followed up on this recent news item.  You don't want to be left with zero meds.

Just thought I would pass this along.  I'm prepared...ARE YOU?



Thursday, February 16, 2012

Facing the Unknown

For viewers of my blog who have been down the cancer road now for awhile, feeling anxious about the unknown is all too common.  For first time cancer patients however and their families, there is no other word to describe the start of their cancer journey but terrifying!

We have all been there, that's for sure. Each time I accompany my husband to the cancer clinic, I can just look at someone and know it's their first visit there.  You can see the anxiety and fear on their face, as I'm sure it was on ours a few years ago.

That's what happened a couple of weeks ago while my husband was waiting to see his oncologist. His appointment was late so I decided to go and introduce myself to this couple in hopes that it might help to relieve some of their uneasiness.   Just the thought of going to a cancer clinic is in itself a scary thought, let alone the apprehension of what your first visit to an oncologist will be like.  

So up I get and do the introductions as I hate to see those first-time patients look so fearful about the unknown.  Once the intros are done, I then try to get them a little more familiar with the surroundings by pointing out the blood collection area, the oncologist's offices, the chemo unit, and where there are bathroom facilites and a place to get a coffee or snack.  The main thing I try to enhance is the fact that EVERYONE feels the exact same way on their first visit to the clinic so there's no need for apologies.  My husband and I have visited their so many times, I tell this couple that this place has become our second home of sorts. 

Yes, we no longer feel any apprehension when we go into the clinic, for we know everyone there has a role to play in helping my husband along his journey.  From the receptionist, or the lady who takes his blood, to the pharmacists, nurses and all the oncologists that we have met along the way, it does make us feel kind of like being at our second home.  We feel quite comfortable making ourselves at home and there's never any hesitation in asking questions.

After my short conversation with these first-time visitors to the cancer clinic, it was time to wish them well.  They shook my hand and thanked me for reassuring them on this frightful day!  I'm sure we will cross paths again on another visit to the clinic, but for now, I trust that my attempt to make them more at ease will be passed on by them as well one day when they see another new cancer patient at that clinic.

I trust that on your next visit, you as well will "PASS IT ON........"


Thursday, January 05, 2012

Cancer Changes Lifestyles

Wow..Christmas came and went really fast this year.  Tomorrow is Old Christmas Day and many will be dismantling their Christmas tree and other decorations.  No trouble to miss the lights especially once they are taken down.

I trust that you all enjoyed your Christmas this year.  We had a very quiet one but I think it was one of the best Christmases we ever had.  Surprising isn't it how cancer changes a family's traditions - sometimes though it's not a bad thing to have change.  For us, Christmas was always a time of visiting, having friends and family in for suppers and it seemed we were for the most part, always on the go.  By the end of Christmas we needed a holiday to rest, but this year was different.  We spent a quiet Christmas day with just our immediate family and despite a power outage right in the middle of the day, I did manage to get the turkey cooked and I must say the meal was delicious.

There has been quite a few strains of colds and flus in our area this Christmas as well, so we decided to stay at home and avoid contracting any of these bugs, more especially to not have my husband get sick, which would have been very serious indeed if he were to have more weight loss and trying to battle another illness.  Overall he has had a good Christmas.  His tiredness continues on occasion but we are thankful for the good quality of health that he now enjoys despite having a tumultuous fall season of varying health obstacles.

He still continues the morning and evening orange juice rituals and both him and I strongly believe that there is invaluable nutrients in freshly squeezed oranges.  We attribute his wellness to all of the oranges he has consumed.  It's been difficult to get the oranges that are best for juice, but even those with extra pulp are just as nutitious.  I've become a regular at our local grocery store filling double plastic bags with oranges, but it's all worth it!!!

I've just read that there are two new drugs being tested for those with kidney cancer...wow...fantastic news!!!!  Just goes to show one can never give up when they hear a diagnosis of cancer.

To get back to my title - over Christmas I have heard of several other cancer patients who are on chemo and who also have stayed at home throughout the holidays to avoid catching a bad flu bug.  No one wants that, especially if you are taking chemo so be ware, and even though having cancer may change your current lifestyle on occasion in 2012, remember it's important to take care of "YOU"....don't worry if you miss out on some occasions as there will be many more down the road that you can attend to when you are feeling better. 

Chin up ..... and don't give up!!!  This is just one more bump along the road.  Wishing everyone better health in this new year!!!


Sunday, January 01, 2012

The Loss of a Great Man in 2011

I've been watching shows over the past couple of days that recount happenings in the year just past.  There have been hurricanes, wars, natural disasters and other horrific events that occurred in 2011, but the one event that really stands out in my mind is the passing of Jack Layton, a humble man of courage and determination who inspired me beyond words.

All Canadians know of whom I speak but for others who may not be as familiar, he was the leader of our political NDP party who achieved outstanding success in our country's federal election in May of 2011 as his party became the official opposition. I feel quite confident that had Mr. Layton lived to continue the leadership of the NDP, he would have most definately attained the position of Prime Minister of Canada.

This man impacted all of us - not only because of his down to earth personality and genuine concern for others, but because of his determination to Never Quit.  After battling cancer previous to the election, along with undergoing hip surgery and still not relenting in his campaign to gain additional political awareness, we all watched him with awe as he fought so bravely to win.  To win not only his political seat but also to win against the beast of cancer.

I persoanlly felt the loss of this great Canadian. Although I had never met him, I had written him on two occasions.  One to tell him how inspired I was as I watched him continue along his campaign trail day after day as if he were in excellent health despite the increasing pain and discomfort that we could all see he bore along the way.  Another email to congratulate him on his enormous political win of 103 seats for the NDP which was the largest increase of this party's history resulting in the NDP forming Canada's Official Opposition Pary.

What was so special about the emails I sent Mr. Layton?  He actually took the time to write back personally, which I found astounding!!! Despite his busy career demands and his health issues, he took the time to reply and to pass along his best wishes to my husband along his cancer journey as well.

Jack Layton was a true Cancer Warrior in every aspect of it's definition.  Yes, a great loss indeed for Canadians and for the world in 2011.  Let us never forget him and the legacy he has left for all of us.