mammaprint – insurances refuse coverage

June 19, 2008

I wrote a while back in my cancervisa blog about a dutch discovery mammaprint. Basically they analyse a tumor cell and can accurately predict longevity with 90 percent accuracy. This would save senseless chemotherapy for some and give a better read out for the doctors. The problem is that health insurance companies are not paying for the screening. I can’t be more outraged.

who’s who of cancer- Susan Suitch -about

June 16, 2008

I am the longest chemo patient I know. That said I realized that back in November 2007 I had my 100 Th chemotherapy treatment. In 2001 I started out with an optimistic view eventhough I had a so so stage 2 ductile carcinoma with 3 out of 10 lymph involvement at the sentinel nodes. No family history, not even a distant relative twice removed!

I saw my cancer as a project that had no end. I was impressed by the approach from my initial Doctor Breast Specialist who became my team leader through out the whole ordeal. It was not until my first reoccurance in a new country under socialized medicine when I really started to worry.

After successfully beating Cancer the first time, and being 5 months pregnant only to hear “it’s back” just took the stuffing out of me. After the birth of my beautiful daughter who had to endure chemotherapy and radiation while still in my body, everything started to settle out with hormone pills first tamoxifen and then arimadex. But without warning in September of 2006 the pills just stopped working. No rhyme or reason, just not getting the results and my tumor markers were sky rocketing every week.

When I heard the words “life long chemotherapy”-that is when I started to blog. under the name cancervixen and now cancer visa. I started not that long ago a new blog Chemo100 which has more personal data about me and less research.

You see I am shy by nature and easily attach to others emotionally. I know I could not go to a support group. This blog mothers with cancer is my support group. I invite you to join along on our wild adventures with our precious kids and loves of our lives hubby’s who have been our pillars of strength.

I am using my maiden name because if you google my married name you get a famous band or my politician sweetheart.

When you least expect cancer

June 16, 2008

It as a unusually sunny spring day, the kind you really enjoy after a long winter. I remember clearly not wanting to go to my “check up” and rather finding an ice cream stand and basking in the sun for a while. But dutifully I went because it was to be my last before I moved country.

You see I was leaving my job and in the process of moving to Amsterdam, Holland where I was planning to be married!  I had only a few days before my insurance was to run out and I just figured I would tie up some loose ends before I kissed the good old USA good bye.

That check-up day would be the longest day of my life. First of all my own Doc was taking a vacation, and this young intern gave me a vice grip for a hand shake and extremely over in enthusiastic check up. She went around and around my breast to the point I was starting to think she was getting intimate! Then I thought, heck she just does not know what she is doing… Was I far from off base.

She immediately asked for a mammogram. I was 34 and never had one before, so naturally I agreed, but reluctantly went off to the next MRI clinic that same day only to find that this young intern really knew her stuff. Not only was she correct but she was also well connected to a Philly doctor who is know to be the best breast man on the east coast.

I got hooked up immediately with the Philly doc taking my photos with me. I have a dear friend who is a ex-nurse who slapped the mammogram up on her word processor white screen and turned to me and said.

“Honey, I am no expert, but there is definitely something wrong here”. And I curiously looked at this outer-space shaped tentacle spider like thing glowing back at me from her computer screen. She told me to be strong but brace myself for some form of surgery just to get it out of me, malignant or not.

I hugged her and said, I have a good life and this thing is not going to stop me living it to the fullest. She laughed and in her May West raspy voice she told me “you go girl”!

I had an appointment which after sitting in the waiting room and hearing that most patient took 7 to 10 months to even speak to this wonder-breast-doc.  Even hear stories of he doing some breast stuff for famous people. I felt I was in the best hands possible. Even when he gave me the news, my sister almost passed out from the shock. He walked in the room and as he was shaking hands he beautifully said, we all know why we are here. I nodded, and he continued to tell me the details of the size and shape of my tumor and that it most likely has “escaped” into my lymph and hopefully was caught by my sentinel node.

He called another expert at Sloan Kettering where he had contact, and done a stint there in New york. He conversed that with my age, no holds bar was necessary. We are going to pull out all the stops! Wow, I was really impressed to even think about myself.

It was not until I got to the secretary that it had finnally sunk in about having the surgery and being turned into a blue smurf so the cancer could be easily traced. Even the stay in the hospital came down like a ton of bricks. I can remember having a hard time seeing my way to my sister’s car. My eyes were beginning to well up.

We decided to not go home but to get a bit to eat.  I ordered a soup, I had no appettite. My sister is good at assessing situations, she asked me what I was thinking. I said, I AM SCARED SHITLESS. and I don’t curse as a matter of habit. She then said, what is the worst thing that could happen? I answered. I could die.