Sunday, June 4, 2017

Stuck on Stivarga

We had a very informative appointment with the folks at Mayo Clinic last Wednesday. I was first met by a doctor who went over my medical history with me. Then a Colon Cancer Specialist came in and talked to me about my cancer and what options I had for treatment. It seems that Stivarga (pills) is the last drug available to me for my stage 4 metastasized colon cancer. 

The good news is that they are running a clinical trial on the drug at Mayo. I will go to Mayo in the next few days for a series of tests. If I qualify after having a CT scan, EKG, and blood work done then they will randomize me to determine which of the 4 subdivisions I will be put in. Each of them receive the drug but with different doses and a different side effect dosage for the main side effect, which is a severe rash on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet.

After that his nurse came in to give me contact info and tell me about the trial. Next the trial coordinator came in and explained how the trial worked and the different groups and subgroups. She also gave me a packet with all the info to take home and study. I told her then that I would be joining the trial if I qualified. A day later another person from Mayo called me to confirm my decision and set up an appointment for the tests I will need to have before joining the trial.

I am hopeful I get the group that starts with a low dose and the steroid cream for the rash. The other part of this group gets the same dose of Stivarga but no cream till the rash starts. In the second division you start with the maximum dosage of Stivarga and either get the cream to start with or have to wait till the rash appears. I would prefer to not be in this group. The online reviews from patients have been very bad for taking the maximum dosage.

The other good news is that the drug will be payed for by Bayer, the manufacturer. It's a good thing because the standard price is $9000 per month. This is less expensive that some other infusion drugs I've been given while on private insurance. Now though I am on Medicare and don't know how much of the cost they would cover. The part "D" drug portion has already been a disappointment and I've only had it for a month. 

The Bad news is that Vicki has been sick the last week and we don't really know what was the cause. She is better today and I am thankful for that. In addition to that bad news is the length of the study and the possibility that I will be unable to work on the RV due to side effects. We'll see.

That's it for now,


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