I have Lupus and Scleroderma and my spouse has GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumor) stage 4. This is is a very rare cancer affecting the digestive tract or nearby structures within the abdomen. He was diagnosed in 2004 and the tumor was removed only for the cancer to return in 2006 and spread to the colon and liver. He started taking Gleevec 800mg at the rate of $9,000 per month for each prescription.
A lot of doctors do not tell patients of this miracle drug (due to cost) thinking a lot of people could not afford it which I feel is so wrong. Each individual should be given the option to know about Gleevec and given the opportunity to decide whether they can afford it or not. Gleevec does work and will hold the cancer BUT ONLY works in these organs. GIST is chemo/radiation resistant so we went with the Gleevec by refinancing our home. The thing about this medication that gets me so upset is that in South America this medication is FREE due to the price we in the states pay for it. In Aug 2010, we found out the cancer has now spread to my spouse’s left lung, three new nodules have appeared on current CT Scan. Doctors have now put my spouse on Nexavar made by Bayer and the cost of this medicine is $10,00 per month – yes, we pay for it.
This medication works on all general cancer. We take it one day at a time. Spouse has good days and bad days but still operates semi-normal. Side effects are diarrhea and nausea which Tramodol and Zolfran are prescribed for these side
effects. We are 2 sick peas in a pod that love and support each other very much – love has no boundries.
Please feel free to ask or comment on our story.
Victoria and Alan
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.