If anyone would like to explain the logic behind this medical protocol I would LOVE to hear it.
Today I was supposed to start Taxol. Taxol is a taxane, which is class of chemotherapy drugs made from a Yew tree.
They administer it by IV and mix it with a detergent known as cremaphore. (Not sure of the spelling on that, will have to edit later.)
Cremaphore is an irritant, and many people are allergic to it. No one gets allergic to the Taxol itself, but they can have very adverse reactions to the detergent. SO, the medical community has designed a system. They had help from the Department of Motor Vehicles in the planning of this.
Part One: Load up patient with mega dose of steroids and Benadryl.
Part Two: Start Taxol and wait to see if patient starts having trouble breathing, is flushed, throat closing up...etc.
Part Three: If any of these reactions occur- STOP the Taxol and give more Benadryl and steroids and do it AGAIN.
Part Four: If reaction continues repeat part three. If the patient still persists in reacting to drug take them off it and either send them home if they can stop it or send to the ER.
Part Five: If patient does not have a reaction, follow step one and two and make sure patient knows that she will be there for over four hours every time she gets this drug.
Sounds like fun, eh?
Then along comes Abraxane. Abraxane is the drug Taxol that is NOT mixed with a detergent but is coated with albumin, a protein that is found naturally in the body. There is NO allergic reaction to it. There is no need for Benadryl or steroids and it takes only 31 minutes to infuse. And the best part? It is more effective.
Now the kicker:
They insurance companies won't pay for Abraxane UNLESS YOU ARE ALLERGIC TO TAXOL.
They would rather pay for the Benadryl, steroids, hospital stays and wreak havoc on your body then give you something gentler that works better.
Does this make any sense to anyone??
Is this thing on??
Now for me.
I go in today fully expecting to be in the ER by dinner time because I am allergic to just about everything. I told them this. I begged for Abraxane. Nothing worked. My dad was with me and we settled in for our four hour ride into hell.
Well, I never got there.
Today we discovered that I am allergic to Benadryl! Who in hell is allergic to Benadryl? I was once told by an ER doc that I should avoid it after I took it for a bee sting and had more trouble with the Benadryl than the sting. I informed my nurse of this but she said that "didn't count."
My face turned dark red, my heart was racing, my lips and arms were numb, I was sweating and freezing at the same time, I was having vertigo attacks and holding on to the chair for dear life. Before we started my pulse was 60. After the Benadryl it went to 112.
The nurse wanted to wait and see what happened. She had the marvelous idea that I would feel better and we could still do the Taxol and if we did and I was allergic to that too, well then she could always give me Benadryl!
Sometimes I think I am living in a Dr. Seuss book, I really do.
I asked, nicely, if it would be at all possible if maybe a DOCTOR could make that call and my oncologist came in and asked me what I was feeling. My dad tells me I made absolutely no sense in my reply. The doctor apparently only needed to look at my face, which resembled a death mask, and he told the nurse to unplug me and send me home.
I do not know what I will do next. You can be sure I am going to bring up the Abraxane.
Why do cancer patients have to fight for the meds that will help them and not harm them? Isn't cancer enough?