Posted on September 10, 2016
Please read and share this update on my journey with Keytruda and my efforts to have it made available to mesothelioma patients through Australia’s Pharmacetical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Currently Keytruda is on PBS for Melanoma cancer only (as of Sept 2015). Melanoma patients now pay $6 for infusions of Keytruda while patients who are having Keytruda as a life saving drug pay $5,000 to $10,000 per infusion! I know firsthand the benefits of this drug: I have been battling mesothelioma for 13 years, but thanks to Keytruda I am able to continue doing asbestos advocacy work daily, in particular serving as a resource for newly diagnosed patients.
Please join thousands of others and sign my petition to help make this life-saving drug available to Australia’s Mesothelioma Warriors!
In March 2015, I was on death’s door: A couple of weeks of living on oxygen 24/7, morphine, 42 kilos, red blood cells stopped producing, needing blood transfusions, appetite non-existent, body shutting down fast, and bed ridden.
At a cost to us, I was given a lifeline to Keytruda. It brought me back to good health within 3 months; my weight improved, appetite returned, no need for oxygen or high morphine—meds giving me excellent quality of life and my life back! Tumours shrunk significantly and fluid decreased in peritoneal and pleural mesothelioma. I continued on Keytruda infusions every 3 weeks for 1 year.
I had a scan in February of 2016 showing 2 nodules growing inside chest wall. As my immune system was high thanks to Keytruda, my oncologist Dr. Allan Zimet took me off Keytruda to hit these nodules with new chemo Vinoralbine combined with carboplatin. Unfortunately, I had a severe reaction to the chemo steroid drug dexamethasone on this new chemo regime and the build up of it in my body over 13 years of treatment. Basically I went into a coma at home and was rushed to hospital where it was a life and death situation. I pulled through (again) learning to eat, walk, and get back to quality of life. This caused my pancreas to shut down and me becoming a diabetic type 1, injecting daily.
I had 3 months of the chemo minus steroid dexamethasone and had scan at end of July showing this chemo did zilch–tumours now on the rise inside my chest wall and a tumour on my liver growing.
After 6 months break since finishing Keytruda I am now back on 3 weekly infusions to shrink these little buggars! I will never never never give up!
Huge, huge thank you to my friends and fellow Mesothelioma Warriors for all the support, love, and strength you send my way:
Hi Lou Williams, thank you so kindly for sharing your update of your past problems and about your progress too.I wish you and your family all the best for the future too.
– John Clapp
“You are in our prayers.”