Monday, April 25, 2011

Your Life-Saving Drug is Out of Stock

As if cancer patients didn't have enough to battle, they are facing another obstacle in their fights now --- drug shortages. A shortage of a drug used to treat leukemia and lymphoma, called Cytarabine, is now calling national media attention to this problem. There is no substitute available for this drug.

It saved my life.

Cytarabine was one of the drugs in the "cocktail" for my Acute Myloid Leukemia that saved my life. I cannot imagine being told, "Sorry, there's a shortage, so we need to use a second tier chemo-regimen," or "Sorry, there's a shortage, so we need to stop your treatment early. You could die."

I find it completely unacceptable that a life-saving drug is in shortage, and that the manufacturers didn't have to notify the FDA that this could be a problem. Thankfully, it's getting attention in articles in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News and Washington Post.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA) have introduced the Preserving Access to Life-Saving Medications Act (S. 296), which will provide the FDA with a warning system in the form of notification of discontinuation or prolonged interruption of a medication's production....and help them better deal with shortages.

Take the time to read the few articles above, and your blood will probably begin to boil like mine. Cytarabine put my leukemia into remission -- others should have that same chance. We're talking about a life vs. death issue here ---- this drug is given on Day 1 of the treatment protocol for Leuk patients ---access to it is truly a life saver.

Please take a minute to send a letter to your senators urging them to cosponsor the Preserving Access to Life-Threatening Medications Act....please. If you'd like help drafting a letter, visit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Legislative Action Center by clicking here.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Birthday. And Thank you.

I'm breaking all the blogging rules today about not getting too personal and making your blog all about "me me me!" Specifically, because yesterday was my birthday, and I have one thing to say:



(I'll let you figure that one out.)

After battling cancer 3 times, I have to admit that there were moments when I wasn't sure I'd see my next birthday. But here I am. ALIVE. Let me be the first to point out that this was a team effort. I know, it sounds wierd, right? But it's true. Dealing with all the ups and downs that a cancer diagnosis, battle and survivorship can bring takes an entire team. I was lucky in that I had the most extraordinary team in my corner. In my case, Cancer didn't stand a chance. We were on the Home team, baby!

So, instead of just wishing a Happy Birthday to me this week (and my twin) -- I also wanted to send out a massive, solidarity shout-out to my family, friends, medical team (traditional & integrative health teams), the Lance Armstrong Foundation/LIVESTRONG and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Thank you for all you did to ensure I'd be cancer-free and celebrating many, many more birthdays to come!!! At this point, I could add a bunch of emoticons to express my endless gratitude and appreciation, but (to spare the readers) hopefully you get my point. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

APPLY! 2011 Community Impact Projects - LIVESTRONG!

A few weeks ago, the LIVESTRONG Foundation unveiled the 2011 Community Impact Project programs. This week they are asking for all community organizations from universities to community organizations to YMCA’s to clinics and hospitals to apply for the funding. Did you know that approximately $700,000 will be awarded through four different award types and will be awarded to approximately 90 organizations??!! That's AMAZING!!! Click on the link below to find out more about the programs (deadline is April 27th!). LIVESTRONG Blog » Blog Archive » Apply Now

Lance Armstrong's "Tour de France" Dedication to Julie

A great reminder that I had armies of support beside me in my fight. (Thanks, Lance!) Even with the recent media, this video isn't about the bike...but the fight against cancer. LIVESTRONG!

Stage 2 Dedication: Julie Westcott -- powered by

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