Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Little Story

A little story about news magazines, in this case, Newsweek. Several months ago, a long, in-depth article about lung cancer appeared in that magazine. I was warned not to read it (thanks Amy, et al), but I could not resist. Although I was aware of much of the information, and recognized many of the physicians quoted in the article, including the oncologist from MD Anderson who is part of my own medical team, it was distressing nonetheless. When I mentioned my concerns about the article to Dr. Dubovsky, he admonished me for relying on Newsweek's version of the current state of lung cancer and its treatment. Well, it happened again. My brother pointed out an article about personalized medicine in the December 15 issue of this magazine. In a concise and informative explanation of targeted therapies for cancer, the magazine identifies Iressa as a targeted therapy for lung cancer. The problem is that except for patients already taking this drug with resulting positive benefits, Astra-Zeneca ceased marketing Iressa in the US as of September 15, 2005. It was replaced by a drug that was proving to be more effective. That drug? Tarceva.

Speaking of Tarceva, the most common side effect is an upper body rash that appears in 8 to 10 days, specifically on the face and scalp. My rash didn't want to wait. My face and scalp have already been invaded, big time. It is unsightly, it is uncomfortable, but it may be a sign that the drug is doing its job. No complaints here.

Instead of languishing as I have for months, I finally feel like I am moving forward again. I plan to enjoy some quality family time in the coming weeks. I mentioned some time ago that the Winter Solstice would be a turning point for me. Turns out I could have been on the money.


Anonymous said...

Elyse, glad you're feeling a little better. This was the cleanest rash joke I could find.

Q. What do you give a pig with a rash?

A. Oinkment!!!

Found on Yahoo Kids.

This was my favorite but don't link to it if you have tender sensitivities...


Betsy said...

Attitude is everything, and you have it. Go girl!!

Anonymous said...

This sounds good! Who cares about some stupid rash. Stay in that "moving forward" lane.

Jill Bach said...

I like the way you are thinking about the rash!! Let's hope that Tarceva is causing havoc on the cancer.

Rachel said...

You might want to consider a letter to the editor, how often do you get to correct the mainstream media. Besides, since you are such a good writer, a broader audience ought to be given the opportunity to read your words! Seriously, they need to know they are reporting outdated information.
Glad to know your body is reacting to the drug. A small price to pay if it zaps the nasty stuff, right?
xo Rachel

Anonymous said...

Dear Elyse,
Never was I happier to hear someone, you, have a rash. So what as long as you're feeling better!!!
The next time we sign up for food we'll be taking you out!! Rash and all.
Tarceva Rocks! Enjoy your family over the next few weeks.

Anonymous said...

I can't see the rash but I hear the change in your voice....truely amazing to think this small pill can do such wonderful things. Yeah, the drug companies are way too poweful....but on the other hand look at what they can do...Tarceva rocks....keep it coming


PS...the pillow case worked a long time ago....maybe its time to cut up a new one

patti said...

Well, I know the rash feels worse than it looks, because I wouldn't have noticed it if I hadn't known to look for it. We'll be a pair tomorrow night at our holiday cocktail party. You with your bumps, me with my lovely skin-colored tape covering my stitches. :-)

It was awesome seeing you. See you and your men tomorrow.

Patti the Party Planner

Ann said...

A rash is a small price to pay for feeling good. Besides, is there any research that borekkas makes you feel better and the rash go away???? We'll watch and report.....

Burton said...


Wonderful news! Tarceva rocks!

As for the rash and your moving forward again -- "What rash? Walk this way."

Have a great weekend. Sending hugs with Neil and Liz next week.


Bruce M. said...

Excellent News..Keep it coming!!

Wendy said...


What an amazing outlook you have...when did you ever think you would see a rash as a good sign? May you enjoy and cherish each moment with your family over the next few weeks. And may the Winter Solstice be a time of some peace for you.

Forrest said...

Good to read you are in better spirits. Enjoy your family and the holidays!

Anonymous said...


This isn't really geared to Elyse as much as to the other Blog readers. I took dinner to her and her 2 guys and 4 dogs on Wednesday night. She looked great. She ate an entire plate of barbecue, beans, and cobbler. I got a huge hug and we sat around and talked for a couple of hours. It was a great visit and a welcome time spent with a friend.

And yes, she did get SPAM as part of her meal. Did she eat any of that? No way, but it is the thought that counts.

I encourage everyone to stop by and see here. It is good for both her and you.

Joe Rosen

A rash? Give me a break, who cares?

Pamela said...

A MiShebeirach prayer -

Also, a prayer for the uncommon wisdom that this experience will bring you as no other experience can.

Including wisdom to deepen and widen your appreciation of the trials of others. If you only grow closer to yourself and your own needs, you will miss an a significant opportunity to mature.

Anonymous said...

Wow--prayers are being answered. I'll keep them coming.

We love you all day every day

Joyce & Fred

Diane said...

Hi Elyse,
I'm a friend of Marsha's. She's "turned me on" to keep you in my prayers and I'm happy to do so.
Yes, you can count me as another one of your stealth bloggers. It's so cool to see how much you are loved! That's gotta be good medicine!
Glad you're feeling better and hope you get more energy as the holidays roll around.
Good vibes going your way!

Anonymous said...

The rash is good news! Both Noel and I want to wish you and yours a happy Chanukah. Happy to hear you're feeling better - let's win this fight!

Much love,

Mickey and Noel

Lenore and Scott said...

Happy Chanukah
Happy Hanukah
Happy Channukah
Happy Hannukah
Happy Channukkah
Happy Hannukkah

Do you have a little dreidel? Did you make it out of clay? You know, Hanukah (and Christmas for that matter) are all about miracles. I still believe miracles happen. We just fail to recognize them. Sending Solstice love and healing your way.

Anonymous said...

Hi Elyse,

Happy Chanukah! It's so great to hear you have the rash....a rash is, ofcourse, a small price to pay if it's helping to get rid of the nasties. I'm so glad you're feeling a little better. I hope you continue to improve and regain your strength. Enjoy your visit with the Aussenberg clan.
I Love You...Suzanne XOXOXOXOXOXO

Anonymous said...

Elyse, I love your sense of the turning point of the solstice and embrace that whole-heartedly. Hope you can dig in with family for these remaining dark days of the season and we all look forward to sharing with you in the coming turning and the coming of light.

Sending love, Michelle N.

Anonymous said...

Hope you'll be feeling better everyday and that the new drug is doing its thing! Enjoy stacks of latkes and sour cream, holiday cookies and order in all your favorites.

Anonymous said...

Dear Elyse,
We are so glad that you are covered in a terrible rash since that means that the medicine is working. We are all so glad to hear that you are feeling better. We hope you enjoy your visit with Liz, Neil and the kids.Have a happy Chanukah and send our love to your family. LOVE, Catherine, Randy and the girls *

Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention that the Haiku section spawned a Haiku writing frenzy in my house. I put a poster on the wall and invited everyone to write Haikus. Most deal with food and dogs, our favorite topics. Even the girls' friends got into the action and added their own poems. I think we are going to do a limerick poster next, if we can keep it clean. Catherine

Terri said...

Glad to hear the Tarceva may be working. We were sick the first of last week and out of town the end of last week. Saw Candace with Brent, glad she made it to town. Thinking about you daily.Enjoy your holidays with family. Love, Terri & Barry

Ann said...

Hi Elyse, just want to wish you wonderful times with Neil, Liz et al, and enjoy latkes, baileys, dachsunds, and everything else the holidays can bring. Hope you are continuing to feel a little better each day,and looking forward to a new you in a new year.(I still love the old you!!!)
Ann and Scout