Introduction

Sarvs Falefitu is a 40year old NZ born, Auckland bred Samoan/ Niuean. Sarvs is mother to four teenagers (Kroydon 19 years, Denae 16 years, Kendra 14 years, Grayson 13 years) and has been married to her 'Samoan warrior' for 19 1/2 years.


My gals, Denae (left) & Kendra

My boyz, Grayson (left) and Kroydon

I have breast cancer and so...

This blog has been created in the hopes that I could raise awareness of this 'evil influence that spreads dangerously', according to Collins English Dictionary, Compact Edition, to fundraise to cover the majority of my Herceptin treatment and hopefully this might help other women even in the tiniest way who might be living and dealing to breast cancer also.
I have Grade 2, HER2 positive type cancer and my cancer has moved away from the primary spot and invaded other parts of my body via my lymph vessels and blood vessels. Along with chemotherapy and radiotherapy I will also need Herceptin. NZ only funds Herceptin for 9 weeks but a full 12 months is recommended. I have opted to take the recommended 12 months and it will cost exactly $96,273.60. While some specialists are 'comfortable' with 9 weeks of Herceptin, I am not. I want to attend my teenagers graduations. I need to wave them goodbye when they go on their OE's. I wish to witness them all walk down the aisles, be present at the births of my grandchillens and finally do my big OE with my hubby too - of course without the grandchillens!!! Clearly I have far too much to live for and I implore anyone with time to please support my fundraisers or send any fundraising ideas our way.
Your support will make a lasting difference to my quality of life and I sincerely thank you all in advance for your love and support.

Accolades

Sarvs wishes to acknowledge the amazing staff at St Marks Clinic who at the early days of her breast cancer diagnosis helped and coached her through one of the darkest days of her life.Thank you Michelle, Beverley, Jenny, Tracey, the wonderful surgeons Stephen and Stan. Most importantly Sarvs would like to acknowledge 'Johnny' for having the foresight to establish a beautiful haven such as St Marks Clinic many years ago for women such as herself.


Breakdown of Herceptin costs

Since day dot Dr Mike McCrystal my oncologist has been apologetic of the horrendous Herceptin costs for HER2+ women. Nothing to apologise about Mike it is out of your hands and ours however look closely at what Pharmac and NZ Government are blissfully content in handing to a cancer patient and their loved ones -

Loading dose cost: (1 loading treatment)
Drug cost, delivery (+GST) 500mg $7018.65
Nursing $250.00
Medical $350.00
Consumables $35.00
Hospital charge $100.00
GST $969.20
Sub-total $8722.85 for loading dose at 8mg/kg

Maintenance dose cost: (13 maintenance treatments)
Drug cost, delivery (+GST) 370mg $5251.35
Nursing $250.00
Medical $350.00
Consumables $350.00
Hospital charge $100.00
GST $748.30
Total $6734.65 maintenance dose at 6mg/ kg
Overall total for full course: $96,273.60

So dealing with the diagnosis of breast cancer, losing a breast, having major surgery, being put through chemo treatment, being hospitalised 3 times, going through radiotherapy, getting through the remission period, dealing with the emotional side of this all and then having to fundraise endlessly for Herceptin do you think Pharmac or NZ Government have the right to play God with our lives?!!

18 October 2007

My quest begins...

October 18, 2007
9:00am
I'm looking at my doctor for a sign that my fears were unwarranted. Of course when he starts drafting a referral letter to St Marks Breast Clinic my hopes start to waiver
11:00am
I'm wrapped in a St Marks forest green gown in the waiting room pretending to be interested in the Herald...
11:15am
One mammogram later (I can see why women don't like them much but hey...) I am then shuffled into the ultrasound room with a lovely Beverley walking me through what will happen.
11:20am
During the ultrasound my eyes were fixed on Beverley's face looking for any sign that I should be concerned but she's a professional and she doesn't give anything away. Not long after this has been completed I'm informed a core biopsy will be necessary as a core biopsy will confirm our next move.
11:40am (approx)
Beverley leaves to prep for the core biopsy and suddenly the room is claustrophobic and I am slowly engulfed by the enormity of what may lie ahead. Moments after the core biopsy has been completed Beverley gently places a hand on my lap and in the most tenderest tone says, "Sarvs, I am so sorry to say that the biopsy has revealed the lump is cancer."
I'm asked if anyone knows that I am there. Tearfully I explain no as I wanted to do this on my own. Wrong decision.
October 19, 2007
2:00pm
After a very tearful night and morning hubby and I decide not to wait until after the long weekend to find out if the cancer is benign or malignant so we found ourselves sitting at St Marks Breast Clinic waiting for my results. My whole entirity prayed the cancer was benign.
2:15pm (approx)
Beverley escorts us both into the room where I sat howling into my hands for what seemed like a lifetime the day before and just as she had done the first time looks me straight in the eyes and says, "Sarvs I am very sorry to have to tell you the cancer is malignant."
The rest is a tearful blur but this time I am relieved to have hubby with me.