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.


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?!!

24 September 2008

What's the next hardest thing...?

What's the next hardest thing after a cancer diagnosis, a full mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and raising teenagers?
Fundraising. If it weren't for that then it could have been raising teenagers but 8 months on since we started most definitely it has to be fundraising.

The support I've had with each event has always been overwhelming and always you lose yourself in the atmosphere. An atmosphere of absolute elation and unspeakable gratitude to immeasurable heights but it's always the lead up to fundraising events that strikes the absolute side of my human nature that I detest with a passion. Runaway stress, burning anger and rotten guilt just to name a few.

It's a toughie and one I struggled with while still in treatment hence the reason I dipped out from the fundraising committee matters. And really who needed to have a bald woman released from hospital, high on steroids, sleep deprived and erratic at the best of times attend meetings??? But even without that bald woman on steriods at those meetings you have to truly appreciate the committee's efforts because it's bloody hard work not just physically but mentally.

The flip side to all that are close family and friends who see you through it and the generous folks that think nothing of sending donations and the well wishers who support with their presence and the strangers who give something of their experiences to help another stranger and the true friends who encourage from the front (be it email, phone calls, lattes or vino catch ups) and prominent figures who help to further my cause and the new relationships that are formed and old ones that you wondered if they still existed but now you know for sure they don't so you no longer have to wonder about...they are blessings worth counting because they all far outweigh the downfalls of fundraising.

What's the next hardest thing after fundraising?

Finding another way to sincerely thank from the bottom of my heart the many, many who give up their time, finances, love and themselves. I mean how many ways and times can you say "I cannot thank you all enough, thank you, thank you so very much"?


Chavah Kinloch said...

I just wanted to let you know you have inspired me :) I wish you all the best and have sent a call out to everyone I know asking for their support with your fight for life. I don't really know what it was that compelled me to google the fundraiser for tomorrow but I hope in some small way I can help by spreading the word. May God bless you and your family. Chavah.

Sarvs Falefitu said...

Your message encourages a great deal, thank you so much Chavah for taking the time to post on my blog. I am winning, I just know it!! Blessings to you and your loved ones. Sarvs.

Tootie said...

Bless your heart! Don't feel bad about others helping you. I'm sure they all want to do what they can because they really care about other people. Where would we be without them?

My daughter now 45 has gone through the exact same treatment for the same type of cancer. It all began 5 years ago. It has been a real struggle with the medical expenses and then the Herceptin too.

Two years ago they found some spots on one of her ribs, so it was chemo and then radiation again. The spots were gone after that.

This year, it has been lesions on her brain; more radiation. These places now appear to be gone.

Now she has spots on her pelvis and two large tumors in her upper leg and is taking radiation once again.

Through all of this, friends have rallied around her and helped as they could.

God bless these kind hearted people.

Best to you and your family.

Sarvs Falefitu said...

Thank you Tootie for your message. Yes when one is surrounded by good people healing is inevitable.
Your daughter sounds like a real trooper and I send good thoughts her way to get through each day.

Bless you and your loved ones.