I am a 48 year old female and was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer on 13 August 2019. I have been extremely healthy my entire life, and this was like a death sentence to hear. I am by nature a very positive person and decided to tackle this with a positive mindset as well. It was hard (still is) and the amount of emotions you experience daily, cannot be described to anyone else unless you go through this. My entire life changed in one day. My outlook on life changed. I am unable to work as I was getting intense chemo therapy and radiation (last 4 months)
When we did a PET scan, we found that I have progressed with the chemo. It helped partly, but now my cancer has spread into my neck and another mass was found in my left lung which was not there.
I am one of a very few that qualifies for immunotherapy and the one that will help me the most is: Pembrolizumab. It has been registered in South Africa for two types of cancer. Non small cell lung cancer and is specifically for patients who have failed or progressed after initial treatment like chemo therapy. I was getting a very strong chemo (Cisplatin), but progressed on it.
This drug works better if the expression of PD-L1 (programmed cell death ligand 1) on the cancer is more than 51%. Mine is 60%, meaning it will work so well with me.
The problem is that it is extremely expensive in South Africa and not even my medical aid can approve this drug due to the costs. This can save my life, but because we do not have the funds, they want to put me on more chemo (Docetaxel) with really bad side effects. I am still so young and full of life. I have so much more to give in life.....
The cost for this immunotherapy is R90,000 (South Africa currency) per shot and I will need about six of them. That is $6,136 per shot. I will need about 6 of them every 3 weeks.
I need this very soon as my cancer is aggressive and the sooner we can start with this, the better I will be off.
In all of this, I lost my father on the 23rd of October - he was one of my biggest supporters and always tried keeping me positive. He was my hero. I found out at his funeral that he prayed to God daily and asked God to rather take his life than mine. He was very healthy, but died of a sudden heart attack in October. I am heart broken - it is as if he wanted to trade his life for mine.
All I can say is, please please help me if you can! I can still do so much good in my life and I have so much life still left in me! I pray that my story will touch someone out there. I know it is a lot of money to raise, but how do you measure how much a life is worth?