Tuesday, 6 January 2009


This will be the fourth year of my palliative treatment, and the second of Herceptin at Home, which has proved not only beneficial to my health, but a pleasure in the company of the excellent team of nurses who come to sit with me throughout the infusions. I can make my own hot water bottle and sit in my own arcmchair as the drip goes in; and, with these nurses; it goes in first time - in fact, they managed to get through the whole of 2008 using the same vein. How differerent to the procedure at the Haem clinic at the hospital where those nurses, too, were unfailingly pleasant and patient, but harassed and overworked beyond their call of duty. Cannulations there took several attempts; and I rapidly became known as 'the woman with no veins', which doesn't exactly boost the morale of those designated to give the needle - not least to say my own morale (or amour propre). Anyway, the only clinics I have been to in the last 12 months were the Consultant's check-ups; and even in those, I managed to get away without being jabbed. In fact, the last cannulation attempt on me at the hospital was at the CT scanner, when even the doctor they called in to assist gave up when he saw my 'veinless' hands.

So Herceptin at Home it is, when I go straight from the piano (get the circulation in the hands and arms to work) to the chair. Nurses arrive when they say they will arrive and leave within 2 hours. This is private treatment, of course, although I receive it on the NHS, thanks to some deal between the Hospital Trust, Roche Pharmeceuticals (who manufacture the drug), and the healthcare company. Each dose of this drug costs at least twelve hundred pounds; and once the costs of the nurse and the equipment (cannulas, saline, etc) are factored in, that's a lot of cost! But it has saved my life. And I feel blessed and grateful for it.

Thank you.

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