Thursday, August 25, 2011

On the other side, of the "hole"......

Already, the rash is getting better! My honey is beginning not to look so red and blotchy, and the itching is  better. The half-life of the Revlimid is 3 - 4 hours; so this stuff should be out of his system between 5 p.m. and midnite. This just may be the "easiest" side-effect we've ever experienced. (And the one that's red and scratching says "Easy for you, maybe")!

We expected this expensive chemo to immediately put him in the "Donut Hole". For those of you still on private drug plans (not on Medicare Part D), it's time for a lesson known as "Donut Hole 101". After the honey met his deductible of $50.00, at the beginning of the year (it only took one of his drugs to meet this), he moved into Stage 2 where he paid co-pays of either $7.00 or $34.00 for generic drugs, and $70.00 for Brand drugs, and the drug plan paid the remainder. Once he had paid $2,840 in total drug costs for the year (this chart says $2,830), he moved to Stage 3 ......the Donut Hole (Coverage Gap is the actual name)! In the hole, Generic drugs are $14 and any Brand name drugs are at 100%. One remains in the hole until $4,550 in drug costs have been paid.

This morning, I went to the Pharmacy to retrieve one of his "Brand name prescriptions", expecting to pay almost $200.00. When the clerk asked for $9.35, I said "There must be some mistake......we should be paying full price for this". They laughingly told me they'd never had anybody complain that their drugs didn't cost enough.

What I hadn't realized was that, not only would the Revlimid put him in the donut would push him right on through, because of the high cost! He's now in what's known as the "Catastrophic Coverage stage" (Stage 4) which makes his other drugs costs less than when he was in Stages 1 and 2. Who knew that the high cost of the drug might, in some way, turn out to be beneficial.

Things are looking up at this house......the rash and itch are better, so much so that he will be back swallowing those chemo capsules, tomorrow. Wish all his side-effects could be resolved this quickly, and hoping this is the only one that he has - from this drug!


  1. Sarah, That's wonderful news about being pushed through the donut hole. One of the reasons I will continue to work as long as I can is because I am blessed with fantastic health benefits. Because, I too, have reached the catastrophic range, my Revlimid was covered 100%. I don't know what we will do when I no longer have those benefits. I hope Bob has a much better time when he restarts his Revlimid. I have heard that those who do experience the Rev rash upon the initial dosage may have a much better experience the second time around.
    As if we don't have enough to worry about, we are now preparing for the effects of hurricane Irene this weekend along the Jersey shore. Parts of our area have already been ordered to evacuate. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we can get through this with minimal damage and flooding. It's always something, isn't it?

  2. Oh Jodi....please be safe. Take no chances. I hope this isn't as bad as Katrina was on us.

    Bob has blood work, tomorrow. His oncologist's nurse told me we needed to wait, in the event he needs blood! And, that concerned me.

    Again, be safe!!


  3. oh, sarah - i am so happy to hear that bob's rash is responding so well! and i'm delighted that the finacial aspect of his medications is a much brighter picture now. ALL GREAT NEWS! warm hugs to you, sarah. karen

    and jodi, we, too, are battening down the hatches here in new jersey, so i know what you are going through. we myeloma warriors might just get a taste of being storm troopers. what a resume' we're racking up!
    take care, and know you are not alone. warm hugs, karen

  4. Karen and Jodi: I'm so thankful that the storm didn't prove to be as catastrophic as predicted

    One never knows what a hurricane will do (just like the MM)!

    Hugs to both of you...

  5. Good to hear the rash is improving! My FL has only had this happen during one cycle (not his first) and the doc thought it was exacerbated by strong sunlight.
    "catastrophic coverage"?! What fabulous terminology!

  6. Roobee: Well, Bob's certainly wasn't worsened by too much sunlight! LOL

    Thankfully, when he restarted the Revlimid....the itching and rash didn't come back. And, he seems to feel better, and have more energy, with the Revlimid than he did with the Velcade.

  7. I apologize for posting this on your blog, I just didn’t know how else to contact you! My name is Natalia and I’m the Community Coordinator for an online health community called WEGO Health ( I came across your blog, Our Journey with Multiple Myeloma, while doing some research into the online Blood Cancer community. I was so impressed with the great resource you have created for the greater Blood Cancer community.

    Just wanted to drop you a quick note because we recently launched a new video platform called and are in the process of building a Blood Cancer Channel featuring the advice, information and wisdom of Health Activists like yourself. I think you would be an excellent addition to the channel and I would love to chat with you about possibly creating a video with us!

    Please check out our site; and get back to me at your convenience if you have any interest.

    I know this note is a little out of the blue and I understand if it’s not something you would be interested in, but I didn’t want you to miss out on the opportunity.


    Community Coordinator
    WEGO Health