This popped into my email box today - not sure what I make of it, except that the drug's called tykerb, not tyverb, but maybe it's just a new verb for taking medicine - a bit like "pharmacovigilance" (see under the signature line): don't know what that is either, but sure sounds scary.
GSK Ref: LEOCA/110407/849
Dear Ms Rabinovitch,
At GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), we routinely monitor for media articles related to our medicines. We wanted to follow up with you on your article published in The Guardian on 29 March 2007 entitled, ‘Well, I’m finally a size eight…’
In this article you report that before you have difficulty in swallowing your lapatinib (Tyverb) tablets. I wanted to reassure you that we take all feedback related to our products seriously. GSK is exploring formulation options for lapatinib in an effort to make administration as easy as possible for all patients.
If you are experiencing any problems or concerns with any of your treatment we would encourage you to contact your prescribing physician for further medical advice.
Lastly, we recognise that as a journalist you may have information requirements relating to lapatinib that are not specific to your own medical condition (which we are unable to discuss); if so please phone our media line on 020 8990 2144.
With kind regards
UK Safety & Pharmacovigilance, GlaxoSmithKline
The Guardian writes an editorial about Justgiving to tie in with today's London Marathon. £73 million was raised for charities through Justgiving last year apparently, but as I've mentioned on this blog before I've had an email from Simon Doggett at Justgiving to say that the amounts raised by all of you on my Justgiving site for the CTRT appeal is one of the fastest and largest responses they've seen. So - thanks again.
Sorry, all fellow authors, I married her son first (and the three other sons are all spoken for, more or less), so you can't have her, but here's what Myrna - Anthony's mother - was doing all day Friday (in between her usual baking for us, and caring for Emily, her old, and now incapacitated friend).
First she gently cajoled Tesco staff until she was given the details of EUK, the people who decide on and provide the books that are stocked in Tesco stores. Then, having found her way to EUK, she spent extensive hours on phones making her way up through the hierarchy of the company, until she was on the phone to the chief books buyer. Here she spoke long and reasonably about this book - Take Off Your Party Dress - that she was expecting to find in Tesco's but wasn't there. And she got a response - a disappointing one, namely the buyer said Simon and Schuster hadn't submitted it (which is puzzling) - but a response nevertheless.
And then, nothing daunted by disappointment, she started on W.H.Smith's. "My family, and all my friends," she told the Smith's book buyer, "we regularly buy all our books in your shops - and we are a family who do a great deal of reading - and I'm most upset that I can't get hold of this book, Take Off Your Party Dress, in your shops. It's a book that's quite prominent at the moment, but I can't buy it in my regular bookstore. And," she said, adding the killer punch, "I particularly find it upsetting from a company such as yours, that you don't stock it when the proceeds are all going to cancer research."
Smith's are looking into it.
Latest Jewish Chronicle piece:
FRIDAY lunchtime a few weeks back, and I’m an
emergency hospital admission. “I need kosher food,” I
told them as they folded me into bed. “Oh, we need
forty-eight hours notice,” they said. But with a
couple of phonecalls (and this was before the clocks
had changed so Fridays were still ‘short’ – it was
just three hours to Shabbat) the Hospital Kosher Meals
Services had delivered and I had food.
This is no small thing. You can be admitted to any
hospital, anywhere, and even with a tight Shabbat
deadline, you can have kosher food. So that Friday
night, though the hospital was too far from home for
any of my family to be with me, I had roast chicken
and carrots and potatoes. These things matter, and I
applaud the Hospital Kosher Meals Service.
But – like the old joke: “the food was terrible, and
oy, such small portions” – I applaud and I am
grateful, but also I don’t think the service is good
enough. Every single aspect of kosher food in this
country has improved in the past twenty years, except
one: the Hermolis meals sent into hospitals,
efficiently provided though they are, remain dire.
This is not food to make the sick well.
I needed food that Friday night. Apart from the tray
in front of me I was also on a drip delivering
nourishment intravenously, so much did I need
nutrition that Friday night. But the kosher food was
triple wrapped in plastic that my hands could not
penetrate, nor could the plastic cutlery provided. (In
some hospitals they give you little scissors to
penetrate the Hermolis plastic, but even these can be
tricky to manoeuvre when you are weak.) And I am
young; I cannot imagine how very old people would open
this food at all.
And – sorry, here’s the old joke again – once the
plastic is penetrated the food is unbelievably
offputting. I’ve had every menu choice Hermolis
provides now, during various hospital stays (four over
the last three years) and so I’m not just basing this
on one hospital stay. I can see that the slab of
chicken or fish is a good size, and decent quality
too, but it is invariably coated in some vile,
gelatinous gunge and the accompanying vegetables come
coated in matching shades of glue.
Back in the early 1970s my family moved from Toronto
to London. I knew about England: every morning along
with O Canada, we also sang God Save the Queen at
school. I’d studied Britain too; I knew that in London
small boys were sent up chimneys, and were generally
I put my hand up and told my teacher, “I am moving to
London, Mrs Johnston.” Mrs Johnston, an amiable,
white-haired lady, looked up, quite shocked. “Oh no,
dear,” she said to me, “not London, England; you’ll be
going to London, Ontario.”
It’s hard to remember now that London is such a
crossroads for every nationality, but back then in the
early Seventies, my Canadian teacher was right. People
from England moved to Canada; it was very rare for the
traffic to flow the other way.
My father decided we would embark on this adventure by
boat, the QEII. My mother loved it; she discovered
fruit machines and cute little coins called shillings.
My father is fine wherever he has his books. And the
rest of us? Well, I remember there were wide
staircases and chandeliers, a cinema and a dance
studio, but mostly I remember the food.
We were on the Captain’s table the whole week – my
father the senior cleric on board, I guess. When the
captain’s food arrived, our meals came too, a
matching menu, but for one thing. Ours were
foil-wrapped and labelled Hermolis. Never mind boys up
chimneys, we came from Toronto, a land flowing with
kosher bakeries and restaurants. Hermolis was our
first introduction to the English version of kosher
food, and every single night we threw it up.
Our parents exchanged glances when they saw this food.
“We have to move,” my father had written to my mother
in an aerogramme from London, when he went on a pilot
trip. “There is much to do in this community.” Neither
then, nor now, have either of my parents met Melanie
Phillips, but they certainly had the sense that Jewish
life in London was of a very straitened and
When we arrived here, there was one kosher bakery, and
come Pesach, there were constant food shortages. Boy,
have things changed. It’s not Tel Aviv, or Paris, yet,
but there is good kosher food in London.
Except one place. The most important place of all,
perhaps. Competition has improved every aspect of
kosher food in this country. It is time for the
hospital kosher meals service to be challenged.
Reporter on the spot Emma Jacobs - whose father Sam, is running billions of miles for the CTRT appeal and can be sponsored here - tells me that there are five copies of TOYPD piled nice and proud on the 3 for 2 table at Waterstone's North Finchley.
Which made me very happy for exactly two seconds before I began worrying about them just sitting there in full view of everyone and not being bought...
This is now ridiculous.
A friend called this morning who also has cancer, and has just recovered from a major operation. "So are you up and about yet?" I asked her.
"Yes," she said, "I'm really feeling ok now. What about you?"
"Well," I said, "I'm fine too really, but I still keep going back to bed after I walk Elon to school. But I am starting to think I probably should stop doing that. Really, I'm over the time when I need to be in bed from nine in the morning till three in the afternoon..."
I have actually watched the whole seven series of The West Wing over the last few weeks - and mourning the ending of this, I started on Series One again last night. "You're like these mad Wagnerians," Anthony said, "the ones who do the whole Ring Cycle and then start again."
"So," I said to fellow cancer-friend, "I sort of know I should be more active again, but...and you know, I did ask my doctor why I constantly feel so tired, and he said, you have to think of each round of chemotherapy as recovering from several major operations...and I asked him whether exercise is the answer, but he said he thought rest was the thing...but I'm not actually sure that the doctors know what they're talking about when it comes to these lifestyle things..."
"Yes," she said - and she's been through a whole lot more than I have, "I know what you mean. There's resting because you need to, and then there's resting just because it has started to feel comfortable."
Which is exactly true. There is a great comfort in just lying in bed, feeling quite safe. And six whole series plus nineteen episodes from Series One to get through of my second round of the West Wing.
This is Aaron Sorkin on the self-esteem of doctors. So Bartlet, Sorkin's fictional American President in his TV series The West Wing, is meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the various other highest folk in the land, before preparing to launch an air strike and he says:
Keep your seats. There’s a delegation of cardiologists having their pictures taken
in the Blue Room. You wouldn’t think you could find a group of people more arrogant
than the fifteen of us, but there they are right upstairs in the Blue Room.