By Smarty Warrior, Jen Pagani
Written from the CT Scan Waiting Room of Mercy Hospital
I’ve been basically single mommin’ it for a while now (hubby out of town for work this week and MIA d/t work last week too), major props to all the peeps out there doing this daily cause it is flat out exhausting, and I am whooped. I was actually looking forward to chemo cause I have permission to rest after treatment (obviously I’m desperately tired), but I ended up not getting chemo at all.
My Thursday morning appointment with Gary (doc) packed a big surprise. I was WAY stressed out, had been watching and feeling (Ouch!) the disease progress since my horrible radiation burns healed (at least they didn’t coincide, that may have done me in) and I was trying not go down the “holy crap we don’t have any options left” path, when Gary delivered some shocking news.
There is a trial just out for a new drug for women with metastic, HER2 Neu Positive breast cancer who have failed other treatment protocols (like moi), Phase I (like one degree removed from guinea pig) and I just might be eligible. There are 18 spots open countrywide. And, as of yesterday, I just might be getting one of them.
Gary was excited about it, but trying to remain neutral, during the appointment. Getting into a trial is a very, very strict, specific process involving numerous people, impartial governing bodies…It involves mountains of paperwork, lots of medical tests, a thorough review of your entire treatment history, so there are plenty of opportunities to find something that doesn’t jive with the official trial requirements. Selection is a completely objective process, which is necessary and understandable, but makes it completely nerve wracking while waiting to see if you qualify or horribly devastating if you don’t…
Well, while waiting for my labs to be drawn and scans to be scheduled, two Research RN’s unexpectedly came in the room and reviewed 17 pages of legaleze describing the specifics of the trial, all the side effects associated with the trial drug and the other two chemo drugs given with it (had em both before- looks like in addition to the usual suspects- nausea, vomiting, fatigue, bone marrow suppression, hair loss, potential heart, lung and liver problems… diarrhea (thank God we are working on re-doing my bathroom, cause it sounds like its gonna potentially get some major use) and acne are two biggies- lovely!). This seemed positive (the presence of the nurses, not the super long side effects list) and they explained that after scans to see if the disease has spread to my vital organs yet, and a further review by one of the third parties over seeing the trial, I will find out late next week or the week after that if I am eligible. WHAT?!?!
We (or at least I did- cause I don’t always share my fears when I suspect the disease is in growth mode) went into the appointment beaucoup stressed, struggling not to feel hopeless, and now I, we, find myself HOPING once again. While we will be waiting on pins and needles til we hear definitely whether I am in, I am soooo excited at this prospect of healing, hope, living and being a wife, mommy, daughter and friend for ever how long God grants me the privilege. And, despite the prospect of going through life bald, one boobed and with the trots, I am going to be down on my knees asking God to get me in this trial and for it to be the magic bullet we’ve been waiting for. So, if you find yourself with some time and a generous heart, please give a shout out to the Big (Wo)Man on my behalf.
1 in 8 women will be affected by breast cancer. Spread the word. Win the fight. Click here to schedule your mammogram.