August 14, 2020
As I walked into the Cancer Care Clinic on Wednesday, I was pondering the last six months. It seems forever ago that I had laparoscopic surgery to get good biopsy material for clinical trial testing. That was the end of February, pre Covid chaos as we now know. A couple of weeks later and I’m not sure that this surgery would have been considered necessary. To say that the last six months have been a walk in the park would be ridiculous. It’s been hard, some days really hard. Floating in and out and through these hard moments there have been mega doses of joy and love and gratitude. Let me focus on what’s important because the other stuff, the hard stuff while very real and must be acknowledged, is draining and I need more energy right now, not less.
Wednesday would have been my fifteenth infusion of the RAIN 701 clinical trial drug. CT scans were performed on Monday and I got a heads up on what they revealed, progression in my abdomen. My lung remains stable but because of worsening progression and worsening side effects, I’m out of the trial. That’s the hard news. The good news is that a couple of weeks ago, my UC team sent in a frozen tissue sample from the February biopsy to be tested for a different clinical trial taking place at UC. I received news yesterday that I qualified for pre screening which means that I am starting the clinical trial process over again. There will be more labs, and scans and potentially another biopsy to begin next week.
How do I feel about this?
The RAIN trial proved challenging at times. Going in for infusion every week was a new experience for me and most of the side effects were ones I hadn’t experienced before. The best part of the every week experience was really getting to know my UC team. They have been most extraordinary. Truly. I feel very good about this.
However, another drug, my sixth line of therapy feels daunting. Why another clinical trial? Because dear reader, clinical trials are where the excitement is. This is the arena where ground breaking discoveries are being made. According to a new article from STAT, (https://www.statnews.com/2020/08/13/lung-cancer-deaths-declining-faster-than-new-cases-due-to-advances-in-treatment/ ) we are making a significant dent in longer survivorship for lung cancer patients, something that was only a dream a few years ago and why I advocate for lung cancer research and participate in clinical trials.
If for some reason I don’t pass the pre screening I will be returning to my SNMWO at Kaiser. I’ve missed seeing him but we have kept in contact and I know that he is only a phone call or an email away if I need his support, advice and care.
In other news, because life hasn’t stopped regardless of Covid and cancer, my Mom had a stroke a few weeks ago. The hardest part for me is not being with her, my Dad and my family. She has made exceptional strides but still has a ways to go. My sisters and extended family are doing a heroic job of making sure my parents are being taken care of and I am blessed to have such a loving and large family, but it wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say that I am feeling quite helpless.
No, this has not been an easy six months but as my Dad is prone to say, “I woke up this morning and I’m standing on top the grass and looking up at the sky. God is good”.