Fast forward to this year. Art is gainfully employed and works hard to provide for us. My neck pain is gone and I'm feeling so much better than I was this time last year. The kids are doing well in school, both of them almost fully acclimated to the American school system.
We are incredibly blessed and we are in awe of what God has done in our lives.
I had a very intense week of screening for the upcoming clinical trial. I drove a total of 408 miles; spent 12.5 hours driving in mists, heavy rain, sunshine and extremely heavy traffic (due to public transit problems, more cars on the road); spent 21 hours in the hospital over four days; crossed two picket lines; had 14 vials of blood drawn; had a full body bone scan, chest/abdominal/pelvic CT scans; a neck x-ray; an EKG and an ECHO heart test. I met lots of people.
In short? My body is doing quite well! The scans show no new activity and the bone scan reveals areas of strong healing. Still a lot of activity in my spine. There is no cancer activity anywhere else in my body. My heart is strong, my blood pressure is great. I am fully classified as "stable." PRAISE GOD! Because I have been off treatment for a month, there was concern that the cancer would have a significant increase.
A slightly negative note revealed that I'm still having problems with my fasting glucose levels. They have been bouncing around for the past six months and I've been trying to control them through proper eating. They're improving, but this week's tests also showed high cholesterol, so I finally have the motivation to resume a solid exercise program. There's no sense pushing this cancer back without taking care of the rest of me! I'm now back to going to the gym with Art.
However, neither the glucose levels nor the cholesterol numbers were red flags to the clinical trials team. I am fully and unconditionally approved for the study and I will begin treatments on Monday!
The clinical trial is combining an established drug with a trial drug. It is considered to be a targeted therapy going in a new direction for cancer treatment. While this is a Phase 1 study drug, there have been no indications that it has a negative effect on the patient, or that the trial drug interferes with the success of the established drug. This study is in its third year, although UCSF has only just joined it two months ago. It looks very promising, so we are praying this is the tool God will use.
The established drug is given via injection and the trial drug is a daily oral drug.
I will be away from home quite a bit during the first two months of treatment, but then it will settle down to just two or three days a month after that. We are asking for prayer for our family as we navigate the upheaval this will bring to our schedules. So far, the kids have been very understanding.
Michael's soccer team has advanced to tournament "finals" on Dec. 7-8. Rachel went to her middle school Thanksgiving dance. They are both enjoying church events. All of us will be participating in an upcoming Turkey Trot (5K) on Thanksgiving morning. I'll walk ... they'll run!
I saw this plaque in the hospital gift shop: "If you want to feel rich, count your blessings."
I am one of the wealthiest women on earth!
(NOTE: The picture is from Dave Hovey's 50th birthday party!)