Saturday, July 24, 2010

In transition

Day in the Life of Michelle

Major Change in Cancer Treatment--

Three weeks ago an emergency PET/CT scan and tumor marker blood test revealed that chemo was not working and I was sent to another doctor for possible participation in a clinical trial. Two weeks of lab work, physical exam, review of previous treatment reports, and three MRIs resulted in acceptance in a clinical trial of twice monthly infusion of two drugs, Avastin and mystery drug.

Am I glad I qualified to be in the clinical trial? Yes, because I have new options. You might recall that during the past two years my previous oncologist took me through five different chemotherapy drugs for the cancer in my pelvic region. Three of the drugs successfully attacked the cancer, but as is the case with my particular cancer, the cancer 'smartens up' and the chemo becomes useless.

The 'best part' about being at my new medical facility for the clinical trial is that I live ten blocks from the clinic. The other 'best thing' is the place I'm going for the (four, going on five) MRIs is at an imaging center just a few miles from my home. Compare that to the forty minute drive, from door to door of my previous and wonderful doctor, and 'I'm a happy camper!'

My arms are providing the blood for analysis, sometimes ten vials at a time, and my blood vessels are the highways for medical contrasts and clinical trial drugs, however, the injured tissues from multiple poking on both arms are sensitive. Today my arms are healing through the color range of red, green, and purple.

The technicians say, "You have great veins, now just relax."
Yeah, right! I think. Just poke me in the right spot and then I won't tighten up!

The next few months looks like this:
Next week, blood draw and the following week receive the second infusion of drugs in the left arm while my right arm is used for multiple blood draws. I'm given multiple EKGs and my vitals are checked (heart rate, blood pressure and pulse) every 15 minutes
The following week: MRI with contrast and return to clinic for blood draw, aka "Safety labs"
This completes Cycle 1, about one month in length

Mid August begin Cycle 2 with "Safety labs" (multiple blood draws, urinalysis ), EKGs, check of vitals every 15 minutes during the infusion process of the two bags of liquid drugs.
The following week, "Safety labs"
Next week, drug infusion, and of course, Safety labs, EKGs, and check of vitals every 15 minutes during the infusion process
The following week, "Safety labs"

PET/CT scan in September

Begin Cycle 3, if everything is going as planned.

Are there side effects?

Possibly! and
This topic will be explored in the future

"Day in the Life of Michelle"
mixed media
about 11 x 14 "
July 2010
Premiere Oncology Foundation Art Therapy workshop


  1. Michelle,
    Good luck with your Avastin & the mystery drug. They are going to work wonders for you! I'm glad your MRI's and Clinic are both close to home.
    I'm thinking of you & the bravery you must muster to endure all of the needles, side effects of treament, & harm caused by the cancer. You are strong, stronger than anything the cowardly cancer can throw at you. I am praying that your medical team will be skillful, thoughtful, and careful at all times with our beloved Michelle.
    Susan L

  2. Dear Susan,
    I continue to feel your support, understanding, compassion, and sisterhood of survivors.

  3. Well, here we are, six weeks since I began Clinical Trial #1 and may participation in it lasted only one month. Oh well...

    More recent blogs explain how and what I'm doing in Clinical Trial #2.