Sunday, December 7, 2008

One Year Survivor

It's been exactly one year since I received my cancer diagnosis. I remember that day in Oakwood hospital like it was yesterday. My prognosis at diagnosis was a 50% chance of survival at one year. The past year has certainly been a roller coaster both physically and emotionally. Although I've endured some very difficult cancer therapies, the joy experienced with Deb and the twins has far outweighed them.

God is our anchor and we fully accept His plan for us.


Friday, December 5, 2008

The Next Step

After weighing a number of clinical trial (i.e. experimental drugs) and radiation options, I elected to participate in a phase I trial for the drug Pazopanib (produced by the GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical company). This drug isn't brand new, as this trial opened in July of 2007. I am one of the last patients to enroll in this trial of approximately 40 people.

This drug is designed to stop the growth of blood vessels. Cancer cells require new blood vessels to supply the energy required to grow. The intention of this treatment is to prevent the tumors from growing by taking away their food supply. In addition, the blood vessels produced by cancer cells are much weaker than normal blood vessels and can break down. I primarily selected this treatment because all 8 melanoma patients enrolled in this study responded positively to Pazopanib. In addition the side effects are considered to be quite low. The trial lasts about 10 weeks, but if I get a positive response I can stay on the drug as long as I like.

I had my first treatment on Tuesday (12/2), which required a full day at Karmanos. Everything went well aside from having to spend 12 hours in a hospital bed. The oncologists are careful to monitor how patients respond to phase I drugs, which required repeated blood tests. It has been a few days since getting my first treatment and thus far I have not had any negative side effects.

Overall I feel like my condition is improving slightly. My cough has decreased significantly. However, I am still very fatigued and cannot spend more than a few minutes walking and/or standing at a time. I spend about 75% of the day in my comfortable chair.

Thanks for the continued prayer support. Please keep our family in your thoughts and prayers as the next couple of months will be pivotal in my battle with cancer.

BTW... It has been great to run into old friends from high school on facebook. Thanks for the words of encouragement and support.