Thursday, February 17, 2011

Challenging Technologies

I am technologically frustrated today:  A two-plus hour wait for my blood work at the infusion center; I can’t take photos with my cell phone (was going to post a picture of Thierry); and now I can’t get onto the Internet with my Netbook!  Guess I rely too much on all this technology.  It is hard for me to imagine me or Thierry in our 80’s complaining about not being able to keep up with technology, like the generation before us.  Maybe I am unjust in making that last statement.  My Aunt who is in her mid-80s is on Facebook and uses email.  The only thing that keeps my dad from using his computer is his eyesight.

But technology is our future, and biotechnology maybe my future.  I met with a doctor at Penn to get a second opinion on my treatment.  She was wonderful and spoke to me in a very positive, clear and concise manner.  While she did say that I have been receiving the same types of treatment they would have prescribed, she also mentioned a phase II clinical trial they are conducting at her hospital.  They are testing a cyclin dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor, which interrupts cancer cell growth.  This is an oral agent that is well-tolerated with no side effects.  In order to qualify for the trial, a certain protein must be present in one’s tumor.  I signed a form authorizing them to get samples of my tumor.  I guess my chances are the same as winning the lottery…. I am trying not to get my hopes up.

When I say things like that, everyone says I am being negative.  Folks don’t understand that I can’t put my eggs in that basket, because you can only handle so many let downs.  I’d rather focus on what I am doing today, which is receiving my second cycle (two weeks in a row of treatment, one week off) of Halaven.  This new chemo regime really has been so much more tolerable than the last.  I was a bit nauseous with the first treatment, not at all with the second.  I was wondering if the massage I had the day after my second treatment may have had an impact on how I felt.  I really felt so much better all around after the second treatment that I asked the doctor for a prescription for massages – which also makes it tax deductible.  The massages also provide some relief to my headaches and shoulder pain… can you tell I feel guilty; like this is a luxury! 

But today, cancer research is all about breaking down cell make-up and targeting treatments to the individual type of cancer.  Triple negative cancer is a tricky one and has many variables.  No triple negative cancer is alike, so they tell me.  Often I have wondered if there is a researcher out there who would be willing to take a sample of my tumor cells and work on them in his/her lab to determine what makes it grow.   

Last week was my week off of treatment, and this week I felt almost normal.  Now, let’s ask all the powers that be that it has a positive effect on the tumors (or should I say negative effect on the tumors).

We leave tonight for Lauren and Mike’s, then tomorrow for upstate NY.  Just in time too, because the temperatures in Philly are going up into the 60s – way too warm for this time of year.  I hear we may get snow in the Adirondacks.

We have much to look forward to.

PS: I ran into a neighbor who works as a Physicians Assistant in the oncology center. I was lamenting the long wait for my test results and she reminded me it used to take two weeks for the same tests!!

1 comment:

ann mcn said...

to me you are always focused on the positive and living your life, being both hopeful and realistic. You are the best of role models for all of us.

luv U, ann mcn