Year two. Still standing. Still here. Back to my new normal so much, I only stopped and thought to myself a few times, “Wow. Just think where I was two years ago today.”
Another notch in the belt.
Dr. V and my research nurse were both horrified and laughing when I told them today was my cancerversary when we were discussing May 10 for a different reason at my last appointment. What else am I supposed to call today?
There is a radio commercial I keep hearing for Go Boldly. It’s for “America’s Biopharmaceutical Companies.” Which basically means most of the big dogs – Abbvie, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Merck, etc. etc. etc. I choke up literally every time I hear it. Part of it says,
“Here’s to the long road. To the twists and turns that try men’s and women’s souls. Here’s to frustration, and fatigue, and dead ends. Here’s for permission to fail, so success can follow. And here’s to brave patients – 8,000 here in Nevada – enrolled in clinical trials to help find new breakthroughs, one of which might save their life, and perhaps one day – yours.”
I feel “brave” doesn’t describe my journey fully. What choice did I have? My “options” were simple – do treatment, or die. Obviously, I was going to choose the former. When Dr. V and I decided I would be one of the first to enroll in this trial for metastatic papillary kidney cancer, it was not so much because I felt brave, or like a sacrificial lamb. It’s because this trial offered my best chance at a turnaround. I debated a lot internally – do I go with the “safe” standard of care? Or do I trust Dr. V, an expert who said he didn’t feel the standard of care UCLA had recommended would work for me, and that this was my best hope? I chose Dr. V, and so I chose the trial. I did put some thought into the scientific benefit of it though. I thought to myself, “This isn’t good. That’s an understatement. This is bad. I’m probably going to die. But if this works, my results could help a lot of other patients. And even if this doesn’t work, my results could help a lot of patients.”
I didn’t have many options. It seemed like the best one out of a whole host of unenviable choices. I thought of the patients who had gone before me, patients who like me didn’t have a lot of options but were willing to take the risk.
I thanked those patients, I held my breath and pinched my nose, and I jumped in the ocean.
Thankful that I’m able to mark another year in which that ocean has been good to me as I wait for my latest scan results.