November 23, 2009

clinical trial

The words clinical trial may or may not be meaningful, but for a cancer patient it can mean hope-a last ditch effort to halt cancer's assault on the body. Cancer has been a vicious and cruel enemy to my body, destroying healthy cells and replacing them cancerous ones. This endless assault has created permanent damage and endless pain. My present struggle against this disease is a in the "do or die" phase of the game. I have had no promising treatment options during this long eight year struggle, but I remain hopeful this clinical trial will at least slow the cancer's progression.
I recently traveled to Houston, TX to visit MD Anderson cancer center. This world renown cancer center conducts clinical trials for all type of cancer. I will be participating in a phase one clinical trial using targeted therapies. They have viewed my medical records but more importantly they requested the pathology slides of my individual cancer cell. Under a microscope, they can view the distinct properties of the cell, helping them to formulate the treatment plan that is best for me. Many clinical trials use drug therapies which are not yet approved by the FDA and are very experimental. Fortunately, I will be using 2 FDA approved cancer treatments. The experimental part of my clinical trial is using the drugs in conjunction with one another in the treatment of cancer and the observation of side effects.
I will be using Tarceva and one other drug which is not yet known. I have been using Tarceva since June (about 6 months) and so far scans show that it may be helping the tumors in my lungs. Participating in this clinical trial will require me to travel to MD Anderson once a month for treatment and evaluation. This will be challenging both financially and physically. Flying to Houston has been expensive so far, and sitting on the plane inflames the cancer in my sacrum, causing high amounts of nerve and bone pain.

November 6, 2009

Star Wars Halloween

My Star Wars fantasy began last year. Asher was 6 months old and the perfect size to be Yoda. If he was Yoda, I would be Darth Vader but couldn't convince Abbie to dress up as Princess Leia. She was set on being a farmer (and Asher was the cow). I had an entire year to introduce Abigail to the world of Star Wars . This year Abbie knew all of the characters from all of the movies (thank you Lego video games) and she decided to dress up as Ahsoka Tano, the female Jedi from the Clone Wars. This would be the year of our star wars Halloween!
I had one minor problem, Darth Vader costumes were not cheap, unless I wanted to sport a dorky spandex outfit. If I was going to dawn the mask of Vader, it had to look good. I didn't want to spend a fortune so I had to build my costume. I spent all of October crafting my costume to look authentic. I bought the helmet, gloves and light saber but I made everything else (Bev helped with the sewing.)
Not wanting to be left out, Sarah put together a Leia outfit from the Ice planet, Hoth. Ultimately, I wanted to create a lasting memory for my kids. If they don't remember, at least they have cool pictures!

summer time

summer time
(click on image)


click on image for hawaii pics