Phase I Clinical Trial.. Sarah Cannon Research Institute May 30, 2011
Well, I have had scans...Not so good news! The tumor in my lung is gone, the tumor under my arm is gone, the tumor on my sternum has shrunk and the tumor in my neck has also shrunk... so you ask why is that bad news...well, i have a new tumor in my other lung, I have three new tumors on my chest, very tiny ones, I have a tiny spot on my liver. SO, this means the chemo was not working. It worked on the ones I had but new ones grew. This is the PROBLEM I keep having. It is very frustrating. So I have changed gears! I have started a phase one clinical trial at Sara Cannon Research Institute in Nashville, TN. It is part of Vanderbilt University. I go for treatment every Monday. The first treatment was on May 9th. I was there for 12 hours. I had a reaction but they got it under control. It was a long day and I had to go back on Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday of that week to give blood samples. They are keeping up with me VERY close. It is a phase one trial meaning it was only started on human patients August 2010. It was tested on Monkeys prior to that. I have treatment every monday for 11 weeks. Then I will have scans to see if it is working. If it is I can stay on the treatment, if it is not, I will start another trial. I really like this place. They are very thorough and take good care of me! It is hard to leave my kids every week, but I keep thinking, it will be worth it when I get rid of this horrible disease! My parents, Nana & Papaw, are taking good care of my kiddos while we are gone! We have been staying with Tom & Shawna Bourne every Sunday night so we don't have to drive up Monday morning! I am so thankful they have let us stay with them! It has been fun to get to spend that time with them and get to see them so much! It has also been great for John and I because we get to have time to be together and be a couple! Not that I don't like being with my kids, trust me, I can't stand to be away from them. But it is good to be alone with John and when we get home and he has to go back to work I miss him so much! This is just another chapter in our breast cancer journey!! I feel God has a great plan for me and I know this SCRI is part of it!! I can't wait to get scans and see what is going on inside this crazy body of mine!! My hair is growing back and just like last time it grew back, it has curl in it! AND LOTS OF GRAY! I wish it could have come back with NO gray but I guess I should just be glad to have hair again! I did hate to start shaving my legs again! It was nice not to have to shave them for 11 months!! So, I go for my 4th treatment in the morning, May 31, and I will let you know how scans go in a few weeks! Thank you as always for your prayers and well wishes! And also keep praying!! My journey is not yet over but boy do i have a story to tell when it is!!!! God Bless you all,
Well, It's really hard to explain what is going on. I have been on many chemo treatments. Most have not worked. Some have shrunk the tumors while others have grown. Basically, since my cancer has returned, I am not curable. Meaning, I will always have cancer. I will always have a chance of it coming back somewhere or growing or showing up in another spot. We have been keeping it under control so that means I am doing pretty good! I do not have any tumors that are life threatening as of right now. I have a tumor in my neck, lung, and on my sternum, and a lymph node under my left arm. I started a new chemo about 2 weeks ago. I will have another scan to see if it is working in 3 months. (May 2011) I have scans every 3 months to check for progress of tumor shrinking or tumor growing. I am very active in my treatment and I have done lots of research. I will continue to fight this disease until a cure is found! Thank you all for praying for me and my family. I will try to keep you updated so you know what is going on and don't have to hear it at a roping or rodeo and wonder if it is true or not!!
I was pregnant with my 4th child. It was FINALLY a girl!! I had 3 boys already and wanted a daughter sooooo bad! God had finally blessed me with one! When I was about 7 months pregnant, I felt a knot in my left breast that I knew was not normal. It was small and hard and hurt when I touched it. I mentioned it to my OB at my next appointment and he said it was probably my milk coming in early since this was my "4th" child. Okay so I’m fine. Well, it kept hurting and kept getting bigger. It grew and got more painful. Each and every time I saw my OB, I mentioned it and every time they said the same thing...probably your milk. Not one time did any of them check it out or feel of it. They said it would probably go away when I started nursing. Well, on May 4, 2008, we were blessed with our daughter, Briley Ann. She nursed immediately. I mentioned the knots to my lactation nurse, who is the first "medical person" to actually feel of it. She wasn't sure but thought when my milk came in it would go away. It didn't. It got bigger as time went on and I called my doctor several times about it and was always told it was probably Mastitis, I was put on antibiotics two times for it, neither time did the knots go away. It was at my 6 week check up after Briley was born that I finally asked my doctor to feel of the knots and he did and was not sure what it was but assured me it was nothing to be worried about. He scheduled an ultrasound to get a better look. I had the ultrasound and the general surgeon who read the results told me it didn't look normal but thought it might be an abscessed milk gland. So he ordered an ultrasound guided needle biopsy. During that, the tech could not get the needle to get anything out so they used a regular biopsy, which hurt like nothing I had ever felt. WOW. So, July 8th rolled around, it was the day that was to change my life forever. John, Cooper, & Briley went with me. Cooper had an ear appointment in the same building so he went too. We went to my doctor first where we waited for almost 2 hours. John took Cooper to his appointment and I stayed there waiting. They got done and came back and the nurse came to get Cooper to take him to a waiting room where he could color. Thank God! The doctor came in and sat down and said, "well, your results show you have Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma" I thought whew, he didn't say cancer. And as I thought that he said, " or Breast Cancer." OK. I can't even describe the way I felt at that moment. Though it was a feeling I'll never forget. My whole body went numb. I wanted to cry so bad but couldn't, I wanted to throw up but my mouth was so dry I couldn't even swallow. My head started spinning and the doctor was talking but I couldn't hear him. John was doing the same thing I was, kind of just standing there with this dumb look on his face like, What did he just say? Then I started hearing the doctor say things like, you’re so young, this is not normal, and you have the most aggressive fastest growing cancer you can get. All these things were swirling around in my head. He asked if I had any questions and the one I wanted to ask was "How long do I have to live?" but I was scared to death to ask it cause I didn't want to hear the answer. He also said I'd have to have all these surgeries and start chemo and have radiation and then I started thinking of questions. Will I lose my hair? "yes" he said. I was okay with that. He also said I'd have to wean Briley... that is when I started crying. I had nursed all my boys for over a year and Briley was only 9 weeks old and I had to wean her. It devastated me. How long do I have? "a week" he said. Not only did I have to wean her but I had a week to do it! OKAY. So I started to settle down and started to gather all the info... I was diagnosed with HER2neu breast cancer on July 8, 2008. It was stage 3, which means it was a large tumor and had spread to lymph nodes. Fortunately it had not spread anywhere else. It was the most aggressive, fastest growing kind. I would have 6 rounds of chemo, lose my hair. Have a mastectomy, and then radiation. It was really hard to tell my parents. It was just hard to say it out loud really. I just wanted to wake up. We went home and of course everyone was upset, but we didn't want to tell the boys yet. How do you tell your kids you have cancer? Not an easy answer to that one. So I didn't eat for days. Didn't sleep much. Lost interest in everything. This all happened on a Tuesday and by Friday, Briley was weaned and I was having my first surgery to get a mediport and have my skin tested for inflammatory breast cancer. While in there they took out 11 lymph nodes. I think it was after that surgery when everyone was coming by to see me and praying with me for the past week and calling and helping, that I prayed so hard and turned it over to God. It took me about a week to realize I was not in control and He was the only thing that could help me. I gained a faith in the Lord that I had never known before. I felt so calm and at peace and was okay with what I was going through because I knew my Father in Heaven would take care of me. It was hard to make people believe that I was really okay and was doing good. No one believed me. But it was true, I had peace and FAITH. I never knew that you could have that much faith and I had it! I had that great feeling of knowing I was in his hands. Now I don't want to say that I didn't ever worry again or be scared or wonder why. But I would always try to pray to help me through that time, or my WONDERFUL husband would pray with me and make that great peace come back. I went to the oncologist the next week and found out I didn't have inflammatory breast cancer and that 9 of my 11 nodes they took had cancer, but that it had not spread anywhere else. So it was my first "good” news. I started chemo the next day. John went with me. It took almost 6 hours. I usually got sick the 2nd day after chemo and would only have "upset stomach" no vomiting, nausea, and be VERY tired. But my parents moved in with us and helped with our kids. We finally told the boys, Brody & Cooper, and it wasn't as bad as I thought. The only question they really had was "can we wear your wigs?" So I guess they took it pretty good. It was 2 weeks from the day I had chemo that my hair started falling out. I got it cut short and then two days later, John shaved my head with all the kids watching! It was fun and scary but I did it. So I was bald. Wasn't all that bad. So there goes my journey with breast cancer. On November 24, 2008 I had a double mastectomy. I decided to have them both removed since my cancer was high recurrence. The kids were okay with it but Cooper was the most upset. I was SO ready to have them gone. I just wanted that tumor out of my body. I thought I'd get upset when I saw myself for the first time but it wasn't that bad, just FLAT! So I healed up from that and started radiation the day after my birthday on December 27th. I had to go everyday Monday through Friday for 45 treatments. My hair started growing back and things were good. All this time we had been building a house right in front of our trailer. Forgot to mention that part! So we moved in our new house on Easter weekend and on April 20, 2009 I got a CANCER FREE report! I was so excited. It was what I had been wanting to hear for almost a year. So then the panic started setting in. All of a sudden I didn't have doctors seeing me on a regular basis and I wasn't being treated anymore. So I got really depressed and paranoid that every little ache and pain that the cancer was back. John got tired of me getting scared of this and that. And it got to a point where I didn't even want to mention any thing I was going through. So I had this pain in my back that wouldn't go away and I ignored it for a month and finally called my doctor. I was almost embarrassed to go in there and tell her what was wrong with me. She ordered an MRI of my lower spine and that Friday, Sept 25, 2009, John and I went to her office and got the news. The cancer was back, in my bones. You never think you'd feel that horrible feeling twice but I felt the same as I did the first time. Only this time, I think it was worse because if it was back, that meant the treatments didn't work. NOT GOOD. So life turned upside down again, this time only to think it was God's will for me to die. So I had a CT and PET scan and MRI of my brain, the results were good. The cancer had not spread anywhere "BAD" All my organs were clear, no cancer in my brain and all my other bones were clear. I have a grape size tumor on my pelvic bone, and two lymph nodes, one on my neck and one on my chest. So, I will have radiation again on my pelvic bone and will have chemo for my lymph nodes. Not sure what God's plan is for my life, but I'm willing to do what ever it is!