Updated October 2018
I was initially diagnosed in January of 2013. With “The Mass” on the tail of the pancreas, I was able to have surgery followed by chemo and radiation. Right after the radiation, I entered my first phase III clinical trial for a treatment that was intended to prevent the cancer from returning. All was well for the next six months until the cancer metastasized to my lungs and liver with eleven tumors. Apparently, this treatment failed.
After a year on aggressive chemotherapy the tumors were reduced to just seven in my lungs, but I needed to take a break from the chemo. After just three months, they returned with two more tumors to the lungs and one to the liver. It was then I entered my second clinical trial, a phase II trial. After three months a CT scan revealed it was worse than ever and I now had 17 tumors in the lungs, liver, gallbladder, stomach lining and three lymph nodes. Now I had just a few months to live. This was March 2016.
But, after a year and half on another chemo regimen, I was down to “only” four tumors and remained that way for over 15 months and was considered stable. During that time, I was even allowed to go on a chemo break for six months and remained stable until last month when they began multiplying and growing again. Once again it was time to take action.
I had several choices, but the one that intrigued me the most was a clinical trial that was coming up in a couple of months, which addresses a gene mutation I have. This is where I’m at now. To buy me the time for the trial to become available, I will undergo radiation to ablate the largest of my tumors, which is in my liver. The radiation will give me the time to wait for my third clinical trial, which I strongly hope will once and for all destroy the beast.
I haven’t been discouraged with the failures of the previous clinical trials. There are never any guarantees that a trial will work. In fact, most do not. But, clinical trials are where the cure will be found and as long as I’m still breathing, I will be the first to sign up for clinical trial when needed.
I’ve been blessed and fortunate to have survived for over four and a half years as a stage IV pancreatic survivor. It is only right that I continue to use my time on this earth to do whatever I can to further the cause in finding the cure. Supporting clinical trials is the best path for me. I encourage all other fighters to do the same. Together we will win.