Oh the glamorous life! That link up above is the clinical trial I’m currently on. I’m not really famous, but a clinical trial (like being famous) is actually much more mundane than it sounds and filled with lots of unwanted attention. Instead of battling annoying, meddling papparazzi, I have many, many tests and doctor visits. And they all literally want a piece of me.
My new treatment isn’t approved yet by the FDA, but everyone’s got high hopes for it (including me, of course.) It’s so cutting edge that it doesn’t even have a fancy Latin root based name yet. It’s main identification is merely a string of numbers preceded by the initials of the sponsoring pharmaceutical company. (ie, BM-3498756234)
But I was fortunate enough to qualify to receive the new drug because of my genetic disposition (BRAC 2 positive) and tumor size (not too small, yet not too big). And I had also failed a primary chemotherapy (Xeloda). The one time in my life failing is actually a good thing!
So I’ve officially entered into a phase II clinical trial or put more simply: I’m a human guinea pig!
(OOOOOoooooooooh, how cute!)
well sort of…
Before drugs receive FDA approval, they needed to be tested for efficacy and safety. So the drug I’m on now has more or less been proven safe enough, and now we’re trying to see how effective it is.
So what is a day in the life of being a clinical trial participant? Well, no cute ferris wheel to jog in circles on (though I do try to run around the park a couple times a week). Mainly I’m under intense scrutiny by doctors, and I give lots of my blood. Specifically this trial requires me to visit the docs every week for the first eight weeks. Yup, that’s right every week I hike uptown to see the doctor, give my blood and urine (Yes, I won’t spare you any details.). Then every two months I get a CAT scan.
On day 28, I also had to spend the ENTIRE day at the treatment center getting blood drawn every two hours of so. At first I thought I would be able to leave in between, but as I sit here* now with a catheter in my right arm, I know that this is not the case. Because they need to make sure my blood is drawn exactly two hours apart, I cannot leave the premises. It’s a minor inconvenience, but still quite frustrating. So my day today at the treatment center was as follows:
- 9:10 AM Arrive at center. Check it at desk
- 9:29 AM Wait. (I knit while I wait.)
- 10:10 AM Wait some more. (more knitting.)
- 10:30 AM Get brought into a room. Give urine, get vital signs taken, then wait (more knitting).
- 10:45 AM Doctor comes in, physical exam
- 11:00 AM Begin blood drawing. Get stuck with needle, blood is drawn. Take meds.
- 11:10 AM Take some more blood.
- 11:15-12:00 PM Wait, knit. Finish hat for friend’s baby shower. Watch bad cable tv. Coordinate lunch plans. Wait for husband to come and bring sushi for lunch!
- 12:20-12:55 PM Eat lunch with husband and friend.
- 1:00 PM Blood is drawn. Only two more times left! (3 pm and 5 pm)
- 1:15-5:00 PM Too tired, frustrated and annoyed to bother writing anymore (or really do anything for that matter). Just vegged on really bad cable tv.
- 5:30 pm Finally went home.
*When this entry was originally written, I was stuck at the treatment center all day. I ended up finishing the entry at a later point.