. . . I may not be here now.
I’ve never before participated in any clinical trial. I never paid much attention to them; that is, until they were an option I could hardly refuse.
After I was diagnosed with Leukemia (CLL) last year, it was suggested I try to get accepted in a clinical trial wherein I would be taking an investigative drug recently approved for limited use by the FDA. Long story short, I got accepted, as most of you know by now, and by way of two very successful treatment drugs, Imbruvica and Venetoclax, I’m considered almost in complete remission.
Yes, prayers and heart-felt best wishes work wonders!!
I’m not celebrating yet, however. My trial period ends next February. What happens after that I don’t yet know. I suspect I may have to take the treatment drug Venetoclax for the rest of my life, but that’s just speculation on my part.
There’s so much we still do not know about cancer. What will prevent my Leukemia from returning once it is eradicated (assuming it will be)? After all, there is no cure.
That’s where clinical trials and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society come into play.
Have you ever had a clinical trial search conducted for you?
In making decisions about your first or next treatment, it is important that you have information about all of your treatment options, including both standard treatments and clinical trials.
Earlier this year my oncologist, Dr. Iyer (in photo below) of The Methodist Hospital Cancer Center in the Texas Medical Center in Houston, TX, explained all options to me and was quite thorough and straightforward in the process. While he made clear the decision was mine to make, he was also clear on his recommendation.
To my way of thinking, the clinical trial was a no-brainer. Still, I would be less than forthcoming with you if I didn’t acknowledge that there was and is a tremendous amount of pre-trial testing one has to endure in order to see if one qualifies. There are no guarantees.
Faith and prayers play a large role in this process, too.
In my case, the Methodist Hospital’s Cockrell Center for Advanced Therapeutics played a pivotal role in helping coordinate and explain things to me about the upcoming trial and what I should expect. They deal with these circumstances all the time, yet, ironically, their identity and purpose is not that well known within Methodist’s circles.
Clinical trials are developed by cancer experts like Dr. Iyer who believe that a new treatment or treatment approach will be more effective or safer than available standard treatments. While there is no way to determine beforehand if the treatment offered within a trial is better than the standard treatment, patients within the trial gain access to these potentially more effective therapies long before they are available to others.
Not only was my clinical trial option the primary avenue to new treatment methods, it was also a financially favorable one. Simply put – if I couldn’t participate in this trial, I couldn’t afford the treatment. Looking at it another way, without the trial, the future expenses incurred would be a short trek to personal bankruptcy.
To find out if there is a clinical trial that may be right for you, contact the Information Specialists and Clinical Trial Nurse Specialist at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.