Clinical Trial Crushing: Week 8

(Stacey- this post is especially for you. Cheers to the decline of your work productivity. I’m home sick today so I’m this is probably going to turn into a novel.)

Hello my dear supporters, we are officially eight weeks into my trial treatment. I have faithfully taken my chemo pills everyday, twice per day, for the past two months.

I am pleased to finally report that Team Sultaire is kicking some ass.

Yesterday I went to Mass General for my check up. I knew it would be a long and grueling day of testing/waiting/testing/waiting/lather/rinse/repeat. That being said Cory, my incredibly thoughtful boyfriend, took a vacation day to accompany me for the longest day ever (Yep, you read that correctly. Jess Sultaire bagged herself a handsome gentleman despite having cancer. Single cancer crushers- it can be done!). This day included the same exact tests as the very first baseline day prior to starting treatment.

We hopped in the car just before 6am and made it to my first appointment in Boston around 7:30am. The dreaded eye exam. It was a much better experience this time around for a few reasons. First, It was 7:30 in the morning, meaning fewer patients, meaning less waiting. I was dilated, numbed, and they performed that godawful eye pressure test. I knew what to expect this time so it didn’t take 40 tries to get poked in the pupil. The trick is to take a deep breath, look directly at it, and not clench your teeth (so basically go against all of your natural protective instincts). In the end I looked like a cartoon character with pupils the size of quarters but the good news is that my peepers looked normal and the drug has had no adverse effects on my vision.

Cory was basically my seeing eye dog as we walked a few blocks from the Ophthalmologist’s office to Mass General Hospital. We then had a full day that mostly consisted of waiting in exam or waiting rooms. For testing- I had blood tests, pre-dose and post-dose EKG’s, and an Echocardiogram. The tests themselves only take a few minutes BUT the day lasts forever because you can’t “dose” (take your chemo pills) until your blood tests come back. Labs can take 2-3 hours to come back. Once you get the okay to dose, you need to wait another hour after dosing to have your post-dose EKG.

Oh did I mention I have to fast through all of this?
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Finally we were able to leave once Pharmacy refilled my study drug. Our visit clocked in at roughly 10 hours not including travel time. Considering there were no snafu’s this time the appointment itself could have been worse.

We met with my girl Stacey for a delicious dinner in Boston. Getting to catch up with her was a great motivator to make it through my marathon hospital day (although it wasn’t so hard having Cory as live entertainment). Unfortunately, after dinner I got very ill and remained sick throughout the night into today. I’ll spare you the details.

Ok, ok, enough of the play by-play. You guys want the details. What’s going on. Here it is:

My tumors have decreased in size by 5% according to my CT scan!

This is the kind of news that I needed to push me forward. It is a reminder that it is not all for nothing. This also means that I only require check ups in Boston ONCE per month!

My doctors, family, and I are very pleased with these results and hope to keep truckin’ along for as long as we have to. I will be sure to share any new details that unfold.

On a final fun note, I have a little pony now!:

Check out this time last year vs. this week
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pony

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