Friends and Family,
I’m not out of the woods yet as far as getting into this study, but before I fill you in on the missing piece I should tell you about Craig. Many of you have asked how in the world I ended up meeting someone in the same situation as me, who just happens to live a thousand miles away, and who is in the only clinical trial for this drug this side of New Hampshire. How did the stars line up for THAT one?
It started back in December, when I was visiting my father-in-law Walt in San Diego. I had some time, so I scoured the internet, looking for blogs written by people with cancer that are like-minded. I found this guy that had a great attitude about his cancer, and had a very entertaining way of writing. Plus, his graphics kept me laughing. Not only that, but the parallels in our lives were mind-blowing. He has the same type of lung cancer, started Tarceva at the same time as I did, had radiation to his hips at pretty much the same time as I did, and has a terrific wife and support team helping him through this, like I do. He’s just a smidge older than me. PLUS – and this has nothing to do with anything other than uncanny similarities – He goes to Hawaii every year, and he had his kitchen remodeled about the same time as we did.
As I kept reading, I found out that he lived in San Diego. What a coincidence, since that’s right where I was! I contacted him and met him for coffee before I left town. We made a great connection, and have been staying in touch and supporting each other ever since.
Once his cancer started growing again, Craig entered the “A-Team” clinical trial. That was just over six weeks ago. Last month when I asked my oncologist about next-step alternatives, he wasn’t even aware that this trial had started. If it had not been for Craig blazing the trail, I never would have found out that this clinical trial was a possibility for me.
WHAT DO I TAKE FROM ALL THE STARS LINING UP LIKE THIS???? I think there are a LOT of pieces that had to come together:
1. Craig started his blog (http://craigblower.wordpress.com/) to SPREAD AWARENESS, which he hoped would be of benefit to other people with cancer. This has worked out, in a big way! Without his blog, I never would have learned about this research project. (Note: This is the same reason that I keep encouraging you to go to my blog site. The more hits I get, the more my blog shows up in search engines, which leads to more people finding my blog, so that I can also share what I am learning.)
2. LOTS OF “DUMB LUCK” IS INVOLVED. Prowling the internet at exactly the right time, just when I was in the town that Craig happened to live in, Craig living in the only city within 2,500 miles of my home that had started this clinical trial…
3. YOU MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK. Arnold Palmer, when someone commented on his good luck, once said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” If I hadn’t been searching the internet, I never would have found Craig’s blog. If I hadn’t reached out to him, we never would have become friends. If I had not spent the entire day Friday chasing down the Master of the Universe(MOU), my doctor, and the people responsible for pulling my records together at two hospitals and two clinics, this would not have happened.
4. THERE IS SOMETHING BIGGER AT WORK HERE. Some call it God. I have a more simple name for it. I call it love. To me, this “luck” is a result of ALL OF YOU sending your love, prayers, and positive thoughts my way. That kind of energy finds a way to channel itself into something good! Again, I am blessed by your gifts to me! You have my gratitude!
I’ve held off long enough, so now I will address the part I alluded to at the beginning: I’m not yet out of the woods as far as getting into this clinical trial. I talked with Craig over the weekend, and Craig mentioned offhandedly that one of the criteria for getting into this trial was that the tumor had to be big enough.
BIG ENOUGH? I started worrying. I have hundreds of the little suckers, but none of them was very big. I have been worried about this for two days. Sleep has not been easy.
This morning I called Kathy, the person filling in for the MOU. I asked her the question that every guy worries about at some point:
Was mine big enough?
Oh, come on. If you’re a guy, you KNOW you’ve worried about this at some point. What you needed to hear was exactly what Kathy said to me…
She said YES!!!!!!!!!!!!
YAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I ’m bad! I’m bad! It’s big and I’m not sad!
As you can tell by that last little bit, I’m feeling pretty good now!
More to follow tomorrow, after I meet with the doc tomorrow. Until then, you (again and always!) have my gratitude for all your positive thoughts and prayers.
It’s all working!