Monday, July 25, 2016

Blogging with one hand

I have a long history of exaggerated reactions to bug bites. Every year from first grade through 6th grade I would get bitten by a black fly on my eye the night before class pictures. Then there would be a photo of me with my glasses barely able to make it over my swollen shut eye. Because of the over-reaction I have it is why they had to do a dose reduction in the PRESENT trial. Apparently my super, duper quad was not the goal of the trial.

On Saturday while waiting for a friend sitting on my front porch a bee decided my finger was a predator and stung it. (Side note, those injections for PRESENT really did feel like bee stings). My middle finger instantly swelled. However, knowing that swelling is just what I do, I did the regular; ice, benadryl, and NSAIDS. Well, that was fine and dandy, but the swelling didn't stop. My finger doubled in size, turned hot pink and spread into my knuckles. And then this morning my elbow was also pink. Uh oh.

By 9 am I was in to see a PA whom I hadn't seen before. He took one look at my hand and said "Well, looks like you just bought yourself some time off and some IV antibiotics". Damn. He asked my why I waited so long to come in and get checked out. I explained my history of exaggerated reactions and that I was just trying to wait it out. He asked me how well that worked out for me.

Next up comes an IV in my hand for at least the next 2 days. The IV RN who puts my IV has put in a couple of them for my MUGA scans and we chat about my bee sting. Then in comes in an RN to give me the IV antibiotics. She is befuddled as to why the IV RN put the IV in the same arm as where I had the bug bite. I explain to her that I am a "left arm only" and she asked if I had a mastectomy or lumpectomy, "Lumpectomy with sentinel node removal". She looks and me again and says "unbelievable". She asks me my date of birth again and tells me I look 22. I told her today I will take it (I had slept for maybe 3 hrs because of pain and itching in my hand) and was not looking my best.

So I'll go back to the hospital I'll go tomorrow for more IV antibiotics and until then this how I'm hanging out at home until then

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Thoughts on the Moonshot

Back in October, Vice President Joe Biden announced his Cancer Moonshot; how he was going to meet with researchers and encourage collaboration in order to accelerate findings of cancer cures. Biden has been spurred on since the death of his son, Beau, to a brain tumor. Part of this initiative is to attempt to get a decade’s worth of research development within a 5 year period. Many people have taken exception to VP Biden calling for a Moonshot as they feel this conveys a false pretext as research results don’t result in large leaps in knowledge, but often small increments.
As a cancer survivor, I love that Biden called it a Cancer Moonshot.  The word moonshot conjures the image of President John F. Kennedy standing at Rice University inspiring the country with the importance of space exploration. When I heard Biden call it a Cancer Moonshot, I could hear JFK in his Boston accent say

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard”

Curing cancer would be incredibly hard. Doing 10 years of research development in 5 years would be hard. But, these are initiatives that we must take on, that we must work towards and needs collaborative effort. That is why I love that VP Biden called it a moonshot.
As a cancer survivor, I feel that my role in the cancer moonshot is to continue to enroll in trials, send my blood and tumor out for study and support the research effort by continuing for follow up with the PRESENT trial.

Part of the biggest initiative in the cancer moonshot is the development of immunotherapy-using the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. This is part the reason why I was so drawn to the PRESENT trial.My friends at The Mesothelioma + Asbestos Awareness Center sent along a great infographic that explains the moonshot and immunotherapy beautifully. If you want to learn more about the rare cancer they raise awareness for, head on over to their mesothelioma page here.

Thank you Mr. Vice President for starting the Cancer Moonshot. Thank you for choosing to do what is hard. I am one inspired American and will continue to participate in the PRESENT trial and hope that vaccines and the use of immunotherapy will become the standard in the fight against cancer.