I am less than a week away from beginning a clinical trial. I am full of many different emotions. Scared, excited fear of the unknown. I felt these emotions before in my life.
When I was expecting my first baby. When I was starting my first round of chemotherapy. When I was starting my first radiation treatments. When I had my first surgeries. Each time something new and possibly life altering was about to happen, I found a way to deal with my stress. For me I have always found the unknown scary. I do not like it when I do not have control. Personally I find that if I have my house in order my life will fall into order. The way that I can control this is by nesting. For me nesting is getting my house neat and tidy. I also find by having everything for my kids organized and labelled and laid out it makes their life easier to.
For I do not know how I will feel or what I will be able to do while I’m on this trial. At least if my home and life is in organized chaos .
Someone else can temporarily step into my heels and make my household still run the way my children and family are used to. So if you see my kids wearing the same outfit a few days in the row . My gardens may look weedy and grass will get very long. Please know that I am not uncaring or lazy. Someone else has stepped into my heels and is trying to keep things normal.
For my 3 little babies are why I fight so so hard and am willing to try anything to watch them grow. As I hopefully grow old with my loving husband.
May 10 2019. Just another day in May. The day before my husbands birthday, two days before mother’s day. These are all true statements , but today could be day one. Day one ? What does that mean? In truth I don’t quite know yet.
Almost a year ago ( June 2018) I had a radical mastectomy. Most of you already know this as you all helped my family and I through. What you may not know is that during the surgery they took my large grapefruit sized tumor straight to the lab. Not the regular lab that all tumors go to as standard procedure. My tumor stayed at Princess Margaret Cancer hospital in the clinical trial laboratory. I am not a scientist so I can not go into the full workings of the science. I can tell you how I understand it. They have taken the tumor that my body made and created a personalized Cancer vaccine. Yes they have taken what is trying to kill me and turned it into what could save my life. Mind blowing I know.
Before we all start celebrating let me give some more details. This is a phase 1 trial. That means they are just starting human trials( yep I am a lab rat). It is not a blind trial which means I will receive the PCV(personalized Cancer vaccine). It’s going to gruelling. I will have to be hospitalized for the 1st infusion for at least 24hrs. Then I will be receiving the infusion every 7 days in hospital, for 6 weeks. No have no idea how I will feel. Like chemo or worse, or maybe very mild side effects.
So why do this PVC trial? As a terminal cancer patient there is no cure( yet). By doing this it could help me live much longer. It could do nothing. It will however help science and many others in the future of cancer treatment .
I feel hopeful and grateful. I am 1 of 13 patients chosen for this trial here in Canada and 1 of 300 in the world.
So I will travel the hour on the train each week to Princess Margaret Cancer hospital. Maybe one day in future I will only be making this trip to have a yearly check up.
I was hoping to have this Summer off all treatment so I could play with my 3 kids and husband. I will sacrifice this summer to have many, many more summers in the future.
Here I go, they are calling my name, time to start bloodwork and paper work.
As I sit here in the chemo ward , receiving my 3rd treatment. I try to think of happy things big and small. My eldest child just turned 10. Wow where did my baby go? How I loved watching the surprise on her face as she opened her gifts, and the simple joy from a balloon that sings .
I have always enjoyed celebrating. From birthdays to anniversary’s it’s has seemed important. I had not realized how special it is to me until the day I was diagnosed. Hearing you have terminal stage 4 Breast Cancer. One of the first clear thoughts I remember I had was, “how many birthdays do I have left?” Will I see my kids graduate and marry? Countless celebrations came rushing into my mind. Followed by a deep sadness and sense of how unfair life can be.
I do not know that answer to how many more celebrations I have,as none of us know what the future is. I can however continue to be me. Be being the Kate I was before cancer when I can. I still love to celebrate. Even though some days it can feel cruel that it might be my last wedding anniversary, or I may not make a milestone birthday. I remember that life is joy, and that by being with the people whom I love to celebrate is important. Not just to make the memories and take the picture, but to experience it. For I find having thing s to look forward is uplifting.
So here is to raising the glass of champagne because it’s Monday and to saying how old you are this birthday . Celebrate your life your way!