Monday, May 02, 2005

A Month of Anxiety - Opinion #1 - Clinical Trial

If somebody told you that you had cancer and that it happened to be a cancer that they really don't have much approved, effective treatment for once it has metastasized, would you be a little concerned?

Yes Holly, I would.

Good, I am normal. And do you think if after you got your initial news that the cancer had spread, you had been told that the next time a Dr. could see you might be in a month, that you might freak out a little?

Yes, Holly , I might!

Well I did. I am a reader and the internet has plenty to read. I got online and read everything I could. The best links I found are to the right. They are very helpful!

So I read and read and read and realized that with 4 weeks until I saw my "first opinion" Dr., I might just be able to get to see a "second opinion" Dr as well. This led to me to finding NIH, NCI and the Maryland Melanoma Center. All groups that are running clinical trials for Melanoma.

Clinical Trials? Isn't that a bit much? That is what I thought too. But the reality of Melanoma is that is is a "Freaky, Nasty, Funky Cancer" that doesn't seem to respond like many other cancers. So many of the Chemos and Therapy that work in other cases don't work for Melanoma. In fact only one treatment besides surgery is currently approved for use in treating Melanoma with the FDA. That doesn't leave one with too many choices or recommendations.

So I was able to get an appointment on April 8th at the Maryland Melanoma Center in Baltimore, MD. Jim and I drove up and the kind and young Dr. Z. met with us and looked over my case and gave me 4 options that he saw based on my prognosis which is Metastic Melanoma, STAGE III

Choice 1: Do nothing (NOT RECOMMENDED)

Choice 2: Have a lymph node dissection to removed the rest of the nodes under my arm in an effort to determine:
a. That the cancer has not spread
b. That the cancer has spread

Choice 3: Lymph Node Dissection & Interferon Adjuvant Therapy

Choice 4: Lymph Node Dissection & MMC Clinical Trial of Low Dose Interlukin-2

Jim and I took this information with us and headed to Richmond for the weekend. After all, I had a 10K to run! Melanoma or no Melanoma, I was running this race!


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