Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase. - MLK, Jr.
Courage is being scared to death...and saddling up anyway. - John Wayne
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. - Albert Einstein

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Clinical Trials

This article in the New York Times, New Drugs Stir Debate on Rules of Clinical Trials, brings to mind the brutal anguish that Cody and I experienced waiting to hear if I would receive the trial drug in my clinical trial.  I was literally ringing my hands in the waiting room.  Another patient noticed my obvious distress and tried to calm my nerves by telling me that she "eats a bucket of chicken" on the way home to New Orleans after chemo.  On our way back to Austin I would let Cody know I was okay by asking him to stop for a bucket of chicken at Williams Chicken, just off of 290 in Prairie View, on our drive home from chemo.  Hearing that I had been randomized to receive the drug, one that could help save my life, was the best news that I could have possibly received at that time.  I didn't think of all the people who would hear that they had not been randomized to receive the trial drug, this article really drives that point home.  At what point do we, as society, accept a certain amount of collateral damage in our "war" against disease?  I'm not sure of the answer, but I do know that everyone should have access to treatment and drugs that could save their lives.  I also know that as a patient I wanted verifiable studies to pour over and aid me in my decision making.  Another patient that I spoke with a couple of times in the waiting room had a friend with my exact diagnosis, in the same clinical trial, and she didn't get the drug.  Her tumor grew to over 6 centimeters in 3 weeks, and she was immediately pulled off of the trial and put on F.E.C.  I never saw her again, and wonder if she survived.  I hope so.  I know that participating in a clinical trial was the right thing for me to do, and hopefully my days as a guinea pig will help save another.  Would I feel the same if I had been randomized to the control group?  Especially if the outcome had not gone as well?  Maybe on our next trip to Houston I'll stop for a  bucket of chicken.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rainy, Rainy Tuesday

Today we woke up to rain and cloudy skies. Thank you tropical storm Hermine. The rain is really nice, very slow and has cooled us off for a nice change of pace. It makes writing and working on finding employment an easier task. My interview last week was a bust. The recruiter called me over thirty minutes late, then proceeds to tell me that they filled the position the day before. There had to be a better way of communicating this information. Now I’m working on preparing for an interview tomorrow; an indirect buyer position with Ultra Clean Technologies. I’m also hard at work preparing my state application for a position with Texas Parks and Wildlife, and an application with the University of Texas. It will be nice to get back to work and begin to get my life back in order after this horrible year.

Cody and I had a nice three day weekend. On Saturday we attended the North by Northwest Anniversary Party, benefiting the Breast Cancer Resource Center. Redd Volkaert played and we had some much fun dancing, we danced to almost every song. Monday morning we were going to head down to the Austin Triathlon and cheer everyone on, but there was a nasty rain shower right before we left. So we decided to go to the Tour de Austin bike races at the J.J. Pickle Research Center.. Those people are crazy. They race in huge groups, going really fast, negotiating tight turns. Amazing more people are not seriously injured at those races. We spent the rest of Monday watching Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations marathon, and making homemade pizza. It was a great weekend. It was so hard this morning to watch him leave for work. I am alone again in the house. Some days it is nice to be alone with your thoughts, but I have been alone so long…

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August Wrap-up

Let me start by apologizing for not writing more this month, but its August in Texas and I think the heat effects my brain. I volunteered at the Breast Cancer Resource Center golf tournament, Suzy's Soldiers. It was a lot of fun. The girls and I worked the bar between the 9th and 10th hold. Being my first golf tournament I had no idea that the players would start drinking at 9am; but they were very nice and tipped very generously. Our bar raised the most money; maybe the tequila had something to do with that but I think it was because we were so damn cute. That night Cody and I went to the gala at Barton Creek Country Club after the tournament. It was the first time we have been back since our wedding, and we are happy to report it is still a beautiful place. The silent auction had some really cool sports memorabilia.

Yao Ming's shoe, size 18 or the size of my femur.

Ricky Williams football shoes.  

On August 23rd I had my six week follow-up with Dr. Chang. He said I am healing very well and gave me permission to exercise. I’m even allowed to ride my mountain bike, as long as I “don’t fall forward.” Not sure how to accomplish this so I’ll probably stay off the trails. It would suck to pop one of my expanders. My exchange surgery is scheduled for November 9th. Dr. Chang is also a bike rider, so he understood when I asked to wait for surgery until after the Wurstride. The most gratifying thing about the entire visit was leaving, knowing that we do not have to be back until October 25th for my first post treatment follow-up with Dr. Gonzales.

Cody and I at the start of the 2009 Wurstride.

Cody, me, Tim, and Amy at the end of the 2009 Wurstride.

Now I’m concentrating on getting back to my life. I am actively looking for a job, and have managed to land two interviews. Hopefully by the end of September the heat will have subsided, life will be back to normal, and we will keep moving on.

My new hairdo.  Cody dyed it blond, and after two weeks it is almost twice this length.  No sign of curls, but I now look like a Chia Pet.