25 Things About Me
I have stage 4 lung cancer. Here are 24 other things about me.
- I have stage 4 lung cancer; the histology is invasive mucinous adenocarcinoma.
- I was diagnosed when I was 45 years old.
- The youngest of my three children was seven.
- That was 10 years ago — it will be 11 years in April (woohoo!)
- My first line of treatment was a lower left lobectomy followed by four rounds of adjuvant chemotherapy.
- Staged at 1b initially, I was hoping I’d be cured.
- My cancer came back almost immediately.
- For two years, we watched and waited as there were no other viable treatments.
- By June 2008, I had more than 33 tumors in my lungs and a biopsy confirmed metastatic spread.
- I was told I had three to five months to live.
- This was one week before my daughter got married.
- Even though EGFR-negative, I started Tarceva (erlotinib) as a last ditch effort and began to say goodbye to family.
- At a scan review in September, it was clear that my cancer was spreading but there was good news.
- My biopsy showed that I was ALK-positive and a phase 1 trial targeting ALK mutations had just opened.
- On October 1, 2008, I became the fourth person in the world with NSCLC to take Xalkori (crizotinib).
- I felt better within days of regular dosing.
- My scan review six weeks later showed almost complete resolution of the cancer in my lungs.
- I took Xalkori for three years before progression forced me to switch therapies.
- I enrolled on another phase 1 clinical trial for Zykadia (ceritinib/LDK378) with similar results.
- This time, I got 18 months out of an experimental therapy.
- When I came off trial, I returned to chemotherapy again for six months and then I took a break.
- I went almost a year without treatment (glorious!) but I was also becoming more symptomatic.
- In May 2014, I enrolled into my third phase 1 clinical trial for PF-006463922/lorlatinib — once again I responded.
- My cancer has been stable for 18 months and I feel fabulous.
- I can’t wait to share more of my story with the readers of CURE!