25 Things About Me

I have stage 4 lung cancer. Here are 24 other things about me.

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