My participation in this, my sixth phase I clinical trial, would not be possible without the concept of compassionate use/expanded access.
That is because I did not qualify–was precluded–from the actual trial. The reason? Because I’ve had too many previous therapies–specifically ALK inhibitors. Three to date. Well, until yesterday 🙂 Now four.
Fortunately, there was a back door. And I had a crew of people knocking on it for me. Colin Barton, who works so much magic behind the scenes at ALKPositive as chair of the Medical Committee. I talk a lot about goddesses; this man is a god of good. An ALK+ patient himself, he uses his smarts, personal resources and the fervor of a man on a mission to advocate for the other members of this club. He has initiated conversation with the decision makers at various pharmaceutical companies. I shared with him that at first I thought this might be a fool’s errand, but Colin is a visionary and he saw something I did not. And he has assembled an amazing team of fellow patients who work tirelessly to ferret out potential treatments that could benefit the ALK community.
My oncologist Dr. Jess Lin was also relentless on my behalf–contacting the sponsor almost daily. Jess presents as sweet and mild mannered, but she can be ferocious when it comes to her patients.
Of course, this was a time sensitive matter and some of my friends (talking about you Rob Densen) were not satisfied with the pace as I waited for drug. Where I was hesitant to reach out he was not and I am grateful.
So there we have it. Today I took my second tablet and then lay down for an hour so as to better visualize the cancer exploding like a mouthful of Pop Rocks. And, to continue with that metaphor, my mind continues to be blown by what a long, strange trip the last two months have been. I spent a whole lot of time thinking about dying all while hoping it wasn’t true.
Not natural bedfellows–these two thoughts. At least if you are hoping for a good nights sleep.
Therefore I am happy to report that I am still feeling good/better and that my dreams last night were sweet.