I had my last chemo in October 2016 & had been in remission since June 2017. On May 8, 2016 I had my regular three month CT scan which showed lymph node activity in my abdomen. A PET scan was scheduled for May 30th. I had a mammogram on May 17, 2017 & it came back abnormal. I followed up with an ultrasound on May 22nd. Luckily it came back normal. The concerned areas were dialated ducts. I had the PET scan done on the 30th & met with Dr. Clark (radiation doc) to go over results. The scan showed metabolic activity in several areas including abdomen (3), left collarbone (1), liver (3). He also determined that the areas involved will not allow me to be a candidate for radiation. My next appointment with my fabulous oncologist, Dr. Rich, was June 5, 2017. During this visit we discussed my options & set up a care plan.
So… I have a couple of options now that radiation is off the table. Option #1: They can put me in a clinical trial with an immunotherapy drug (Keytruda, Opdivo, or similar class drug) at Huntsman Cancer Hospital where the data collected from my case would go into the clinical trial. I would receive all of my care through Huntsman in SLC, UT (2 hrs one way from where I live). Option #2: I can receive the same drugs as in the clinical trial at Utah Cancer Specialists (my current doctor & clinic) in Provo, UT but not be in the trial & not have my data collected. I would more than likely receive the drugs free of charge through the drug company, maintain the excellent standard of care with the people I have been comfortable with for the last 3 yrs, be an hour closer to home, & open my spot in the clinical trial for someone else who may not have another option like I do. Option #3: Immediately start chemo & reduce the chance of it working in the future.
After giving this a lot of thought, careful consideration & discussions with my family, I have decided to go with option #2. The process has begun as my doc is sending a sample from my original tumor to the lab for genetic testing. They will be looking for several different things including targets which will determine what type & how much of the drugs will be required. I will call in two weeks to see if my results are in, make an appointment & begin treatment once they get approval from the drug companies & my insurance company.