Just the day before, ironically, I “celebrated” my 365th day cancer free. A birthday of sorts. Some women begin counting on the day of their diagnosis. Under the reasoning that we all become survivors the day we take on this fight. Others, like myself, prefer a more joyous date to memorialize - the date I was finally free of cancer. That date for me is July 24. The date of my double mastectomy. My surgeon found “residue cancer” within my tumor during surgery and removed it along with my boobs in one 4-hour operation. As a cancer patient, you hope for pCR (Pathological Complete Response) meaning there is no cancer left after chemo therapy. Approximately one-third of TNBC survivors receive pCR. I, however, was not among them.
From the very moment of my diagnosis, I knew I wanted to be a part of finding a “cure”. If this fucking disease was going to enter my body, I was going to fight like hell to kill it - for me and for anyone who would have the misfortune to follow me.
Finding a “cure” for cancer - all cancers - lies in the field of clinical trials. Basically, doctors and researchers think they may have discovered something, a drug, a test, a vaccine, but to find out if it helps or works they need humans to step up and offer their bodies to research. Many folks find themselves on clinical trials because nothing else it is working for them. They have metastatic cancer (stage IV) which at that point is incurable. They’ve tried all proven methods, drug, therapies, yet they continue to get sicker. I, fortunately, am not in that position. I’m entering a clinical trial to hopefully keep my cancer from returning. Thus, helping others remain cancer free, and in doing so I’m willing to take on the risks of the unknown. Look, once you have stared down cancer, little else is as scary.