Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Sliver of Hope

Last Thursday, mom started her sixth round of chemo. She's fighting with everything she has and I am so proud of her. A lot of people are probably wondering why she continued with the chemo even though her prognosis was very bad. Well, there's something I haven't told you. Mom is going to be a grandma! Three months ago, I found out that I was pregnant and told mom the news immediately. I remember the first time seeing her after I told her the news. She was all dressed up with make-up and all for her chemo treatment which was that day. She said to me, "Today I am happy. I am going to be a grandma. I am gonna fight." Since then, it's what that keeps her going. She's told me that she knows she doesn't have much time left but wishes with all her heart that she can see the day her grandchild is born. Since then we've both been doing whatever it takes to make that day happen.

In some other surprising but awesome news, mom was tested positive for the CMET oncogene. We were told that the chances of testing positive for the protein were very low of individuals being screened for it. But, after researching and asking some wonderful people who knew about this, I was finding that a person had a higher likelihood of testing positive if the tumor was of diffuse type and the person was minority/ from a diverse population. Mom fit both criteria and it's what kept me pushing on to get her tested for this protein.

So what does this all mean? Well, since mom is positive, she can enter clinical trials that specifically target the protein in the tumors. Right now, the drugs are only available via clinical trials though and finding the right trial will be a long process from what I've been told.  But, we have a direction to move and options at hand.

A few months back when we ventured to Mayo Clinic, mom was tested for HER2, another oncogene. HER2 has already been through clinical trials and the treatment is readily available if patients test positive. Unfortunately, mom was negative back then. It's really fascinating science and I think that years from now, it will do wonders for cancer patients. Instead of using poison (chemo) and hoping that perhaps that specific combination works for your body,  you can get approved drugs that specifically target and kill that tumor protein. I know it's probably nerdy to be excited about this, but I am. I feel like this is the key to potentially saving my mom. And even myself, my sister and my future little one..if this disease targets us.

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