Tonight I had the honor of watching the film Living Proof , which is the story of Dr. Dennis Slamon and his groundbreaking drug Herceptin. The very drug that saved my life. It still rocks me to the core to realize that if it wasn’t for this one drug I would be busy “getting my affairs in order” and looking at two years left (at the most) of my life.
I had a conversation the other afternoon with someone who felt I had made a mistake by choosing to have chemotherapy instead of looking at more natural remedies. Believe me, I understand that mode of thinking and continue to look for natural remedies to most things, but not cancer, not for me. The day we found out the cancer I have was HER2+ was the most terrifying day of my life. I will never forget the look on my Surgeon’s face. He was shocked and terrified and told me that chemotherapy was not an option for me, it was a given if I wanted to stay alive. It was my only shot. Not just the chemotherapy, but Herceptin specifically. This drug was created to target my cancer cells and turn them off. Before it was approved in 1998 HER2+ breast cancer was a death sentence. There were no options, no response to chemotherapy, it was just wait and die. So for me, it wasn’t a choice. Maybe I could go to Mexico and drink wheat grass while having coffee enemas, (who knows, I still might) but with my life on the line I wanted the big guns. No matter the cost. As my eight year old daughter likes to remind me, “a bald head and a face rash is a small price to pay for your life.” Truer words were never spoken.
So this evening as I fall asleep I am giving thanks, for Dr. Dennis Slamon and all the women who came before me and participated in clinical trials so that I may be here to celebrate my son’s fifth birthday. Thank you. I will never be able to fully express my gratitude for saving my life.