Next stop: Duke University

My next step on the journey to fully defeat cancer starts on September 8th.  I will be traveling to Duke University in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina to participate in a clinical trial for a vaccine that is intended to bolster my immune system in order to prevent the recurrence of colon cancer.

 

 

 
That’s what it looks like at the cellular level, apparently.  A preschool art project.  
 
Yes, as far as we know, right now I’m cancer free. But there is a high likelihood that my cancer will come back. And while it’s entirely possible that it won’t, I am not comfortable just sitting around and waiting for that to happen.  So, I’ve decided to be a guinea pig.
 
It was not an easy decision. Of course all kinds of weird books and movies go through my mind. I’m getting injected with a virus! I could actually start the zombie apocalypse, People!  
 
But after a lot of thought, research, prayer and conversations with people I respect, I’ve decided to go for it. I am not excited about getting on an airplane four times in the next few weeks. I hate flying,  I hate traveling unless it’s for fun.  I’m sick of my life being disrupted. I’m not a fan of getting poked and prodded. I don’t really want more doctors in my life. Doctors are mean sometimes! I’m a little bit scared that something weird might happen to me.  I don’t want the inconvenience for myself or my very accommodating family.  I don’t want the side effects.  (Nothing too crazy, just nausea, fever, fatigue, etc.)  I don’t want to keep feeling like I’m under a microscope. I don’t want to have to think about cancer all the time. I don’t want to schedule my life and other people’s lives around another cancer thing.  We’ve been through so many tests and procedures.  Surgery.  Chemo. Side effects. I just want NORMAL for a while.  
 
But I want to live. And this is something I can do to increase my chances.
 
There’s so much I want to do, so much to live for, so much to see, so much to learn.  I’m busy!  I have plans!  I still haven’t met Bono!  Cancer, like those horrible terrorists in Iraq, has this tendency to go away for a while and then sneak up on you. I’m not letting that happen, to the extent it’s possible.  This vaccine might be the Seal Team Six to add to my already active forces.  
 
Besides, we might be making history. I might be a part of groundbreaking research. We might be curing cancer.  This is a way I can help.  
 
So, after reviewing my oncology records, they approved me to do the on site final screening.  I will go down for the initial visit (sadly, spending my 8th anniversary away from my husband) and hopefully get my first injection the next day. I will be traveling there every three weeks, three more times, to complete the cycle.
 
The officiant of our wedding, John, who is in ministry in the area, along with his wife, has agreed to house and shuttle me around for the first visit.  What a blessing!  It reminds me of the realness of the body of Christ. This is a man who I knew only through friends and a few good phone conversations back when I lived in Seattle.  In 2006, he agreed to do our premarital counseling, and travel from North Carolina to Pittsburgh to marry Kevin and me.  We have only seen him twice since then. And now eight years later, he was quick to offer help with all of this.  Two close friends of mine (one who is in the middle of moving!) were so quick to offer rides to the airport and any help that I would need. My husband is a little nervous about this whole deal, but he kindly booked my flights for me because I’m notorious for screwing that process up.
 
I said recently that we need fewer activist Christians walking around judging people’s behavior, and more silent servants of Jesus. This is what I’m talking about. Service.  Once again, cancer, enemy that it is, shows me love and care and glory.  Once again, I’m humbled.  
 
Pray for me and this strange chapter of the battle.  

5 Replies to “Next stop: Duke University”

  1. I have stood on the side watching you gracefully kick Cancers ass! Now it is time to take the gloves off and banish this b&$ch out of this world! Like I always say when time gets tough…
    I've got this! And so do you Lady!!!

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