Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” The healing power of sharing my cancer story compelled me to found WWGN. I'm an inspirational speaker, contributor at CURE and Positively Positive, Huffington Post blogger, support volunteer with Cancer Hope Network, member of the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center Oncology Community Advisory Board, patient educator with Pathways Women’s Cancer Teaching Project, wife and mother, and a former very stressed out lawyer.
There is a new clinical study looking for patients with Stage IV non-small cell lung cancer who have already been treated with chemotherapy. The purpose of this study is to compare the new investigational medicine versus the standard-of-care treatment with respect to life expectancy outcomes.
More about the study:
The study drug (LY2835219) is administered by Tablets, Pills, or Capsules.
At least 193 people have already taken this drug in clinical trials. There will be 550 participants in this trial, at 20 sites around the world. If you are interested, please find the full study details and eligibility criteria listed here.
be at least 18 years old
have a diagnosis of stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (Stage IV means the cancer has spread to distant tissues or organs)
have tumors with KRAS mutations, if known
have already had chemotherapy for this tumor
Participants must not:
be pregnant or lactating
have HIV, Hepatitis B or C, or a history of cardiac arrest
If you’re not familiar with clinical trials, here are some FAQs:
What are clinical trials? Clinical trials are research studies to determine whether investigational drugs or treatments are safe and effective for humans. All new investigational medications and devices must undergo several clinical trials, often involving thousands of people.
Why participate in a clinical trial? You will have access to new investigational treatments that would be available to the general public only upon approval. You will also receive study-related medical care and attention from clinical trial staff at research facilities. Clinical trials offer hope for many people and an opportunity to help researchers find better treatments for others in the future.
Today's Cancer Warrior is Mailet Lopez of I Had Cancer, a social support network founded just six months ago. With almost 6000 members representing over 60 different countries, I Had Cancer's mission is to provide an online community for anyone touched by cancer and looking for information from others who have walked in their shoes.
Mailet's story is not atypical, unfortunately. She was diagnosed with Stage 2B breast cancer in 2008 when she was only 33 years old. Although she had a strong network of supportive family and friends, she didn't have anyone to talk to who really understood what she was experiencing. When she did talk to other cancer survivors, she still felt isolated. Their age and experiences were different from hers and they hadn't dealt with issues that troubled her, such as reproductive and work concerns.
The isolation of her experience left Mailet feeling angry and very alone. There were things she couldn't share with her family and friends because they couldn't understand. She looked to the Internet, but was overwhelmed by an avalanche of information. Making it worse, she felt pressured to make a quick decision about her treatment.
At that very moment, a chance meeting changed everything. She was connected to a one-year survivor who told her about a low dose chemo regime which Mailet discussed with her doctor. She made the decision to pursue that course of treatment and it was very successful. She was able to work and moved forward with her mantra, "I had cancer and I'm not going to die."
After her treatment, Mailet gave back by speaking to other patients seeking information about her chemo. That led to a blog, which led to the idea of a community with the ability to create connections between people with the same cancers, concerns, ages, geographic area, etc. To further the experience, I Had Cancer is structured to allow general discussions as well as more private, members-only, sharing.
Since its inception, I Had Cancer has connected survivors, fighters and supporters/caregivers. "There was someone who joined who was 800 miles away from his closest relatives. He immediately got connected to someone with his cancer and they have been sharing ever since. He's no longer alone," Mailet is proud to say.
"Creating this site is my gift of cancer," Mailet reveals. "I am one of those people who believe things happen for a reason. Because I have the equipment to make things come out of this, by leveraging my business experience, I was able to create I Had Cancer." As it is for so many of us, the gift is in being able to give back. "I wish it had been around for me, it would have made life easier. Now, I have an immense sense of joy seeing others connect and share information."
Thank you Mailet for sharing your story and good luck with the site!
I ran this post in January, which is National Blood Donor Month. It got a lot of responses, especially on Twitter, and I'm happy to run it again. Blood donation is one of the best ways I know to give back for all that I received during my treatment and I really hope to inspire some of you to give it a try if you haven't already. Blood cannot be manufactured by anything other than a human body. Think of it as a true gift of the heart this Valentine's Day. I hope you have a wonderful Valentine's Day!
"More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment."
In response to that post, I got a beautiful comment from Julie, who wrote:
Thank you for donating blood! I received over 130 units of blood and many platelet transfusions as part of my treatment for acute myelogenous leukemia. It is so incredible to me that strangers donate a part of themselves to help someone who will most likely never have the chance to thank them.
I gave blood and platelets prior to my diagnosis, and you are so right...it feels wonderful to be able to give such an important gift. I recently starting having therapeutic phlebotomies because my iron is too high due to the transfusions. When I walked into the clinic, I got teary...now that I had experienced what it felt like to be on the receiving end of transfusions, the clinic took on a greater meaning to me.
Thank you for giving and for encouraging others. I always looked forward to my transfusions because they gave me energy, got rid of my anemia headaches and made the whole process of fighting cancer seem more doable.
Take care, Julie
Because blood supplies are usually critically low in the winter months, January has been recognized as National Blood Donation Month for over 40 years. I'm a good example of the problem. About two weeks before Christmas, I got a call from the blood donation center at my cancer center. I've donated before, and they reached out because they needed me to donate again. I was just too busy before the holidays, however, and they promised to call back in January. First thing yesterday morning they were on the phone and we made an appointment for next week.
If you're a cancer survivor, you might think you can't give the gift of blood donation. I thought the same thing, but, in truth, eligibility depends on the type of cancer and treatment history. Speak to your doctor to learn more, but, in general, only survivors of blood cancers are not eligible to donate. For other types of cancer, you are eligible if you were successfully treated over 12 months ago and have experienced no recurrence in that time. In-situ cancers that are completely removed do not require the 12 month waiting period.
Blood donation is a wonderful way to give back and help other cancer survivors get through their treatment. Next week, when I stick out my arm, I'll be thinking of Julie and the 130 units of blood and platelets she needed as part of her treatment. Will you join me and make an appointment to donate blood this month? It's easy, just contact your local hospital, cancer center or The American Red Cross today.
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