Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sometimes with Cancer Things Do Go Well

When you are fighting cancer, it's easy to get caught up in the hard things.  You can see the good things, like numbers going down, tumors shrinking, or even feeling better.  But just like any difficult memory it's hard to totally block it our of your mind, and at times it can consume you.  That's what my day was like on Tuesday. 

Wednesday morning I felt better physically.  As I was waiting to be picked up for hydration I went on Pinterest and saw this picture:
That struck me profoundly.  In my cancer journey we've been waiting for things for a while now.  I took a step back, prayed, and knew for sure that I did trust God when His answer was wait.  I just didn't know that His answer was going to change that day.

Yesterday as I was in hydration, one of my oncologist's nurses came up to see me.  This is not a normal thing so it was a surprise.  She said,"I have some good news for you.  Well, at least I think it's good news."  My friend and I were a bit taken aback with her statement, but that's the type of humor I've gotten to know from her over the past three years.  She then told me that I had been approved for the parp inhibitor.  I was in shock, mostly because it wasn't supposed to happen this quickly.

When you go through this process there is quite a bit of paperwork to fill out.  I didn't have to do any of it, but by the reaction of my nurses, I knew it was going to be a big job.  They also had to get my whole history together and my oncologist had to write up my story as to why this would be beneficial for me.  I had confidence that my team would get this done quickly, but you never know how long a drug company can take to review something like this.

Everyone, my oncologist, my nurses, and of course my family was in shock with the speed that this happened.  I'm also in shock as to how I am going to get this new medicine.  I don't know what was said, who saw this or what made them agree to this.  But I do know that God worked this out just for me.  And this is all I can say in response:

I'm sure some of you are wondering what a parp inhibitor is.  The best layman's term explanation that someone sent me was from the website Cancer Research UK.

"To use an analogy, cells with a faulty BRCA gene are like a table that’s had one of its legs knocked out from under it. It can still just about function, although it’s a bit wobbly. Knocking out the other leg (using PARP inhibitors) makes the table completely unstable and it falls over.

PARP inhibitors work by preventing cancer cells from repairing certain types of damage to their DNA. Most healthy cells have other ways of repairing DNA damage so they aren’t affected by the drugs, but cancer cells with faulty BRCA1 or BRCA2 can’t carry out these repairs. The combined effect of knocking out both DNA repair mechanisms is so severe that the cancer cells die."  (If you want a little more information from this site here's the link)

If everything goes smoothly, I will be starting my clinical trail on July 6th.  I will be on the parp inhibitor Veliparib or ABT-888.  A parp inhibitor is different from chemo in that you take it orally rather than through infusion. One plus will be I won't have to make as many trips to the cancer center. I will be taking 3 pills twice a day, for a total of 6 pills a day.  This will be something I will continue on, as far as I know at this point, indefinitely.   The main side effect is nausea, which could be a challenge for me because it's hard to find something that will calm my nausea.  But that should improve after about two weeks.  I have heard from others on this parp inhibitor that they have done fine with the nausea and some haven't had any.  We will just let God lead the way on that one.

We meet with my oncologist on July 2nd and we will have our many questions answered. 

Is this the silver bullet or the golden ticket that we have been hoping for?  Truly, only God knows that.  The main reason my oncologist wanted me on this is because she knew it would give me the best quality of life I could have while still fighting cancer.  But like I've always said, cancer isn't bigger than God.  Now, as always, we pray for another yes to come my way. If it doesn't I will just look back at today and remember "Do you trust me when my answer is wait? ~God"


  1. VERY good news, Lisa. Well explained, thank you. What blessings! Will keep this new process in prayer on your behalf. Love from SE WI! Lara

  2. Thank you Lisa for sharing this with us. We are all so honored to be called your friend and what an incredible example you are for all of us, no matter what trails and tribulations we go through, God Bless you and may HE continue to answer prayer in HIS time!

    1. sorry couldn't figure out how to put my name in ther Love you Margie & Ric