“I was diagnosed with an advanced stage aggressive breast cancer on the afternoon of my 43rd birthday. After many doctors appointments for opinions on treatment and prognosis, appointment after appointment I was given the same prognosis: Poor. I was not certain which class party for my 3 and 5 year old boys would be my last but it appeared to be imminent.
I built my “A team” of physicians and started a local clinical trial for my chemotherapy.
After two years of chemotherapy, surgery and five weeks of radiation, I felt like I could start to breathe again. Two months later my much younger friend with the same type of breast cancer as me learned her cancer had metastasized. I immediately went to the internet in hopes to find her a clinical trial. Although I was not able to find a trial for my friend, I found a Phase I breast cancer vaccine trial that could possibly help me at the Mayo Clinic.
While trying to comprehend the language of the trial, the logistics of frequently getting to an institution a few states away, and the overwhelming thoughts of how we were possibly going to be able to afford it, I found Lazarex Cancer Foundation. I knew the moment I spoke to their Patient Navigator, Karen Weixel, and then to Tami Keeler, their Patient Services Manager, I knew I was going to somehow make it into this promising trial.
With the never ending support of my employer and managers at United Airlines, and with the assistance from Lazarex, I successfully completed the two year breast cancer vaccine clinical trial in Minnesota. I will still try and go to the Mayo Clinic once a year for their care but it no longer will have anything to do with the spectacular trial I was in. Was in… wow! It is ironic to me that United Airlines who afforded me so much flexibility, compassion and support during my diagnosis and treatment, is a grantor to the Lazarex Cancer Foundation – the very foundation that afforded me the opportunity to participate in such an exciting trial.
Clinical Trial Results
The trial I participated in has been so promising it has since moved onto Phase II. We had 21 participants in our Phase I portion and we all had the same type of aggressive high recurrent-risk breast cancer. We are all currently disease free! What a Blessing.
I am forever grateful to so many – especially United Airlines and to Lazarex Cancer Foundation.
I’d love to write more but I have class party snack ideas I am planning for my now 8 and 10 year old boys!”
I am inspired every time I read Christy’s story and every time a talk with her. She was and still is an advocate for herself and others.
Thank you, Christy for participating in clinical trials and for sharing your story with us.