DIAGNOSIS: Metastatic Breast Cancer with Triple Negative and Pirated Positive
CLINICAL TRIAL: Breast Cancer
Marrying her high school sweetheart, Sandra has been married to Jim for 48 years. They have two adult children and two grandchildren ages 6 and 11. Originally from Mobile, Ala., they moved to Baton Rouge, La. due to a job opportunity for her husband.
The news is tough enough when one family member is diagnosed with cancer but for Sandra, Jim was also diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Life was moving along and it seemed as if they were both doing well. Originally being diagnosed 30 years ago and even undergoing a lumpectomy procedure. She was told the cancer was gone and didn’t expect that it would reoccur.
“I knew something was wrong because I felt hardening in my breast. Even so I was still shocked to actually hear Dr. Miletello say your breast cancer is back,” exclaimed Sandra.
Sandra and Jim both decided a community oncology practice was more suited for their treatment and care than a large hospital or cancer center. “Although our family and friends were all strongly encouraging us to go to a large cancer center like Anderson, we decided to stay close to our home. Hematology/Oncology Clinic really focuses on personalized care and treatment, being a patient there is like being a patron at the bar on the television show Cheers…where everyone knows your name,” laughed Sandra.
Hematology/Oncology Clinic Medical Oncologist Dr. Gerald Miletello offers clinical trials to patients that qualify based on the inclusion and exclusion protocols as it allows for the best available cancer treatments.
Dr. Miletello said, “Sandra was actually the first patient in the U.S. to start this breast cancer study and she is responding really well to date, in fact two of her tumors completely disappeared!”
Sandra decided to do the trial because she wanted to help other patients going through breast cancer, especially females that are getting diagnosed so young. Thinking back to her mother getting diagnosed with breast cancer at 33 and herself being diagnosed at 39. Interestingly enough, her mother also had a reoccurrence about 30 to 35 years later.
“It was an easy decision for me to participate in the trial, I discussed the options with my husband and we both agreed the trial was the best option instead of surgery,” said Sandra.
Having only been in the trial for three months, she is very happy with the results so far as two of the three tumors have completely disappeared and the third is shrinking. She wants to encourage other cancer patients to participate in clinical trials because this is how new cancer discoveries are made in an effort to prolong and save lives.
Sandra said, “Dr. Miletello is on top of his game, and I am having such a positive experience with the clinical trial coordinators, both Aimee and Evie are so wonderful and easy to work with.”
Extreme fatigue and loss of appetite is the only downside to the trial medication Sandra is experiencing, other than that she is feeling good. “Food just isn’t appealing to me these days but luckily my husband forces me to eat.”
Sandra is hoping to get her energy back soon too so she can get back to walking three miles a day and more importantly so she can go swimming with her granddaughters. “My 6-year-old granddaughter has been asking for months if we can get in the pool but it’s been too cold, I gave her a pool date at the beginning of April so I hope my energy is back by then.”
Sandra remains positive because of her faith and a group of about 10 people of all different religious denominations across many states praying for her, she calls them her “prayer warriors” and keeps in touch with emails on her progress. “My prayer warriors got my back!”
Her positive motto is, “You just have to remember, every day is not always a good day but there is something good about every day.”