Friday, May 6th, 2011May 6th, 2011 at 8:16 pm by Deanna Dewberry under Deanna's Journey
My house is noisy – very noisy. My husband is cooking. My mother is watching the news. My son and his friend are racing remote control cars across our wooden floor, and my collie is following them, barking loudly. What a blessing to drown in the noise of a full home. It’s the sign of a life fully blessed.
I’ve made some decisions. After researching a number of clinical trial options, I chose one that includes a Parp inhibitor, a group of drugs that has shown promise in battling triple negative breast cancer, the viciously aggressive monster that attacked my right breast. I had a 50-percent chance of getting the Parp along with a standard chemotherapy agent. The other choice is standard chemo alone. The decisions about who gets the research drug are random – chosen by a computer by which I’m identified only as a number. And I got the call on Friday afternoon. I didn’t get the Parp. I would receive standard chemotherapy alone.
I was crushed. That’s actually a bit of an understatement. I sat in the bathtub and cried – no, I wailed into a wet towel. Clinical trials can be so cruel. Intellectually, I get it. If we’re to assure the most effective drugs get to market, the scientific integrity is of utmost importance. You must have one group that gets the research drug and one that doesn’t. Then scientists wait to see if the group that got the research drug is more likely to survive than the other. But when you’re fighting for your life, intellect takes a backseat to the immediate visceral reaction that comes with being denied what is arguably the best treatment.
As is always the case when I’m grappling with something beyond my control, I talked to God about it. Actually I sat in my minivan and yelled at God. I learned long ago it’s okay yell at the Big Guy; He can take it. After I finally calmed down, I had dinner with girl friends and talked it out. Thank God for good friends. I’m convinced He sent them that evening.
So then I had another decision to make – drop out of that clinical trial and try to find another, or stick with the trial and receive what I believe is the inferior of the two treatments being offered. I had a busy weekend, so I had to put those decisions on the back burner. I chair the board of an organization called A Girl’s Gift that provides mentoring and educational sessions for girls ages 10 to 14. Our girls were having their overnight retreat that Saturday, and I would need to harness my energy to help corral 30 giggling little girls through hours of activities. It’s funny. As I opened the doors and welcomed our girls and their parents, I silently prayed for the emotional energy to get through the weekend. But within moments, I felt better, basking in the light of little girl smiles. They were so excited about the weekend and it helped me forget my fears.
Finally, on Monday I had time to start researching again. I called a clinical trial matching service, scoured the national cancer institute’s clinical trial web site, and finally determined the standard chemotherapy offered in the first trial is the best option available. So that’s where we are.
Wednesday, with my blanket draped over my arm, I went back to the same light-filled infusion room where I had received months of chemotherapy before my bilateral mastectomy – the same place where I had celebrated what I thought was my last chemotherapy treatment in March. Such is the nature of the beast I’ve named Fred. He’s a tenacious little fella. And the battle is bigger than I. And so again, I give this to God. I’ll receive four treatments three weeks apart – and then we wait. And we pray. And we wait.
You’ll remember we had another decision to make. My adoption counselor called about a baby girl due in weeks. I want to step out on faith and adopt her. My husband doesn’t think this is the time. And we both completely understand the reasons for the other’s viewpoint. But there will be no adoption unless we both agree. And I’m sad. There really are no words that accurately describe where I am right now except that one – sad.
And so it is. I’ve learned to accept that sadness does not signify the absence of faith. God never promised us days without sadness, without disappointment, without fear. He did, however, promise us that he would never leave nor forsake us. And for that, I’ll give thanks this Mother’s Day as I celebrate with the beautiful little family He’s already given me – grateful that I can call them mine.