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In July 2012, at the age of 38, I was given the devastating news that I had advanced ovarian cancer. This is my blog and the story of my fight to regain my health. I hope to share with you things that I've found helpful along my journey and keep you posted on my progress.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Clinical Trial Disappointment

I just wanted to do a quick update.

First of all I’d like to express my huge thanks for all the donations that have been made. Thank you for the Rock Choir members who were kind enough to have a look at my blog and generously donate.  I really appreciate it.

I took another blood test on the 20th October and my tumour marker went down to 33, 2 points under the normal limit of 35 that I needed to achieve to qualify for the clinical trial of the new PARP Inhibitor drug.   However, I had one more hurdle to overcome – my blood counts were too low to go ahead and the window of opportunity to start the trial was running out.  I had less than one week left to get my blood counts up.

I agreed to have a blood transfusion over the weekend and re-tested my blood on the Monday.  My red blood cells were now up to the required level, but my white blood cells where still too low.  The doctors gave me one more chance to test my white  blood cells on Wednesday but unfortunately they were still too low.  Nobody can explain why my white blood cells were so low, as my last chemo was 8 weeks ago, so it should have recovered by now, but my view is that it may have been caused by stopping all my supplements (which are prohibited on the trial), as these had been supporting my immune system.

Anyway, I was quite upset at first that I didn’t qualify for the clinical trial, but after a while I accepted that it was just not meant to be.  I’d done everything I could to try to get on to the trial but as I see it now, the universe just didn’t want me to go on that path.

So, what now!  I saw a very experienced medical herbalist few a weeks ago who suggested a completely new supplement regime to support my body’s natural defences.  I’m going to start this and I hope it will make a difference.

The doctors at the hospital have arranged for another CT scan and blood test to check my tumour marker in 5 weeks time.  Although my last two CT scans showed no visible disease and my tumour marker is now within the normal range, it is almost certain that some cancer cells remain and that it will start growing back quite soon.  I’ve been told to expect this to happen sooner than with my previous remission, which was only 7 months long.  However, despite this, the doctors have no other treatments that they can offer me under the NHS until they see the disease on the CT scan, as there are no approved drugs for use in my situation. 

I’m not happy with this watch-and-wait approach, as it seems to me that it is better to try to fight the cancer when it’s weaker rather than wait for it to grow stronger again, so I’m exploring what other private treatment options there are that I could possibly pursue now to improve my longer term prospects.

I am particularly keen on immunotherapy type treatments, which I feel offer more chance of a real breakthrough, rather than simply buying more time.  These treatments do not try to kill cancer cells with toxic chemicals, like chemo, but instead they train the body’s own immune system to fight off the cancer.  There are two different types of immunotherapy treatments that I’m currently looking into:   Dendritic Cell Therapy and Immunepheresis.  I am still in the process of researching these and thinking through what to do next but I do feel that I need to do something fairly soon before the cancer takes over again.  This is where I need your help and your donations to my fundraising appeal will make a difference. 

That’s all from me for now.  I will keep you informed.