Thursday, June 7, 2012

If Opportunity Doesn’t Knock, Build A Door

Hello from chemo! Yes, I’m wearing a wig for the second time ever. (The first time was at a lunch with a friend also going through BC treatment - we both wore our wigs to try them out!) My hair is actually starting to grow back now – there’s about a half of an inch of peach fuzz on my head! I wear a scarf to cover it up, but now it’s kind of weird b/c it’s embarrassing when the new hair peeks out on the sides. So which is it? Am I embarrassed to be bald, or to have hair? Argh! Today I couldn’t even find a scarf to match my outfit, so I decided to try looking “normal” (i.e. not like a cancer patient) and have hair. If a 20-month-old’s opinion counts, it’s a winner – she looked at me funny, then said “Mama! Hair!” and petted me on the head. So sweet!

Today is #12 (out of 16) – only 4 treatments left! I feel so close to the finish line! It’s so crowded here at the hospital today – every single chair is taken in both the big room and the small room. I found one last chair back in the tiny private room. There are only 2 chairs in here and the other lady is asleep with a big breast cancer blanket over her. I kind of like it back here though – I feel like a cancer VIP, ha! It’s been a crazy week, but I’m finally getting caught up so it’s kind of nice to just sit here in the quiet. Our A/C went out at the house on Tuesday, and it got up to 85! It was so hot, we were all melting. Thank you SO much to the Hoods for letting us bring the Parkey circus over to stay the night – dogs and all! Sometimes you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone (and I don’t mean health this time) – I sure am glad the A/C is fixed now and we can get back to normal. And Stella is so happy to be in the cool air at home with her Mimi right now!  
Yesterday Ben and I went to see Dr. Nemunaitis at the Mary Crowley Cancer Research Center. I feel so lucky to have him at my side throughout this process (that's Ben, not Dr. Nemunaitis!). At Mary Crowley, they do clinical trials for new drugs and vaccines, working hand in hand with Texas Oncology, which is the group my oncologist is part of at Presby. I don’t want to say too much yet, until we know whether I’m qualified, but there’s a chance I might be able to be part of a clinical trial for a new vaccine. Pretty exciting!! But we have to wait about another week to find out what my HLA type is. The study is only for people who have the two most common HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen) types – which covers about 55% of the population. What’s an HLA? Yeah I had no idea either. The main function of HLAs is to recognize the cells of the body and to detect foreign cells that don’t belong. Matching HLA types is important for people who need transplants, and they also play a role in certain inherited diseases. If I qualify (by having the right HLA type), I will get a series of vaccines after I finish chemo. If I’ve lost you in my rambling, the main point is this: It could help prevent the cancer from coming back for me, as well as further the research for other breast cancer patients! They are still trying to determine the right dosage for this vaccine before they release it, so with each group of participants, they increase the dose, until people complain of too many side effects. I will take whatever I can get though to fight this, for me and for everyone else going through this journey. When it comes to gambling with your life, I really feel like there is no other choice than to give it 100% effort. And hopefully a clinical trial can be added to my regular treatment plan, we’ll see!
I will try to update more often, I promise! It always amazes me that people notice when I haven’t updated in a while. I’ll leave you with my quote of the day:
Only 4 more chemos left!
Haha just kidding. Can you tell what’s on my mind? Ok, seriously:
Anything worth having is worth fighting for.
Hope you all are having a great week!


Anonymous said...

Yea to only 4 more chemos!! Keep us posted on the clinical trial- that would be awesome. Hang in there girl- you are *almost* done! We are always thinking of you.
Julie & Marc

Anonymous said...

Yay...only 4 more treatments!!! I admire you more and more with each blog entry! You truly are a fighter and I am so happy I have you as a friend! Keep fighting it is people like you that make this world a better place! XOXO

Angele Burton

Anonymous said...

Good to hear from you girlie! Keep on keepin' on and yay for only 4 more! Love ya,

Dorian Romero said...

Woooo whooooo!!!! Only 4 more chemo sessions! And you might get to participate in a study to help prevent this type of cancer, too??? How amazing! I'm glad to hear such wonderful news and thankful for your update. I can't believe how fast time flies. I also can't believe how big Stella is getting! Keep the updates coming! P.S. I really like the wig!

Alli Parkey said...

Y'all are so sweet - thank you so much!! Thanks for the comments/feedback - I don't know how I'd get through this without the support. I am always here for each of you too!! XOXOXOXO Alli

Adrienne elrod said...

You are amazing Alli!! Love u! Xoxo

Alli Parkey said...

Thanks A - love u! Have a great weekend!
xxoo Alli

Sarah Thompson said...

4 more!! Yay Alli!!!
The wig is so cute on you, too. It looks very natural.

Know that our family is praying for you, girl. Fingers also crossed about the study - I hope you can get in!