Tuesday 14th January
Another long drive to Exeter. It’s D-Day today: provided I pass the final day of tests, I’ll be given my drugs!
The Pigmented Lesion Clinic is first ~ Dermatology. All clothes, apart from underwear removed, and the consultant checks me all over, very carefully, using a dermatoscope. He is very thorough, and finally announces that all is good, and he wants to see me again in four weeks.
Next stop is the lovely trials nurse for another batch of form filling, blood pressure, temperature, and four vials of blood taken from my arm. All looking good here.
We then move into the main waiting area, which is filling up fast. I’m called into one of the consulting rooms, and introduced to the ob/gynae consultant. He seems quite pleasant and cheerful ~ “I’ve been called down here to perform a technical function”. Well, if that’s what you want to call a pap smear, that’s OK by me! Bottom half clothes removed, smear sample taken, time to get dressed.
I move back into the waiting area, but it isn’t long before I’m called in to see the oncologist. Clothes off again ~ apart from underwear!! He wants to check my scar, the lumpy swelling at the top of my leg, lymph glands, my liver, abdomen.
And, and, and, well? Yes, all seems in order for me to take part in the Combi-Ad drugs trial! This is now getting serious. Down to business ~ I am given two pots of tablets: the big pot ~ Dabrafenib/placebo, two to be taken twice a day, twelve hours apart, one hour before food/two hours after food; the small pot ~ Trametinib/placebo, one taken each morning.
Combi-Ad, for one year! Well actually 12 months x 4 weeks = 48 weeks, or 12 months x 28 days, which is only 336 days in total.
Bring it on! Placebo or not, drugs or not, I’ll be incredibly well monitored with monthly visits to Exeter to see how I’m progressing.
If this helps me to live longer, live healthy, live happy, then GlaxoSmithKline you can look after me for a year. I’ll be on that tropical beach, under a parasol, cocktail in hand, living, loving, laughing for a good few years to come.