Tuesday 11th March
Leaving home at 8am to make the drive to Exeter, just over two hours away, I feel twinges of anxiety. I have been taking the pills for the Combi-Ad trial (trametinib and dabrafenib), for two months, and have appointments with the dermatologist and oncologist, as well as the trials nurse for bloods and obs.
A whole body skin check is first, and a small freckle-like mole is noted as something to keep an eye on. It’s on the inside of my left ankle, about 3mm in diameter, with a slight dark, raised pigmentation to it. Hmmmm, have not noticed that before; will have to watch it. Two consultant dermatologists had a close look, but were not unduly worried.
The next stop is to see the senior trials nurse who takes four vials of blood, my temperature, weight and blood pressure. Whoops, 145 over 92 is a bit high, maybe the result of my worry about the day! My nurse is lovely, and looks after me so well, answering questions, putting me at ease, making sure that the day runs smoothly. We talk about any changes that I may have been aware of, and I tell her about my tiredness, constipation, and a few spots around my mouth and nose. We also discuss the lymphoedema in my leg, and the great results that are being achieved with the weekly massage sessions.
The final appointment of the day is with the oncologist, who starts with a look at my left foot, the ‘mole which demands awareness’ on my ankle, the glands behind my knee and in my groin, and finishes with the tapping on my back ~ not sure about the last bit, but lots of doctors do this in films!!
I wait for my new pots of pills to be dispensed by the pharmacy, and we are done for the day. Arriving home at 6pm, it has been a long ten hours, but all seems good as I begin my third month on the trial.
And I’m still no further forward in knowing whether I’m in possession of the real drugs, or the placebo. But, the intensive monitoring is certainly very reassuring. Big smile, deep breath, and relax. See you in a month!