Here is how the story started….As you know I have started counseling with Network Of Strength as an on call hotline peer for breast cancer patients. It is going very well and I do this about 4-6 hours per week from home. (As a side note, one of the very rewarding aspects of this job is to help people who do not speak English but who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and need help either emotionally, financially or with treatment education. Network of Strength offers a translation service by where I access a translator over the conference call feature and then am able to communicate with the caller in virtually any language. It’s pretty neat!)
Well, last week I was contacted by our affiliate office who had been contacted by a medical research company who was arranging an advisory board for one of my chemo drug companies. This company makes Herceptin, which is a targeted gene therapy for women with rare Her2neu positive (+) breast cancer. Because I had this type of cancer, I was asked if I would apply, and so I did and I was accepted to be one of their patient ambassadors for the next year. Next weekend I will travel to Chicago to take part in a focus group of advisers discussing the doctor and patient education materials used by this company. It will be a unique opportunity to learn about the development and use of this drug, which just 6 years ago was only used for women whose cancer had already metastasized to other parts of their body. Now, it is also used for women with early staged her2+ breast cancer in an adjuvant setting, and is so far proving successful in keeping metastasis away! Along with being an all expense paid trip I am also paid for my time. 🙂 Who knew cancer could bring so many rewards? I would still never have wished to have gotten breast cancer but if I am able to benefit the next woman who calls that hot line or the next woman given the diagnosis of her2neu+, then I feel as if it wasn’t all in vain.