I’ve taken many a road trip in my life. During my senior year of high school, a group of us headed to Daytona Beach during Spring Break to celebrate our upcoming graduation. In college, there were many trips around the Southeast following the Georgia Bulldog football team. And after graduation, a group of us would road trip once a year to a new golf mecca for our annual golf outing.
Cancer Trip to Seattle
No, my traveling to Seattle is not a pilgrimage to the home of Starbucks to pursue the art of making the perfect Skinny Vanilla Latte. Actually, the purpose of the trip is to gain clarity and consult with the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance at the University of Washington. I have a rare form of skin cancer called Merkel Cell Carcinoma. There are less than 1500 cases of merkel cell cancer per year so the diagnosis is rare and there is no defined treatment protocol like you would have with breast cancer or prostate cancer. Merkel is most prevalent in people over the age of 65 and most of the treatment options are based on a less aggressive approach due to their age. So in my situation, being only 45 with the merkel cell cancer now having metastasized, it seemed like a good time for to travel to where the research was being done.
Merkel Cell Cancer
Very little research of the skin cancer research has focused exclusively on merkel cell carcinoma and most of what has been done is in conjunction with advanced melanoma research or as an auxiliary component to single cell lung cancer. Most of the exclusive merkel cell research has occurred in Seattle through a collaboration between the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and the University of Washington. I was fortunate enough (prayers answered) to get an appointment on short notice at the SCCA clinic. This appointment is the reason I’m making a cancer road trip to Seattle for a consultation with Dr. Paul Nghiem, a leading researcher on my type of cancer.
Merkel Cell is on the rise and it is something you need to aware of yourself and your loved ones. I have attached a link to the latest research for you WebMD’ers or for those who prefer a cliff note approach, here is a video which discusses merkel cell and the research being done in Seattle: King 5 Merkel Cell New Report.
So tomorrow I will be traveling to Seattle seeking answers and clarity with regard to treating the merkel cell now that it has spread, but regardless of what I learn, I will be trusting God period in my cancer journey.
I borrow the phrase “trust God period” from cancer survivor and award-winning sportscaster Ernie Johnson who coined the phrase in describing his approach to living with the uncertainty that is cancer. His interview starts at the 21:00 point in the podcast and something I recommend to everyone who is battling cancer.
trusting God period!