“Hi, this is…from UCSF. I’m calling about the cognitive trial?”
Boy, when Dr. Rugo sends an email, things happen. She was annoyed that no one had contacted me yet about the trial. “Yes,” I say. “I’ve been expecting your call.”
“Well, is this a good time to talk? I’d like to tell you about the study. ”
“Sure,” I say.
This is what they’d like to do:
Before chemo, they’ll do two brain scans, an MRI and a PET scan. Then they’ll do a blood draw and measure my estradiol, the amount of estrogen in my blood. They’ll also check to see if I have a genetic marker for Alzheimer’s. They’ll tell me the estradiol result, but not the Alzheimer’s result. Maybe they think that telling me I have a gene for dementia will make me stupid prematurely? Then, they’ll do some cognitive testing, memory games, that sort of thing, not so stressful as the SAT or the GRE.
They’ll repeat the scans and testing 1 month after chemo has begun.
They’ll do cognitive testing again, 9 months after chemo starts.
And finally, scans and testing 13 months out.
The nice young lady from UCSF will send me a consent form, and set up the appointments. Oh, and they’re giving me $200 for my trouble. Years ago, I pitched a story about being a human guinea pig to several magazines. I never sold that story idea, but now I’m getting to do it anyway. Who knew that cancer could be so profitable?