Update May 2018:
Mike continues to respond well to the AG-120 he receiving in a clinical trial for a rare form of bone cancer called chondrosarcoma. He recently published a book about his cancer journey called No Treatment Options Left, available as a Kindle e-book on Amazon.
To the very exceptional people at Lazarex Cancer Foundation,
The news itself from my doctor was nothing short of amazing. We were expecting good news, but what we got was fantastic news. The tumors in my lungs are rock-stable: no movement; no growth; no anything. The PET images of the tumor in what remains of my left leg show extensive calcification; meaning the drug is shutting down the cellular activity of the tumor and it's morphing into regular bone-type tissue. This change is VERY visible on the scan images and shows the drug is definitely working and working very well.
The AG-120 drug trial itself is expanding its scope to include many more patients and my doctor tells me they hope to move from Phase One to Phase Two trials very soon. He also said given my response, he strongly feels that I will survive another 10 years at a minimum, if not more, on the drug at my current dose level. This is quite a change from 2011 when my doctor told me I had less than five years to live.
Given our level of gratitude for being on this trial, the words 'thank you' seem pathetically inadequate; but they are the words we have. So on behalf of me and my family, thank you to each and every one of you at Lazarex. Thank you for helping me find the trial drug I needed and thank you for your ongoing help getting me to the trial site for the treatment and care I need. Since my cancer battle started, this is the first time I feel genuinely optimistic without worrying when the other shoe was going to drop, or wondering when I'd hear the doctor say "Well, but..." In my best moment as a writer, I can't find the words to tell you how good that feels. So I'll stick with the usual phrase and once again simply say "Thank you".
I love you all. Many thanks from the Snyder family for everything you do, along with bringing hope and a future back into our lives.
In early 2012 it would not be much of a stretch to say that hope was in rather short supply at my house. The previous year I had been diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and it was inoperable. I ended up on a clinical trial at MD Anderson in Houston for a new drug designed specifically for my type of cancer. But a harsh reality was threatening to derail everything.
The protocol for the clinical trial required me to travel from my house in Albuquerque to Houston every two weeks for treatments and prescriptions. After seven months of travel to Houston we were nearly broke. We had gone through savings, inheritance money and a second mortgage paying for my travel and care. We were weeks away from either stopping the treatment or moving to Houston so I could continue in the clinical trial. But moving meant quitting my job, uprooting my family and going on disability. Filing for bankruptcy wasn’t out of the question.
Then Lazarex stepped in to help. My travel costs were covered. All of it. From airfare to hotel to cab-fare, Lazarex began picking up the tab. I could continue my drug trial and treatment. I could focus on healing and living. Hope came back to our house when Lazarex started helping us. The help from Lazarex has been and continues to be a blessing on so many levels. When one clinical trial closed and another one started, my support from Lazarex continued, allowing me to keep living and working.
I said once before the help from Lazarex isn’t just saving my life, it’s giving me back my life by allowing me to participate in clinical drug trials that are keeping my cancer at bay. This allows me to keep working, keep supporting my family and, most of all, keep enjoying each day of life without the dark cloud of inoperable cancer intruding.
Saying “thank you” seems such an inadequate phrase given the level of gratitude Sarah and I feel for the help you’ve given us. But it’s the only phrase we have. So thank you Lazarex for the help you have given us. Thank you for the hope you have given us. Thank you for giving us a way to fight cancer. Thank you for helping us take our lives back and live again. I have no doubt that God exists. I know because I’ve met his angels here on Earth; the ones that are helping me and my family. They work at Lazarex Cancer Foundation.
All the best to each of you,
Mike Snyder and Family