Cheryl had to face a poor prognosis, mid-life Lung Cancer. A myriad of tests showed a tumor in her right lung and that the cancer had spread to other organs. Cheryl went through different treatment modalities, including the standard of care consisting of chemotherapy and immunotherapy. None of these treatments were successful and subsequently left Cheryl tired, disheartened, and overwhelmed.
Like many other cancer patients dealing with a poor prognosis, she was facing the following dilemma: "On one hand, you have your concerned friends and family that are just pouring into you an explosion of information that is mind-boggling and overwhelming 'call this doctor, go here, go to Mexico to get treatment, go to Germany,' and on the other hand, your oncologist, who is supporting a more traditional approach is telling you that advanced treatments and clinical trials were not well-proven and meant for end-of-life options." She explains further, "It is both a quest for the right treatment, but more so, a desire to understand your options with the pros and cons of each."
When the need to choose between trusting her oncologist and seeking more hopeful options became clearer, Cheryl was referred by a friend to Sagely Health for help with strategic treatment planning.
When Cheryl engaged with Sagely Health, she was on a non-FDA-approved drug for treating her rare lung cancer subtype. While this therapy made her very sick and hindered her quality of life, she lacked other options. The Sagely Health research process helped Cheryl recognize other innovative therapy options and introduced her to experts with expertise in her unique situation. The new possibilities not only improved her well-being, but also introduced newfound hope.
Cheryl compares the feeling of being diagnosed with cancer to having the rug pulled out from under her and feels that Sagely Health cares for her in ways her primary care team cannot. "Having comfort is certainly not something we [cancer patients] take for granted at all because we don't get it much, and you know, it's not just physical comfort, it's more mental and emotional comfort. It doesn't come easily, so when you can work with a group like Sagely, it's more than feeling well-taken care of. It's the feeling that, no matter what, they're here for you. You will get an answer and get help, and it's done quickly and with loving care. That's what gives us [cancer patients] comfort, which is priceless."
With Sagely Health's assistance, Cheryl said she has gained back normalcy: "That's the biggest thing that it's [Sagely Health] brought back, I'm back to work now, and I golfed yesterday, and we got together with friends and family—it feels like normal, it's a gift. Almost the entire first year after diagnosis, I was on chemotherapy, and it was rough. You lose half of your life to keep getting and recovering from chemo. After you recover, the amount of time you have left is so short, and anything that you could accomplish seems overwhelming, because another chemotherapy cycle is around the corner. It does a power trip on your mind, and so any sense of normalcy is gone. That's what this has given me, normalcy in that I can have a treatment that I can have a life with. That's a big deal."
When considering future steps, Cheryl feels comfortable knowing that her current treatment could support her for a very long time. If it does stop working at some point, whether in weeks or even years to come, Sagely Health will help her stay ahead of her cancer. As she looks ahead towards her next treatment option, Sagely Health has run a search using their innovative technology to find clinical trials for her. This search has yielded trials in her area that Cheryl’s patient advocate has worked to verify and implement on her behalf. She has the options and support she needs to continue living as normal and happy a life as possible with her cancer.
Cheryl has been a patient with Sagely Health for almost two years now. She embodies the mission of Sagely by embracing innovative therapies and advice, instilling hope in herself and loved ones.