Tanya B. is not afraid of new experiences. In fact, even though she had never been involved in clinical research, she had no reservations about spending the night at JCCR...she thought to herself, "I live alone. I don't have too many responsibilities"....
It all started with a phone call. Tanya saw a television ad for cardiovascular disease research and scheduled an evaluation with study coordinator, Gail Lowe. When she did not meet the exact criteria for that particular program, Gail recommended that she be evaluated for a congestive heart failure study involving a period of overnight stays in the new Phase I unit at JCCR.
Tanya, a youthful looking, grandmother of three, sat down with me recently to describe her experience with our center and the Phase I program.
She related to me how she has a strong family history of heart disease, but even after suffering a heart attack herself seven years ago, she never really took her health care seriously - taking her prescribed medications only sporadically. Her progressive heart disease, however, was debilitating and "depressing". She was frequently hospitalized for symptoms relating to heart failure and high blood pressure episodes. It wasn't until she was admitted with pneumonia that she finally began to "connect the dots" between her lifestyle and her health. She started to take her health seriously, beginning with her medications and then started to research and read about cardiovascular disease.
So, Tanya came into JCCR with a good basic knowledge of her cardiovascular disease and the professionals on staff helped her to connect the dots even further by explaining the role of research in finding new therapeutic approaches to congestive heart failure and improving cardiovascular outcomes. Because the program is funded by a sponsor grant, there is no cost to participate and all of the preliminary screening tests are free.Tanya received multiple echo-cardiograms, a colonoscopy and a mammogram in preparation for her clinical trial. All along the way, the process was explained and the objectives were outlined.
Her favorite part of the eight-night program was that she didn't have to prepare any meals! All were provided for her - breakfast, lunch and dinner. She also liked the peace and quiet, although she was allowed visitors. Frequent attention from the staff and close monitoring from the physicians made her feel comfortable and confident.
Tanya admits today that she enjoyed participating in the Phase I program and would encourage others to do the same. "Educate yourself and learn the objectives". In other words, come spend the night at JCCR!