I was invited to participate in a research clinical trial at Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, an impressive medical facility located at the Harbor UCLA Medical Center Campus. It sounded so advanced, on the leading edge of medicine and an opportunity to help myself and others suffering from my disease. So I signed up after meeting the basic criteria for entering the study. The Rehabilitation Clinical Trials Center is most impressive with state-of-the-art medical equipment and an internationally known medical staff. The purpose of my trial was to explore the possible positive effects of combining a medicine with a supervised physical training program to see what effects this might have on breathing efficiency and performance. I can’t share the name of the company sponsoring the study or the medication, as it is still underway, but they seem to be dedicated to improving people’s lives, and that’s OK with me.
I must say I had a small sense of smugness when I shared with my friends and associates that I had been selected to participate in a special medical clinical trial. I felt quite special participating in this medical research project.
My study involved visiting the Clinical Trials Center three times per week for physical exercise lasting about an hour and half. I was one of several participants in this months-long study. The trial included state-of-the-art measurements of physical strength and lung function, which in itself is quite valuable to know. I exercised on the treadmill, and used other sophisticated exercise equipment under the supervision of one or more professional medical staff, including several doctors. The research staff were not only closely following the protocols of the study and documenting all my activities but gave me a feeling that they genuinely cared about helping me.
Did it all pay off? At the conclusion of the trial, they tested me to see what improvements, if any, there were in my physical and pulmonary condition. In the post-trial exercise walking assessment, I improved by a factor of two and my muscle strength improved significantly! As a result of participating in this program, I feel much more physically fit, possibly fitter than I have felt in a long time. For me, this proved conclusively the incredible importance of exercise and has motivated me to continue this type of exercise after the trial. If you have ever considered participating in a clinical trial, I suggest you give it a chance. I did and it has made a difference in my life.
Furthermore, participation in this trial has left me with the sense that I am taking control of my life by doing something that may ultimately help me, and others, suffering from this disease. And that makes this all worthwhile.