SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – An Auburn woman fighting cancer is looking for a clinical trial that could help save her life, but she says the government shutdown is shutting down her chances of finding one.
When standard medicine fails, many people turn to the National Institutes of Health for clinical trials. However, while federal workers are furloughed, it leaves those in life or death situations with very few places to turn.
Her whole life, Michelle Langbehn says she wanted to be a mom. When her daughter, Lula, was just 6 weeks old, doctors told Michelle she had a rare form of cancer and would only live a year. That was in April 2012.
“I obviously have beaten those odds, and I know I’m going to beat many more,” said Michelle. “It’s been my mission to prove doctors wrong.”
Hoping to defeat cancer, Michelle has been looking at clinical trials funded by the federal government. But due to the shutdown, she and hundreds like her are watching the minutes tick by as their applications sit, waiting to be reviewed.
“I find it difficult that they’re not looking at the lives that are at stake, and they’re looking at this as whose winning or not,” said Michelle.
For Michelle’s husband Josh, it is tough knowing her life is on the line while a possible cure for her cancer is put on hold by partisan politics.
“It was sort of like a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s faint but there was a light there,” he said.
While politicians debate day after day, those days are more precious to Michelle, who’s hoping Washington can come to an agreement soon.
“It’s not about winning; it’s about surviving,” she said.
Right now, Michelle is hopeful about another clinical trial she’s found, which is not federally funded.