I am heading to UC Health hospital in Aurora for an extended “vacation” starting Wednesday, Sept 5.
My all expense paid stay is part of a clinical trial and will feature 7 glorious days of lymphodepletion /chemotherapy, followed by an infusion of billions of white bloods cells (specifically ‘Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes or TIL) and then, supposedly the fun part, 2-4 days of Interleukin-2 aka “IL-2” or a cytokine/signaling protein for the immune system. Its party time.
If you want to read about the study – http://www.iovance.com/our-science/til-platform/ or you can geek out on science if so inclined – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3462483/
Its been an eventful few months just getting here.
Starting with some evidence of progressive disease in the lymph nodes of my neck and along the liver, a short accounting of the last 2 months includes: 1 PET Scan, 2 CT scans of head /neck/ abdomen, 2 MRIs, 4 lab draws, 1 surgery, 1 colonoscopy, eye exam, a few millions doctor’s appointments, and a some different heart tests. Along the way, I had colitis and a rather unpleasant, festering infection in my neck.
If the brain scans had shown progression, if the colitis had not resolved with antibiotics or the infection had not healed, I would not be eligible for this exciting new trial.
Two months ago just getting here was daunting and there have been as you can imagine a few moments of fear, doubt and trepidation. But we are grateful to be here now.
Anyways, I don’t have prophetic or inspirational words of wisdom to offer tonight. Surprisingly or perhaps out of sheer delusion, I feel good. I know it probably makes no sense but for the most part I am at peace and enjoying life.
Work has been awesome and full of fun and challenging opportunities. I am receiving phenomenal medical care. We love our new house. The kids are back to school and do stuff to make this Dad amazed or beaming on a regular basis. Even Sarah has claimed that she will continue to love and care for me when I am sporting Anakin Skywalker’s look and the hair falls out.
Strength permitting, I will try to post a few times from my hospital bed.
Together, perhaps we will contemplate the delicate intricacies of mustard gas derivatives as they stampede through my veins.
May the force be with you always.