Posts Tagged ‘immune system’

Ready and waiting

Ready and waiting.

March 30,2015

II am sitting in the waiting room at the new building waiting to be called.  I have cleared all my test, given a briefing by the research nurse, and my port is accessed.  Today is my first day to received a new clinical trial drug; an immuno-therapy treatment.

Needless to say I am anxious since this is new.  The nurse order anti-nausea drugs and skin rash drugs.  I was told to expect some skin problems like acne (OMG, acne at my age.  Oh well…).  Bring it on.  Today is the chemo drug, tomorrow is the immune boosting drug.

I am already thankful I got this far and entered into this new cutting edge trial.  I try not to put too much expectation on this, after all this is a clinical trial.  We will not know unless we try.  Such is the life of a gerbil on wheels.


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Giving up an inch is like giving up on hope

February 19, 2014

It moved again.  My CEA (tumor) count went up again—slightly, as my nurse told me.  True.  An incremental .10 increase is small compared to a full point increase so I should not be worrying.  (Note:  I had another blood test a week after when my platelet were low to check if I have recovered and if there are any CEA activity).

If you follow the Sochi Olympic or any world class events, the difference between a gold, silver, bronze or a world record is measured by centimeters, inches, or micro-seconds.  At this level of competition it requires years of dedication and sacrifice.  Everything must be perfect the moment you step on the ice or the starting line of an elite marathon event.  You don’t give an inch, a micro-second, or a goal until it is time.

Similarly, I may not be a world class athlete but each time I give up an incremental increase in my tumor count, I feel robbed.  I hate it.  I have made many sacrifices and my cancer still manage to shave off something out of me.  It is slowly thinning out my hope for cure.  Besides I don’t have anything to spare especially when my CEA count is more than 100% beyond the normal threshold.

I am not giving up.

Today, I consulted with doctors at the University of Chicago (U of C) Hospital to see what are the possible cancer trial programs open for me there.  I am now looking at experimental drugs that might fit me.  Like all consultations I have done from Mayo to MD Anderson, and now U of C, there are only possibilities and hope.  This is the nature of cancer: there are many elements to consider.

They believe that my immunity is strong that I am able to co-exist with my cancer or that my cancer is weak.  They also believe that the CEA tumor count can be misleading.  To settle matter, they recommend a CT scan for comparative analysis. This way it will be conclusive if my CEA count is giving me false positive readings.  A growth in my tumor means my CEA count is giving me the right signal; otherwise, they are treated as noise.

They also believe I can fit into an immuno-therapy trial because of my profile.  It is like weaponizing my immune system to target my cancer.  Or I try this other chemo pill.  So, there are options and possibilities which is all what I can hope for.

It also means I have just broaden my team to help me beat my cancer at world class level.  I willing to do the work and make any sacrifice to take back that inch I was robbed.  It starts tomorrow, when go back to my unfinished chemo.


P.S.  A surprise “care package” came in yesterday from my German friend FrankH.  I appreciate it.  Thanks.  (I wrote about FrankH in a post dated November 7, ‘I am ready.’)

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