I was surprised to see that it’s been more than a month since my last update. For that, I apologize. Here’s the latest:
– After the doctor in Nashville told David and me that I was ineligible for their clinical trials, my doctor here in Knoxville thought there might be something we could do locally. He ran tests on one of the tumors that came out of my lung to see if I have a rare genetic disorder that would have made a different kind of immunotherapy an option. Turns out I don’t have that genetic disorder, which is bad because it rules out that kind of immunotherapy but very good because it means I’m not passing on to Drew and Evan that weird cancer gene disorder.
– We also discussed the possibility of T-cell therapy in Baltimore. I won’t go into all the details, but it would basically mean cracking open my chest, taking a section out of a tumor in the lymph nodes in my chest, extracting T-cells that are fighting the cancer, and exponentially growing them. While the T-cells are growing, the folks in Baltimore would be killing my immune system with chemo before reintroducing a massive amount of T-cells which would fight the cancer. It’s proving to be very effective therapy, and I’m intrigued by it. However, we need to get my lungs healthier before trying something so dramatic.
– So, I’m taking Lonsurf chemo pills as we originally planned. I started them on Thursday, and so far I’m doing OK. In fact, I feel far worse from antibiotics I’m taking for infection in my lung than from the chemo pills. I take the chemo pills 10 days over a 28-day cycle – probably for as long as I can tolerate the treatment.
If you’re wondering why I’m taking chemo pills after I said I was through with chemo, it’s because the cancer in my lymph nodes is causing so many problems with breathing and extra fluid around my heart and in my lungs. With the cancer where it is, choosing quality over quantity of life isn’t really an option. We’re hoping the pills will greatly shrink or get rid of the tumors and slow the growth of new ones.
More news on the swallowing pride front: Today I got approved for a portable oxygen tank, something I never dreamed I’d wear in public much less be excited about. Excited I am, though, and don’t be surprised to see me sporting it if you see me around town. Just make sure I steer clear of gas grills and other flammables.
On a more somber note, tomorrow I go to the funeral of Judy Nolen, a dear friend who died from cancer. Judy was a wonderful woman who diligently prayed for me throughout my illness and spread light and laughter wherever she went. It breaks my heart for her family, and I hate to think about my family having to say goodbye to me. As with all things, I’ll leave it in God’s hands. He’s in control anyway, and so long as I remember that I have peace.
Slow and steady wins the race,
“The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4