Earlier this month was the anniversary of the first-ever time I was clinically recognized to have "No Evaluable Disease". Three years ago, a thoracic surgeon at NIH removed the only remaining living cancer from my body. I remember waking up in the ICU disoriented, weak, and heavily-drugged, but more-importantly, cancer-free.
Cancer-free! I remain so today. To God be the glory, now and forever. Lord, never let me forget what good was done to me. I reiterate my deepest thanks to every person who worked on my case at the National Institutes of Health--what an outstanding facility--and to those who still follow up with me. I pray that many more lives will be saved by the work of those dedicated to solving cancer's mysteries.
To celebrate the anniversary, my former immunotherapy fellow--though separated by miles--and I each raised a glass "to NED." I toasted every NIH doctor and nurse that I could remember, starting with him. My glass emptied before I could name them all (even with small sips, haha).
New this week: Dr. Yang requested some blood. They now know how to build (for other patients) the particular HLA that successfully attacked the cancer that was threatening my life. Now they want to study the other five HLAs in my blood to see if any of them also recognize cancer mutations, particularly G12D. If so, they'll sequence those genes in order to add another "recipe" to their cancer-killing agents catalog. "We want to build a library of sorts," he said. To that end, a local phlebotomist drew some blood and then FedEx transported it to the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. Go, Science!
I didn't want to post a picture of blood (gahh!), so here you go instead.
|Three Year Celebratory cocktail|