Wednesday, August 12, 2015

First Follow-Up: Encouraging News

This week marks six-weeks post-cells. I had a CT and MRI, after which I submitted a "Release of Medical Records" form so that I could obtain a copy of the images for my use, as well as a copy of the radiology reports.

On Tuesday (yesterday) the disk was ready. Patrick loaded it onto the computer, while I read the report. We were both stunned. Here's an excerpt from the "Impressions" portion of the report:

Findings consistent with favorable response to therapy, given the decrease in size and conspicuity of multiple bilateral pulmonary metastases without new pulmonary lesions or evidence of other sites of metastases.

No new tumors. Existing tumors are already shrinking!

I was receiving a blood transfusion at the time of this news, so I wasn't able to do a lot of jumping up and down. Or, you know, any jumping up and down. But on the inside, I was in flight, and couldn't wait to speak to my doctor, to get the official word. It was all I could do to keep from dialing his cell right.that.second. I refrained. I thought it best to keep the joyful screaming face-to-face.

Eventually, my doctor did arrive, along with the Lab Guru who played The key role in all things related to my DNA and my TIL. He shared some of his vast knowledge and experience with us, and by the time he was finished explaining his findings so far, we were in awe.

What an amazing afternoon! It was great to see my fellow again, and though the attending physician was someone I didn't know well, she was pleasant and encouraging. She was a bit more reserved in her enthusiasm than I was, preferring that we wait for the next follow-up, which will, according to her, remove any doubt that it could've been the cytoxan and fludarabine (the "conditioning chemo" that I received as part of the treatment) that were responsible for the day's good news.

I accused her of spouting "Loser talk," and would hear none of it.

Me: This is just the first step in a successful treatment. No more loser-talk!

Attending: I have to say the words.

OK then. My next follow-up will be in five weeks. Five short weeks!

Go, TIL!  Kill the bad guys!

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