Thursday, December 10, 2015

Flashback to Wildebeest

I'm living too much "in my head" these days, thinking back to where I was a year ago.  Saturday (12/12) will be the first anniversary of the day the cancer was confirmed metastatic.  The medical world had a new term for my condition, terminal.

I think a flashback to my visit with the ophthalmologist during chemo two years ago is in order.  It was a crazy time that I don't want to re-live, but it shows that even in chemotherapy treatment, there was a lot to laugh at if you looked for it.

It is mind-boggling to think of myself going from a diagnosis of "terminal disease" to the brink of "partial response to TIL therapy" in the space of a year.  Craziness!  Some describe cancer as a journey.  For me it has been a riot--ludicrous in a way, but dreadfully serious in another.  What to make of it?  I have no idea!  I just hope that I can help someone else along the way.  I think that's the overarching goal of every human life:  service.

Speaking of helping...

Update on the TIL trial.  NIH has added what is referred to as a "check-point inhibitor"* (an anti-PD-1 antibody) to the protocol.  Pembrolizumab will now be given to patients who are enrolled on this trial in addition to tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL).  See the updated trial description here. Note:  I have not, and will not receive pembrolizumab. My treatment phase is over; I'm now in the monitoring phase.

*My friend, Tom, wrote an excellent article describing check-point inhibitors in Part 1 of his Fight CRC article.  See Part 2 for more on immunotherapy.

super genius