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.