Still At Bat!

Yesterday and for much of today, Lee and I spent in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area. As I mentioned in my last post, it’s been a lot of closed doors for me as I tried to get into various clinical trials. And then, all of a sudden, I essentially received an invitation for a new trial that had just gone into the expansion phase. After reviewing medical information we frantically provided, they scheduled me to come in to sign the consent form and do a bunch of tests and scans. After having struck out with three prior trials, we were ecstatic!

However (gawd how I hate “howevers”) I received a phone from the clinical trial nurse a few days later telling me that the trial director, Dr. G., did not think I had sufficient disease progression to qualify for this trial. In order to qualify, patients had to have failed three different chemo treatment regimens. He felt that from the last report that I was essentially still stable on my current Lonsurf chemo. I was still welcome to come to the appointment with Dr. G. and get set up as a patient for potential future trials and that Dr. G could change his mind after meeting with me. Note to reader, they know that even if I was technically stable it would only be a matter of when, not if, Lonsurf would fail. So it’s always good to have prospects lined up, basically I was being shipped down to the minor leagues.

Nonetheless, I accepted their challenge. That is how I viewed the situation.  

We kept the appointment. To me they were absolutely wrong in their assessment. I had disease progression. Slow progression, but steady progression. I was a ship sinking, taking on water and the bilge pumps couldn’t keep up. But I was also in great physical shape for a cancer patient with nearly two years of constant chemo. Not to mention intelligent, science savvy, wonderfully charming and witty… a perfect specimen for their trial.

Several of the readers of this blog know me from my Mitsubishi days. Some were once my customers. They know my level of preparation and professionalism. I never showed up and just asked for an order. My customers and I planned for mutually beneficial business results based on logic. My meeting today was no different. I’m certain that Dr. G gets plenty of patients pleading for inclusion. This physician-scientist, a leader in immunotherapy trials, has no doubt become immune to such efforts. Frankly, I  was not optimistic with my chances, but  I have never allowed my pessimism to stop me from trying. I enlisted the assistance of Dr. P. and asked him to reach out to Dr. G. to discuss my case. I made certain that Dr. P knew my deadline. I wanted Dr. G to have the info, hopefully in the form of a conversation, from Dr.P before my meeting.

But, I had to have more than just my oncologist’s help, so I built a killer spreadsheet.  I analyzed all of the scan reports. Instead of TVs, projectors and audio, I crunched the numbers on my left lung, right lung, and liver. It  was crystal clear to me that this showed Lonsurf chemo was failing.  

It is very interesting that at one point last fall I had planned to have both lungs radiated. They were both mapped and scheduled for radiation. But then Dr. M wanted a biopsy of an untreated tumor in December for information for off label drug uses or potential clinical trials. At the last minute we excluded the radiation in the left lung to allow for biopsy access. If that hadn’t been done, I would be excluded for many, if not most, of the cutting edge trials. 

When we arrived in Phoenix yesterday afternoon I contacted Dr. P’s office to verify that he had contacted Dr. G.  Unfortunately, nothing had happened. I was crestfallen. Now it would be up to a slimy salesman (that is me) trying to convince a scientist that he was in error. “Just trust me on this one doc,” was what I heard in my head. 

It is Major League Baseball spring training in Phoenix.  The thought occurred to me that I was going to be me wearing the collar, 0 for 4 on clinical trials.  But Lee and I had a good birthday lunch for sister-in-law Susie and enjoyed a visit with my brother, Gino. Then Lee and I checked into our hotel and had a nice dinner and relaxed, game day was tomorrow. 

My appointment with Dr. G was at 7:30am this morning. I was told to be there at 7:15 sharp. At 7:25 with no one other than Lee and l on premises,  I was not feeling very confident. But the door was finally unlatched at 7:28, not that I was overly concerned or anything.  

Our meeting with Dr. G  was good from the get-go and then it got better. He reviewed the reports and suggested that Lonsurf was working., keeping my cancer in check. I gently disagreed and offered that that I had a spreadsheet that I thought illustrated that Lonsurf was not keeping my disease stable. I was shocked that he was genuinely pleased to look at it. It generated a conversation that he actually agreed with my analysis. However, he wanted to review my numbers.  What!!! He didn’t trust a salesman?😄. 

Dr. G. also stated he would call Dr. P. at lunchtime. Early this evening , the clinical trial nurse called me to let me know that both doctors connected and and they both agree I’m a good fit for this trial. One week from today we head back up to Scottsdale to sign the consent agreement and do all the tests!  Not only did I NOT wear the collar, I hit a home run. 

7:25…is anyone there?????

Dr. G waves his left hand over my face, an immunotherapy voodoo practice.

A hopeful Jimmy celebrates with an Americano and blueberry muffin!

I was able to complete one pet portrait this month, Maggie Mae.  A beautiful rescue border collie mix found malnourished and wandering the streets. She is now in a forever home and, I’m sure, spoiled rotten! Maggie..wake up there’s something I have to say to you…

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36 thoughts on “Still At Bat!

  1. That is such a well written post Jimmy A. Congratulations on your amazing ability to go where no one has ever before. You are a WellSpring as you map the finest SpreadSheet to do your best presentation to the Dr G. Maggie Mae one of the greatest Rod Stewart’s song as the Maggie Mae has the song, the eyes of her journey the Peace you presented her. Thank you & Lee for all your Love. Piepster

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great account of your most recent success, Jim.
      i just knew this story was going to have a good outcome.
      Keep on swinging for the fences.
      Just don’t let them check you for PED’s!
      Congratulations!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. wow! so happy all your hard prep work paid off. you must be one proud dude tonight! congratulations. can’t hurt your cause that you impress your docs maybe it shouldn’t matter to the doc how smart you are but it can’t hurt to have them wanting to help. another major and exciting era about to begin. love you. fingers, toes and eyes crossed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your Little LeeLee and I make a good team when it comes to dealing with docs and all of these complexities of cancer and the new immunotherapy treatments. I’m very proud of both of us!

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  3. Sounds as if God is listening to ALL our prayers for you. Good for you, fighting to get WHAT you want out of these Dr’s. Stay positive. Sandi

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  4. Great news! I am in experimental program myself for 5 years and was extremely difficult to get in. So far my program has worked amazingly well with drug released to market several months ago…hopefully your program has the same success.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. PET scans are very similar to a CT scan, except you don’t have to drink that special water. The give you an IV, dim the lights and you relax (I nap) for 30 minutes as it circulates so the the magic potion can show the metabolic activity or lack there of for any tumors they might find providing more information than a CT scan. Then they do the scan and off you go.

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  6. YESSS F*ck yes. Also, you will always keep my attention with baseball analogies! You know, one of the reasons I got out of acting was because I wasn’t very good at sales, and in theater the product you are selling is yourself. So – I hated all that. But YOU!! That is what you are doing, and doing so well! You landed your latest and greatest sale with Dr. G. I expect your year-end bonus to reflect a great sales year!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What great news and what a team you and Lee make!!! So hoping that this works. We’ll be seeing you in the “hood” in a couple of day!!! You continue to be an inspiration to so many!!! Thank you from the very bottom of our hearts

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Wonderful news my friend!! Patti, and I are so happy for the both of you! Nothing like receiving Good Positive News!! I will drink to that!!

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Jimbo,
    Yes, you were always prepared when you came in as my Mits rep.
    Your preparation has once again paid off, congratulations on getting into the trial.
    Best of luck, my friend.
    Rex

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Such an incredible journey you are on and you both are blazing a trail using all your many talents. Wishing you both great success on this new part of it. Marj

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