Significant Adverse Event


Well, my infusion Tuesday of the oncolytic virus Enad didn’t go so well. I had two bouts of the rigors, the first one about four hours after infusion of the virus. They pumped me full of Demerol and Benadryl to stop my shaking and chills. The drugs did their job and Jimmy was very relaxed and happy. However, about an hour later, here we go again with a “whole lot of shakin’ going on.” My oxygen level also dropped to the low 80’s making me hypoxic. This means there was a deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching my body’s tissues. Not a good thing. The drop in oxygen was rather rapid causing a condition called “ataxia” with symptoms of intoxication. If I’m going to act drunk, I prefer the cause to be the over-consumption of fine wine, rather than lack of oxygen. I feel cheated!

So it was decided to ship me off via ambulance (so I could get some oxygen) to the oncology floor at the University of Arizona hospital. Unfortunately there was “no room at the inn” so they parked me in the ER overnight. This was not Jimmy’s most fun filled evening, nor was it very relaxing. At one point my fever hit 104.

In the morning the nurse wanted to give me some tests to help determine the cause of my emergency event and  wanted to give me a shot of heparin! I tactfully, as a sleep deprived person could, explained to him that I already knew the cause and I didn’t need the heparin since I was leaving in a few minutes. I think it went something like: “No (expletive deleted) way, now get out of here..shoo, shoo!”

me in er

My heroine Lee arrived early in the morning to rescue me from the bowels of the hospital, after preparing breakfast for Lord Cotswold the cat, of course. Several hours later, after visits by two different doctors and the flushing and closing of my IV port, I was released. In the interim we were contacted by Dr. M’s nurse indicating that he would like to meet with us. So instead of heading home to a hot shower and a nice comfy bed, we drove the two miles to the Cancer Center to visit with Dr. M.

Dr. M was concerned about the infusion and referred to it as a Significant Adverse Event (SAE) to the Enad infusion.  SAE is a medical phrase for an undesired harmful effect resulting from medication or other medical intervention. Dr. M rated it a Grade 3 SAE. He recommended that we discontinue the two remaining Enad infusions that were planned. This is a Phase One trial. The purpose of this Phase One trial is to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) along with anti-tumor activity. My body was signalling that we were near my limit, my MTD. There is a limit to the amount a body can take of the virus. My responses to all four of my infusions indicated that Enad was working, causing all sorts of havoc, and there was little or no additional benefit with additional infusions and not worth the risk. The other patient on the trial here in Arizona reached his MTD after three infusions. Dr. M suggested that we continue the trial with Opdivo. It is required that Dr. M notify the trial sponsor, PsiOxus, of any SAE within 24 hours. After reviewing the information, PsiOxus agreed with Dr. M.

Although I know this is the smart decision, I am a little bummed.  My thinking was that they had planned on six shots of Enad for a reason and I’m only getting four. Lee reminded me that more is not always best in a Phase One trial. In the Phase One trial of Oxaliplatin, a successful chemo drug, the patients that had the largest dosage ended up with permanent nerve damage, while those patients with the lower dose had temporary side effects. Next week the trial continues with my second infusion of Opdivo. Now if you will excuse me, it’s time for a splash of white wine to knock the dust off this day, which should tell you I am feeling fine.







Pincushion Man Rides Again

  Today Lee and I had a visit with Dr. M at the University of Arizona Cancer Center and he was quite excited that I am such a boring patient. I had no side effects to share with him, oh how boring of me!  My blood work is boring, I have no rashes, no bulging or swelling, even my cough has diminished a bit. Just totally boring. My only problem is self-inflicted back pain from exercising, which is on the mend.

But I’ll have another opportunity to generate excitement beginning tomorrow. Week II of “Hell Week” begins tomorrow with my second round of Enad, the oncolytic “cancer killing” virus. Actually this round will be a hell week two-two. No, I won’t be wearing a ballerina outfit, but they are spreading out the infusions over more days. So instead of three infusions over five days, with only one day in between to recover, I will have two days between the infusions. All the infusions are essentially 12-hour days, so this new schedule should allow Lee and I to recover a bit between infusions. To fill out the balance of the second week, the Cancer Center is throwing in an all day Opdivio immunotherapy drug infusion and then a lung biopsy the following day. The lung biopsy will reveal how well the Enad virus penetrated the tumors. The following week I will have a CT scan. It will be a busy and uncomfortable couple of weeks, but by mid-May we should have a pretty clear idea how this little experiment is working.

The balance of the clinical trial settles down after this to a single infusion of Opdivo every three weeks, with a few office visits, CT scans and blood draws thrown in for chuckles. Lee and I are looking forward to the extra free time. It seems that the last five months have been nothing but procedures, treatments, tests, scans and consultations. 

Speaking of fun, I went to a reunion on Saturday. Well, actually the reunion came to me when several Mitusbishi alumni gathered in Green Valley. It was great to share memories, laughter, good food and wine.  

Live life to its fullest!

Round One of Opdivo

On April 12th, 62 years ago today, the Salk vaccine for polio was approved. It was seven years too late for little Jimmy. I am hoping this does not reoccur with my cancer treatment. I have no doubt that cancer will be licked soon and  I am hoping I will slide just under the tag with my clinical trial this time.

Tuesday I had my first infusion of the immunotherapy drug, Opdivo. Opdivo has been very effective in eliminating tumors in about 15% of colorectal cancer cases where the tumors are unstable. However, with my tumor characteristics and most others, Opdivo has been generally ineffective. The hope and the plan is that the oncolytic virus that I had infused two weeks ago would disrupt my tumors leaving a pathway for Opdivo to rally armies of T-cells to kick some cancer butt. The infusion took about an hour, but I was there all day. Since I am part of a research project, they want to check my vitals and draw blood periodically to check for any changes over an 8-hour period. It was a 12-hour day, door to door, for Lee and I.

With a newspaper and an Americano in hand, Jimmy settles down for a long winter’s nap

Unlike the live virus infusion, where I am in isolation, Lee and I were able to roam around the Cancer Center…that’s good for about ten minutes. But we were able to have lunch in their cafe’s outside garden, which was nice. Not long after lunch I began to feel a little chilled, so we headed upstairs to the chemo suite. They covered me with hot blankets and took my vitals. The nurse noticed that I couldn’t hold the thermometer still. I was really shaking. She quickly sprung into action, ordering Benadryl and Demerol and calling for reinforcements. Soon I had all these hospital people watching me. It was like I was on stage, and I wanted to do some tricks or tell them some jokes. It seems I was having a rigors attack, severe shivering and chills. Although uncomfortable, it is much preferable to rigor mortis! After a few minutes and all those chemicals, I felt fine.

Since I’ve been home, I’m feeling pretty good. I have had some fever (controllable) and the stinking cough, but nebulizer treatments help. I am off next week and then the last week of the month I have another round of the oncolytic virus.

Calendar Girl
Miss Bubble, 2004-2017  R.I.P.

We had to say “good-bye” to our dear Miss Bubble yesterday. It was so very difficult to say farewell to this sweet girl kitty, but I’m sure she is sleeping on the fluffiest soft clouds and getting her “scratchies” from the stars.

I was able to complete a pet portrait this week, Chico and Freddie, who hale from Sacramento.

chico & freddie
Freddie has been to every doggie parlor in Sacramento and none of them can straighten his tail!



A Song of Excitement

Below is my column from today’s Green Valley News. I was so excited that I wrote a song for it. Well a verse, anyway. Music by Meredith Wilson, lyrics by Jimmy Asbell.

But first, I know you are all wondering if I was able to set a new land speed record in Saturday’s Relay For Life event. Alas the race conditions were less than ideal, with sustained 20-mile-per-hour winds and gusts of 30 to 40 mph. Mother Nature made it impossible to hit my maximum speed. So, I will have to wait until next year for a new record.

The good news is that I won the race! I was just barely able to beat Lee who was running neck to neck with me from the beginning. From my start on the pole position, I was able to maintain my lead over the rest of the field. All that those behind me saw was the flapping of my red cape in the wind and the flash from the sun on my titanium crutches! The fact that no one knew that we were racing is totally irrelevant. I claim victory two years in a row. Thank you to everyone who has made a donation to this cause. If you have not yet made a donation and wish to, there is still time. This link will take you to my page.

Any and all donations are greatly appreciated!

relay 2017
The Relay For Life asked me to give a few inspirational words to start the day’s festivities.

And now today’s column in the Green Valley News:

GVN 4-9-17.jpg

Tomorrow it is back to the treatment grind with a visit to the U of A Cancer Center for the vampire to draw her gallon of blood in preparation for Tuesday’s infusion, and a meeting with the brilliant Dr. M. My pesky cough and low-grade fever is still there, but I am strong and ready for round two.

Relay For Life

Whew, last week was certainly an exhausting week! Eleven hour days on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the University of Arizona Cancer Center for the infusion of the oncolytic virus, with sleep deprivation on each of those nights as I suffered from the infusion after-effects of fever, chills and coughing. Tuesday and Thursday were doctor visits and blood draws at the Cancer Center, followed by extensive sleep to recover from the previous night’s lack of zzzz’s.

As difficult as that was, Saturday was worse. I watched my Oregon Ducks lose to North Carolina by a single point at the Final Four Tournament in Phoenix on Saturday evening. My poor Ducks. Fortunately I had a former Mitsubishi colleague attending the game to provide me with insider information. When he heard of the intensity of my heart broken condition, he drove over two hours to Green Valley today to check up on me. He assured me that “we was robbed.” He observed the over-inflation of the balls on the North Carolina bench. I knew it! The Over Inflategate scandal will soon reach the news throwing doubt on the entire tournament, with the Ducks as the primary victims!

Mark, a former colleague from my Mitsubishi days, filled me in on the scandalous activities on the North Carolina bench.

Needless to say my training suffered, heck, it totally stopped last week. I am now focused on reasserting myself this week with my preparation for Saturday’s event. What event you may ask? The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of course! Last year I set the land speed record for 68-year old man with stage IV cancer running on crutches! I plan on crushing the record this year. Although this is not designed to be a competitive event, I just can’t help myself. Furthermore, I challenge all comers to try to beat me. I will be wearing my red cape this year, which should increase my speed by at least 20%. Meet me at high noon at the track on the shores of Lake Sahuarita! But be forewarned that I may use dirty tricks to trip you, and my legions of fans will pelt you with frozen milk duds and jujubes should you attempt to pass me. If you do succeed in beating me, I will donate 100 Venezuelan Bolivars* to the Relay For Life in your  name.FullSizeRender

All joking aside, please support me in my efforts to raise funds to stop this horrible disease and to help those and their families who are currently affected by it. Please click on my link below. Any and every dollar (American) will help make a difference. Thank you.

*Venezuelan bolivar is now at 1000% inflation and growing daily so it will minimize my financial risk, ha ha.