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!




28 thoughts on “Round One of Opdivo

  1. Wow. You really are continuing to do a great job, both for yourself and for those following you. I have to believe that you are helping a lot of people right now, both physically and emotionally, and we continue to follow your every step. Keep up the good work!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. shaking chills sound awful but it certainly denotes activity and those once cold tumors are getting a surprise today. i don’t know what i am talking about but to me the activity is a good sign. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim Boy, It’s really sad about saying “Goodbye to your faithful kitty.” I have heard that cats are aware of God, where on the other hand, dogs think that their owner is god. Keep on tickin’, otto

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thinking of you Jim. You are a trooper as is Lee. Sorry about your sweet kitty. We will be devastated when our kitty passes on.

    Carol Ghaffari Your Ol’ Neighbor

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It was a challenge for me. Chico died right after the portrait was commissioned. I had a separate picture of each dog. They wanted both dogs in the field together. It’s a little larger than most of my work, it is 20″x16″ painting. It was fun to do


  5. To Ms Bubbles with a cherished breath of Love may you fly to where Jimmy A. has painted all the portraits that you have watched him paint the last two years. The Grand Dame of such beautiful eyes you were right there with such great fun parents. Come visit often. I believe Chico & Freddie were getting a sun varnish bath on a card table the other day as I was getting Buzzy’s mail. No one around just the AZ sky & the painterly painting that was a shadow improved by going to the Show & Tell. The time for Opdivo has started & may this drug be a success in the victory of the CAPE for Jimmy A. Much love from all of us at the Piepster Ranch.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sounds like the last round had a tad more excitement than expected. Glad it’s behind you and you’re back home. So sorry to hear about Bubbles. She was such a great part of the clan. Prayers from PDX for you and Lee.

    Mr. P

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It sounds like you”re in GOOD hands at the Cancer Center. Their treatment sounds very promising. I was very sorry to hear about our Miss Bubble. I have MANY special memories of the times I spent with her. I too, will miss her. Please take care. Sandi

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Jim,

    Happy Good Friday! I just wanted to let you know that I think about you all the time and hope that you are feeling well. I hope you and Lee have a nice Easter.

    Im so sorry to hear about Miss Bubbles. Yes, she is in kitty cat heaven:) Please think of all the special memories of your sweet kitty cat.


    Cathy & Little Dee Dee

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sad news about your Miss Bubbles…it’s so hard to loose a loved animal but the good memories remain along with the grief. Seems like she was greatly blessed on this earth.
    Wishing you continued success on your remarkable journey. I loved working at AZCC and I especially liked the little area out side for lunches. Precious doggies…What’s not to love about the curly tail?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so sorry about Miss Bubbles, losing a feline family member is always difficult. Best wishes with the new treatments, it’s very encouraging that you made it into this trial.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Sorry to hear about you losing part of your family. May her void be filled with wonderful memories. Our thoughts and prayers go with you always.

    Liked by 1 person

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