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.
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.
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.