I have been grounded on my clinical trial since May 1st due to a “Significant Adverse Event” from my last infusion of the oncolytic virus. That infusion resulted in me spending a lovely overnight in the ER at Banner University Hospital. The infusion reaction combined with my chronic cough caused Dr. M to call a “time out” for Jimmy. The break meant I had to miss my second round of the immunotherapy drug, Opdivo, which is not good.
During the time out we also received my first CT scans since I started the trial. These showed about a 15% increase in tumor size with some new baby tumors in my lungs. Bad news again. I also saw a pulmonologist and had a bronchoscopy on Wednesday. The bronchoscopy reduced my cough, but I will probably always have some degree of chronic cough. The coughing is most likely a result of chemo treatment that caused multiple lung infections. Ah chemo, the gift that keeps on giving.
So these past two weeks we had lots of time to ponder. Would they drop me from the trial? If there is too much disease progression that’s what usually happens. Would they drop me from the trial because of concerns about my lungs? Opdivo can cause lung damage. Was the condition of my lungs too risky to remain on the trial?
Fortunately for us, our neighbors Barb and Joe, brought us a Maeki-neko, a “Beckoning Cat,” back from their cruise around the world. This Beckoning Cat hails from Japan and brings good fortune. It seems to be working for all of us, including our fuzzy feline Cotty who is battling lymphoma. Today, we finally got some good news.
Lee and I had a meeting with Dr. M this morning and the trial is a GO again. My next Opdivo infusion is scheduled for Tuesday, which just happens to be our wedding anniversary. Pretty romantic, don’t ya think? I am going to pull out all the stops and buy Lee a latte from the cafe and a “cancer sucks” T-shirt from the cancer center gift shop.
We still don’t know if there is actual disease progression. Dr. M thinks it is pseudo disease progression. This occurs when the immune system is attacking the tumors making them look larger on CT than they actually are. Only time will tell. We don’t know if the Opdivo will further inhibit my lung function. Only time will tell. We haven’t received the results of the last lung biopsy which we hope will reveal how the oncolytic virus affected it. I do know that other than a cough, I feel great.
There is a lot I don’t know at the moment. I’m flying blind…..but at least I’m flying!