My wife, Linda, is out of the hospital and feeling much better every day. The T cells taken from her and genetically modified to seek out and kill her lymphoma seem to be doing their job. Her hair has gone AWOL for the third time in three years but she knows it's a small price to pay if this regimen works. The lymph glands in her neck have nearly returned to normal, her skin tone is far better and food is beginning to appeal once again. These are all positive signs that this yet to be FDA approved procedure is the real deal. Now we wait.
Other than blood tests every few days at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance there is little for us to do as we wait for another two weeks to pass. The doctors who are the heart and soul of this new treatment have determined that it takes approximately one month to say with certainty that a CAR T cell patient has put their cancer in remission. A petscan and bone marrow test will provide the report card. Linda has fourteen days to go. If her cancer has been defeated we go home. If not, we go home and maybe come back in a couple of months to try again. At this point, with only about 180 subjects having participated, the program has roughly an 80% success rate. If this is sustained, it will be considered a major breakthrough in cancer treatment. Both of us are excited, yet nervous, to be a part of what may well be substantial medical history. Mostly we just want to get on with our lives.
This is dicey business. Two days ago the leukemia section of the program was shut down after two patients died. The lymphoma study continues as it involves entirely different gene modification and has produced more successful outcomes. Nonetheless, this is all a delicate tap dance that may yet experience some unforeseen trips and falls. We simply hope and pray that Linda is ready to dance her way into a cancer free life. She is excited to be among the 80%.
Friday, November 18, 2016
With my wife in the hospital this blog has suffered from neglect.
Daughter Katie has been in Seattle helping me with all things necessary for her mom's recovery. She left today to return to San Diego and her husband Doug and seven year-old son, Dan. They have missed her tremendously but have been more than understanding through it all. As a consequence of her absence Katie missed Dan's "Back to School Night" report created to edify us all about bugs. Because of this I thought it only appropriate to publish it here as a show of appreciation. Call me a prejudiced grandpa but I think this puts him on track for a job at 60 Minutes or 48 Hours.
Here it is...
|Dan pauses to refresh himself using a straw that doubles as glasses.|