Thursday, February 25, 2010

In Gratitude - UW Clinical Trial

Someone has given to me (already) a gift certificate to Alaska Airlines, which will allow me to fly from Eugene to Seattle for one of the treatments for the UW immunotherapy trial.

I'm incredibly grateful - it'll save me some time on one of the trips - and completely unexpected as I intended to see what kind of funding I could find from other sources first.

I still plan to seek other funds as the trial calls for a total of 7 trips to Seattle. I scheduled the first four of those trips this afternoon: April 5, 12, 19, and May 3.

During the first three trips, I will receive a vaccine that is designed (as I understand it) to make my cancer cells look more like a foreign body - and will stimulate an immune response. I will also get a tetanus shot.

The last trip, I will undergo "leukophoresis", a process in which they extract my blood from one vein and then it goes through a machine that extracts white blood cells and then the rest of my blood is given back to me through a needle in another vein.

Then, they grow my t-cells until they have "millions" of them, which may take 2-4 weeks, and then I go back to Seattle for three infusions of my own T-cells, each infusion a week to 10 days apart. Those haven't been scheduled yet.

A day or two before the first infusion of T-cells, I will have to get a cytoxan treatment (cyclophosphamide). I had this before, when I had chemo the first time I had cancer in 2002. I had it in combination with adriamyacin and both of them made me nauseous - I think I only threw up once - and I lost my hair. Adriamyacin is more powerful - I think that my hair may only thin a bit with cytoxan. I hope that I don't get too nauseous. We'll see, though.

I am hopeful, though, as I really like the idea of this therapy. It seems much more humane than traditional chemo. If I can help contribute to the advancement of therapies like this, that are easier on patients, I'm willing to do it.

Thank you again, you anonymous person you. You're wonderful!

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