11/24/13

Like Royalty

There are a few things in life that can make you feel like royalty: great friends, a purple bathrobe, a gimungous house at the beach…

We got a little break from the mundane and a taste of the kingdom recently when some wise yet uninhibited friends from Sherri’s days at Duke Marine Lab scored a big weekend rental on the waterfront in Ocean City and converged on it for an impromptu reunion. The timing worked out that we needed to move Sherri’s chemo schedule around so this was a bonus weekend in so many ways – feeling above average and taking the opportunity to get away for a bit. Thanks Chris, Neil, Jayne, Moses, Elise, Bear, Esther, Bucky & Deb for that gift!

Too soon, though, we are back in realityville and visiting oncologists and infusion rooms. We’ve found out some interesting developments on the clinical trial front this week. On Tuesday, we met with our doc at UPenn to check in on a promising¬†immunotherapy clinical trial that we are keeping an eye on. Dr T recommended that we postpone entry into the program where we had been penciled in for January. The treatment causes quite a bit of drama in the immune system, so they are proceeding cautiously and only taking one patient at a time. They are starting with people who have failed responses to a standard chemotherapy treatment, and fortunately we are not there yet. So we are now looking at a more realistic timeline later in 2014.

In the meantime, our FCCC docs have identified another potential clinical trial that could be relevant to Sherri’s case. This trial uses a pancreatic cancer vaccine developed at Johns Hopkins. From the hopkinsmedicine.org website: “This is a Phase 2, Randomized, Multicenter, Open-Label Study of the Efficacy and Immune Response of the Sequential Administration of GVAX Pancreas Vaccine (with Cyclophosphamide) Alone or Followed by CRS-207 in Adults with Metastatic Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma” aka, “Plan B.” Always good to have a Plan B in the works – keep them coming scientists!

Thursday was infusion day, and we are back on a two-week cycle. The plan is to do another session on Dec 5. ¬†It’s also time to replace the temporary stent from the initial diagnostic surgery back in Aug, so we have another outpatient endoscopic procedure scheduled for Dec 13. Then on Dec 18 it will be time for a follow-up CAT scan to see how things are progressing. Most likely we’ll resume the chemo treatments on Dec 19. Busy month.

We continue to be in awe of the constant outpouring of support, with meals still showing up at our door with a smile and a nod, friends calling to get Sherri out for a walk, company at appointments, a ride for our stranded children, the reassurance of daily thoughts and prayers coming our way, people stopping by to philosophize on the purpose of the universe, you name it. Thanks y’all.