Well apparently it’s been a month since we’ve given you an update, so let’s catch up. We are figuring out the new norm on this immunotherapy trial at Johns Hopkins. Sherri has been through two rounds of the vaccine/ antibody treatment now. Because it’s all new we’ve had to monitor symptoms carefully to make sure any reaction is an immune response rather than a side-effect. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. The initial and expected symptoms were aches and fatigue akin to any good immune response to, say, the flu, and some pain and swelling at the vaccine sites. But when the fever flared back up late one evening a week later, we ended up on a little excursion to the ER. Everything checked out and the fever subsided on its own. As fate would have it, we came home at 3:30 AM in a raging snowstorm (Jeep, there is no substitute); but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.
So you know how you get an itch when you have a booboo that is healing? That’s what is happening with Sherri, except that she has a systemic booboo. Her boosted immune response (her booboo boost, if you will) means she itches all over and breaks out in little hives and rashes while the immune system goes to work. It is completely expected, irritating as all heck, and still better than chemo. I think our next event will be a pool tournament called “Scratching for Sherri.”
Following the second treatment on Feb 19, the pattern seems to be holding: fever, fatigue, itching, and swelling at the vaccine sites. She had a little shortness of breath this week, which is a known side effect that needs to be treated, so we made an appointment with our oncology team here are FCCC and they ordered a chest and lung CT scan to rule out inflammation. Again, all seems to be well. Interestingly, when she got the second vaccines applied there was a much more immediate reaction around the site than we witnessed during the first treatment. All this activity seems like a logical immune response, which is the point of this exercise!
Last Monday, Feb 24, we welcomed our good friend and professional musician Tom Rosenberg to town. Tom had the idea to perform a cello recital in support of Sherri, so we organized the event at Glencairn Museum. This free concert brought together our local community to raise awareness for cancer research and highlight some initiatives that are important to Sherri. Tom offered a CD for any donation, and the program included other opportunities to get involved. Photos from the event are available on the Bryn Athyn College facebook page.