This week marks the beginning of a new chapter in Sherri’s treatment, the suspension of chemotherapy and the first trial of immunotherapy. Didn’t quite start as planned, but came to the same conclusion a day later.
We dropped off the girls with friends and headed to my sister’s place in MD on Sunday night for our planned visit to Hopkins. Thanks y’all for integrating us foreigners with your families on a few school mornings. Despite being out of your normal routine, you made us all feel comfortable and welcome! Then we inched our way into downtown Baltimore for a biopsy on Monday morning. To make a long story short, they couldn’t find any liver tumors big enough to see on ultrasound so a dozen doctors, nurses, pathologists, and ultrasound techs twiddled away the morning with us. Any day you can avoid having someone stick a needle in your liver is a good day! The tumors apparently have continued to shrink substantially, and they didn’t need the biopsy to qualify for the study.
What they did need was blood parameters in range, and they didn’t get those either. Two pancreatic enzymes, amylase and lipase, were too high to qualify for the trial. So we had to scurry out to find a place to redo those two tests late Monday afternoon. When they got the results on Tuesday, both were back in range but it was too late to schedule the procedure so we stayed over and did it on Wednesday.
The clinical trial procedure involves 6 vaccine injections, plus an IV infusion of the antibody ipilimumab (see Ipi Ki-Yay). Apparently the reason purple is the official accessory color for pancreatic cancer is that they find many different ways to make parts of you turn purple. The vaccine treatments were fairly successful at that, and they warned us that a rash is one of the more certain side-effects. Nothing comes for free in this game! So far, though, most of the effects feel like anytime you get a fever due to your immune system fighting back!
Speaking of games, fights , and purple reminds me that the Bryn Athyn College men’s hockey team is hosting a Shooting for Sherri event at their home rink tonight at 8pm to continue to raise cancer awareness and express their support. Of course, the BAC hockey players are great sportsmen and would only ever fight for a good cause. Thanks men and fans – Rock the Purple!