Hello everyone. We are now into the second round of chemotherapy treatment, and also in the second round of our crash course in pancreatic cancer mechanisms and research. We’ve been hearing from friends and colleagues around the country who have experience and perspectives on the medical and biotechnology side of this equation, and we are encouraged by the strong commitment of our oncology team to follow up on an expanding set of options and questions that we bring to the table. We also want to acknowledge the importance of our emotional and spiritual support network. We soak it all in because positive action affects positive change, and change happens at the interrelated levels of body, mind, and soul.
Our friends in biotech and medical research are optimistic about the potential of immunotherapy for cancer treatment, and now we are too! There are active clinical trials applying these principles to treatment of pancreatic cancer. We’ve been referred to experts at Duke and Penn who agree with FCCC that the initial FOLFIRINOX treatment Sherri is currently receiving is the best known, and an important first step in her overall regimen. As of last Wed, she is lined up for a possible next step: a clinical trial that may be coming on line in January (a “CAR T cell” immunotherapy treatment) being conducted by UPenn and Johns Hopkins. Sherri will also have a genetic assessment for BRCA 1/2 starting next Thu at Fox Chase because this gene mutation has been implicated in pancreatic and breast cancers. If it is present, this knowledge could open up other treatment options. Genetic testing is an important factor in understanding the mechanisms at work in each individual. We are also learning more about direct genetic profiling of the cancer cells so we’ll see what that will require as well.
We continue to find that diet and exercise are important factors in maintaining one’s mojo when one is slamming biweekly chemo cocktails. (We hope you will all take our word for this – do the diet and exercise part but trust us, there are better cocktails out there!) On both counts, we continue to be utterly in awe of the community response that is keeping us nourished and getting us out of the house to walk in the park. Don’t you people have anything better to do than to think up ways to help us all day long? Apparently not. We’d also like to shout out to our professional colleagues at Bryn Athyn College, Digital Wave, and Antech Systems, all of whom are covering for us hugely as we navigate the appointment calendar to figure all this out. Wow.
On a more ethereal note, you may have noticed that we find the simple act of projecting forward to a positive outcome for this situation to be really important to our immediate well-being as well as the long term view. Sherri’s fan club keeps saying “you can do this!” and it really resonates; it does make a difference. We are also part of a spiritual network that feeds the soul, and heals from the inside. We feel your prayers, and believe that we are part of a system that delivers benefits both to those who are prayed for and for those who pray. Sherri has always been and continues to be very much in tune with this, and we know that it is inexhaustible.
With all this in mind, here is a recent picture from one of our walks around the tri-castle area here in the Bryn Athyn historic district where we live. We want you to know that while this episode in our lives may be partially a science experiment and partially a leap of faith, she’s Still Sherri.