Friday, January 28, 2011
Into the clinical trial
Yesterday my daughter picked me up at 7 am and we were at Seattle Cancer Care by 7:15 for my blood draw. Then on to see Dr. Martins at 8:20 who informed me that I was to be part of the clinical trial. But there was a snowstorm raging in Princeton,New Jersey, the location of Medarex, the newly acquired subsidiary of Bristol Myers, that is developing the drug. As a result, the national clinical trial managers were delayed in getting to work, so the trial administrator at SCCA did not have the dosage that had been selected for me to take. My chemo was set to start at 12:30pm. There was no cancellation and early admit this time.
And once I was admitted to the Clinical trials unit, I learned that this infusion/trial would take a miniumum of 5 hours. First the nurse had to insert an IV in my arm for required blood draws because she could not use my port to both both take blood samples and administer the 'chemo'. So after one failure to hook me up, the nurse got the apparatus into my arm for the duration. Then she proceeded to take out enough blood to fill 12-15 test tubes. I gave up counting. My daughter made sure I was drinking plenty of liquids.
After that, the MDX-1105 came up from the pharmacy. I received .72 mg, the second lowest amount administered. Largest amount is 10 mg. With the small amount, I did not have to take a prophylactic drug, Benadryl, to protect against severe reactions. This meant no afternoon nap. Instead my daughter beat me badly in 3 games of Scrabble (it's so humbling when they're so much smarter than you). The chemo took about an hour with vital signs tested every 15 minutes plus a blood draw. At the completion of the chemo, my vital signs were tested with a blood draw every 15 minutes for another hour. Then every 30 minutes for a second hour. Then once in a hour. Then another two hours of waiting for the final vital signs/blood test. We were at SCCA for 12 hours total. My daughter was a real trooper!
I didn't have any side effects yesterday other than fatigue. Tonight I started feeling queasy, but there's no way to tell if that's a delayed effect of the chemo, food poisoning, or the flu. Choices, choices. Hopefully tomorrow it will be gone no matter what it is. I went to SCCA for a followup blood draw today, and have to return tomorrow and Saturday, and then on Feb 2. My next infusion, assuming no problems with the blood sampling, is Feb. 9. I was assured it would not take 12 hours next time.
So it's back to watching and waiting. Speaking of watching, Sarah and I watched The Kids Are All Right last night. I enjoyed it and thought both Annette Benning and Julianne Moore did great work as the married couple. However, I didn't know whether to be amused or offended when their characters talked about why lesbian porn did not turn them on--"It's always straight women playing lesbians." Overall, though, the depiction of the stresses of a long term marriage seeemed in tune with many, if not most marriages, regardless of gender. Recommended.