So, the title of this gives me such a chuckle as after days of hounding MDA for results and a vision as to what my prognosis/treatment plan looks like, I finally feel like I'm making some progress. I got this lady on the phone today that at least gave me a sneak peak that I was indeed a priority and I was indeed being talked about in treatment discussions and they were talking about a plan to best get this monster out of me. She had such a calm voice and made me feel like I was joining the Main Street Electrical Parade at Disney instead of intense chemotherapy at MD Anderson. ha! Straight out of her mouth were the words: "You know, now is such an exciting time for Melonoma" I know you all are thinking....Lucky me, eh? Her voice was so calm that I felt like she was telling me I got a job offer with a wonderful pension plan or something. Now, I am excited to hear that it's a great time for melonoma, but come on, really? I could really do without that word ever entering my vocabulary again. I am looking this beast directly for the second time. Go away...I assure you, my inner beast is stronger and yes I am glad I have options.
So here is the skinny of what she told me they were thinking of my path to rid myself of this beast.
1. I will have surgery to biopsy one of my new tumors. That tumor will then go into a TIL HARVEST (tumor infiltration lymphocytes) which essentially will teach my good white cells how to attack the bad melonoma. My understanding at least, I'm still learning and processing
2. Then I head to the hospital for 7days of intense chemo and a very powerful cocktail. Normally they do a combination of 4 chemo drugs and 1 immunotherapy drug. I will only be taking 3 chemo drugs because the 4th one is interferon and well lets face it....it was nearly deadly to me last time. I did ask her if I am only doing 3 of the drugs if it will lesson it's effectiveness and she said my case was well looked at and not with all this other stuff they would be doing. My body will be going through a lot.
The 3 chemo drugs are: 1. cisplatine 2. Decarbezine 3. Velvan (I could be completely wrong in the spelling of these as this was a verbal conversation over the phone. Not sure if it's given in IV or a pill)
The one imunotherapy drug I will be given is 1. Interlukin-2
5 of those 7 days will be intense chemo everyday and the 2 days will be getting my body ready to go home. 7 days in the hospital, then 2 weeks at home. I will then go back into the hospital for 7 days to do it all over again. After two sessions meaning 1 month and 1/2 total time, I will get resccanned and we can pray there is tumor shrinkage. Some patients have no response and some get a complete recovery but not very many. 40-60% of patients show some signs of shrinkage and if that is the case I will keep doing that cycle over and over again.
After all this, the TIL cells from my biopsy that were given a chance to grow will be given to me to hopefully reprogram the melonoma. This is all my understanding thus far. I am supposed to hear back by friday as to time tables of all this. In the meantime just trying do the best to manage pain and deal with the fact that I have shortness of breath. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that this melonoma monster came so fast...It's hard to comprehend, but as fast as it came, I determined to get it out that much faster no matter what it takes. Somewhere in all this is also radiation. YUP, because it's in the bones I will need radiation. I wasn't messing around when I ordered this all inclusive package I tell ya. Keep the prayers coming and I will do my part on fighting with my heart, my soul, my everything. I can see Zachary Graduating College, I can see his wedding day, I can see many wonderful travels and adventures for our family. Love to you all. Biggest fight of my life....Thanks for cheering me on! Let's WIN!