Monday was infusion #20 and like the last few it was just another day in the land of oncological clinical trials. The highpoint of my morning was my mediport decided to work for a change which made life a bit easier. Low point in the day was when I was leaving and having to say goodbye to Amy. She’s the youngest nurse on the ward and is leaving to prepare for her wedding and will then be moving to Germany – her fiance is an Airman. Everyone is going to miss seeing her and the rest of the staff is really going to miss her as they are already short staffed and it’s near impossible to find nurses with right background.
On the being nosy front. I was listening to Mercedes (she’s the head nurse) explaining things to a new patient and her daughter. Lillian is 87 and has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has metastasized in her liver. She is on a clinical trial from Merck called Pembrolizumab (MK-3745) which is very similar to what I’m on. I went over and talked to her and her daughter for a while. Her daughter was in town from NJ and said her other daughter lives in WV. Lillian lives in Frederick, MD and while she’s a very spry 87 there’s no way she’s going to make the drive to Georgetown on her own. Thankfully the hospital has made arrangements for a driver to pick her up and take her back home. I shared with them what I had been experiencing with my treatment and generally trying to be an encouragement to her. Lillian’s treatment is much shorter than mine and the protocol she’s on doesn’t require her to wait after the treatment is finished. I jokingly voiced my in-credulousness at this injustice – that she got in after I did and was leaving before me. I told her I’d see her in a month since I’ll be on vacation the next time she’s in. Later when Mercedes was removing the needle from my port she thanked me for talking to Lillian, telling me that Lillian had been talking about not participating in the trial. She said she was feeling fine and didn’t want the medicine to make her feel sick. Mercedes said her attitude had completely reversed after talking with me. I was nice to hear that my nosy rosiness had a positive outcome.