New Treatment

Yesterday Robin and I went down to Georgetown for my first infusion of MEDI4736. We went to 5 North where the oncology infusion wing is and we were greeted by Marta who is the receptionist. She is an incredibly charming lady who always has a warm welcome and a lovely smile. I finally asked her yesterday where she was from and she told us El Salvador and that where she grew up the nearest neighbor was a block away. Then she shared with us what I thought was a simply beautiful memory from her childhood and that was getting up in the morning, going outside and loudly singing a song to Mary and that the neighbor girls would pick it up and sing it back to her. The way she explained it made it sound like one of those moments you’d love to experience even if just once.

We then went and met with Kim who was going to be my oncology nurse for the day. My mediport refused to behave again and Kim couldn’t get a blood draw from it. She put in Cathflo to try and unclog it and put an IV in my arm to get the needed blood draw to send to the labs. The lab results are necessary to make sure my blood counts look good and also for any additional premeds I may need prior to the infusion.

Once the vampires were satisfied it was off to see the good doctor. We’ve recently been introduced to Christina Urso who is Dr. Pishvaian’s nurse practitioner. She was giving me a hard time yesterday about my cholesterol so I started calling her mother even though she’s got to be close to 20 years younger than me. This seemed to crack up Dr. Pishvaian who had to then get serious about the possible side effects that he’s been witnessing. I reminded him that he’d already explained it all to me and that I still wanted to participate. He then also shared with us some of the longer term results from some other immunotherapy drugs that are similar to this one. One study has been ongoing for three years now and there are patients who have not been cured but who have had any growth in the cancer abated. The kicker was that some patients hadn’t received any treatment in over a year. I’d hate to set any hopes on a lottery ticket but this one keeps sounding better and better.

The infusion itself only took an hour once the drug showed up, but then we had to wait for additional blood draws. They needed to take a sample 2 hours after the treatment was done and again an hour after that. Today I had to go back down 24 hours after the completion of the infusion and I’ll have to go back down again tomorrow, Friday and next Wednesday. It would be great if they could do this at Medstar Montgomery but the infusion department at Georgetown has their own personal laboratory pathologist – Patrick.

Yesterday when we got home I zonked out in the easy chair in the TV room and didn’t wake up until Robin told me to go to bed. I then slept till 8 this morning which is the kind of sleeping I haven’t done since I was a teenager. I worked for a bit this morning before heading back down to Georgetown to have the blood draw. I got myself some lunch once I was back home and started working again but within the hour it was like some one had pulled the plug. I took an hours nap and felt much better. If the worst of it is needing a nap in the afternoon I’m liking this treatment.

2016-10-31T07:39:04-04:00 October 22nd, 2013|Categories: Cancer Update|10 Comments


  1. John October 23, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    Thanks for the update and man! what an encouragement and hope with the longer term study results. It’s OK to hope – actually aren’t we supposed to hope? Here’s a verse to ponder – “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

    • Anna Waters October 29, 2013 at 2:55 am

      Well said John! Preach it! I am dealing with a similar issue in our home and it’s so comforting to read this particular passage. Although I am having a hard time “rejoicing” in the stage 4 cancer my husband has – I am rejoicing at the hope He has given me through others encouraging my walk of faith. I’m glad you pointed out that it’s okay to hope, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. It seems wrong sometimes, but God doesn’t say it’s wrong. He says to hope in Him, not in this world. Thanks for the reminder! ~Anna

  2. rheba kelley October 23, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Thanks for the update. I’m sorry it’s such a rigamarole to get your treatments. I echo John’s verse suggestion!

    Just wondering if you’ve ever figured out what your ratio of LDL to HDL is? My cholesterol is high, near 300, but reminding the doctor to look at the ratio instead of the number made her say, “Oh! That’s VERY good.” So you might try seeing what your ratio is and maybe the doc will like that! Or maybe you don’t want to know! But there is mounting evidence that the cholesterol theory that began in the 1950’s has no credibility at all, and that cholesterol actually is vital to good health. (I’ll get off my soapbox; you can ask me for more info if you want).

    • Michael Kenney October 24, 2013 at 8:03 am

      Unfortunately the difference between my good and bad cholesterol make the numbers unusable. I’m genetically prone to have poor cholesterol numbers.

  3. Rose Blondell October 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    We made those trips down to Georgetown Hospital some years back when John was having treatments for prostate cancer. How well I remember it.
    They are caring people there and I feel you are in good hands.

  4. Bobbie October 23, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Snooze away and think about all the healing happening when you sleep. Great blog.

  5. Sabre & Jeff October 24, 2013 at 8:00 am

    I’m with you on the naps!!!! I’m napping in the morning and the afternoon. And getting at least 9 hours at night. This is a big change from getting up at 4:20 am everyday. LOL

  6. Sabre & Jeff October 24, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I’m with you on the naps. I take one now in the morning and afternoon and am getting at least 9 hours of sleep at night. Big change from getting up at 4:20 am each day.

  7. Ann Marie Railing October 24, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Congratulations on the first treatment. Glad to hear things went smoothly. As for the naps…one can never get enough beauty sleep. I’m sure it’s giving your body a much needed break. 🙂



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