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.