Had my meeting with Dr. Leal today. It was less difficult than I had feared, mainly because we had all already heard and largely digested the worst of the weekend’s news. So today turned out to be much more about options and treatment protocols and scheduling. There’s a lot of comfort to be had in mundane administrative proceedings. Maybe that’s why city council meetings are taped for cable access channels everywhere. There must be a handful of viewers in every city, remote controls in hand, near-horizontal in their barcaloungers, bliss written across their faces as they watch bald men with paunches and bureaucratic moustaches droning on and on about parking set-asides and zoning variances. Who needs chem-trails when you have City-Channel 4?!
There was some reiteration of what chemo drugs are to be used, side-effects, and how they are expected to act on the cancer cells. The two drugs are Cisplatin and Etoposide. All the usual side-effects were mentioned – hair-loss, nausea, tiredness – plus the list of less-common ones that they’ll monitor me for. Leal said again that this type of cancer is very responsive to these drugs, so that’s good. I can look forward to feeling like myself agin somewhere in the future. Apparently, these are rather old drugs, going back to at least the 70s. Oldies but goodies?
The big surprise today was that Leal said I was very qualified for a clinical trial of a new drug. There’s a multi-state study going on for a drug that, taken in conjunction with the two stars of the show, is supposed to enhance and amplify their efficacy. I got a very thorough rundown from the nurse involved with the study, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to go for it. It’s a double-blind study, which means no one will know if I’m getting the drug or a placebo, but I figure the chance to gain the benefit of this new drug is worth being involved. Even if I end up getting the placebo, my treatment would be the same standard-of-care as if I didn’t sign up at all, so there’s really no cost. The only thing to give me pause is that the third drug may aggravate some of the side-effects. But I feel willing to chance it. It’d be cool to shrink the little bastards down to next-to-nothing. At any rate, Leal broke her Olympian reserve for a moment and made encouraging noises about my getting into the study. If someone as smart as she is thinks it would be a positive move, I’m inclined to listen to her opinion. Yes, doctors are there to advise as well as listen and treat.
So, if all goes according to plan, I’ll sign a consent form, have YET ANOTHER CT scan next Monday in prep for this study, more bloodwork, and then start chemo FOR REAL around the 14th (they have to order the drug). After that, it sounds like I’ll be getting a three-day course of infusion once per week for three weeks, then a break, then another cycle, for four to six cycles. Then a long break while they evaluate how well everything went.
Note to all who’ve offered rides to appointments: thank you, thank you, thank you! I apologize for STILL not being able to say what my exact schedule will be, but just know that I’m getting closer to that, and I will let you know as soon as I can what the plan is.