Day 1 cycle 4 was postponed a day because of delivery delays in the shipping of the study drug, but I was able to have the infusion on Tuesday, March 11. Of course, nothing in my experience runs along a typical path. Platelets came in at 97,000, a mere 3,000 shy of the magic 100, so I walked around the unit for five minutes and then had my blood drawn again. That little jaunt gave me a 5,000 boost to 102,000, and the process began.
I also learned several things:
- My treatment with the chemotherapy drug carboplatin can only have 6 cycles; after that each cycle will have study drug alone. Good news (I think) since carbo is causing the platelet drop.
- My c-125 marker (the indicator that they’ve been following since diagnosis) is now at about 41; the normal range is under 30 and it was 585 in mid-December when I began this trial. Great news (I know!) since the study drug targets the c-125 marker and it’s working!
- My fears about being dropped from the trial are probably groundless since I’ve had such good results from treatment; of course, that decision is the drug company’s, but still it was reassuring to hear that my response has been so good. Next scans will be the end of March, before I begin cycle 5, and that should give everyone more information about the progress.
- Random detail: the drug company’s lab is in Switzerland, and that’s where the trial drug is prepared and shipped. Whoa! I love Switzerland!
- I can handle more than I think. The lab technicians at Sarah Cannon are incredibly professional and skilled, but yesterday my veins did not cooperate. It took 4 sticks to get the initial 13-vial blood draw because my veins kept moving, 2 sticks to get the 2nd platelet count, 2 sticks to access my port, and then the regular sticks during treatment and post treatment. They were so concerned about me, but they were as professional as ever. The multiple sticks NEVER have happened before, by the way. At the end of the day, someone laughingly commented that I need to be aware when I drank fluids because I might leak through all of the sticks in my arms and hands.
My reaction from each infusion is slightly different, and that’s been true for this treatment also; however, each infusion is another step in the ongoing saga of my non-typical cancer diagnosis. While there are still questions, I am totally confident in the care provided by my oncologist and the oncology team at Tennessee Oncology and Sarah Cannon Research Institute. I trust that the Lord is with me every step of the way, and I am choosing not to fear. Not fearing is an act of the will, because that fear keeps creeping in and has to be refused a foothold—taking thoughts captive day-by-day. A friend at school encouraged me to hold onto the advice of the apostle Paul, who wrote these words from prison:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8, NIV)