Long day at sloan

So I've been asked to participate in a research study ...  that's how the paperwork I signed today starts out.

It was a LONG day at Sloan.  Sometimes I feel I could have a part time job just hanging out at Sloan.  My appointment was supposed to be at 9:30 but it was almost 12:30 before I even saw the doctor.  I think in the immunotherapy clinic you cycle thru what ever doctor is available?  I'm a little bummed by this because I do appreciate Nurse J and Dr D who I've been seeing for 2 years.  The new doc didn't even shake my hand when he came in...

But back to the trial details.  There are 2 drug companies testing the anti-pd1 drug.  Merck and Bristol Meyers Squibb.  I'll be trying for the Merck trial since in the words of my new doc 'it requires fewer biopsies'

I think some folks are hoping that Ipi (aka Yervoy which I just finished) and this can be a one-two punch against Melanoma.  This trial is still in phase 1 which means they are still trying to figure out appropriate dosing and make sure it's safe and tolerable.

More details from the trial paperwork - MK-3475 is a type of medication called an antibody.  Antibodies are normal proteins in your body that help fight infections and possibly cancer.  This pd1 is a special type of antibody produced in a laboratory and works by blocking a specific protein called the Programmed Death-1 receptor, located on white blood cells (infection and tumor fighting cells).

It's believed our immune system may play an important role in controlling cancer.  Some cancer cells may block white blood cells from destroying cancer by interacting with the programmed death-1 receptor.  MK-2475 is known to prevent this interaction.  It is believed MK-3475 may increase your immune system's ability to control or destroy cancer.

The current standard of treatment is by using Ipi (what I recently finished taking).  Ipi is an antibody which helps your body's immune system fight Melanoma.  The other current standard of treatment targets a certain kind of mutation (Zelboraf which I took over the summer).

So in order to get in to the trial there is lots of testing to be done.  I had about 6+ vials of blood drawn today.  So far my online blood stats all look good.  My hemoglobin is finally getting back up there too and at 13.8!  The highest it's been since last August!  I also had an EKG today.  I totally the tech B there!  She is always so friendly and always says an extra prayer for me!  She even lets me know that my EKG looks normal (and even re-ran it after she made me giggle during a print out).  And gave me a big hug when I left.

I also need a biopsy of the current tumor.  This does NOT sound like it's going to be fun at all!  I just know what when I first found out the new mets I asked about a biopsy and was told it wouldn't be easy and if they were going to biopsy they might as well do surgery!  They are trying to get a biopsy in by Friday!

If the biopsy can be done Friday then I'll start treatment on Monday!  If not - it will probably be the following week and they will have to re-do my CT scans.

I also did NOT make my acupuncture appointment.  So that has been rescheduled for Saturday.  Looking forward to it?

Ok time to relax!  Sorry for the long post!  I'll update more details once I get them!

Oh and what would a post be without some pictures...

Sun coming up over Brooklyn - taking 1.8.13
Walking to the PATH station to head in to the city 1.8.13
Sunrise 1.7.13

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  1. Erin your posts wouldn't be the same without your gorgeous photos. Isn't it disappointing when doctors leave their manners at home and what a shame you couldn't still see the same medicos who know you well and add that personal touch.
    So, much could be happening by Friday, I so hope you will be able to let us know if it goes ahead on Friday so I can send you a huge hug from afar.
    You explained all the treatments so well that I now have a much better understanding of same. Thank you for that Erin. Long posts can be quite exhausting - for the writer!!
    Hugs for now, will be watching for an update.

  2. Oh...I do get annoyed by doctors who don't shake my hand! Glad to see your blood work looks good and that you're on the path to trying something new. I'm so sorry you're having another biopsy, but I'll say a little prayer it's as painless as possible!