So the hubster had his CT and MRI scans this week, along with his every other week maintenance infusion. This week was maintenance infusion #6 of the immunotherapy drug Nivolumab. The scans are an added stress and just two more things we gotta do … but only every three months. They give us some great information on how Rick is responding to Nivolumab as we very slowly inch toward the finish line of treatment about 17 months from now.
When we both get to be grumpy bugs about “12-hour Thursdays,” I like to tell Rick his cancer journey reminds me of one of Aesop’s Fables, The Tortoise and the Hare.
“Dear … you are that slow and steady tortoise in a race for your life. And we all know who won in that story, don’t we?”
It was during our meeting with the lovely Simi, Dr. Campbell’s awesome PA, that we got the results of the MRI from the evening before. Rick wouldn’t have his CT scan until later in the day. Simi started with the liver tumor which went from 2.1 cm to 1.8 cm. Nice! Just don’t ask me how big a centimeter is! The tumors in both lungs were already reported to have disappeared in a previous scan, so no news there. The tumor on his chest was reported by the radiologist to have “decreased” but no specific measurement was given. I’ll take that and run with it!
I was hoping there would be some good news on the four cancer affected areas of bone. In all these months nothing much has been said about the bone areas. Simi indicated that in three bone areas the cancer was “killed.” Simi then looked us straight in the eyes, starting with Rick, and then grabbed Rick’s arm. With a smile that touched both her ears, Simi repeated that one important word “killed” again. News like that sinks in slowly … and in waves. Oh, and one other bone area, on the 9th rib, had decreased. I’ll reserve my happy dance for later at the house.
Simi also told us Dr. Campbell shares his patient cases with his fellows.
“He doesn’t use anyone’s name, but when Dr. Campbell is describing a patient, I always know when he is talking about you! Rick … you are becoming a celebrity with the fellows. They all want to meet you,” Simi told us.
Dr. Campbell dropped in grinning a few minutes later. He told us Rick’s dramatic results in this clinical trial has shown the “best results he has ever had in a patient.”
So yesterday … was a very good day.
And after all these months I am still learning. This week I learned that only 3% of cancer patients are participating in clinical trials. We need to do better. I learned that being a celebrity sometimes has nothing to do with receiving an award like an Oscar or an Emmy. Sometimes it is just awesome test results and excited fellows! I learned that someone new tells me every day they are praying for us. It is very humbling. I also learned I get lost every time we have an appointment in the main building at MDA. I also learned the gift shops at MDA sell Chex Mix snacks, Rick’s favorite snack. Oh … and I really like turtles!