After last week's devastating blow, I have picked myself up off the floor and am back in action.
First priority has been researching what other treatments might be an option for me. Through reaching out to several melanoma experts, it has become clear that MD Anderson in Houston is the best place for me to visit next. And, visit we will. Next week, in fact. I am hoping that the doctors there can get me into a clinical trial that basically will involve harvesting t-cells from my body, replicating them in a lab, and re-injecting them back into my system. It sounds complex and it is. There are a lot of hoops to jump through, including a 40-50 day period during which the cells would be grown. After that we'd likely need to move to Houston for a few months. Hoops I can handle. Hoops mean there is still hope.
In parallell I have been referred to Stanford to check out another treatment that is already FDA approved called IL-2. This treatment is something I have thought about before but it is really, really hard on the body so a lot of doctors try to avoid it. Advice I have gotten is to try to work it out so that I can do both this treatment and the clinical trial at MD Anderson. This may not be possible depending on the rules of the trial which may restrict me from doing other treatments. We will find out whether or not there are these restrictions next week.
Meantime, I am back on the immunotherapy treatment that I started this journey with. This is the treatment that stopped the cancer from growing back in the fall. Our prayer is that it does the same thing again so that I have more time to try the aforementioned treatments.
In other words, this isn't over. We are praying for a miracle, for a treatment that works. As someone said to me a few months ago, "don't give up the day before the miracle happens." Amen.