It was a good visit to Ohio State last Friday for Mikes 23rd Keytruda treatment. The team at the James is absolutely one of the best I have seen in my experience with cancer centers. Mike had told them of my loss, and they all expressed their condolences to me, and asked about my family. It is the little things that make you feel like you are more than a number to them. These people really care about Mike and are invested in him getting better. The trial coordinator Saana is fantastic. She hugs each of us when she sees us, and we have developed a good relationship with her.
Mike also had a 4 pound weight gain, and is up to 173.4! He looks like he did when we met, and is getting stronger everyday. I am not a golfer, but I get a kick out of hearing him talk about it, swing his clubs in the yard, and plan his tournament schedule for this summer. He only got to play 2 rounds last year, so I am thrilled for him.
Our trial coordinator Saana specifically mentioned this last visit that no one really knows all of the possible side effects from Keytruda, the immunotherapy drug Mike is on. Remember it is stimulating the immune system, and no one knows how the body will react over time. It depends on your cancer, your body, and progression. She told me that each of her patients has experienced different side effects on this clinical trial. The only one she really remembers several people having is the joint pain in the hands.
Mike is still dealing with what we are calling asthma attacks, for lack of anything else to call them. He is having a hard time remembering to keep his inhaler easily accessible, and has had a couple of episodes that have left him gasping for air. We are hoping this resolves on its own, like some of the other side effects he has had. He has a meeting with a pulmonologist to read his pulmonary function test next week,but at this point they havn’t found anything to explain why he is having this issue. We can only infer it is the immunotherapy throwing his immune system into overdrive.
As for me, I am doing ok. Last year at this time was so traumatic for us all with Mike getting sicker and sicker. He spent most of March and April in the hospital, and I have been having flashbacks to that time. It has definetly been a roller coaster of emotions combining grief, with my gratitude at our second chance at love and life.
That’s life isn’t it?