Monday, September 20, 2010

The Light

Okay, Here's The Plan...

I've been busy busy busy lately, studying every peer-reviewed research report I can to learn how I can best survive leptomeningeal metastasis. Then it took time trying to get to the right doctors to help me. My UCLA/JCCC doctor even got me an appointment with the doctor who discovered how to treat the subtype of cancer I fight(!), the man responsible for providing the ammo I've been using to manage fourth-stage cancer as a chronic condition rather than an immediate killer.

That doctor validated what my oncologists and I think is my best shot at long-term survival. So here's the two-part plan we've all put together to deliver the knockout punch once and for all:

First, we are going to introduce a drug directly ("intrathecally") into my cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The way that will be accomplished is through lumbar puncture (read: a spinal tap) and also via a type of catheter placed in my head called an Ommaya (oh-my-uh) reservoir.

This two-pronged (literally) introduction method is the best way to get the drug throughout the CSF to find any cancer cells "swimming" in the fluid or lining my central nervous system with a layer of cancer cells like icing ("zuckerguss").

I will have to undergo some (routine!) neurosurgery to place the reservoir before I can receive the drug in my head. I have an appointment at the end of this week with the neurosurgeon at the House Clinic in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, I'm forging ahead with trying to get the lumbar puncture done to get at least that first dose of drug in there.

The second part of our plan is to get me into a tumor vaccine study. I have been in contact with the Tumor Vaccine Group at the University of Washington in Seattle, and am pursuing enrollment in one trial that sounds like the answer I've been waiting---and fighting---to receive. I think the vaccine will solve this little cell replication problem for me once and for all!

This is a throwback to my days playing quarterback -- it's 3rd down and at least 10 to go, nearly game end, and I can see exactly how to reach the goal in two more plays---but it's gonna be hard and everything has to go JUST RIGHT for the whole entire team. I DO NOT WANT to end up in a Hail-Mary-pass situation, because the odds of success for that route are NOT GOOD.

So for me, I not only believe I can see the light at the end of the tunnel; I believe the light is NOT that proverbial train!

Here's looking forward to celebrating more birthdays!

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