Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

We are enjoying a very nice Christmas Holiday.  The first week and a couple of days after the last chemo infusion weren't great.  However for most of this week I have been feeling reasonably well during the days.  I've been able to go work and feel fairly decent during the days.  There is still some discomfort and pain that comes and goes and occasional body aches and mild nausea, but overall I can say I feel relatively well.

There has been some good news we have received in the meantime.  The TIL (Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes) that were harvested during the surgery at our last visit to the MD Anderson Cancer Center are growing well.  I believe we were told that they have grown to around 400 million cells and they are looking to have a couple of billion cells ready to infuse in February or March.  We are excited about this news for a lot of reasons.  We had a about a 50% chance of actually growing cell, and we won that coin toss, so we like that.  It means the trip, the surgery, and recovery was worth it.  And this now gives us another possible treatment in our quiver with some of the best odds of defeating the melanoma.  This doesn’t mean for sure that we will use this treatment.  If the chemo we are doing now is effective we won’t stop a working treatment to try something else just because the odds are better.  But like I said we’re glad to have that arrow in our quiver.

Yesterday I got to do something that I thought I might not get to do at all this winter.  I got to go skiing!  And those who know me well, know how much I enjoy being on skis.  First thing yesterday morning Curtis picked me up and we met with Lars and Brit and headed out for a backcountry tour into Silver Fork.  It was cold and beautiful and cold, but well worth a few shivers to get out and enjoy the wonderful Wasatch mountains.  We had a great run in the meadow chutes and headed back to the car.  I was slow, and had some significant pain in the pelvis where the tumor remains, but I was very grateful to have the chance just to get out, and especially grateful to Lars, Curtis and Brit for the patience with my slow pace.

After we finished, I met with Allison, Sarah and Cameron who picked me up in the canyon and we headed up to Brighton where we met Uncle Andy, Grandpa Ted and Grandma Charlotte to spend the afternoon riding the lifts and skiing.  Again it was cold, but the kids said they were warm and had a great time skiing with their grandparents and their rockstar skier uncle.

It meant a lot to me yesterday to be able to ski with the kids and to be able to get out into the backcountry.  Here's to lots more days like that in the future.

Heading down the road for treatment, there's quite a bit going on in the next week or so.  Monday (Dec 28) I have new CT scans that will tell us if the current chemo treatment is working.  Following the scans I meet with Dr. Grossmann at HCI to discuss the results of the scans and to map out the next several weeks of treatment.  And then on the following Monday (Jan. 4 - Happy Birthday Laura) I am going back into HCI for another chemo infusion.  I won't know what happens after that until I meet with Dr. Grossmann this week.  

We hope that everybody is enjoying the Christmas season.  We have much to be grateful for not the least of which is the birth of The Child in Bethlehem.  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.