My seventh and eighth infusions were wonderfully unremarkable! The only drama was no results from my early morning blood draw showing up in my medical record. Those results are required before the infusion could begin. I called Trish, my oncology case manager. She put me on hold and called around, discovered that the blood chemistry machine that serves all the labs at Kaiser Interstate was non-functional. She also discovered that someone had driven my blood (and doubtless others) to the big central lab. Happily, the results came up as Kathy, the nurse of the day, was finishing the pre-infusion questions. So the eighth infusion proceeded in a wholly unremarkable way 😊
The MRI of my brain confirmed that the radio surgery had killed the melanoma cells in my brain. One of the two remaining pockets of dead cells is completely gone and the other much smaller. I like the idea my brain healing!
The final event of the day was CT scan of my torso, looking particularly at the melanoma nodules in my lungs. The conclusion is that the nivolumab (trade name “Opdivo”) has stopped the cancer. There are no new nodules which means the normal metastasis of the very aggressive melanoma is not happening. Neither are the nodules growing. Of course, I would like them to be smaller, something the two med treatment accomplished but with terrifically impacting side effects (see January-March posts).
The next steps will be to slow the infusion cycle from every two weeks to every four weeks with scans every three months. If all goes well, Dr. Mashru will pause the treatments after the April scans to see what is happening.
I deeply appreciate the prayers and encouragement of so many. I continue feeling fine with no effects from the cancer or side effects from the nivolumab. Now if I can just get my grades done . . .
Sherry, Cyndee and I spent a week at Clydehurst Christian Ranch in the mountains of South Central Montana. It is the place where Robert Redford filmed “A River Runs Through It.” I found my curiosity, which is always huge, kicked into an even higher gear with all the beauty and all the stories of people. As I was doing a pre-marital with Erik and Cynthia tonight, my eyes went once again to a cross stitched picture which a friend who sees my soul made for me many years ago.