A brief history:
Last week I arrived, officially for my participation in cart19. This treatment is so new and evolving rapidly so the forms I had signed a few months ago were no longer up to date. I had a meet and greet with everyone involved and even got a status update on how my t-cells are doing in the lab. They're doing great, thanks for asking. I will be having 1/3 less chemo, yay! I will be having significantly less t-cells also...hmmmm. Yay? The chemo is to suppress my existing immune system so my new fangled genetically engineered cancer killing t-cells can get in there and get to work!
Did I mention this is a clinical trial?! I can not cruise into Walgreens and buy some new t-cells. This is an experimental therapy. I want to make it clear that I'm not condoning or encouraging anyone to use my info as medical advice.
There is a fair amount of prep work that goes into this. My one week schedule of appointments is 7 pages long. I had my own t-cells collected months ago. Things like a CT scan, bone marrow biopsy, echocardiogram, etc are all needed to get a baseline. That good old bone marrow biopsy. Now, if you're reading this, you probably are familiar with the joy of one, or have at least heard about it. For some reason, I detest the bone marrow biopsy. I am enthusiastic about this trial though, and if that's what it takes, then sign me up! By sign me up, I mean I hesitantly agreed and then made 3 phone calls trying to plead my case to not have it done. Unsuccessfully.
Yesterday I had my first ever heart echo, which conjured up visions in my head of dye, wires, maybe lying on my back on a cold table. Wait, that may have been a movie about alien abductions. I'm happy to report it's actually nothing more than an ultrasound of the heart.