Tag Archives: immunotherapy

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I think I was officially discharged yesterday. I got to go home. My clinic visit with the lead researcher Dr. Maloney was an emotional, joy filled experience. I am on cloud 9 and I can't stop thinking about how fortunate I am in so many ways. My journey into this trial and through it has been miraculous. I am not a bible thumping person in any way, but I can say I have seen God's hand at work during this and it has been awe inspiring. My doctors also bring me to tears. I'm not sick. The official time from treatment to my all-clear no cancer scan was 4 weeks.

Can you see any cancer in this photo? Neither can I! Getting a photo with these guys was almost a miracle in itself. Dr. Maloney is WAY too humble, and the others are just camera shy. Except me, I'm too happy to care.
Can you see any cancer in this photo? Neither can I! Getting a photo with these guys was almost a miracle in itself. Dr. Maloney is WAY too humble, and the others are just camera shy. Except me, I'm too happy to care.

A few things about CAR-T. T-cell therapy, CART19. This is NOT chemo or a drug. I guess it would be classified as immunotherapy. What happened was: 1) I had blood taken and t-cells from my own immune system seperated out. 2) My t-cells were genetically modified in a lab to attack cancer cells. They also attack the good immune cells, because what I have is a cancer of the immune system, lymphoma. 3) The new t-cells were given back to me. They multiplied on their own and wiped out any trace of cancer. This isn't perfect, I'm missing part of my immune system. However, some chemo drugs also have similar side effects.

Here's the thing. I may have been lucky enough to get into this, but it's NOT about me. This treatment is going to change the face of cancer. I can't stress that enough. When I was diagnosed, there was no "cure." That may be the official stance since this hasn't passed the test of time yet, YET. The face of CAR-T immunotherapy is changing and growing so rapidly. Right now, it's been used on blood cancers and a few others but the trials for solid tumor cancers are starting now if they haven't already. I pray that my participation moves this one more step forward to other forms of cancer.

I am optimistic, but only because I have every reason to be. I'm not a pollyanna by nature. I wish I could shout from the highest mountains for everyone how exciting this is for future patients facing cancer.

Please email questions to me personally, or find me on Facebook. I don't know all there is about CAR-T. Guess what, the doctors don't either. I will answer what I can or try to find out. I will be continuing my follow up with the same team. The only downside to my day yesterday was trying to deal locally to find a doctor who will work with Dr. Maloney to monitor my labs, etc. I'm trying not to take it personally.

Also, I apologize for the disorganization of the blog, blogging isn't my strong suit!

It seems like I have so much going on and yet it's almost embarrassingly easy. The clinic was running on a skeleton crew today for the holiday, my research kit was misplaced. One diligent tech would not let it go, when everyone else--including me--was going to give up. I think she literally questioned every single person in the lab and finally found the paperwork for my research kit blood work. I'm glad, and yet I wonder how many T-cells they just took out in that extra 5 vials, 2 jumbo size.

I met another car-t patient today and we talked for almost 2 hours. When I say met, I mean I had a gut feeling, chased them to the elevator and asked if they were also a car-t patient. YES! When they started speaking tech to me, including nearly the exact same diagnosis I was beyond excited. It was very, very exciting for me to compare notes and experiences so far.

This video linked below has been brought to my attention by 2 different people, and I am honestly thrilled that the word "cure" is beginning to be used more by doctors. When I was diagnosed years ago, I was told this was incurable. A year later, I remember nearly whispering to my oncologist "they say they can cure this at MD Anderson..." The word cure is used very sparingly when it comes to cancer. We really are at the edge of an entire new era of treatment. It is encouraging to hear the doctor in this video say cure as opposed to turning cancer into a chronic or manageable condition. That isn't terrible, clearly it beats many treatment options even now, but I prefer CURE.  This isn't just for blood cancers, they're talking about many types.

Cure is on the horizon