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Another Perspective

August, 2016 Health Update

A quick update on my chronic lymphocytic leukemia. I am in a trial study that is looking at how two drugs work together on the cancer cells. One I take by infusion: Gazyva. I have experience with this drug, having had it in my last trial study. I am again having a positive response to it. I have six cycles of infusion – now once a month, the last being in November. It has killed every cancer cell it can find and made room for my healthy cells to flourish. This is not a cure because it doesn’t find all the cancer cells. Leukemia hides in secret places in the body and then when treatment ends, comes back stronger and often more aggressively. That’s why a cure will involve a combination of drugs, making it harder for the cancer to hide and reproduce. The second drug I’m taking, Duvelisib, is designed to interfere with the cancer’s reproductive ability, both within individual cells and between cells – so it can’t network (as I understand the process). This is a new drug to me. I take one pill twice a day for two years (ending in June, 2018).

These two drugs are approved for use with individuals who have not had success with other drugs, like Ibrutinib. Because Ibrutinib is so effective, there’re not many of us around. This is supposed to be a widespread trial, but so far only UCSD has found people who can enter the trial. I am number 2. I feel as if I’m being watched very carefully. Person number one is about six months ahead of me. She’s had some ups and downs but is doing fine now. I’m fortune that so far I’ve had no side effects from either drug. Thanks for to God. Person number 3 is to begin soon. UCSD is only slotted to do six patients, so a report on the progress of the trial is going to take a while.

My blood numbers look good. I feel terrific most of the time. I still need a nap or two every day (often an hour each) but that usually isn’t a problem. I am back to writing. I’ve got about 75 pages of Hangtown II (working title) done. I hope to have it ready for Christmas, 2017. It continues the growth of Zach and Claire and friends into 1852, with a focus on their spiritual lives. I think you’ll find it to be a stimulating read.

I said I was going to keep this short, so I’m going to quit for now. Thank you for your interest and support.
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