Last Thursday I received my final injection of Xofigo – at least for now. In an interesting twist, my injection marked the end of the Xofigo clinical trial at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa. Yep, I was the caboose – the amen, if you will. It seems only a few days ago that my sister first told me of this new drug that was promising to give me reduced pain from my bone metastases and extended life. It’s not a cure, but it has been an incredible gift to me. The horrible pain I had in my bones has all but disappeared. I still fatigue easily, but hey, I just pressure washed my driveway so I won’t complain.
And I’m still alive – did I mention that I’m still alive? I wake up every morning amazed and grateful for things I used to take for granted – starting with life itself.
So what happens next? We take a break and let my body recover from the alpha radiation it has received. We watch my numbers (specifically my alkaline phosphatase). It is currently at 52 (it was in the 230’s before Xofigo). If it reaches 140-150, Xofigo and I will reconnect and get the party going again. Wisdom dictates caution in that Xofigo is a new type of drug and there is no data yet available regarding its long term use.
In the meantime, I feel a little unfaithful for saying this, but I have met someone else. Her name is Prostvac. Like Xofigo when I met her, Prostvac is currently in a phase III clinical trial. It is an investigational cancer vaccine that “induces a specific, targeted immune response” that attacks the cancer cells multiplying in my body and kills them. Think of it as something that “turns on” my immune system so it can hunt down and destroy my prostate cancer specifically. The great news about this drug is that it has the potential to “significantly extend” my life expectancy. I love the sound of those words!
Don’t get me wrong – Xofigo will always be my first love. But in my situation, it appears to be necessary to play the field a bit!
A couple of issues confronting me:
- I have applied for the Prostvac trial, but my little 3 week fling with chemo may prevent me from being accepted (damn you, chemo!). My gracious intake nurse, however, has escalated a request for an exception, bless her kind heart. I should hear something this week. So if you’re the praying type, your prayers for my acceptance would be greatly appreciated.
- Even if I get into the trial, there is a 33% chance that I would end up in the placebo arm of it. This, of course, would be of no help to me at all. So again I would be grateful for prayers for both my acceptance into the trial and then that I would receive the actual vaccine (via injection, lots of injections, apparently).
It still seems very crazy for me to only be alive because I am testing experimental drugs before they come onto the market. It feels like a bizarre dream from which I can’t wake up. But there is also something invigorating about life as I am now living it. Everyday I get to trust God with my very survival. I also get to meet amazing and kind people who help me along the way (like Michael, Ken, Robert, Karen and Bonnie – my Moffitt team).
I also am learning so much about myself and how I cope with letting go of everything, as we all must ultimately do. Some days are hard and sad (like when my friend, George, died recently); others make me feel like I will live forever (like when we sang and laughed at his graveside). Yes, my life is radically different than it was a year ago, but it is also much more congruent with the world as God has made it. None of us make it out of here alive. It’s prudent to get ready for the trip.
Finally, a personal and business note:
In the past, I have mentioned in these updates the amazing thing my oldest daughter and son-in-law did for us a year ago by relocating to Tallahassee so that Drew could help hold my IT business together in the midst of the chaos of my health situation. I want to give you an update: Drew hasn’t just held my MacPro Services together, he has grown it. Instead of my business languishing along with my health, Drew has prospered it beyond my highest expectations.
I knew something of the character of this man when I found myself excited about him marrying my daughter. Today, though, he has far exceeded not just my personal standards, but my business standards as well. To that effect, I am pleased to announce Drew’s new title:
MacPro Services, LLC
I’ll still be around answering the phones, sharpening the pencils, and helping out wherever I can, but this is now Drew’s business, not mine. It couldn’t be in better hands.
I have never been so grateful for what another man has done for me – or so proud,
P.S, If you would like more info on Prostvac, click on the link below: