Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Seasons Change and Time Passes

With the arrival of fall, I am reminded of so many things I love.  Turning leaves, pumpkin lattes, endless festivities, and the ghouls and goblins of Halloween.  All making this my favorite time of year.  The changing of seasons and the summer that altered our lives forever coming to an end, prompts thoughts of how quickly time passes.  Six weeks of chemo and radiation have come and gone in the blink of an eye.   As I said halfway through treatment, Dow remained strong and optimistic through the duration of toxic therapy.  A little fatigue presented itself in the last two weeks, but I can honestly say that I'm not sure if it was caused from medication or his dedication to work and family.  Either way, we are fortunate to have had such a great experience due to the support of countless friends, family, and healthcare providers.  I am thrilled to be able to finally kiss and snuggle my best friend on these cool, autumn nights.

Our next plan of attack has always been a research trial, now it's just a matter of figuring out which one it will be.  Dow was originally scheduled for a two week post treatment MRI, for the DCvax trial. Plans have changed a little.  Dr. Tran, one of the foremost glioblastoma researchers personally called Dow to request an MRI one week following treatments' end.  After six weeks of constant assault on the brain's tumor sight, it is common for MRIs to falsely show abnormalities that can cause patients to be excluded from particular trials. Dr. Tran wanted to be sure that if Dow happens to be excluded from the local trial that he can immediately be included in St. Louis's research.  They are currently running the receptor specific trial that he qualified for.  So within the next week, we should know which path we will be headed down.

I have very little information on the trials but I can try to explain the premise of each.  DCvax is a series of 21 vaccines that have been created from Dow's collection of tumor mixed with his own neutrophils.  These will then be injected back into his body and the hope is that it will recognize that his immune system needs to attack these particular cells. This trial is only for newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients. The trial at Washington University is also a vaccine based trial, but this vaccine targets a receptor that only 20% of glio patients test positive for.  This is for the newly diagnosed and patients with a recurrence.  So qualifying for the new diagnosis trial and then move on to the recurrence trial if need be is best scenario for us.

Season's change will forever be bittersweet.  The rebirth of nature and the expiration of time. Spending forever together never seemed long enough. Now with the possibility that "forever" could be cut short, my greediness has diminished and I will be eternally grateful for every changing season we get to spend together.