We are advancing, albeit slowly, here at NIH. I have chosen a study out of the five we were offered across three teams of investigators. This in turn has led to more choices, some of which are dependent on lab work which is even now being done.
Today I have an EKG (again) and a pulmonary workup. We’ll also be chasing several administrative issues at NIH while we’re there.
Thursday I have a leukapheresis session scheduled. This include an outpatient procedure to insert a catheter in my femoral artery, as the veins in my arms are not suitable for the large-gauge needles normally used. I believe that will last much of the day due to the need to filter a very high volume of blood.
Friday I have a consultation with the thoracic surgery group. There may also be a consultation with the infectious disease group to formally clear up a rather odd lingering issue from my childhood overseas.
I expect to fly back to Portland on Saturday, and return to Maryland around January 21st for thoracic surgery on January 23rd. The goal of the surgery is a non-therapeutic resection to harvest sufficient tumor tissue for culturing of naturally-occurring healthy immune cells typically found interpenetrated with solid tumors. I will return again in early February for a rather complex series of treatments involving a roughly three-week inpatient stay at the hospital on the NIH campus.
Some of the above may change, depending on the lab work results I mentioned, but that’s the current plan. I’ve been cleared to discuss the treatment in a general way on the blog and in social media, but am awaiting another conversation with the physicians before getting into detail about the science and the treatment processes. I want to make sure that I am respecting any confidentiality issues around the research in progress.
I will say that NIH sheds a whole new light on the old conservative scare phrase, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” This is socialized medicine in its most literal American incarnation, and it’s damned good medicine with a very positive patient experience so far. Your tax dollars and mine are hard work, doing things that may eventually help cure millions. It’s an honor to be a guinea pig here.
Onward we go.