Quick Treatment Plan Update
Yesterday I met with my wonderful local oncologist, Dr. Eswar Tipirneni, and after a long back and forth discussion around the pros and cons of deferring another FOLFOX infusion in order to get my vaccine administered on January 3rd in San Diego, we agreed that it was a very close call. In the end, I made the decision to receive another infusion of FOLFOX, which means I will not be eligible to receive my first vaccine injection in San Diego until January 18th. Believe me, this was a tough decision, and one that I think illustrates the value and importance of taking an integrative approach — considering both allopathic and complementary (naturopathic) modalities — in determining your cancer treatments. The considerations that tipped the balance in favor of suffering the negatives associated with another FOLFOX infusion have to do with the importance of completely eliminating any and all indications of leftover autoimmune reactions from my earlier long-term exposure to Pembrolizumab. It is important for us to do this BEFORE I arrive in San Diego to receive my vaccine infusion and re-starting Pembrolizumab, and I’m pleased to report that the ONLY such indications I am currently expressing are a mild skin rash on my upper left and right arms. This is a concern, but too mild to warrant Prednizone orally, and we are addressing it with a topical steroid.
In this circumstance, one benefit of the FOLFOX infusion is that it is mildly suppressive of general immune system response. This is a good thing for me at the moment, given that my previous long-term exposure to Pembro “took the brakes off” my immune system, and has led to my “under-checked” immune system going after otherwise friendly cells (either my cells or my very, very, close one-celled friends in the gut microbiome). The other benefit of the FOLFOX infusion is that it should further knock down my cancer load — especially so in conjunction with the fast I’m on now. Since my biomarker numbers for CA 19-9 and CEA had shot up prior to my FOLFOX infusion two weeks ago, both Eswar and I agreed immediate response was warranted — despite the closeness of the vaccine infusion. A related consideration is that I knew from studying the results of other peptide vaccine trials that it can take up to 12 weeks for a patient to show a measurable response to such a vaccine. So on balance, it seemed sensible to take a second infusion of FOLFOX (my 7th overall) in the hope of really knocking things back until I could get the vaccine and get back on the Pembro. I should get a read on how effective the first FOLFOX treatment has been in knocking down my blood numbers later today or tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed…! Otherwise, I feel fine, and am really psyched about getting out to San Diego and entering a whole new chapter in my response to this thing… I just have a strong intuitive feeling I’m on the right track…!!! And the two week delay gives me (and them) more time to prepare for what is likely to be a whirlwind of activity when I arrive… wish me luck, Merry Christmas (God Bless You All!), and Have a Happy, Happy New Year…
With much, much LOVE!
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