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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dr. Alyea and the day from Hell

For most of us, life at home returned to normalcy. Cecil and Loretta stayed in the boys' room, the boys joined Lora and I in our room, one on the extra sofa we put in last summer after buying new livingroom furniture from Tom D at work, and the other on a camping cot I found at walmart. Sounds uncomfortable, yet they actually fight over who gets to sleep on the cot. Work, school, karate practice, play-dates, all normal. This went on for a week or two while waiting for the final pathology reports to come back, chemo arrangements to be made & scheduled back at NHOH in Hooksett, and a visit to to DF in Boston to meet with a bone marrow transplant specialist, Dr. Edwin Pascall Alyea III. Ironically, he's from KY as well. Is this a good omen or bad? You tell me. He very frankly discussed with us the risks and benefits of a bone marrow transplant as well as the fact that it poses the somewhat slight and only chance of reaching a curative outcome in Lora's disease. He said 10-15% of BM recipients experience fatal side effects from the treatment itself. (Internet says 20%). We also discussed (and approved) participation in a clinical study called G-Vax which is comprised of an aspiration of Lora's cancerous stem cells which will then be treated and irradiated for use in creating a "vaccine" to re-introduced to Lora's system after the "donor" stem cells have been transplanted and engraftment takes place. The idea is that the donor immune system (now in Lora) will identify Lora's original displastic cells as foreign and attack them. Animal trials showed promising results and previous human trials suggested that this could reduce or eliminate relapses. Dr. Alyea's main point about G-Vax was that is was very little risk / high potential reward. The concept was developed by a scientist at DF and had been subsequently bought and taken on by two different development companies. The first of which ran out of money. Needless to say, this undoubtedly further postpone the start of chemo, as the necessary biopsy/aspiration would be scheduled for the following Monday. NHOH only runs chemo on a Mon - Fri basis. Well, like a pair of genius', Lora and I decided to schedule the biopsy Monday at 8am in Boston, & first chemo that afternoon at NHOH. That turned out to be a regrettable decision, as it was the day from hell.


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