|Graph showing the expansion of T-cells in my blood|
|T-cell attacking cancer cells|
There have been some other studies that have shown that if your are trying to insert new T-cells into a person that they will take hold better if you thin out the normal ones a bit and thereby make room for the new ones to grow. So, my study thinned out my normal T-cells by giving me chemotherapy for 5 days. Chemotherapy is hard on T-cells. This chemotherapy had be given to me as an in patient in the hospital. After they had thinned out my normal T-cells they then injected the newly created cells into of my veins. It is hard to know for sure what is happening from that point on but one way that they monitor it is to take samples of blood at regular intervals after the injection and essentially count how many of the new T-cells are present in your circulating blood. They can be the original cells that were injected or copies of the injected ones that the body has made.
So, with all that said, Monday we went to visit with our Doctor. He and his staff seemed pretty pleased with what they had to present. They showed me a graph of the specialized T-cell counts in my blood. Basically the graph goes up at a very steep angle as the specialized T-cell count climbed in my blood stream. Dr. Gottschalk told us that my response to treatment was the best that had ever been observed in the history of the research center. Essentially those T-cells that they injected must have found my cancer, locked onto it and began replicating themselves like crazy to mount a major assault on the invading cancer. It was amazingly good news. .
They had warned us in advance that if the T-cell attack was successful that the areas of residual tumor would swell as they were attacked. This has very much turned out to be the case. I had tumor remaining in a number of places that couldn't be removed surgically because the operation would have been too dangerous. One area was my right sphenoid sinus. Within about 6 hours of the T-cells being injected the tissue in my right sinus/nasal passage swelled dramatically making it nearly impossible to breath through my right nostril. It is annoying but we are grateful that the attack seems to be working. I also had tumor in the lining of my brain. The outside lining is called the dura matter and the cancer had spread extensively through that lining. Again, after the injection I experienced some amazing headaches. We believe that is from the dura lining of my brain swelling in response to T-cells attacking the cancer cells there. I don't enjoy the headaches but I console myself thinking about those cancer cells getting beat up.
When they showed us the results of my blood work on Monday where the T-cells had expanded in number so dramatically, I found myself feeling so grateful. For four years now we have been praying our hearts out for a miracle that would lead to a cure. I have had a number of priesthood blessings by very righteous men. Invariably, in those blessings, I have been promised that God would cure me. In addition, I have so many friends and family members who have used their faith praying for me to be healed. I know without a doubt that God has heard those prayers and seen the faith of those who have offered them. Needless to say we had hoped that the miracle would come sooner but God is in charge and we trust him. On Monday the thought that kept popping up in my mind was this "could this finally be the miracle that we have prayed so hard for?" We sincerely hope that it is. In the middle of August we will have a new MRI scan done. Assuming that the tumor is being effected the way that we want it to be then we will return to Texas and they will continue to send in new, fresh T-cells to continue the battle. They have them all stored in freezers down there just waiting for their turn to fight. They have enough made for four doses.
Once again, let me thank each of your personally for your faith and prayers. JoLynne and I can literally feel the power produced by your faith. Thank you. We love and appreciate you all.