So yesterday we began another step on our journey fighting this cancer.
For many reasons, we need to shrink the size of this tumor. For one, it's not good having it press upon my brain so much. Also, for us to continue in Houston, the tumor needs to be reduced in size.
My doctors in Houston, Dr. Gottschalk and Dr. Wang, have been so kind to us. They are such caring kind people. I am grateful to both of them. They are scientists, of course, but they are also really kind health care providers. In such a challenging time in my life I am so grateful for their kindness to me.
In our discussion they had mentioned to me the possibility of maybe adding a drug called PD1 to my treatment. It is interesting that, independently, this had also been suggested to me by my oncologist here, my brother-in-law, a super smart physician back east, and of course it is all of the sudden very much in the news since President Jimmy Carter is being given this drug.
PD1 is a drug that helps your body's immune system to find a cancer and attack it. Many cancers have developed the ability to hide from our own immune system. PD1 takes away the cancer's ability to hide. This is a very new drug but is already showing great promise.
So yesterday I had my first dose. We asked our insurance to pay but they said no. The drug is not yet approved for osteosarcoma, only for melanoma. There is a nationwide study beginning this week actually, testing the drug against osteosarcoma but the study isn't done yet. Because the insurance denied payment we asked for mercy from the drug company. In the past they have been willing to give the drug for free sometimes when insurance says no. We haven't been able to get them to agree to that yet but we are still trying. We felt strongly that this was the course that God wanted us to take so we told our doctor that we would just pay for it ourselves if it would hurry things along. It isn't cheap, $8000 per dose but my children tell me that I am worth it. JoLynne seems to think so too. So, yesterday it began.
I seemed to have a very quick response. I know that I have cancer in my right sinus and around my eye and brain of course. Within an hour of the infusion I began having significant swelling in all of those areas. The swelling around my brain gave be a really bad headache. We came home from the doctor and I was so grateful to have all of my sons, minus Spencer, and my son in law, gather around me and give me a priesthood blessing. Within 30 minutes of that blessing my pain was nearly gone. I am so grateful for the power of God shared with men by means of the priesthood. That power is very real to me.
As I was preparing to get the PD1 I was saying a prayer of course, asking God to please bless this treatment to be effective in fighting my cancer. I had the most distinct impression come over my mind. It basically said, "Eric, open your scriptures to the story of Moses and the red sea. The words that you will find there are my answer to your prayer. So I opened my scriptures to Genesis 14:13-14 and here is what it said.