We have our first appointment with a renal cell cancer specialist on December 30 at noon. Dr. Janice Dutcher is at Roosevelt Hospital on 10th Avenue in New York City. Here’s some info on her: http://www.docnet.org/physicians/phys_bios.aspx?phys_id=12541
I have known of her since my diagnosis, because of her incredible reputation among the couple of thousand kidney cancer patients with whom I correspond daily on acor.org. She is one the world’s authorities on the high-dose interleukin-2 (HDIL-2) treatment that I will likely take as a next line of therapy. I have exhausted my possibilities with radiation therapy at the offending spot in my spine. According to Dr. John Cabelka, my radiation oncologist, when disease progression is proven in a spot in the spine that has previously been treated twice with radiosurgery, there can be no more radiation treatments applied in that are.
Dr. Pippas has told me that any further surgeries to my spine will likely end in my paralysis. I’ve asked Dr. Gorum about this, but I haven’t heard his emphatic opinion yet. Whatever his response, it is becoming much more critical that this tumor be stopped. Systemic therapy is the next best path for me. And the sooner, the better.
Jill and I are flying to New York City on December 30 for a consultation with Dr. Dutcher. The big determining factors about HDIL-2 is whether I’m fit enough to weather the treatment. Dr. Pippas thinks that I will be able to take it on. My guess, is that if Dr. Dutcher blesses this therapy for me, we’ll likely have it administered at Duke University Hospital with Dr. Dan George, whom Dr. Pippas knows well. In fact, Dr. Pippas has consulted with Dr. George throughout the time he has treated my RCC.
So, the journey continues. We are hopeful that HDIL-2 is exactly what I need at this moment. My prayer is to be among those in the small percentage who are cured by HDIL-2. I intend to bring it when the time comes. Although, I will be completely out of it most of the time, I know Jill will be by my side and watching over me. She is an indescribably perfect mate. And when I’m sick and down, she turns into some kind of warrior monster. I’ve seen it happen. She is the mother lion whose family you had better not f&#k with.
I’m completely terrified of this next treatment. I’m seeking the advice of the best doctors in the world and their nurses, techs and staffers will also be world-class. I’m so thankful that Jill will be beside me. I’m guessing that the actual treatments will begin early in January. We’ll know more when we talk to Dr. Dutcher and Dr. George.
In this Christmas/Hanukkah season, Jill and I and our children and families want you all to know how much we appreciate all your love and kindnesses while we battle this cancer. I have chosen to open my life to the readers of this blog. It is apparent that everyone within the sound of my voice is going to have to deal with cancer. Either in person or within their family or circle of close friends. I don’t wish this on anyone, but if my words bring solace, strength or a sense of direction for a single person, then all of the effort I’ve taken to communicate my feelings will be worth it.