Hi! Today I completed my first cycle of ipilimumab, the antiCTLA-4 clinical trial drug. It really was as easy as promised. I was indeed able to eat during the infusion, we watched part of a movie on our laptop computer, and the only noticeable side effect I've had so far was sudden fatigue right at the end of the infusion. I felt like I could just close my eyes and go to sleep. But I can deal with fatigue. I have three more infusions scheduled once every three weeks: 12/28/07, 1/18/08, and 2/8/08. Those are all Fridays, which means I'll have a full weekend to recover if necessary after each one. After that I get scanned and, if it looks like I've responded to the treatment, I go into the "maintenance" phase of the trial, which means continued infusions but at less frequent intervals.
A couple things made me feel good about my treatment today. One was that the other melanoma patients I saw at the doctor's office all looked better and older than I did (none of them had canes, all had full heads of hair, and they were all a bit overweight). I take it that's a sign that ipilimumab can work. I also was glad to hear the nurse say every patient they've treated on this trial at their office has gone on to the maintenance phase, which means everyone has responded at least in some degree to the drug. Again, I take it that's a sign that ipilimumab can work. I hope I'm not the exception.
Kelly and Finn came with me today. The nurses all loved Finn, of course. I was just an afterthought really! : ) My sister, Mary Margaret, stopped by to say hi while I was there, too. All in all, it was a good experience and I'm already looking forward to the next one.
Thanks to everyone who helped out with the kids today, especially the Due's and the Murphy's (and to Mark for shoveling us out once again!). I don't know what we would do without such wonderful friends to help us!
PS I wonder if anyone can give me an answer to an unrelated question: do you know of a place where a person can buy movies that have been edited for content for presentation on airplanes, cruise ships, or even TV? I ask because Kelly and I were watching "Love Actually" during my treatment today. It's one of my favorite movies. The first time I saw it was on one of my brother's cruises, when it had been edited for content. Then when I saw it on an actual DVD, I was shocked at some of the content and for that reason I always hesitate to recommend the movie to anyone else. I wish I could get a cleaned-up copy of the movie so I could share it with others.