We arrived in New York Wednesday afternoon with no problems. We got settled in the Ronald McDonald House which is very nice and the people are SO nice and helpful. $35 per night in Manhattan!!!! We qualify because this is a pediatric cancer and are working with the Pediatric Dept at Sloan Kettering. (Be sure to drop your coins in the donation box the next time you are in McDonalds!)
Today (Thursday) we had quite an amazing day! We met Dr. Wexler at Sloan Kettering this morning who had a precise grasp on Matthew's condition and treatment beginning with 11/06 and all committed to memory. He explained in more depth about Matthew's cancer (Desmoplastic small round cell tumor or DSRCT). As we knew, it is a tough cancer and with the year of treatment and three treatment medications that have now stopped working, the cancer is even tougher to fight.
He presented us with 3 possibilities. The first two choices were combinations of chemo regimens that we would use until it became unsuccessful. Then, we'd try another type of chemo regimen.
The third choice was a clinical trial that is being offered to Sloan Kettering for patients with various forms of sarcomas. Sloan Kettering will only have 25 patients that will be able to participate and only 258 patients will participate worldwide at other hospitals.
The treatment would be given once a week through the IV/port and would last about one and a half hours. So far, they believe there will be no adverse side effects that patients typically have with chemo.
The way the treatment works is by blocking the message receptor to the cancer cell that tells it to grow or multiply. Ultimately the hope is that the cell would die. Amazing!!
It took Matthew, Greg & I about a minute (or less) to opt for the clinical trial option! Then, Matthew had to qualify by meeting a several page list of criterion. After bloodwork & chest exray was done at noon, we found out at about 3:00 p.m. that he had qualified!!! Praise the Lord!
So, Matthew will have a Petscan and CT scan in the morning and will begin treatments on Monday. He will have 6 treatments (6 weeks, 1 per week) and then they will repeat the scans to see if it is working. If it is, we will continue. If not, we'll go for one of the other options presented today.
Dr. Wexler was very careful to give us information about the choices and not do a "sell job". Once we showed our interest for the clinical trial, he said that he and his colleagues don't recall when they have been so excited over a clinical trial. Obviously, there are no guarantees but we feel this is a chance of a lifetime for Matthew!!
We also feel that God's timing is so evident in this opportunity. He is continuing to honor the many prayers that are being prayed for Matthew. Thank you for those prayers.
On a lighter note, Matthew is meeting a friend from high school for dinner tonight that just took a job in New York. How cool is that?
Greg will return home on Monday. Matthew and I will stay for a couple of weeks at least to see how he does on the treatment. Then, we'll come home and fly up weekly for his treatments. Many of you have offered your sky miles to help out. We may have to take you up on your offer. But not just yet. Dr. Wexler says there is a program called "Corporate Angels" that offer their company jets free of charge to transport people in our situation that live very far from our treatment location. He is checking to see if we have that in our area!
I promise to do a better job keeping the blog updated as we have new info. Thank for your love, prayers, and that you are "staying the course" with us on this journey. Nancy