Everyone assumes that waiting around must be the hardest part. I can attest, though, getting the call to action on a Thursday afternoon can be a little unsettling too. Donna the Nurse called around 2:45pm Thursday to tell me Good News! There is an opening in a drug trial if Rich is interested in participating. What's not in the brochure is you have to show up on a particular day to start the trial. That day happens to be this upcoming week. Yes, she was calling on Thursday afternoon to see if we could be in the office on Monday afternoon. We said yes. $2400 later and we're set for our trip.
Reading all the details on a drug trial is not exactly fun. I'm not sure who writes these things but they need to work on their pacing for dramatic effect. "You are being invited to volunteer for a research study because you have advanced cancer for which no therapy exists that is curative and the standard drugs to treat your disease are no longer effective, or there is not an effective treatment known for your type of cancer." Technically true, but not really how you want to lead.
The next paragraph gets better in that it's really just more of an all capital bolded sentence that says:
THIS RESEARCH STUDY WILL BE THE FIRST TIME THE STUDY DRUG WILL BE GIVEN TO HUMANS.
Donna actually said that Rich will be the second person ever to receive this drug. So there is one other person on the planet who has ingested the pills Rich will take next week. I think the only thing more extreme would have been if the nurse said, "The first patient, God rest his soul, didn't react very well, but we have high hopes for you!"
We're flying to Nashville on Monday morning for an afternoon appointment to go over all the details. Tuesday, Rich will get a CT scan, eye exam and EKG for a pre-trial base line. We hope we can start the trial on Wednesday but they might not have a room available for him, so we might have to wait until Thursday to start the trial.
The drug is in pill form that he takes twice a day, but on Day 1 and Day 15 they want to monitor him from 7am to 7pm to see how he absorbs the drug. I hope they have good wifi. Once his first day is done at the center we can fly home, but that's just the start. For the first six weeks of the trial, Rich has to show up for checkups once a week. So every Wednesday in May, Rich will be flying to Tennessee for the day. On Day 15, he'll have to come in the night before and leave the next morning.
After the first six weeks, Rich will continue receiving the drug and will go for a checkup once every three weeks. Every other visit (so every six weeks) he'll get a CT scan to see how the slime is faring. We have no idea how long he would be on the trial. He can continue until either the side effects are unbearable, the drug seems ineffective, or the doctor says he should try something else.
Rich is worried that he will have the worst of all possible side effects, be miserable and not get any benefit from the drug. But that seems to be his tendency to assume that life is setting aside a shit sandwich at every buffet just for him so that every one else can enjoy the prime rib.
We are happy to see progress. But it is a little alarming to find out Rich's Wednesdays are spoken for for the next year or so. Needless to say, we'll have a lot of Southwest points by Christmas.
For those inspired for some light reading, you can read about the BVD-523 drug trial. Riveting stuff.
This is our best option to shrink the slime. Let's hope these magical pills focus on the slime and leave the rest of Rich alone.