Hey guys, I thought I'd give a bit of an update on this past week:
1. My parents went to the hospital on Monday because Dad has had debilitating back pain and got some tests done. We're still waiting for the results (but *fingers crossed* no results are good results). Last weekend he was mostly bed ridden with a fever, aches and pains. He had his last radiation treatment a month (or so) ago, and basically it's super effective and relieving at first but afterward, it's kind of a free for all and can either be continuously relieving or the pain can come back. So far, since my Dad has had two rounds of radiation during this whole situation, he's been in a rather cyclical pattern when it comes to pain... it always comes back. This pain really just means that the tumors in his back and ribs are (obviously) still present, but they're hitting a nerve or in a strange position and unfortunately even if they've shrunk from radiation, they're still there or still growing, blah blah blah... thingsyoudontwanttohear.
2. GOOD NEWS! Mom and Dad went to Sloan Kettering last week again, and there is another clinical trial available for him. Clinical trials are exciting... but stressful... because there aren't any guarantees (whatsoever) and of course it's a good thing because there's no other treatment actually available at this time for my Dad's cancer, but it's something. Which could be a motto for clinical trials. "Clinical Trials.... Well, I Guess It's Something."
*Side note* this is not to say that clinical trials do not work, or are not incredibly effective and successful, because they ARE. They provide incredible research and are led by tremendous doctors. If this opportunity presents itself to you, weigh your options– but take it for sure. Build a relationship with your doctor and be open with him or her. Let them know your feelings and thoughts, because this is 100% about YOU. It is their 'experiment' but this is your life and experience which is just as valuable as the results.
My Dad's situation just happens to be on the more frustrating end of the spectrum only because so far, nothing has worked and there aren't any "this will probably abolish the cancer growing in your body" treatments, but it's something. My Dad's really been hoping for an immunotherapy trial, where your body is basically conditioned to fight it's own cancer utilizing the immune system. It's like *the latest* front page worthy news in the cancer world. These trials are basically what everyone who has cancer is wide-eyed for because they've had an outstanding success rate, but they're also frequently unavailable because there aren't spaces open. So, my Dad's going to be part of a blind study- half the participants get the treatment, and the others get a placebo. By the first week or two or so, most people know whether or not they have the treatment because of the side effects. Oh, yes, side effects are a constant, by the way. So he is preparing for that now and will be returning to Sloan next week to prep for the trial and then begin the trial.