Thursday, January 17, 2013

6th Germany Update

Well, I just woke up from over 15 hours of sleep. Yesterday was my first immunotherapy shot primed with my dendritic cells. At one point, I woke from my nap while Green was getting ready to head down for dinner and she pointed out the beads of sweat all over my back and chest. Apparently the fever kicked in. Yes! Exactly what we wanted. I used the bathroom, and fell back into bed. I've been exhausted. You want to have a fever because it means that the virus is infecting the tumor cells that my body can now recognize as virus and my body creates a fever while cleaning up the bad cells. The tumor cells are considered an infection that must be attacked (by my dendritic cells) and removed. That's the thing about tumor cells, the are usually cleaned up by a healthy body before they turn into cancer. My body, for some reason, has not been recognizing Hermie as a freeloader.

The shots are very easy to endure just deep exhaustion, slight fever, and ache throughout the body. Easy stuff. (Easy now that I'm rested anyway.)

Before the shot, Green and I asked Dr Germany all of our questions. He is fantastic, always wanting to make sure that we understand everything. He's usually late, but it's because he's so thorough. We never minded. Our whole point for this trip was the treatments. I would have sat there all day, happily, if that's what it took.

After the shot yesterday, Green and I took a Dramamine (taxi rides are rough), and headed to Gottingen, where I cozily lay in bed. It's only 5:00 am, but that's about my wake up each morning. I've always been a morning person, but this is crazy! It has been nice, though, that every hotel had a breakfast included. I wait patiently for 6:30 am, then like a mouse (with a book under its' arm) I sneak out into the world. I enjoy my quiet time just like my dad.

We will rest this morning, then take the train in the early afternoon, headed to Frankfort. We'll spend the night at a hotel attached with the airport, that way in the morning we can just walk to the check-in.

I can't believe the trip is almost over. It was so fun! Even though I was asleep or in bed 75% of the time, I had a blast! I wish you all could meet Dr Germany. He is indescribably profoundly light years in front of cancer medicine in the US. The things he is doing are just amazing. On three occasions we spent time with Dr Germany. Each time the lasting effect was compounded. He is a serious scientist, amazing doctor, and a problem solver. I can't even explain it accurately. If you have cancer, you owe it to at least contact the clinic to see what your options would be for treatment. His clinic is incredibly successful with brain tumors and lung cancer (he cures many other types as well, but those two - which are known to be exceedingly hard to treat - are a huge part of his clients). It has to do with the way the shots process in your body. With one pump of the heart the immunotherapy was in my brain and I felt it. I felt it immediately during the first shot, then at the next appointment we asked how soon the immunotherapy shot took to reach my brain, and they said "one heartbeat." I had thought it was just me having positive thinking. :)

I'm very hopeful. It's known that this treatment is best right after resection when the tumor burden is low. That's because the best ratio of immunotherapy primed dendritic cells and tumor cells is 1:2 if your tumor gets too large, it's very hard (not impossible) to shrink it.

Thank you to everyone for the support, and the fundraisers!! Behind contacting and including Dr Liau into my care team, this is the most amazing thing I've ever done in my life. I can't believe where this tumor journey has taken me. I've been in the presence of, literally, world changers. Like I keep saying, I'm never going to give up. If there's a will, there's a way. And I'm going to find it.

7 comments:

  1. I cannot tell you how positively thrilled I am for you. Plus, the way you write about your journey... Even when you are a little down from exhaustion and other frustrations, your blog remains this very exciting thing to read. I feel a little awkward about this emotion because I know the reason for it is a tumor, but I feel so eager to read your next installment! I hope that sounds positive. I meant it to be. You are a very good writer and an inspiration to so many people. A very dear friend succumbed to his brain tumor last August and we all still miss him so much. I wish he were hear to read your blog and try this treatment. Thank you for taking the time to write when you are tired. I really appreciate your dedication.

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  2. Jess. Thanks for the updates! You constantly inspire me--and I don't even know you! It is so inspiring to hear about these awesome new treatments and trials. Thinking of you!

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  3. I am so excited for you! You are on your way to a new stage in your life, I pray that it is health!! Please know there are many people praying for you, and wishing you all the best. Pretty sure you could write a book about this adventure with Hermie, something to think seriously about. Love and hugs from the USA!!!

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  4. Fist pumps are happening -at my desk, with my coffee, pumping my fist in the air for you friend! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! xoxo, Meghan.

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  5. So excited! Doing a happy dance! Safe travels! Melissa

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  6. So glad to read this Jess. A lot of love from F.H.

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  7. Not sure I have found someone in life yet more amazing, courageous, positive and driven than you!! I love it!! I think of you everyday and am always so hopeful for every journey you travel and every amazing option you discover and pursue! You are incredible and you are loved!!

    Thank you, as always, for your honesty, wit and eloquence!

    Love, Maleka

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