It hurts me to share this with all of you but I will not be able to enter the CART-19 trial on 2/2 at U Penn. Unfortunately, the T-Cells they harvested all died in the lab and they did not have a chance to engineer them or grow them to be able to give them back to me.
I really am unsure of why this happened – I know that it is rare and that they are not confident enough to try to harvest and send to the lab again.
At this point, after speaking with Dr. G, Dr. J and Jeff our best option seems to be to get myself another auto (my own cells) stem cell transplant – we will work out the logistics over the next few days. At least this will get my body back in some type of remission to buy some time to make other treatment decisions.
There is also the possibility that once in a better remission I can start the donor transplant trial at Sloan Kettering which we discussed before as well.
There are also many clinical trials as well available to discuss so we have plenty of good options available.
The plan for now will be to return to Penn on 2/2 for a stem cell transplant minus the T-Cell trial. They already have the bed waiting and the insurance working on approval so we can act swiftly. If I switched hospitals now, I would have to go through all kinds of new approvals and pre-testing which would delay the procedure.
Once I complete this transplant, there is an opportunity for Penn to go back and rewrite their trial protocol to try and harvest better, healthier, T Cells from my body but it is no guarantee. Regardless, there are many other options available so I will buy myself some time with this procedure and then act accordingly when ready and healthy to strike.
The other advantage of Penn is that I can be properly followed up by my leg surgeons and radiation doctors as needed.
Funny thing is that I woke up this morning feeling very clear and as well as I have in a week. Not hazy, not groggy. I got a great night sleep and feel very clear headed and ready to take this on.
I am looking forward to the next challenge. What did I say a few weeks ago? It’s not how many times you get knocked down. Its how many times you get back up again! I’m back up again. BRING IT.
I am highly confident that whatever path we choose I am still more powerful than Myeloma and I am still going to win.