I will be starting chemo next Thursday. This chemo drug is only a 1/2 hour infusion which means I should only be at the hospital for 5 or 6 hours, rather than the days at a time chemo I had last year. The new drug sounds really exciting- it's designed to attack only cancer cells rather than the traditional chemotherapy approach that attacks all fast growing cells, both cancer cells and healthy cells. Adcetris is a highly toxic chemical that attaches itself only to certain markers (CD30) on cancer cells and it goes inside the cell and kills it. Amazing isn't it? And it was only just approved in August 2011 specifically for Hodgkin's Lymphoma patients after a failed stem cell transplant. I guess on the bright side of things the timing couldn't be better!
The plan is three chemo infusions, one every three weeks and then more testing to see if the tumors are responding well. If they are, I will likely do a few more infusions of Adcetris with the hopes of getting a complete remission before going in for a bone marrow transplant. My wonderful brothers will be tested to see if they are a donor match and I will hopefully be receiving one of their immune systems sometime soon.
In the meantime, the side-effects of the new drug should be comparatively mild and I will be able to go on with everyday life! Which means moving this weekend and continuing to teach Joy School and Primary and trying to keep my husband and children happy! It feels so odd that this treatment is stretched out over so many weeks when last time everything was rushed and crazed. One week I was spending days at the hospital for chemo followed by a week of feeling awful with 3 or 4 appointments at Hackensack only to go back in for more chemo the next week. Maybe I should be knocking on wood... wouldn't want to jinx this time around! :)