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Tests Passed, We Move Forward with Another Round of IL-2

Posted by on July 12, 2010 in IL-2, Immunotherapies (IL-2, IL-15, PD-1s, etc.), Medical Procedures and Other Drugs, My Health Updates - No comments


Today’s test results, giving us the thumbs-up to move forward with another cycle of IL-2 treatment, made Yanni worthwhile.

I rode up to Durham from Savannah yesterday with my mom, as Dena had to take the girls back to DC. I did not have the foresight to check my parents’ musical collection before getting on the road.


Celine Dion.

The Carpenters.

We did have an Alabama anthology, but I realize now that I don’t hold Alabama with the same esteem as I did back in the Eighties. Or maybe it was listening to the same CD over and over for six hours, afraid, deeply afraid, to insert the Yanni CD into the player. And speaking of the Carpenters, I was upset that Muskrat Love wasn’t included in their anthology. I was preparing to write a strongly worded letter to the producers — pointing out that a song with such a freakish and disturbing title should be included on any anthology produced, ever. Then I realized that Muskrat Love was Captain and Tennille song.

No Captain and Tennille in the car.

So it was a long ride. But it was worth it. We got the go-ahead this morning to move forward with the next round of treatments. I passed the morning’s heart tests with flying colors. The technician put one of those cold-jellied sonogram cameras against my chest and said that she didn’t see any “leakage.”  Which seemed positive.

She turned the monitor so that I could watch the images of my heart as she took photographs. The angle of the camera was such that only the two ventricles showed, and one atrium. Which on the black and white of the sonogram created the shape of a human skull, with two huge black eye sockets and a twisted gaping mouth that seemed to open and close rhythmically. The effect was that of a death’s head skull working a crowd into a frenzy, Hitler-like. Or perhaps banging out rhymes to some rap song. I found myself entranced, wanting to tap my fingers along with this eerie little creature. I started making up my own raps, singing to the drumbeat of my heart, until the tech told me to shut the hell up and lay still.

“Hold your breath. Now breathe. Hold it. Breathe. No leakage. Oh, I’m not supposed to tell you that.”

“It will be our secret,” I said.

Dr. Morse told me that he had been concerned that during the last treatment some symptoms emerged that looked ominously similar to heart damage and he wanted to take a look. However, the test was clean and we were good to move forward. My paranoia was … well, just that — paranoia. Dr. Morse still seemed skeptical that I could do a fourth round. “We’ll wait and see how the next scan looks,” he said.

So now I’m sitting in the admissions lobby waiting on “transport.” They won’t let you walk up alone to the 9th Floor. Nobody could go up unescorted because some patients had wandered off in the past and got lost, according to the lady at the front desk. Evidently we had some addled soul meandering into the transplant ward and waking up with a pig’s heart sewn into his chest.

So we wait on a wheelchair, and wait, excited as always for yellow socks and yellow bracelets warning the world that I approach.


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