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IL-2 Crisis Averted

Posted by on May 15, 2010 in IL-2, Immunotherapies (IL-2, IL-15, PD-1s, etc.), My Health Updates - No comments


kidney failureIt’s probably good that our nurse Chevelle wasn’t working this weekend, because she probably would have revised her statement about Chris not looking like he went through a hurricane and tsunami.

When it comes to IL-2, things can turn on a dime.  Thursday we thought we were beating the odds with an extra dose and then heading home Friday. That tenth dose, however, took us over the cliff, just as the doctor warned could happen. It’s Saturday and things remain a little dicey.

First, Chris’s kidney started shutting down.  As our friend Dr. Amy Abernethy described it to me, “Think of it as his kidney going to sleep.”  It didn’t really fail — it was just sort of like me on a Friday when I really don’t feel like working, so I just – oh wait – I think my boss is reading this.  Well, let’s just stick with the sleeping analogy.  So, the kidney (the only one Chris has left) went to sleep.

Luckily, the fabulous nursing staff at Duke knew just what to do.  With the right meds, they were able to “wake up” the kidney.  It’s kind of like jumping  your car battery, only a lot more uncomfortable.  Chris’s kidney has now been “awake” for about ten hours and we are feeling better.

The second problem, in addition to the sleeping kidney, is that Chris is still in that drunken stupor phase.  It’s not the first time he’s had this problem with IL-2 — he definitely had the same problem during the first cycle.  But, during the first cycle, I had blamed it on all the additional drugs they were giving him.  It was somehow alot easier for me to accept the concept of Chris being loopy because of all the pain meds rather than the idea that the IL-2 is just so flat-out so toxic that it causes your brain to stop functioning correctly.

At the moment, Chris is still prone to falling asleep mid-sentence and he occassionally talks about conversations that we’ve never had.  It’s a bit unnerving.  The good news is that the doctors say in a few days he’ll be back to his old, still strange, but less-odd self.

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