Pregame Jitters. I keep thinking we’re getting better at this waiting thing. Today or last night, maybe not. Toss. Turn. Pray. Repeat. Pregame jitters, I guess. Even has-been athletes still have them, right? To cure the jitters, we refocused on all of our blessings–our friends and family. Even though you have brightened our lives for years, we continue to be astounded by the outpouring of love and support. Last night, we pulled up some of our favorite hymns and I reread the lyrics to “Somebody Prayed for Me.” I wish my “thank you” felt big enough, but since it doesn’t maybe those lyrics can express how we feel: Somebody Prayed for Me
The Big Day. Today we had our appointment with Dr. Altan, who provided a new hope. Dr. Altan recommended an immunotherapy treatment. The treatment was clinically tested at MD Anderson, published, and approved by the FDA within the past couple months. The immunotherapy is specifically tailored for Dad’s type of skin cancer. The infusions are given every three weeks and he will be able to receive the treatment in Alabama, which means he won’t have to travel back and forth to Houston. Dr. Altan is recommending that Dad have an updated scan when he returns to Alabama to create an accurate baseline reference and begin treatment as soon as possible, hopefully before Thanksgiving. His doctors in Alabama will work with Dr. Altan closely and after three treatments a scan will be taken to assess the effectiveness of the treatment.
The Unknown. But as we often do in life, we step into the next stage of the unknown, walking in faith and trusting God. The success rate of the immunotherapy is between 50-65%. Although it is not a cure, it may maintain Dad’s current health or even decrease the existence of his cancer. Will his insurance cover all of the cost? We don’t know. We will work with our doctors, and we’ve received recommendations on how to navigate the process with insurance and the drug company, should that be necessary. What are the side effects? We don’t know. Immunotherapy, especially this particular treatment is new and side effects vary with each person. What we do know, as Erik said is “We don’t know if we’ll win, but God has given us the opportunity to compete and that’s all we can ask for.” Wise words from our coach. We have a plan. We have hope. We have our faith in God. We have each other and all of you. As far as I’m concerned, that ain’t bad! Not bad at all.
God’s Got This.
We love you.
Writing for Duke, Cheryl, Erik, and Coco