It was a long day. This might be short.
Arriving at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) at 12 noon we head off to find the blood lab which will access my port to draw the blood. This is is not the “normal” place where people without ports or PICC lines go, it’s a special area called “AWA”, the Ambulance Waiting Area. The AWA is where they stage people on stretchers awaiting ambulance transportation. And, oh yeah, they also collect blood from us “special” people. 17 tubes of blood later I‘m good to go for the ECG.
For the main part of the afternoon, from 1:30 to 5:45, we meet a lot of people, answer a lot of questions, hear a lot of information and sign a lot of consent forms.
The good news is after laying eyes on me they continue to think I’m a good candidate for the CAR-T therapy and things are moving ahead. The main doctor explains the process, risks and benefits in quite a lot of detail. The CAR-T coordinator explains the logistics, talks some more about the company and product that they will be using to modify my T-cells (Kite Pharma Inc., and the YESCARTA product).
The blood work and ECG are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of testing that will be done prior to the infusion of the modified T-cells. Here are the ones I know about today. A tuberculosis test, a 2D echocardiogram of my heart, a pulmonary function test, a dental exam, an MRI of my brain and a PET scan.
This Thursday, February 11th is the appointment for the T-cell collection. The process is identical to the stem cell collection and is likely to take the better part of the day.
It’s a lot to take in and it will take us a couple of days to absorb all the information and more fully comprehend what lies ahead. Thanks for standing with us.