posted on CarePages April 14, 2011

As I write, the second dose of MIBG is infusing into Patrick’s body. Radiolabeled iodine is circulating through his vessels and being soaked up by neuroblastoma cells that will soon die. Many will not, but today at least we have our heels on the throat of the beast.

I am flying up tomorrow to abate Erin’s own radiation exposure and send her home. I will wear a dosimeter to monitor my radiation exposure just as Erin does now. I will tend to Patrick over lead shields that protect me from him. As strange as this seems, this is our third MIBG rodeo, and its pretty darn easy. The worst part is the Foley catheter in Patrick’s penis that he hates and the SSKI and potassium perchlorate that he must take every four and six hours to protect his thyroid gland from the radiation. The radiation oncology team will monitor his radiation level, and when it drops below seven we will be released. That will likely be Saturday or Sunday.

Next week Patrick and Erin will return to Philadelphia for one night so that he can receive his stem cells back. Once they engraft he will no longer be dependent on blood and platelet transfusions as he has been for the past six weeks. In about six weeks we will scan again. We hope and pray that this treatment will blast those neuroblastoma cells so hard that none will show their ugly face on that scan. But we know those gruesome faces will still be there. If the scans are good and Patrick’s disease burden is small enough, we aspire to enroll Patrick on a new Phase III trial at CHOP. This treatment will be similar to the 3F8 he endured at Sloan except in this instance hu14.18, a humanized monoclonal antibody, is combined with interleukin-2. The monoclonal antibody binds to the cancer cells and delivers IL-2, which stimulates the immune system to destroy the cancer cells. We obviously hope it works!

Now for the fun stuff. Spring break in Hilton Head and Augusta was a blast. We fished (successfully), played golf and tennis, swam in the heated pool, played on the beach, and ate like royalty in the company of very dear friends. The highlight of the trip was seeing Brennan, face to face, as he shot pool, looked great despite his recent brinkmanship, and displayed his zeal for life through a soft, cheerful voice. What a treat that was!

What about Sunday! I like to think that my experience with the Masters is pretty deep given that I have attended dozens. There has simply never been a better horse race with so many contenders, and I just loved how Schwartzel needed a two putt but drained it instead for his record setting fourth birdie in a row to close. The character displayed by Scott, Donald, Ogilvie, and, especially, heartbroken and humbled wie Rory McIlroy was inspiring. Take dead aim and press on. Who knows what will happen?