New Health Update for Dr. L
New Health Update and Background Information on Dr. L
This is a new health update for TV and Talk Radio Show Listeners, Hosts, Producers, and Book and Blog Post Readers. It is the third update.
About three months ago, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Renal Cell Carcinoma that has metastasized to my lungs. I will try to give you some background information below.
Beginning in mid-April, I started receiving a new and promising immuno-therapy drug cocktail. This new treatment appears to cure renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in a limited percent of cases, or retards the growth of the RCC, or places the RCC into remission in another group of cases. It’s likely actual outcome in my case is unknown.
The previous drug used for RCC (and my other alternative treatment) had a survival rate of only about one to two years.
Potential adverse side effects from the immuno-therapy treatment can range from virtually non-existent to severe and life-threatening. Not surprisingly, the side effects are typically auto-immune related and can cause the treatment to be discontinued. About one third of patients are taken off these drugs because of adverse side effects.
Health Update for Immuno-Therapy Treatment #1
On April 17th, I received my first immuno-therapy treatment consisting of two newer drugs. Ten minutes into the infusion of the first drug, I felt like I was hit by a truck. Fortunately, this massive fatigue only lasted about 30 minutes and I surprisingly returned to normal. I did not feel any effect from the second immuno-therapy drug at all.
Following the first treatment, I felt what apparently were minor side effects every night for several weeks.
Health Update for Immuno-Therapy Treatment #2
On May 8th, I went to the cancer infusion center for treatment #2. Ten minutes into the infusion of the first drug, I felt light chest tightness, then quickly, heavy chest tightness, then quickly, chest pains, then quickly, severe chest pains.
I felt awful. I was in great pain. I thought this is what a heart attack must be like. I always had a good heart and I came from a family with strong hearts. Plus, I have a long history of cardiovascular activity and weight lifting.
The emergency call light cord was pulled and ten nurses rushed to my side within 30 seconds. I admire the infusion nurses for their quick response to an emergency.
They turned off the infusion drip of the first immuno-therapy drug immediately and started shooting drugs into my IV … an antihistamine, then another antihistamine, then a steroid, and finally, a painkiller. My blood pressure had shot up to 234/99 and my pulse to 107. My oncologist later said it was a rare allergic reaction to this drug.
The infusion center protocol for chest pains was to call 911. An ambulance and fire engine pulled up soon and took me to a nearby hospital for testing. Fortunately, I didn’t have a heart attack.
Treatment #2 didn’t conclude on May 8th, so it didn’t count as a treatment. Next, the oncologist scheduled treatment #2 during the time slot reserved for treatment #3. This time he planned to pre-medicate me with three other drugs to hopefully avoid the same type of severe adverse reaction again.
During the time period right after the attempted treatment #2, I also suffered from very low potassium levels and headaches and another one of my metabolic numbers was off. I’m guessing these were the result of other related side effects.
Health Update for Immuno-Therapy Treatment #3 (Technically, Treatment #2 was finally completed)
On May 29th, I went to the cancer infusion center for treatment #3. In reality, it counted only as treatment #2, since that treatment was cut short on May 8th due to the chest pains.
During the first ten minutes into the infusion of the first drug on May 29th, I felt chest pains again, despite the pre-medications. The emergency cord was pulled once again, the infusion of the first drug was halted, the oncologist called, and more meds ordered to counter the severe allergy.
This time, the pain subsided, and after a rest period, treatment #2 was completed.
Health Update for Immuno-Therapy Treatment #3
For the June 19th treatment, treatment #3, pre-medications were strengthened and treatment #3 was completed without incident.
After treatment #3, my other adverse side effects continued and in fact, worsened.
Dr. L is no Longer Doing TV and Talk Radio Shows
Due to his symptoms and side effects, Dr. L is no longer doing TV and Talk Radio shows.
He loves doing the shows (up to about 500 per year), but now is turning down shows.
If he beats the cancer and/or the side effects disappear, Dr. L hopes to return to both TV and Talk Radio shows.
Is the Immuno-Therapy Treatment Working?
We will not know for about six to ten more weeks. The drug cocktail needs time to work.