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Mesothelioma Patient Enjoys Summer and Prepares for Clinical Trial

Patient's Mesothelioma Journey

 After a busy summer and fall, Amanda has returned to Mesothelioma Help to share her and her father’s story as he battles pleural mesothelioma. Amanda brings readers up to date by recounting the adventures her family had this summer, the immunotherapy clinical trial her father is participating in and, of course, his ups and downs with mesothelioma.

Life has been pretty stable despite the ups and downs of a family member having mesothelioma. Since Dad’s diagnosis in January 2013, the last change in treatment came this past summer. The doctors ordered him to rest up during the summer months after going through a rigorous round of chemotherapy. So that’s what he did.

He enjoyed the warm summer days doing light yard work, when he felt up to it, relaxing by the pool, and enjoying family picnics for summer holidays and birthdays. He was relaxing and enjoying life without having mesothelioma treatments and making trips back and forth to Philadelphia for checkups to see how his white and red blood cell levels were and to track his overall strength.

His next step was immunotherapy, which would start at the end of August as long as his white blood cell count increased after chemotherapy. Dad’s last round of chemotherapy totally destroyed his immune system, and by resting and staying away from germs, the doctors hoped that his body would rebuild itself. Before starting immunotherapy he would have to pass many tests to be sure his body could handle this next form of treatment.

August came around and Dad had his appointment with the doctors to go through the tests and consultations for this new treatment: all was well and he qualified for it. Dad was going to be one of only four other patients in Philadelphia to receive this type of treatment. He is participating in the Tremelimumab Medimmune trial at the University of Pennsylvania. This is a trial that he was very thankful to qualify for, but with trials there is always that chance of being on the placebo. This is a very scary thought to think that there is a 1 in 4 chance that he would be getting the placebo and not the real drug. All we could do is be positive and hope that this experimental treatment was going to continue to keep Dad going and give him the best quality of life.

The news that we received at the end of our summer gave us all a lot of hope once again. Like I have said before, when someone you know has cancer, the time between treatments is very nerve-racking, but when a plan is in place and you know the next step you feel at ease. Once again we were feeling this way and Dad’s life fighting mesothelioma was okay and stable again.

Unfortunately, pneumonia got Dad down in June. Next week I talk about Dad’s struggle with pneumonia and mesothelioma.

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