Yesterday was our BIG meeting in Seattle with one of the top neuro-oncology specialists in our area at the University of Washington. My aunt Laurie drove us up, which I was very grateful for (she also took great notes, and it was good to have another set of ears in the room). We almost missed our meeting with the doctor because Group Health did not properly enter the referral in their system, but I got on the phone with the business office and said "We are NOT going home until he's seen, this is important!!!" We eventually got into the appointment an hour late (we were very thankful the doctor saw us late), and had a fantastic meeting.
We were so thankful to have a host of options for Clint, and even some for future use if needed. Ultimately, this doctor did NOT want to use Avastin chemotherapy, as was anticipated to be used this time by our other doctors. He wanted Avastin to be a last resort treatment. Clinical trials for cancer vaccination was on the table, but we opted NOT to do that, as the vaccination was combined with Avastin, and we did not want to use Avastin at this time.
Here's what we DID decide to do:
1. Clint will be having Gamma Knife Radiosurgery in Seattle - it's only ONE sitting of fine tuned treatment and he's DONE! He will have a specialized helmet screwed to his head and it does some really awesome radiation with lasers. This will be very different from the broad radiation treatment he had before, this will highly focus the area of treatment and will minimize the amount of radiation he will be exposed to.
2. Clint is a great candidate for reuse of Temodar, the chemo pills he took the first time. Temodar is usually only used for a first round type of treatment because the body builds a resistance or a tolerance for it. Because Clint's cancer stayed away for such a long time (3 times the amount of time reoccurrence usually appears), he has not built up a tolerance and will likely do well on Temodar again! We are very excited about this; he handled it like a champ last time. We do not know how they will handle the dosage, but we will find out on Thursday.
3. AND the most exciting part of all, Clint will be using a new tool that's only been on the market for the last couple of years (invented in Israel, which is cool because Clint has been there) - Novocure! Novocure is a device that consists of electrodes stuck to the head and hooked up to a battery pack that sends electrical waves through the brain and disrupts cells from splitting and spreading. While it's not actually a cure, it DOES stabilize the condition and prevent it from spreading, which is incredible! This usually does well when paired with chemo. He can use this device for the rest of his life to try and keep his condition stable. We are very excited about this! If this means he can live to see his little girl go to preschool, then who cares if he has electrodes stuck to his head all the time??
So, praise God there's some fantastic options. Our biggest hurdle will likely be getting insurance to approve the Novocure device. However, the Novocure company DOES have programs to help fund these devices for people whose insurance companies won't cover it. So, either way, we will be using the Novocure device. Thursday will be the day we find out when all of this starts. Clint will probably have another MRI in the near future to help map out the area for radiosurgery.
Thank you for all prayers and support, they are VERY needed and appreciated. We serve an amazing God, and we live in amazing times. I am so thankful for advances in medicine.