Fast forward 18 months- the cancer came back. The treatment recommended this time was not the clinical trial CAR-T as it was too new and they felt too risky. The doctors recommended an FDA approved CAR-T which was administered at the university of Miami Silvester Cancer Center in May. This was a whole other story as to how we changed hospitals and Doctors.
This treatment although very similar to the clinical trial (this time they harvested his T-cells which were then re-engineered to fight the cancer cells in his body- this is known as Autologous CAR-T). The treatment had adverse side effects and George and I, yes BOTH of us were in hospital for 3 weeks. He was on a sterile transplant ward and once I went in to see him I had to stay. If I left even for a breath of fresh air outside, I would not be allowed back in.
The miraculous results of the treatment: again, full remission.
In October 2022 we were invited to go to Santa Barbara with my friends from Houston with whom we stayed while he was being treated at M. D. Anderson. The team who developed the clinical trial are based in San Francisco. When we told them we were going to Santa Barbara, they invited us, at their expense, to visit their facility and meet the team. We were treated like celebrities. They sent a limo to collect us on the Friday morning to meet their team of 350 persons including their Chairman and CEO. We were overwhelmed as everyone was so excited and anxious to meet us. We did another fireside chat and answered questions from the team. We soon realized that we are a very important part of their study. Their goal is having the treatment of blood cancers to be one injection, “off the shelf” with no hospital stay. Just a simple visit to the doctor.
We later found out that George is the first and only person in the world to have successfully received the two types of CAR-T treatment. Unbeknownst to us, this success is a very important part of the process in get this treatment FDA approved so blood cancers can be treated by a single injection.
How did we get so lucky? Why us? It all started with a simple letter to say, “Thank You”.
My reflection on this journey is how the dots connected to get us to where we are now.
What was your journey? Who did you meet on the way? We need to show gratitude for all the people that helped us. I believe that nothing in life is a coincidence- we have a path that we are meant to follow. The problem is that many of us do not take the time to recognize, appreciate, and be grateful for the path that has been chosen for us.
As I look back over the last 4 years since this journey began. I am amazed that we all weathered so many adversities – pandemic, sickness and the loss of loved ones. We must also reflect on the many wonderful persons, new friends, amazing people who came into our lives to help us on our way. I truly believe that the kindness, consideration, and the gratitude we show others, will be returned tenfold.
I ask you to reflect on connecting the dots and live your life in gratitude.
Wishing you an awesome 2023.
CENTURY 21 Heave-Ho Properties