In a matter of a few weeks CR's PSA went from 57 to 98.
The Cat Scan showed that some lymph nodes were larger than normal and of a worrisome size in the lower back region.
The Bone Scan picked up "suspicious" areas on his right 5th and 10th ribs.
You know what, I've learned over the years that "suspicious", "worrisome" and "concerning" are not good terms when dealing with cancer - no good comes out of it, or so it seems.
So that said we are going to move forward with a immunology treatment called Provenge. Basically it is a treatment designed to reprogram your body's immune cells to attack advanced, hormone resistant prostate cancer cells. It jump starts the immune cells already in your body to help your body fight the disease.
It's a 2 step process that is done for 3 weeks, every other week. The first step is a 3 to 4 hour session of removing blood from CR, it then passes through a machine and collects small portions of your immune cells, some platelets and some red blood cells. Then the machine returns the blood that isn't used back to CR.
This blood is then shipped off to a lab where the magic happens (I wish I could explain, but I'm not a scientist). The treated blood is returned to the Oncologists office and two days later we are back in the office to have the treated blood put back in to CR. This helps CR's own immune system fight the disease. Currently his immune system isn't fighting it at all.
Of course there is a catch. The treatment is $90,000.00, after insurance the co-pay is $20,000.00, which is just way to expensive. Lucky for us we make well under a certain dollar amount per year so we are eligible for co-pay assistance and even travel assistance with this drug. That said we won’t know till all the pre-approvals with medicare, Cliff’s secondary insurance and the drug company get together if we can move forward. It all depends on what we will end up paying. Cliff doesn’t want to pay a fortune and I understand that. There are other chemo drugs that can be used and can also be successful, however in the early stages of his disease metastasizing, the Provenge looks to be the treatment that will give him the most benefit with the least amount of side effects. We should know in January what the outcome with insurance, etc will be and be able to decide then.
So now you know. We are doing well, and actually after so many tests and expecting to hear this type of news, I guess in a weird way it's a relief because now we can get treatment and possibly get it under control. The doctor has told us they can't cure this, but we can treat it and try to control it and that is all we can ask for. CR feels good and doesn't have a lot of pain anywhere and that is a good sign as well.
Please if you would, keep my wonderful hubby in your prayers, send him good vibes - we sure appreciate it!!
Happy Stitches and Hugs,