So last night, I decided to take my wife for dinner and a musical for our anniversary (rather than dinner and a movie, which is our typical date routine). Dinner was at an English pub called The Spotted Dog and was pleasant (nothing great, but okay). We then walked over to The Fabulous Fox Theater for opening night of Sweeney Todd. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I must not have a well developed sense of culture to appreciate this show, as I found myself falling asleep more often than not during the first act. Moreover, at intermission, my wife and I (along with probably 2-3 dozen other people) opted to leave. For both my wife and I, the show just did not captivate us like Wicked, Cats, or A Chorus Line or any number of other musicals we have seen over the years. My wife, however, appreciated the gesture and we both enjoyed having time together sans kids (if only for a few hours).
I have been thinking about the randomization outcome and I’m trying, as was suggested by a colleague, to (again) reframe:
- While TNFerade looks promising, its effects (including side effects) are somewhat still unknown. It is possible that I might have had a bad reaction to the drug / procedure.
- While perhaps not the most aggressive therapy, 5FU+ radiation (which is the treatment in the standard of care arm) is still a commonly used neoadjuvant therapy.
- My time at the hospital will now be substantially shorter. In the experimental arm, I would have had CT- and Ultrasound-guided intratumor injections. This would have required conscious sedation and significant post procedure observation (looking for potential side effects). Thus, instead of having to be at the hosptial all day on Mondays, it looks like perhaps only half a day or less.
- From what I’ve read, several people in my position recently have had successful tumor shrinkage on 5FU and radiation alone, leading to successful resection of the PC (via the Whipple procedure).
Finally, last year was really the start of my medical problems. Having not had any surgery in the 40 years prior, in 2007, I had both rotator cuff surgery and gall bladder (removal) surgery. By mid August last year, my family had met our catastrophic deductible ($4,000) for out of pocket expenses. The nice thing was that all doctor’s visits, medications, etc. from mid-August through December were free, as long as we stayed in network. This year, I reached the catastrophic limit ($4,500) by mid May. There are not a lot of financial perks working as a Federal employee (at least in my capacity), but I am very grateful for the excellent health insurance! (Of course, I talked with my cousin Ele this past weekend; Ele is a lawyer who works for a firm in the northwest that takes cases involving insurance companies not treating their clients fairly, so if I do get into trouble with the insurance, I’ll know who to call!)