Back to a Normal Scheduleby Chris Battle, survivor on June 16, 2011
This article is cross posted from The Kidney Cancer Chronicles.
Liver enzymes continued to fall with today’s bloodwork. I am fully back within normal ranges, if not quite back down to the levels I previously registered. Nonetheless, I feel like we’ve put this little hiccup behind us, and we’re back to a regular schedule. I went on to get my infusion, and watched snatches of the US Open while lying in my little window bed as the MDX-1106 crawled through the plastic tubing into my arm. It was just like being in the clubhouse at Congressional Golf Club.
We met with Dr. Hammers today, who as usual was very insightful. We don’t always meet with him, as it’s really not necessary, but Dena and I do like the opportunity to occasionally check in with him in between scan dates. As with the rest of our team, we’re comfortable with Dr. Hammers and feel like we’re in good hands.
I was still a little befuddled about why my bloodwork had gone haywire and we talked about that for a bit. I told him I realized that AST levels of 254 were way beyond the normal range but asked if it was really that high. He said that many patients with serious liver disease could register higher numbers, some even in the thousands. However, he pointed out that the number itself wasn’t the issue but the intensity of the spike. He said that anybody who registers a three-fold surge raises alarms, and mine was a ten-fold spike. This was of particular concern as MDX-1106 has triggered autoimmune disease previously; though not a common occurrence, it is one of the few truly dangerous potential side effects of this drug.
In the end, we really have no idea why the numbers went a little crazy. I proposed my theory that my recent effort to resume strength training with weights, and the intense soreness (from muscle damage) that followed, may have been the culprit.
“That would have to be some workout,” he said with some gentle skepticism.
Then after a moment of thinking about it, he added: “I don’t think your scrawny frame could lift the kind of iron necessary to do the damage we’re talking about.”
I flexed my biceps.
“I could probably snap your neck like a No. 2 pencil,” he said.
Okay, he didn’t actually say that last bit. Dena did.