Today was my meeting with the medical oncologist, Doctor Giannakis, at Dana Farber, it went well. The doctor was beyond prepared, he had been brought up to speed by Sean, (Doctor Mullally), he spent time going over my chart and scans, explaining what his impressions were, how he agreed with Sean and Doctor Guennier, my medical oncologist from Mass. General, in regards to immunotherapy and he said that now I could count him as another member of the team. He also told me his goal was to turn the word incurable into the concept of a chronic managed disease, it does sound better if you ask me. My son and I spent about an hour with him and we left feeling good. He established a plan of action with other options on the back burner in the unlikelihood that I get rejected for immunotherapy, as with everything in our health system, I will be at the mercy of the health insurance company. Sean is going to have to persuade the health insurance company to cover the immunotherapy off-label, which means that even though the FDA didn’t approve the treatment for esophageal cancer, there is data from recent trials that support this treatment’s efficacy in helping esophageal cancer, so it’s up to their discretion to cover an off-label treatment. I should know in the next two weeks. It sounds complicated, but it’s not really, Sean is a persuasive doctor, he’ll get the health insurance company to see it his way. (Keeping my fingers crossed)
So I now have three oncologists and I like all three. Today was a long day, but it had to be done. I agreed to be a part of research at Dana Farber, I agreed to let them use whatever is left over from tests, biopsies and blood work to further their work in r&d, I feel good about my small contribution to science. Anything to help in the battle against cancer.