Getting Cooked in 2015

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Medical plans for 2015 are in place.

The last week of January I will become the only person you know (admit it) that is getting cooked in an effort to stunt her disease. I will get cooked six times as part of this Phase One clinical trial – every 28 days. The cooking, technically known as heating, happens in an operating room with me under general anesthesia for the four plus hours. During the procedure my blood is continuously removed and returned (much like dialysis) as it is heated to the magical 107.6 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. The first hour gets the blood to the required temperature, the last hour cools the blood back down to normal. In the main part of the procedure the blood functions like a radiator to heat my entire body to the 107.6.

107.6 F

107.6 F

There is nothing very new about the idea of heating the cancer to kill it off. It’s been an international effort with Germany and Japan also spending significant time on the concept. The challenge has stayed getting the body hot enough to destroy cancer with out destroying major organs – a tough balance. Clearly, a human cannot survive a two-four hour fever of 107.6.

So how do I intend to survive? Well, my team of doctors believes, and has convinced the FDA, that they have evolved the equipment needed to protect my organs while heating me up. While I will be within the first handful of patients using this equipment, there is a longer history to calm me.

A doctor in Galveston, Texas, Dr Roger Vertrees, designed the initial two generations of  equipment first using it on 40 AIDS patients in the nineties and then 10 very advanced lung cancer patients in 2004. Both were well-documented, credible trials. Dr Lilja, my new doctor in San Jose tracked this work, travelled down to watch and when the Galveston Hurricane images

wiped out their lab suggested they relocate to San Jose where the third and current generation of the equipment is setting sail. Now Dr. Vertrees travels to San Jose for every surgery and is the “founding father” of the working team in 2015.

I enjoyed meeting the San Jose HEATT team. They are run out of a small, no frills private practice under the lead of Dr Lilja, a long time (but still quite young) gyn/oncologist. The hospital they work with, Good Sam, is nearby and also pretty plain and well regarded. Dr Lilja seems to be a bit of a visionary much like Drs Bruckner and Hirshfeld – willing to live a more simple life in the pursuit of cancer breakthroughs.

Dr. Lilja has long explored heated chemo (known as HIPEC) for his patients. HIPEC is hard to tolerate, not relevant for heavily metastatic people like me and serves as no magic wand motivating his look beyond towards HEATT.

I like the dedication, teamwork and vision, which is good because I am putting my life and hopes for a future in their hands.

Expect updates from Marcy the lab rat.images-4

51 responses »

  1. I wish nothing but the best for you, Marcy. It sounds as though you have full faith in your team which is always a great feeling. You’ll be in my prayers and meditations XO

  2. Marcy, a couple friends have joined your little family of “rats” and you may meet them in this next chapter. I have the highest hope for each of you dear sisters that this treatment holds the promise we are all seeking (though none more than you or, at least, none more forthcoming with details of her incredible journey than you.) As always, deepest thanks for your ongoing generosity in sharing details.

  3. What a generous gift you’re giving the world with your courageous willingness to be a lab rat — more than once! Thank you, Marcy. Even though this is a phase one trial, I’m hoping that it will not only prove to be safe, but also prove to be healing for you!

  4. Marcy ~ May the love and light from all those who care very much about you, surround you as you enter into this brave experience.

  5. Wow. I very much enjoy your humor partly because it’s supported with such clarity as you describe the history and technique. I plan to visit you following my Stanford visit on the 30. I trust you’ll notify me if that inconveniences you as you get more “involved”. Holding healing thoughts for you! xxoo Sylvia

  6. You certianly are contributing to OVCA survivors. Thanks for doing this but…what a risk and challenge. Wouldnt it be miraculous if YOU bebefit from this.

  7. You certianly are contributing to OVCA survivors. Thanks for doing this but…what a risk and challenge. Wouldnt it be miraculous if YOU bebefit from this?

  8. Wow Marcy………. A friend of mine did this years ago. He had ALS – his eventually died about 15 later instead of the predicted 3 years………. I hope this is successful. You are HOT anyway.

  9. Sounds like great news to me. And yes, I admit it…You are the first person that I know getting cooked at 107.8 F. I am again wowed by you.

  10. I’m sending you off with all my love and best wishes. From your days as rural community organizer to your present ones as cancer patient you continue give to all. Thank you. You really know how to your homework.

  11. Rat – a – tat – tat. You are a beautiful lab rat, in fact you are a fab, lab rat who we’re sending love and hope to! Thanks for the updates.

  12. Wow wow wow. Have you read Remarkable Recovery? A gathering of what is known about people expected to die from terminal illnesses (most often cancers) who completely recovered. One of the factors for many was an intense immune system response that included high fevers. My doctor swears by heat and many of his patients are better for it. I’m adding my toes to the “fingers crossed” and love.

  13. Bravo for lab rats! I did a controversial treatment for arthritis and my friends thought I was nuts but I thought it was quite fun to be a lab rat. In that instance there was little risk and potential high gain (sadly it didn’t work for me but I was glad to help the research). My mother, who had pancreatic cancer was involved in a clinical trial that proved eventually that the drug being tested was a good cure for some. Yeah! Sadly, she found out she was on the placebo and her cancer had progressed to the point where eventually died but I know that she felt good that she helped progress science. People ask me if I am angry she was on the placebo and oddly I am not — someone had to be on it to prove it worked. It was bad luck for her but that’s how science works and placebo patients are very important.

    Bravo for you for charting new territories and accepting this wonderful adventure. Much blessings and love to you for a successful outcome!

  14. Each time I read a posting of yours,I am reminded of the poem that begins, “Do not go gentle into that good night…” and am in a quiet awe of the power of your voice and the witness of your spirit. Sending blessings your way for this new stage of fight, and huge gratitude for your dedication and voice. Many prayers, Marcy.

  15. As usual, my dear, you inspire me. Feeling discouraged now and again, is quickly abated when I read of your experience and courage. Staes me out of victim, ” right now”, every time. Bless you my dear friend.

  16. I just have to say THANK YOU for a few things. Thank you for sharing your experiences, I’m ear deep in cancer treatments myself and always find these sorts of things fascinating. And also, thank you for being willing to try it. The world needs brave people like yourself to pave the way for others whom it might help. You may not feel brave, but after reading this I know you are. I am praying it is extremely successful!

  17. GOOD LUCK-VERY SCARY AND I HOPE IT WORKS!! I’M SEEING CHANGES AND THEY ADDED MORE MEDS AND CHANGED OXYGEN. NOT FEELING ALL THAT BAD. THINKING OF ORDERING MORE SPRING BULBS-AM I CRAZY? YOU CAN NEVER HAVE TOO MANY FLOWERS BUT THEY NEED TO BE PLANTED SOON. DO YOU HAPPEN TO KNOW ANY HOUSE SITTERS? MY HEART IS WITH YOU DEAR FRIEND. LETS HOLD HANDS AND KEEP EACH OTHER SAFE. LOVE ALWAYS, MARJI

  18. At this point, trusting in your medical team and keeping a positive attitude will hopefully get you through what sounds like a science fiction experiment. With so few options left to you, though, I can completely understand why you are willing to be “Marcy the lab rat.” Keeping you always in my thoughts and sending positive energy your way. Here’s to seeing a healthier you in 2015.

  19. Sounds so scary! But then, a lot of worthwhile things are. You’ve always been brave about trying new approaches to solving problems, and you’ve had lots of successes as a result. May this be another success.

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