Thursday, December 9, 2010


It's weird to feel excited about cancer treatment, but here I sit, excited to start SGN-35 tomorrow. Up until this past year, my treatments had been conventional - following the same course of action that's been prescribed for Hodgkin's patients for decades. But with a rare second Hodgkin's relapse, my treatment plan ventured down a road less traveled.

Now, as I find myself preparing to begin a regiment that is so new that it's still being finalized and has yet to be fully FDA approved, I'm feeling a lot of different things. I'm a bit excited, to be one of the recipients of something so innovative, and to have my case be a part of something that will hopefully prove so essential in changing the conventional course of treatment for Hodgkin's. I'm a little nervous, to be the first person at the Northwestern clinic to receive this protocol, with the staff learning it as we go, unable to anticipate reactions or side-effects from experience. Above all, I'm grateful: for the access to this drug afforded to me by my doctor who fought for me to get it and the privilege that comes from being treated at such world-class institutions.

The phase II findings on SGN-35, which were presented earlier this week at the American Society of Hemotogy annual meeting, have been making major waves in the oncology world. Since my last post about the drug two weeks ago, there's been an explosion of new articles and blog posts about it, including in Bloomberg, Pharmesuetical Business Review, The San Bernardino Sun, and a series of shorter posts that offer interesting insight into the timeline of the drug's development on The Medical News, just to offer you a sampling.

I'll be in Chicago for just 48 hours to receive this first treatment, returning to Chicago every three weeks through January.


Harboring thoughts said...

I,too, am grateful to your doctor for fighting for you. Scary to be the first for any medicine, but,exciting, too, that there is this new concept drug out there. Read the Bloomberg news article. Different method of attacking the tumor, with good results. Thinking of you as you become an explorer of unknown territory.

womenwithcancer said...

Dear Elissa,
We will miss seeing you at GUH but I wish you all the best with your exciting new treatment in Chicago. Peace and prayers.... Sara

Sammie said...

further proof of your courage & pioneering spirt!

Gideon Bob said...

That post reads like an exploration journal, which it is, which is wonderful. Go taste the new world.

Elissa said...

Thank you for all the good wishes, and thoughtful comments. You all make me feel like an adventurer. Sara, I'm still living in DC (go back to Chicago for treatments) and hope to make it to the group in January! Thanks for finding my blog.

Joy said...

Hope everything went smoothly! I am excited about the potential of this regimen, and will be keeping everything crossed for you! Always knew you were a trailblazer!