Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Chance

My insurance company has approved the treatment plan recommended by the Mayo Clinic and the University of Michigan. I will have infusions of Rituxan (Rituximab) on July 8, July 15, July 22 and July 29. Rituxan is typically used to treat lymphoma and leukemia, but recently it has shown some promise in treating other diseases. Getting this approved was no easy task, and I'm extremely grateful to my nephrology team at UM for working so hard on my behalf. Go Blue!

The first infusion on July 8 is supposed to take eight hours; the next three infusions are predicted to take five hours each. Treatments will be at the UM Infusion Center at East Medical Campus.

The above was easy to explain. More difficult is how I'm feeling about all of this. First was shock that treatment was actually approved. Then some excitement entered but was quickly tempered by how uneasy I'm feeling about pumping a drug into my body. Most of all, though, I have no clue if this will work. It's a chance -- but that's all.

Another study has just been published. Its authors call this "the largest case series to date using rituximab for fibrillary GN." There were 12 fibrillary GN patients treated with rituximab, and the treatment stopped progression of the disease in 4 cases. That may seem like a low success rate, but it has me feeling a bit like Lloyd Christmas in Dumb & Dumber ("So you're telling me there's a chance").

Thankfully, 4 out of 12 beats one in a million. Besides, if we were talking baseball here, those study results would have a .333 batting average and would be going to the Hall of Fame. I'll take my chances.

I'm ready for July. Batter up!