Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Meredith and Vic are fighting! Treatment has begun!

We Starkville girls can't help but enjoy the Bulldog fever. A friend gave Meredith a signed Dak Prescott jersey, and she wore it yesterday for her first treatment.

What do Meredith and Dak have in common? I'm calling it right now - they're both going undefeated this season.

Yesterday was a difficult but successful day. The doctors took 25 vials of blood before they even started the medicine, so Meredith's arms are pretty sore. She did get both the nivulomab and the lurulomab yesterday; originally we thought she would just get the PD1 (nivulomab). The best news is that Meredith did not experience any side effects during the infusion!! She's feeling some minor side effects today - a rash across her face and stomach as well as some joint pain in her knees that makes walking uncomfortable but doable. These are both common reactions to this treatment.

The one major side effect that they watch for is inflammation in her organs. This would be asymptomatic, so they will be taking blood to test for that each week. If the doctors see any sign of inflammation in any of her organs, this would postpone or stop the treatment.

There is much to be thankful for this week - finally treatment has begun! There are no signs of serious side effects in the first 24 hours, and Meredith has a wonderful nurse who will be administering the treatments each time. Meredith said she's feeling pretty well today, so we will pray that continues! Also requesting prayer that her blood counts show no sign of organ inflammation and that her body would respond properly to the treatment.

Meredith and Vic are en route from Boston and will return to Boston next Monday for more blood work. Because of the regulations surrounding the clinical trial, all the tests must be done there by the trial doctors. It's difficult to travel every week such a long way just to have blood drawn, but Meredith and Vic are geared up for the fight and will do whatever necessary to beat this thing!

Thank you for your continued prayers. Now we wait to see what God will do.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Treatment Plan

It's official: Meredith did qualify for the clinical trial. She and Vic leave on Sunday for Boston and she will have her first treatment on Monday. She will travel to Boston every week for the first month of treatment, then she will go every other week after that. Treatment could last up to 2 years. She will be taking the PD1 drug Nivulomab and the anti-KIR drug Lurulomab. Doctors are very exited about this combination therapy, and we are praying that Meredith will handle the drugs with ease. There are a wide range of possible side effects, but there is no way to know how Meredith will respond until she actually starts taking the medication.

Thank you again so much for all of your wonderful support. Please continue to keep Meredith and Vic in your prayers as they have a lot of traveling in store and for Meredith's health as she fights the good fight!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Update from Boston- Waiting to Qualify

Hello from Boston! Vic and I are in the airport and I'm updating from my phone so this will be brief. Thank you all for the prayers and support. I cannot tell you how special the 5K event was to us- what an amazing send-off! It deserves it's own blog post, so I'll write about that experience soon.

As Emily wrote on Monday, we were THRILLED to receive the call that a trial spot has opened. This trial involved a PD1 and anti-KIR drug, and though it's only in phase 1 trials, my doctors are excited about the response patients are having. We are so thankful to God for this answered prayer.

We arrived in Boston early yesterday to complete the screening process to determine eligibility for the trial. I did bloodwork, chest x-ray, EKG, another brain MRI and CT of chest, abdomen and pelvis. In order for me to qualify for this trial I'll need the brain scan to be clear (again) and the tumor in my lungs that was previously biopsied to measure 10mm by 10mm. It was nearly that size two months ago, so my doctor feels I will meet these qualifications. We should know soon!

Assuming I qualify, they have scheduled my first treatment for next Friday at noon. It should take a few hours for the injection, so they told us to plan to be there all day. I will fly to Boston every other week for treatment, and once a week for monitoring during my first month.

Again, we could not walk through this without the amazing support of all of you praying and helping us. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!! God bless you! Emily or I will post an update when we get the news of my scans.

For now, we are ready to board this plane and get back to our girls whom we miss more than words can say. HUGE thank you to our parents who have kept our babies safe and happy MANY nights since my diagnosis. Madeleine and Charlotte have adjusted amazingly well to our new "normal." God has been so kind to us. I couldn't do this trial and travel if I thought for one second my girls wouldn't be well cared for. Thank you Lord for grandparents! Being away from the kids has been the hardest part of this ordeal, but God has given us grace and strength to deal with our heartache. We are relieved to at least have some sort of schedule to follow, and we can finally get settled in Starkville.

We are encouraged, hopeful and thankful. Thank you for walking through this with us. We are truly humbled by your kindness.

All of our love and thanks,
Vic and Meredith

Monday, October 6, 2014

She got a spot in a clinical trial!!

Remember how I said earlier that Meredith wasn't able to get into a trial in Boston? Well, the doctor that she saw there just called her a few minutes ago to tell her that they've extended one extra spot specifically for her. It is the trial that was their number one choice (PD1 drug with an anti KIR). Is our God good???

I can only believe that is the grace of God in response to all of the prayers that have been sent up for Meredith. We are SO grateful to God that this is happening and so grateful to all of you who have been praying fervently for this to happen. Meredith and I were discussing this morning how God knit her together in the womb and He knew exactly what kind of medicinal combination her body would respond to. If He chooses to heal her through medicine or simply with a wave of his hand, Meredith and Vic finally felt today that they had done everything in their power to get Meredith the best treatment available. They finally felt a peace about where they were with treatment options. Then the doctor called.

We are so THANKFUL! Meredith and Vic will be flying to back to Boston right away to go through the obligatory screening process (scans and blood work). I don't know exactly when she will begin the treatment, but we will know in the next day or two!! The doctor also said the patients who are taking this drug combination right now are experiencing very little side effects and she should be fine to fly to Boston for treatment then fly home the next day. Another wonderful piece of news!!

Praise God!!!

Boston update

Meredith was not able to get into a trial in Boston. The doctor there was very kind and spent a lot of time with them going over every treatment option available. He is recommending that she start with an older treatment called Interleukin. It can be a harsh treatment and not a lot of patients respond to it; however, those that do respond seem to respond very strongly. Meredith and Vic are still prayerfully considering treatment options and plan to begin treatment by the end of the month.

The Interleukin treatment has been shown to produce durable remission (nobody will say "cure")in the patients who do respond, so Meredith and Vic pan to discuss this with their doctor at Vanderbilt this week. If he agrees, this is the path they are leaning toward at this point. While it can be harsh during the treatment, it doesn't produce any long term side effects like the yervoy AND it wouldn't exclude her from any trials. So if it doesn't work, she could still be eligible for a PD1 trial.

Please continue to pray as they are nearing a decision regarding treatment. I'll post an update when that decision has been made.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Team Mere bracelets

Ok I'm sorry!! The bracelet purchase option has been removed from the 5K link because they are almost gone! Another order has been placed, and those bracelets will be shipped to Mississippi soon. Once they are available, I'll post info on how to get one!

Mere and Vic are anxiously waiting in the doctor's office at Boston Mass General. Will post an update if any decisions are made today. If you've got a minute, and I bet you do, would you say a prayer for them right now?

Thank you!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Treatment Update

Meredith and Vic are traveling today to Boston, where they have an appointment tomorrow afternoon at 12:30 central time at Boston Mass General to discuss a few trial options. They have three trials that are going on right now, so once they meet with this doctor, Meredith will be in their system and can possibly get into one of their spots. One of the trials has one spot open (I think it is still open), and this particular trial is their top choice. There are also spots open in the other two trials, but considering the side effects and uncertainty surrounding the drug combinations of those two trials, Meredith and Vic aren't sure if either of those will be the best route for them to take. If they decide to go ahead with one of those trials in Boston, she can start treatment there right away. Please pray for clear direction for Meredith and Vic, especially tomorrow as they discuss options with this doctor in Boston. Hopefully, there will still be one spot left in the trial they want!!

They also still have plans to visit Johns Hopkins and Sloan Kettering later this month. In order to join a clinical trial, you must first be a patient of the hospital where the trial is being conducted. So they have narrowed down their list to a few hospitals with the most promising trials and are trying to get Meredith's name on each hospital registry in the next few weeks.

Meredith and Vic are still struggling with the time constraint of this disease progression, so they have also started the insurance process at Vanderbilt for yervoy treatments. If Meredith isn't able to get into a trial within the next couple of weeks, they have decided to go ahead and start taking yervoy at Vanderbilt.

After the appointment in Boston tomorrow, Meredith and Vic are flying to Texas to participate in the Fear Nothing 5K on Sunday. They travel back to MS early next week, so please keep them in your prayers as they have a lot of traveling to do! I'm wearing my Team Meredith bracelet as I know lots of you are, and you can order them at the 5K link. I'll post it one more time below because someone just text me yesterday asking where to get a bracelet.


Don't forget to email Liz AFTER you finish check out to ask her to mail the bracelet to you. lizdbeam@gmail.com

Thank you as always for your prayers!!