Archive for February, 2014

Genetic Susceptibility and Biomarkers of Platinum-Related Toxicities Research Study

I finally took part in that Dana-Farber and University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) research study yesterday–evaluating the long-term health of men that have been treated for germ cell cancer with cisplatin chemotherapy. This visit was scheduled for December, but I mistakenly double-booked my calendar with one of Jess’ ultrasounds. Needless to say, the ultrasound was a tad more important. For those that haven’t seen Jess’ blog, the boy was 3lbs 7oz, and the girl was 3lbs 1oz. The c-section is scheduled for March 13!

The research appointment began at the Yawkey Center. After the pleasantries, the research assistant flipped through her paperwork and stated “we’re going to be taking a lot of blood from you today.” Oh my. I replied with a nervous laugh and a “…did I mention my dislike needles?”

Thankfully the phlebotomist was flawless in execution, and the researcher’s presence gave me reason to keep my jaw flapping and otherwise distracted from the tray of viles on my right.

The next step was to visit Brigham and Women’s for a hearing test. The room was small, maybe 8’x8′ with low ceilings and a door that resembled a walk-in fridge. I put on a pair of bulky headphones and was handed a wired, push button remote. The researcher and technician relocated to an adjacent room separated by a glass window. Press the button when you hear a beep. Left ear, right ear. Repeat the words spoken. All uneventful including the result. My hearing is normal.

I completed an at length survey regarding well being and habits. Two things, I’ll mention. First, the alcohol consumption question had incorrect/incomplete ranges for me to answer correctly. I brought this to the attention of the researcher. I believe the running joke is that you tell your primary care physician how many drinks you consume per week, and he knows you’re lying, and then doubles it in his records. However, for science, I wanted to answer truthfully. I either had to choose an answer of “drinks per day,” which would make me look like a raging alcoholic, or “drinks per week” with a range that was not right either. The second thing is regarding side effects, and the purpose of this study. The only thing I continue to have is the cold/tingling hands and feet, also known as Raynaud’s disease. This isn’t new, it started immediately after chemo. Hopefully the URMC and Dana-Farber researchers will discover new ways to reduce incidents of Raynaud’s for future patients. In the meantime, no big deal.