Plot Twist! – Enter Brentuximab

I’m in for another year of chemotherapy.

I just stared at that first sentence for about 5 or 10 minutes before I could figure out how to write the second one.

The fact is, that if the doctor hadn’t recommended this regimen, I would have begged him for it. Here’s why.

Months ago, I found out that my cancer had relapsed too aggressively for radiation therapy. The only course of action was the high-intensity chemotherapy and stem cell transplant that I recently finished. I was also warned that MAYBE I would have to go on a maintenance chemotherapy drug called Brentuximab. At the time I thought, “Brentuximab… kind of sounds like a supervillain who’s hatching a plot to devastate an unsuspecting populace”. I also thought “I really, really don’t want that”.screen shot 2019-01-27 at 2.05.49 pm

As months and meetings with doctors came and went, there was always a whisper of this evil Brentuximab. As if lurking in the shadows, biding its time, it was unclear if or when we would ever meet. Unsure of whether it was a realistic threat or what might lead to our meeting, my only thought was, I hope to god we never cross paths.


In early December, I got some very promising PET scan results. The chemotherapy I had BEFORE the stem cell transplant had worked so well that I was in complete remission. I thought we had squashed Brentuximab before it reared its ugly head. Surely this scoundrel and I would never converge.

I received the stem cell transplant and high-dose chemotherapy, got discharged from the hospital after 20 days, and really thought that I was coasting toward normalcy.

**Plot Twist!**

Then, a few weeks ago, as if risen from the grave, rumors of Brentuximab were on my Doctors’ lips again. Obviously, this miscreant wouldn’t go down easy.

Luckily for me, a friend who works as a Nurse Practitioner was visiting for the weekend. We were able to log on to her medical database and find out what makes our so-called villain tick.

**Plot Twist #2**

As it turns out, Brentuximab isn’t the villain, it was just misunderstood all along! Brentuximab and I have decided to join forces against the true supervillain, Cancer (which could use a more evil sounding name in my opinion).

What it comes down to is, the research shows that this drug works. It’s particularly effective at reducing the chances of relapse in someone who has already had an aggressive relapse once. It also appears to be pretty well tolerated.

screen shot 2019-01-27 at 1.47.56 pm

I need to remind myself that I’m lucky to have access to medicines like these, and I don’t have to re-mortgage my house to get them. It’s also important to look at the big picture and realize that this treatment is bringing me closer to my family’s ultimate goals: a cancer-free life, and a baby or two once the smoke clears.

So it goes.

9 thoughts on “Plot Twist! – Enter Brentuximab

  1. Cool man, for a while I’ve been curious how you’ve been doing. And how cancer treatment works from a first person persepective. For me, and maybe a lot of us is hard to grasp/ understand what turmoil really happens behind the doctors window.

    Cool pics, thanks for the update, and wish you best of luck man.


  2. Onward and upward “Super Hero”, love your blog Andrew
    I don’t know you personally Andrew, but I do know your parents, and they are wonderful people, so glad you have great family support, and let’s face it every super hero has a side kick. Batman and Robin for example.


  3. Your blogs should be published, Andrew. You have a lot of insight that would benefit many people. As well as a great writer, you are a courageous and loving young man. We send you a our prayers and love daily. And, we await those babies!❤️


  4. Little by little our prayers are being answered! Andrew, you are so brave, optimistic, and strong! You inspire all of us! Grant and Dale need more grandbabies💕❤️, and we will be awaiting that glorious day!!! More than anything, though, we will be awaiting the day when you celebrate being totally “cancer free!!!” Sending hugs, prayers, and love!!!


  5. “Onward Christian Soldier” Andrew! You are winning this battle & entertaining all with your writings. keep on trucking as we are all with you in our prayers. A very courageous & positive man! The Graham’s.


  6. I also have been thinking about you and your family. Sorry to hear that you have to go through more chemo. You are such a brave man! Wishing you all the best!


  7. Andrew – I have been thinking about you and Amanda since we last messaged via email. It was by chance that I discovered your blog – your words are beautiful and I’m grateful to have a way to keep up with how things are going – way better than awkward ‘so…how’s it going..’ emails. Please know that I am cheering for you. I’ll be following along and if you don’t get better soon I will personally fly to Winnipeg and smack you, in the face, several times. I mean it.


  8. Glad the Brentuximab is promising. There are so many new drugs ending in “mab” on the market these days with great superhero potential. A lot of people see chemo as a villain because of so many side effects. Why these folks aren’t labeling cancer as more of the villain is beyond me. May good health be yours.


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