I’m on vacation again. For the third time since I started taking interferon, my schedule has been suspended to give my body a rest. The injections I’ve been getting three times a week are on hold to give the skin in my inguinal crease a chance to heal. This is where I receive daily radiation treatments, and which has become increasingly “pink” in recent days. I only have three more treatments, but the oncologist I spoke with yesterday thinks I need a break to avoid the further breakdown of tissue. I’m fine with this, and feel better already for having missed an injection. It will take weeks for the skin to heal, but this process should be accelerated somewhat by skipping the interferon for a while.
The doctor making this recommendation was a medical oncologist at Providence Cancer Center in Portland, who is a specialist in melanoma. I went to him to get a second opinion on several things I’ve been wondering about. My oncologist in Corvallis has basic competence, but he’s a generalist. Dr. Curti has seen hundreds of melanoma patients in his practice at Providence, and does research in chemo- and immunotherapy. He had great information, and I liked his manner. We came up with some strategies for coping with the side-effects of interferon, which includes dose reduction. We’ll see how I cope once I resume the shots, I’ll be done with radiation by then, which should make things easier all around.
Yet to be resolved is my ardent desire to administer the interferon myself. I am in an appeal process with my insurance company. It is its policy that all injections be given in a doctor’s office (or chemo lab), which is just plain stupid. There are many thousands of people with diabetes who give themselves shots, and interferon is no more difficult or risky to inject than insulin. My doctors all agree with me on this (and have written letters on my behalf), so I’m hoping I can get this decision reversed. It would be hugely more convenient to give myself shots just before I go to bed than to have to drive across town to have a nurse do them in the afternoon.